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Spicy Macaroni & Cheese

September 2, 2009

I usually opt for the packaged Annie’s Mac & Cheese when I am craving something comforting. I decided to try my hand at making mac & cheese from scratch, how hard could it be? This recipe is super simple and was done in less than 30 minutes. I love the combination of the sharp cheddar cheese and Parmesan. Next time, I am going to try using different types of cheese. If you are not a broccoli fan, substitute a frozen vegetable of your choice, such as frozen peas or cherry tomatoes. Pump up the protein content by adding in some shredded chicken or canned tuna. Not only is this ultra-creamy version of mac-and-cheese nearly as fast as the boxed variety, but the ingredients are simple and wholesome.

Spicy Macaroni & Cheese

Makes 4 servings

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles (2 cups)
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli
  • 1 3/4 cups non-fat milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta for 4 minutes. Add frozen broccoli and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta and broccoli are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes more.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 1/2 cups milk in another large pot over medium-high heat until just simmering. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk, flour, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture to the simmering milk; return to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in Cheddar, Parmesan and mustard until the cheese is melted.
3. Drain the pasta and broccoli and add to the cheese sauce. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat, until heated through, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

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