Mac and Cheese Grows Up

Macaroni and cheese is a part of childhood. I’m guestimating that every kid under the age of ten in the U.S. has experienced the joys of this deliciously cheesy pasta creation. But tonight, I made a version that was decidedly adult-like—chicken stock, garlic, and an elegant cheese sauce–making it a delectable dinner for anyone with a driver’s license. It’s Cooking Light’s Two-Cheese Mac and Cheese. Best of all, it was as easy to make as the stuff in the box, but certainly a million times better.

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You will need: 10 oz. of elbow pasta (or any pasta to your liking); 2 tbsp. canola oil; 3 garlic cloves, crushed; 2 ¼ c. unsalted chicken stock, divided; ½ c. 2% reduced-fat milk; 8 teaspoons all purpose-flour; 4 oz. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese; ½ teaspoon salt; ¼ teaspoon ground pepper; and 3 oz. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded.

Cook the pasta according to the package, drain and set aside (my mom has always told me to put a little bit of olive oil on the pasta so it doesn’t stick to the colander).  Then, heat a dutch oven over medium heat; add oil and garlic, cook 3 minutes or until garlic is fragrant; stir in one cup chicken stock and bring to a boil, cook for one minute; combine remaining 1 ¼ c. stock, milk, and flour and stir until flour has dissolved.  Add milk mixture to garlic mixture and bring to a boil, cooking for 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Remove milk from heat; add cream cheese and combine until smooth; add salt, pepper, and cooked pasta. Pour pasta into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle cheddar over the top of the pasta and broil until cheese melts and begins to brown. Let stand five minutes and enjoy!

I was a HUGE lover of Kraft mac n’ cheese (I can easily eat an entire box by myself) and I have to say that this recipe puts me firmly into adulthood. The garlic and chicken stock give this dish a rich, wonderful flavor that is sophisticated, delectable and refined. Check this recipe out and let me know what you think! But until next time, keep eating!

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