Slenderizing recipes is inordinately thrilling for me. I mean cooking for other people is an enjoyable experience as is, but it’s not that difficult to create a crowd-pleasing dish that’s filled with butter, cheese, oil, or some combination of the three.
But when I’m able to take an old favorite, cut some calories here and there, and create something that people still enjoy just as much? Well, that’s just a little bit of nutrition nerd magic.
This hobby of mine is what led me to the current Question of the Week. While I received many requests, macaroni and cheese was definitely the most commonly mentioned. After a few Googles, I stumbled upon a mac recipe from Michelle Obama. Apparently what’s good enough for the first family isn’t quite good enough for me, though, so I went ahead and added a few of my own slender touches (Greek yogurt, Panko, nixed the butter).
This dish received a thumbs up from myself and my hungry roommates, making it a definite keeper.
Slender Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Servings: 6| Calories per serving: 351
Fat: 10 g (Sat Fat: 4 g) | Carbohydrate: 32 g | Fiber: 4 g| Protein: 32 g
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 20-oz package Jennie-O extra lean ground turkey
2 cups frozen cauliflower florets
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 cups dry whole wheat elbow pasta
1/4 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
8 ounces reduced fat cheddar, cut into cubes (I used Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar)
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
PAM Original nonstick spray
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large pan coated with PAM, begin cooking your garlic and onions over medium heat. Set a pot of water to boil and preheat your oven to 350°.
2. Once the onions are translucent, add in the ground turkey, breaking it up with your spatula as it cooks.
3. While the turkey is cooking, begin cooking your pasta according to the directions on the box, shooting for the lower cooking time. Drain cooked pasta and set aside.
4. When the turkey is completely cooked (it’ll be white if you use extra lean), turn off the heat.
5. Microwave your frozen cauliflower for 60-90 seconds, until thawed. Add the chicken broth and blend in a food processor or blender until completely smooth.
6. Add your cauliflower, Greek yogurt, and cheddar cheese to the pot you cooked the pasta in. Heat over medium-low heat until everything is melted.
7. Stir in your pasta and turkey into the cheese mixture until everything is evenly distributed.
8. Coat a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with PAM and spoon in the macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Bake for 10-20 minutes, or until the top has lightly browned.