December 19, 2011

Beef, Cheese and Noodle Bake

Macaroni and cheese stepped up a notch. This recipe is packed with hidden vegetables to boost the nutrition and fiber. Lean ground beef packs in some protein to round out this satisfying meal. There is something about macaroni and cheese that everyone loves. It has been one of my favorite foods ever since I can remember. If you have kids, this is a great way to sneak some vegetables into them without them knowing. I would have loved this recipe as a kid, but if you had told me there were carrots in it, my opinion would have drastically changed. Therefore, I suggest you not mention it to them.

I use whole wheat pasta whenever I can. I honestly do not taste much of a difference between it and regular pasta. I know there are people who would argue with me so if you prefer regular pasta, then go ahead and use it. The nutritional information, however, is based on using whole wheat pasta. I know for Weight Watcher's, the Points+ value will probably go up by 1 or so. 

Beef, Cheese and Noodle Bake
Adapted from Cooking Light

Makes 8 servings, serving size about 1 cup

Cooking spray
8 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded carrot
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound 90/10 ground beef
1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups shredded 2% sharp cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box, leaving out the salt and fat if desired; drain and lightly coat with cooking spray; set aside.

3. Coat a Dutch oven or another large pot with cooking spray. Add in onion and carrot and cook about 4 minutes; add garlic and cook 1 minute longer; add ground beef and cook, stirring to crumble, until the beef is not longer pink.

4. Add tomato sauce, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; cook until most of the liquid evaporates.

5. Add pasta into the pan and stir to combine; place the mixture into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

6. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, flour and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir with a whisk until blended; cook about 2 minutes or until the sauce is thickened, continuing to stir with the whisk occasionally.

7. Add 1 cup cheese to the mixture and stir until smooth; pour the cheese mixture over the macaroni mixture and stir.

8. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese to the top of the macaroni and cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until browned; let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 352
Fat: 15
Fiber: 3
Sodium: 860
Points+: 8


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