pen rainbow

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday's Cupboard—Two EASY Comfort Foods!

Cozy + Healthy = Great!

Stove - Top Mac & Cheese
Serves 4 (1-1/2 c. servings) to 6 (1 c. servings) 

Nutritional info:  Per 1 cup serving—285 cal, 9 g fat, 5 g sat fat, 23 mg chol, 665 mg sodium, 36 g carb, 2 g fiber, 15 g protein, 288 mg calcium.  Note:  To reduce fat, use lite butter or margarine & non-fat milk; to increase fiber, use whole wheat flour — Weight Watchers, In One Pot, 2003.
  • 1 T. lite butter (or margarine or real butter)
  • 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced Italian-style tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 c. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (mild or sharp)
  • 1/2 c. low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk
  • 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 t. dry mustard
  • 1/2 t. kosher salt
  • 4 c. cooked elbow macaroni
  1. Prepare elbow macaroni, as directed on package.
  2. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.  
  3. Add flour; combine & stir constantly until mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 min.
  4. Add cheddar cheese, Parmesan, milk, mustard & salt, stirring constantly until cheese melts & the mixture is smooth, 2 — 3 mins.
  5. Stir in elbow macaroni & cook until heated through & well coated, 1 — 2 mins.
    Before serving, let stand 2 mins. to allow cheese sauce to thicken & set.

    Troi's Add:  Make country-style bread crumbs ahead of time—Cube & crumble 2 c. of leftover artisan bread (I use whatever kind of bread I have - Batard, potato rosemary, or sourdough Pugliese all work well); spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet or pizza pan lightly sprayed with butter-flavor PAM.  Lightly spray bread crumbs with butter PAM & give it a shake to coat crumbs; sprinkle lightly with paprika.  Toast in 400°F oven for approx. 10 mins, until bread is lightly toasted.  Remove from oven.  Let cool & store in a plastic, zip-lock bag at room temp.

    If you want to bake it in the oven before dinner time:
    Transfer hot mac & cheese into a 2-qt. glass baking dish (or individual-size casseroles) coated with butter-flavor PAM.  Top with a scant layer of lightly toasted bread crumbs.  Bake for about 25 mins. on 400°F, enough to heat through & give topping a nice browned finish. 

    Creamy Polenta Casserole
    Serves 3 (1/3 of the casserole = 1 serving)

    Nutritional info:  275 cal, 7 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 153 mg chol, 763 mg sodium, 38 g carb, 4 g fiber, 16 g protein, 216 mg calcium — Weight Watchers, In One Pot, 2003.

    EQUIPMENT:  Food processor, 2-quart glass baking dish
    • Olive-oil or butter-flavor PAM nonstick spray
    • 1 (16 oz.) tube refrigerated fat-free plain polenta, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1/2 c. non-fat milk
    • 1 (11-oz.) can of Mexican-style corn, drained
    • 1/2 c. shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (mild or sharp); for a spicier version, I use regular, Mex-style shredded cheddar cheese in place of the reduced cheddar 
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 (4 oz.) small can of chopped green chilies (mild)
    • 2 T. chopped fresh chives 
    • 1 tsp. sugar
    • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
    • 4 shakes of your favorite hot pepper sauce (Tobasco is fine)
    • 3 egg whites at room temp
    1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Spray a 2-qt. glass, baking dish with nonstick spray;
    2. Place the polenta & the milk in a food processor; pulse until smooth (about 10 secs).  Transfer to a large mixing bowl;
    3. Stir in the drained Mex corn, shredded cheese, egg yolks, chilies, chives, sugar, salt & Tobasco;
    4. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form;
    5. Stir 1/4 of the whipped egg whites into the polenta mixture to lighten; gently fold in remaining egg whites until blended.  Spoon into baking dish.
    6. Bake on 375°F until slightly puffed & golden, about 45 mins.  Serve at once!
    Troi's adds:  Top with fresh deli-case salsa (I use Safeway's mild salsa or Whole Foods fresh, roasted tomatillo salsa) & a generous handful of fresh, chopped cilantro.  Extra super good!