Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese

Box of Kraft Dinner.  The first thing hubby learned to cook.  The simple meal that seems cheap and easy to prepare for lunch, supper …. sometime breakfast.  But a hidden den of ‘unnatural’ and unhealthy foods: which yes is my self-educated opinion.  I wrote about it – see here:  The Low Down on KD.

And yet – it seems so yummy.  So I’ve been on a quest to find a healthy version of Mac & Cheese.  Here is what we have come up with.

Preparation time: 20 minutes   Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes           Yields: 4-6 servings         Serving Size:  1 cup (Diabetic – 1/2 cup)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup cheese, ricotta
  • 1/2 cup cheese, cheddar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
  • 1 dash salt and black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cheese, Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon bread crumbs, fine, dry
  • 1 pounds pasta, elbow macaroni whole wheat or gluten free
  • 1/2 cup spinach, chopped fine
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350º F. Heat milk in a saucepan over low heat. Add the cheeses until they melt, stirring constantly. Stir in the nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Remove the cheese sauce from the heat.

Cook pasta al dente (7 minutes in boiling water). Add the cooked pasta and chopped spinach to the cheese sauce and mix well.  Pour the mixture into a large casserole dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly and the top is just browned.

Darling Daughter’s Notes:  Really Good, almost like Grandma’s.  I could just taste the spinach so that was okay.  I’d never had ricotta cheese before – but to tell the truth the whole meal was just ‘CHEESY-good’.  It was weird at first to see mac&cheese without the brilliant orange colour.

Suggested Nutritional Values (1 serving): Calories 379, Protien 22g, Carbohydrates 60g, Dietary Fiber 6g, Total Carb (DB) 54g, Sugars 5g, Total Fat 8g, Cholesterol 24mg, Sodium 263mg

Great Mineral Bonuses:  Selenium 114%, Phosphorus 50%,  Copper 42%, Zinc 32%, Riboflavin 27%, Magnesium 24%

Diabetes Type 2 Suggestions:   Okay,  Pasta is a scary word for diabetics and I’m sure you’ve already noticed the 60g of carbs (gulp).  But here, read the following:

Pasta is low in sodium. Pasta is low in fat and saturated fat.  Pasta has a low glycemic index. Pasta is fuel (energy).

Unlike white bread or potatoes, pasta is pretty low in terms of its glycemic impact. The issue, of course, is the portion: Eating too much of any carbohydrate food will raise blood glucose. So what you have to watch is your serving size.  A full cup of this recipe is 4 carbohydrate servings out of your day.  (gulp!)  So instead, serve yourself 1/2 a cup and enjoy some more cooked spinach on the side.  You can always have your second 1/2 a cup the next day!  Flavour spreading!  Also, I’ve learned that you SHOULD NOT OVERCOOK PASTA = al dente (which means chewy) is 7 minutes in boiling water.  Overcooked pasta has a higher glycemic index, meaning that it can raise your blood glucose high.

 

 

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