I did so love my Mema’s macaroni and cheese. She did not use a cheese sauce with her noodles but tossed cooled noodles with grated cheese, an egg, and cans of evaporated milk. Then she would let it sit on the counter for a few hours and let the milk soak in – adding more as needed to keep it moist. Bake and serve bubbly hot. Oh my!!
I still make it that way some time but I don’t feel very healthy about it. I finally made a version that both my children approve of – it took a little trial and error. This is based on a recipe by Ellie
Krieger (Food Network) from her book The Food You Crave. Her secret is frozen winter squash – same color as the cheese, not too much taste. She recommends two boxes – that was not a success. I can only find frozen winter squash at my grocery store in the organic section but at my mom’s house I found it easily at her Kroger. I also tweaked the elbow noodles – not whole wheat but the high fiber/protein noodles ( I use Barilla brand). Add low-fat cheddar and skim milk and I can enjoy and serve this without so much guilt.
Mac and Cheese – A Little Healthier
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Boil one package (14.5 oz) of high fiber/protein elbow noodles until done. Drain but do not rinse. Transfer to your baking pan. If you want to be sure the noodles do not stick before you get back to them, toss them with a little olive oil. Grate one 8 oz block of 2% sharp cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese. In a saucepan, add 2 1/2 cups of skim milk and one 10 oz box of frozen winter squash. Warm it on medium until the squash is melted and mixed with the milk. Take the milk mixture off the heat and mix in the cheese. Stir until melted. Add a little salt and pepper – sometimes I’ll add a few dashes of hot sauce. Mix this in with the elbows.
At this point you need to take stock of how the mixture looks compared to your family’s thoughts on mac and cheese. You can bake it right now until it’s bubbly – about 20 minutes. I will often add another 1/2 cup of milk, let the mixture sit on the counter for a while (in honor of my Mema), then bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. If I am really feeling I need a cheese fix, I’ll add another half block of cheese with the extra milk, let it sit and then cook to bubbling. YUM!
This makes alot of food. I will often take half and freeze it with the Food Saver. Reclaim your comfort food and enjoy!!
~The Mildly Manic Mom