Sometimes, you just need comfort food. What if we told you that you could still enjoy these meals and stay healthy? You’re in luck!
Whether you choose the blue box or your mom’s homemade recipe, mac and cheese is a staple of comfort food. What’s not to love? It’s pasta and cheese! You may even add breadcrumbs or hot sauce. Mac and cheese is the definition of comfort food!
Like other comfort foods, it’s also not the best for you. Mac and cheese is fattening for the same reasons its delicious. Pasta and cheese, sometimes even breadcrumbs or hot sauce. What if there was a way to tweak your classic recipes to make it so that you can eat mac and cheese, guilt-free? Well, you’re in luck!
That’s a Perfect Pasta
There are several things that you can do to make your mac and cheese healthier. First, let’s look at the pasta. Whole wheat pasta is a healthy, but simple, substitute for regular pasta.
Spaghetti squash could also be an option, but it’s not a perfect alternative since the strands are too long to perfectly replicate elbow macaroni.
Healthy Cheese, Please?
Once you cut calories with pasta, you still need to deal with the cheese sauce. How could you possibly make cheese sauce healthy?! The trick is to cut the cheese with something tasty, but healthier. This way, you use less cheese without compromising on flavor.
There are two clear favorites to boost the sauce. Greek yogurt adds a creamy texture to the sauce that pairs well with the cheese. The other option is broth, either vegetable or chicken. These add a rich, savory flavor to the sauce that won’t overpower the cheese.
Boost Your Mac with this Hack
Finally, you can make your mac and cheese healthier and more flavorful with add-ins. Add-ins can be anything from vegetables or proteins. It comes down to your preference and dietary needs.
Vegetables make a mac and cheese more filling without compromising on health. When it comes to what veggies work, the real question is what do you want to add?
Healthy Mac and Cheese Recipe
For the Pasta
- 12 oz of whole grain elbow macaroni
For the Add-ins
- 4 thin slices of bacon
- ½ cup of sliced white mushrooms
- ½ small sweet onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
For the Cheese Sauce
- ½ cup of Plain Greek Yogurt
- ½ cup of 2% milk
- 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup of Colby or Monterey Jack cheese
- Dice the white mushrooms, onion, and cloves of garlic.
- Cook the bacon until crispy. Move the bacon to a paper towel-covered plate. This will soak up some of the grease, making it a bit healthier.
- In a different pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the diced onion and mushrooms until both are soft and the onions are golden-brown. Add the diced garlic and sauté for about a minute. Transfer to another paper towel-covered plate.
- Cook the macaroni according to the package. Save about ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Over low heat, add ¼ cup of the pasta water to the pot, stirring in the yogurt and milk. Gradually add the cheeses, stirring as you pour. Stir until the cheese has melted.
- Add the macaroni into the cheese sauce and mix until the pasta is well covered.
- Crush the bacon strips and stir them in along with the vegetables.
- Serve in a bowl, covering with lightly breadcrumbs (optional).