This healthy version of mac and cheese uses heart-healthy versions of milk and cheese, whole-wheat macaroni noodles, and nutrient-rich spinach and sun-dried tomatoes.Yield: 8 hefty side-dish servings
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Nutritional Highlights: Whole-wheat pasta is filled with more nutrients than white refined pasta. Sun-dried tomatoes and spinach each have vitamins A, C and K plus potassium and fiber.Recipe Created By: Kim Galeaz
Recipe From: My Indiana Home
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- 8 ounces whole-wheat macaroni, uncooked
- 2 ⅔ cups reduced-fat 2% milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¹⁄₈ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¹⁄₈ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¹⁄₈ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces extra-sharp 2% milk cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 ½ cups packed baby spinach leaves, stems removed
- ½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, from jar of oil-packed tomatoes
- 1 cup homemade soft whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon oil from jar of sun-dried tomatoes
Tips & Notes
• Not keen on 100% whole grain pasta yet? Start with the half white/half whole-grain versions.
• Smoked paprika may also be called “Smoked Spanish Paprika” in the spice aisle.
• Avoid graininess in this macaroni and cheese by using wedges or blocks of cheese and grate yourself. Pre-shredded versions are convenient and tasty, but they do have anticaking agents that could affect the texture of the dish.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 2-quart (8-inch square) glass casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray. Cook macaroni 1 to 2 minutes less than indicated on package directions so pasta is al dente and doesn’t overcook in the oven.
- Combine milk and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Add the seasonings and the salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and bubbly, about 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese until smooth. Lightly fold in spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Add the cooked, drained macaroni, tossing until combined. Pour mixture into baking dish.
- In a separate bowl, stir oil into breadcrumbs with a fork until crumbs are coated. Sprinkle top of macaroni with the crumbs. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly around the edges and golden brown on top. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories – 307 , Fat – 10.9g, Dietary Fiber – 3.4g, Protein – 15.4g, Vitamin A – 17%, Calcium – 46%, Iron – 11%.
**Nutrition information is calculated using an online calorie calculator. Variations may exist. Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet.