I have never met anyone who did not love macaroni and cheese. There is simply nothing more comforting or soul satisfying than a dish of macaroni baked in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce covered in a crusty layer of baked cheese.
Macaroni and cheese it is said had its origins in China and was brought to Italy by Marco Polo. In the eighteenth century, this dish in one form or another became popular in Europe and the colonists from England brought along their recipes to North America. If the folklore is correct, this dish became popular after it was served during a White House dinner under the presidency of Thomas Jefferson in 1802. Since then, recipes for various versions of macaroni and cheese appeared in many American cookbooks and remain a mainstay today, on American dinner tables.
The simplicity of this dish is only part of its charm. I don’t need anything fancy like imported ham or cheeses, or a bit of truffle to place a smile on my face. The basic macaroni and cheese dish is still the best hands down.
My personal favorite is a Paula Deen version that is creamy, cheesy and just plain delicious. It is also just plain fattening! Paula does not hold back on the butter, cream and cheese. The problem for me is that I can’t control my portion when eating macaroni and cheese. I always seem to be returning for just one more bite.
I have been enjoying a new food blog called Cookin Lean Like Paula Deen www.Cookinleanlikepauladeen.blogspot.com
Lindsay has been taking on the task of creating lighter versions of the fabulous Paula Deen’s recipes. Lindsay tackled Paula’s recipe for Creamy Macaroni and Cheese and I could not resist trying this recipe out for myself. The results were excellent. Lindsay does a really good job of keeping the creamy, cheesy texture alive while reducing the amount of fat and calories. I am now replacing my traditional Paula Deen recipe with Lindsay’s lighter version.
Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
(Adapted from Paula Deen)
4 cups cooked Whole Wheat elbow macaroni, drained
16 oz 1 % milk fat cottage cheese
4 egg whites, beaten
1/2 cup fat free or light sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup low fat milk
16 oz Velveeta Cheese, cut into cubes
Shredded cheddar cheese for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After the macaroni has been boiled and drained, add Velveeta cheese, cottage cheese, egg whites, sour cream and salt to the hot pasta and mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Pour into casserole dish, top with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.
Bake for 30-45 minutes.