Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Baked Mac 'n Cheese

You know those days when you want to make food for yourself, but you are feeling really lazy and don't want to put any work into the meal at all? Please, tell me I'm not alone in this.

Today was one of those days, and I thought I had found the perfect lazy recipe: Mac n Cheese! So simple and easy, right? I was all set to go and found a recipe I could use, but when I get down to my kitchen and open the fridge, BAM! Guess what I DON'T have in there?! Only the staple ingredient for this delicious dish. 

If you guessed cheese, you would be SO right. And without cheese...well...all you have is disappointment....

So, I (reluctantly) made a quick trip to the grocery store. My "lazy" recipe was slowly turning into more work than I had bargained for. Once I got home, I started to get the ball rolling and began cooking. The dish was finally finished at around 10:30 pm, and let me tell you something, attempting to take delicious-looking food pictures without ANY natural light whatsoever is a HUGE challenge! I'm sorry if these pictures are not up to standard, and I will be trying my best to do the majority of my baking/cooking when there is still some daylight. I'd also like to add a little note: I promise you, that although this meal looks to be the same hue as Kraft Dinner, I can assure you it is not (because to me, that color is definitely not an appetizing shade..). Again, I blame the lighting.

This recipe is a WeightWatchers recipe, and I know you're probably wondering "Why is this recipe called 'Mac N Cheese' if she didn't even use macaroni?!" I know. I asked the same question, but it's what the recipe called for so don't fault me for it!

I have grown up eating my Mom's family recipe for macaroni and cheese, and it's a family favorite in our house (maybe someday I'll post it here). I'm always skeptical when I try a new mac n cheese recipe, and I have yet to find one that comes close in my books. This recipe was pretty good, and it was super easy to make, but still doesn't quite compare to my Mom's recipe.

Try it out for yourselves, and let me know what you think!

Baked Mac 'n Cheese
Bake Time: 25mins  Yields 6 servings (WW: 7pts per serving)

8 ounces (about 3 cups) whole wheat penne
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups fat-free milk
2 1/3 cups shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
*Note: Fat free or whole wheat products are not necessary, just recommended by WeightWatchers

1) Preheat oven to 350 F
2) Cook penne according to directions, drain and set aside.
3) Heat the oil in a large skillet, add flour and whisk continuously for about 2 mins. Slowly add the milk and whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Increase the heat to a medium-high temperature (until boiling) and let the mixture boil for about a minute.
4) Remove the skillet from the heat. Add 2 cups of the cheddar cheese, along with the salt and pepper. Stir the mixture until the cheese had completely melted. Add the cooked penne to the cheese mixture and pour into a 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup of cheddar on top.
5) Bake for 25 mins, until it is lightly browned and bubbly. Let it cool for 5 mins before serving.

(Recipe adapted from WeightWatchers New Complete Cookbook)

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