While watching Food Network this weekend, we stumbled upon a new show, Week in a Day with Rachael Ray. I had seen commercials for it and it was advertised as appearing on the Cooking Channel (a new channel we don't get) so I was pleasantly surprised when they aired an episode on the Food Network (a cooking channel we do get). Why am I bringing this up? Because one of her dishes was the inspiration for the recipe I am going to share with you all.
She made a spicy crab cake mac and cheese which looked delicious and had me craving some cheesy goodness myself. However, due to resolution number 3, I wanted to find a more healthy alternative because I just knew her recipe would be full of calories. I found a smoked gouda mac and cheese in my Cooking Light cookbook and made a few adjustments (like adding adobo sauce to it) to make it closer to what we saw Rachael make on TV. The results were delicious!
Smoked Gouda and Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese, adapted from The Best of Cooking Light cookbook
2 tablespoons of butter, divided
1 one ounce piece of whole wheat sandwich bread, grated into crumbs
4 cups elbow macaroni, cooked (about 2 cups dried)
1/4 cup green onions, diced
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can of chipotles in adobo sauce--if you want more spice, substitute adobo sauce with a chopped chipotle--seeding it to reduce the heat, leaving the seeds in for extra spice! Since this recipe only serves four, I just used the sauce this time to make sure it wasn't too spicy. Next time I think we'll add a seeded and chopped chipotle instead!
2 cups fat free milk
1/4 cup smoked gouda, grated
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
5 cups fresh spinach
Stock pot for boiling pasta
Box grater for cheese and bread crumbs
Food processor, optional for use in making breadcrumbs
2 quart glass baking dish
Grate the slice of bread using either a food processor or a box grater. I used a box grater (the side with the small holes) because I knew I would be using it to grate the gouda and didn't want to make unnecessary dishes for myself. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic and saute for five minutes. Add adobo sauce or chipotles. Add flour and stir constantly until flour is cooked and loses its raw taste, about one minute. Whisk in milk, salt and pepper until sauce combines. Bring to a boil and cook down for two minutes until sauce is thickened.
Remove from heat and add cheeses, stirring again with the wooden spoon until cheeses have melted. Add pasta and spinach. This may seem like a lot of spinach but it will wilt and cook down quickly.
Once combined, spoon into a greased (with cooking spray) 2 quart glass baking dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top of the dish.
Bake uncovered for fifteen minutes or until bubbly.
Remove from oven and pour additional one tablespoon of melted butter over the top of the bread crumbs. Turn the oven to broil and broil for two minutes until the bread crumbs brown slightly. Remove and serve.
Serving size: 1 1/4 cups
J and I are trying to go meat free at least once a week to not only save money but also to be more conscious of the meat we are consuming. This is a great vegetarian meal due to the protein and iron from the cheese and spinach and it's so creamy and delicious you won't miss meat at all!
We really enjoyed this guilt-free meal and will definitely be making again next time we have a craving for Mac and Cheese. It's a great way to satisfy the craving without expanding your waist line!