Everyday Lighter Macaroni and Cheese

America's Test Kitchen

Everyday Lighter Macaroni and Cheese

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  • Don’t be tempted to use either preshredded or nonfat cheddar cheese in this dish—the texture and flavor of the macaroni and cheese will suffer substantially. For best results, choose a low-fat cheddar cheese that is sold in block form and has roughly 50 percent of the fat and calories of regular cheese (we like Cabot brand). This recipe was published in The Best Light Recipe.

  • 1

    pound elbow macaroni

  • 1

    (12-ounce) can 2 percent reduced-fat evaporated milk

  • cup low-fat milk (2 percent)

  • ¼

    teaspoon dry mustard

  • teaspoon garlic powder or celery salt (optional)

  • Pinch cayenne pepper

  • 2

    teaspoons cornstarch

  • 8

    ounces 50 percent light cheddar cheese , grated (about 2 cups)


1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and the macaroni; cook until the pasta is completely cooked and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave it in the colander; set aside. 2. Add the evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of the 2 percent milk, mustard, garlic powder (if using), cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the now-empty saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup milk together, then whisk it into the simmering mixture. Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened and is smooth, about 2 minutes. 3. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cheddar until melted and smooth. Stir in the macaroni, and let the macaroni and cheese sit off the heat until the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 5 minutes, before serving. PER SERVING: Cal 360; Fat 10 g; Sat fat 6 g; Chol 40 mg; Carb 45 g; Protein 24 g; Fiber 1 g; Sodium 720 mg


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