Who doesn’t love comfort food? Everyone has those days when you want to throw healthy eating by the wayside and have something indulgent. Ok it may not be everyone but I certainly have those days. On days like those I try to have comfort food but somehow turn it as healthy as I can; make it “comfort food lite” if you will.
One of my favourite comfort foods is mac n cheese. It has everything I look for in a comfort food: cheese, carbs, spices, really there is so much deliciousness in a bowl of mac n cheese I could eat it far too often. The problem with mac n cheese is that it can be made incredibly unhealthy or at least fattening if you use certain ingredients like full fat cheese and cream; granted it does make it delicious but the offset of calories and fat just isn’t worth it in my books.
I use the recipe from the cookbook Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meals 2. It’s easy to follow, quick, and oh so delicious. I use the base recipe and modify it a little for my own preferences (can you say extra garlic and some chilli peppers).
However you have the recipe, original or with your own personal modifications, it’s guaranteed to be a gastronomic masterpiece and satisfy that comfort food craving. The only tricky part is to resist eating it all at once.
The Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meals 2 cookbook is available on amazon (Click here)
Total: 30 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 entree servings, 8 side servings
* 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil, 1 turn of the pan in a slow stream
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 1 1/2 cups whole or 2 percent milk
* 3 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese
* 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, a couple pinches
* 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked 8 minutes or to al dente, with a little bite to it
* Heat a medium, deep skillet over medium heat.
* Add oil and butter. When butter melts into the oil, add flour and combine.
* Gently cook, whisking flour and butter together, until smooth and flour has had a chance to cook, about 3 minutes.
* Slowly add milk while continuing to whisk.
* Gently bring milk to a bubble while stirring frequently.
* Allow the milk to thicken a bit, then stir in 2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese a handful at a time.
* Season sauce with nutmeg and cayenne.
* Taste and add a little salt, if you like.
* Add cooked pasta to sauce and coat completely by turning over and over in the cheese sauce. Transfer to a baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Place baking dish under a hot broiler and brown the Cheddar cheese on top.
**I usually also add a pinch of paprika to the seasoning and a garlic clove or two.
***I also usually just top all the cheese on the pasta without cooking it in the oven. If I do cook it in the oven I top it with about 1/2 a cup of Parmesan cheese.