Broccoli Mac and Cheese Recipe- A not so skinny version
Aside from a bowl of hot, brothy noodles, no other dish comforts me more than a bowl of mac and cheese. Since I developed my one pot stove top mac and cheese recipe, I’ve made it easier to stuff my face silly with cheesy-happiness. But to alleviate some of the calorie guilt of inhaling 3 bowls, I think of greens.
Oh yes, broccoli-greens-healthier-better-eat more. This sounds like a rational formula to eating Mac and cheese a few times a week. I love giving myself excuses for eating more by adding something, anything and always green. And green has always been one of my favorite colors as a kid so all this makes sense!
A skinny mac and cheese recipe by a skinny girl? Oh yes, I’m all for it. I feel healthier already. Gina’s recipe looked amazing with the chicken broth for less fat and lots of flavor. I’m loving it so much, I feel like I can run 4 laps around the track now.
Off I go into my kitchen make an inspired skinny mac an cheese. As I assemble my ingredients I notice I already lost the skinny battle.
Per Gina’s recipe, I don’t have any fat free chicken broth. Ok, so my version will be a little less skinny.
Oh wait, I don’t have skim milk. Maybe my version won’t be so skinny.
And I used more Parmesan cheese cause my brain doesn’t comprehend anything below one cup of Parmesan cheese. Now, let’s just forget the skinny.
Fine, alright, ok. My version isn’t so skinny anymore but it’s darn delicious and it’s got extra broccoli in it! Gina’s recipe is wonderful and for those of you who have a healthier stocked kitchen than I do, then her Skinny Mac and Cheese is for you.
For the rest of you, here’s my Not So Skinny broccoli Mac and cheese recipe.
cook mac pasta a little firm, al dente so that after baking, the texture is perfect
Adapted from Gina's Skinny Broccoli Mac and Cheese. I used more parmesan cheese because I just love it to death. Try cooking the pasta a little al dente (firm) so that after baking in the oven, the pasta becomes the perfect bite and texture.
1 16 oz package large elbow macaroni, cooked to pkg. instructions, but leaving them a little firm
2 medium heads fresh broccoli (14-16oz), but in small bite size pieces
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 small onion, minced
2 cups of whole milk
1 can chicken broth
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
about 1/2 cup of extra cheese for topping
1/4 cup bread crumbs
kosher or sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large pot, boil water and cook pasta to instructions, but leaving pasta a little al dente. About 3 minutes before draining pasta, add broccoli to cook in water alongside pasta. I like my broccoli a little firm, so that it doesn't end up mushy after the bake. You can decide how cooked you want your broccoli by adding it in sooner.
Grease a large 9 x 12 baking dish.
While pasta is cooking prepare the cheese and milk mixture. In large pot on medium heat, add butter and onion. Cook onions till soft, then add flour. Stir flour quickly to combine the flour and onion rue mixture. Add milk and chicken broth.
Allow mixture to come to a boil and sauce will thicken. Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Drain your cooked pasta and broccoli and add to cheese mixture. Gently mix together and pour into baking dish. Add extra cheese and bread crumbs on top.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted with a nice crust.
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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.