Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Don’t let the thought of macaroni and cheese scare you off.  This is a healthier version because of the reduced amount of butter, and by replacing cream with chicken broth and skim milk.  The results:  creamy, tantalizing mac and cheese. Some people have a weakness for chocolate, others for salty treats.  This dish just happens to be one of my many food loves.  I like to add some chopped ham..I have a hard time following the crowd. What can I say. 🙂 Try it..I double dare you!

Macaroni and Cheese
(from Gina’s Skinny Taste site

The Ingredients:
12 oz. high fiber elbow, like Ronzoni Smart Taste
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. light butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup minced onion (I usually leave these out)
2 cups skim milk
1 cup fat free chicken broth
8 oz reduced fat mild cheddar (Gina uses Sargento because of the smooth texture. I have to agree.)
salt and pepper to taste
*2 cups chopped ham (optional)
4 cups baby spinach (optional)
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs (optional)

The How-to:
*pre-heat oven to 375*
*Cook pasta according to package directions
*Spray a baking dish with cooking spray

*In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter
*Add flour and cook over low heat, stirring with a whisk
*Add onion and cook another 2 minutes
*add milk and chicken broth and continue whisking, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick
*season with salt and pepper

*Once it becomes thick, remove from heat
*add cheese and mix well until cheese is melted
*add ham and mix well
*adjust salt and pepper  if needed, to taste
*spread noodle/cheese mixture into a 9×13 sprayed baking dish

**if you want to make a crust, follow these directions, if not..simply place in oven and bake**
*top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs
*spray a little more cooking spray on top
*place in oven and bake

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