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This recipe appeared in Cooks Illustrated in 2006.

Is there a grown-up person anywhere who cannot remember some of the most amazing macaroni and cheese from their childhood?  Well, I am one of them!  I ironically hate cheese, but my sister Betsy raves about this mac-n-cheese recipe for her kids that is LIGHT and EASY.  This so-called “comfort food” has a zillion recipes, and some people probably prefer the good-ole Kraft box mac and cheese ….but I am personally a big believer in ‘home-made’, but it also has to be easy and quick! This recipe is SPEEDY, easy, and delicious. Mac and cheese is an easy to prepare dish and your kids will eat it without complaint—

As a note, don’t be tempted to use either pre-shredded or nonfat cheddar cheese in this dish—the texture and flavor of the macaroni and cheese will suffer considerably. For best results, choose a low-fat cheddar cheese that is sold in block form and has roughly 50 percent of the fat and calories of regular cheese (we like Cabot brand).

INGREDIENTS:
  
  • Salt 
  • 3/8 lb. elbow macaroni (about 2 cups) 
  • 1 (12-ounce can 2 percent reduced-fact evaporated milk 
  • 2/3 cup low-fat milk (2 percent) 
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard 
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or celery salt (optional) 
  • pinch cayenne pepper 
  • 2 tsps cornstarch 
  • 8 ounces 50 percent lighter chedder cheese (Cabot 50% Light Sharp Cheddar or Cracker Barrel Reduced Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese or what you find at the grocery store), grated (about 2 cups) 

INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and the macaroni; cook until the pasta is completely cooked and tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave it in the colander; set aside.

2. Add the evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of the 2 percent milk, mustard, garlic powder (if using), cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the now-empty saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup milk together, then whisk it into the simmering mixture. Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened and is smooth, about 2 minutes.

3. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cheddar until melted and smooth. Stir in the macaroni, and let the macaroni and cheese sit off the heat until the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 5 minutes, before serving.

PER SERVING:
Cal 360; Fat 10 g; Sat fat 6 g; Chol 40 mg; Carb 45 g; Protein 24 g; Fiber 1 g; Sodium 720 mg

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