Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mac and Cheese that Everyone Loves!

Okay! I love pasta. When I eat macaroni and cheese I want it cheesy and creamy. I don't want to sacrifice favor and comfort for anything. But it would be nice to have big portion and know that I am within my daily points target or even getting some of the good health guidelines.

So when I created this recipe it had to be just darn good! I also didn't want it to taste "healthy" and be fussy to make. This does the trick! And I even used Velveeta (yes it is real and made from milk) which should be quite a plus for my friends at Kraft!

The best part is, when I calculated the points value it was 14 points per serving before and now it is only 6 points!


MACARONI AND CHEESE - the cheesiest!

12 oz whole wheat pasta - I use penne but you can use any kind you prefer
4 T flour
pinch nutmeg
1 qt nonfat milk
1/3 cup dry milk (optional)
½ t each S & P (or to taste)
4 oz Swiss cheese, grated
4 oz Velveeta Light (2%)
10 oz box frozen butternut squash puree, defrosted
2 T Romano (or Parmesan) cheese, grated
  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Prepare 2 quart dish (spray with cooking spray).
  3. Cook pasta and set aside. You may want to hold the pasta in a pot of tepid water so it does not clump together.
  4. Make a white sauce. Pour 3 cups of milk into a sauce pan (big enough to hold both the sauce and pasta) over medium heat. In a container with a lid, mix the flour, dry milk and remaining milk. Shake up until it is completely mixed up with no lumps.
  5. When the milk is hot (almost ready to boil) stir in flour mixture (I use a whisk), salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  6. Bring to a boil and allow to thicken to the consistency of heavy cream.
  7. Add cheeses and squash to melt.
  8. Fold in pasta.
  9. Pour into prepared dish.
  10. Top with 1/2 cup bread crumbs mixed with 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tablespoon Romano cheese (optional).
    Bake 40 minutes.

This makes 6 generous portions or will feed 8 - 10 as a side.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fresh Strawberry Pie

When I was a child I always wanted to taste a fresh strawberry pie (you know the ones you see in the revolving pie case in restaurants). It just looked so good to me. My mother thought I wouldn't like it so I never got to have one. She wasn't stingy with desserts, she just preferred strawberry shortcake or just about anything else.

Then I was living in Peoria, Illinois for a few years after college and I was having dinner at a diner with a fellow teacher. She order us each a pieceof pie for dessert. By this time I was convinced I wouldn't enjoyed the glazed berries. But I found that it was very delicious...my mother was wrong!

Years later, in Bloomington, Illinois, my friend, Adrie (one of the best down home cooks ever) made a strawberry pie for dessert one night. I was quite impressed and pleased. Then he shared the recipe with me, which was shockingly simple.

Well, I have cut the points in half from the original but the flavor is fully indulgent. I think my mother would have really liked this too! I hope you give it a try. It is a beautiful way to serve strawberries and it taste as good as it looks!

FRESH STRAWBERRY PIE

1/2 cup white sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 small package Sugar Free strawberry Jello
1 quart strawberries (I like to use small ones), washed and stemmed

1 baked 8 or 9 in pie shell (your own or store bought)

  1. Stir the sugar and cornstarch together in a 2 quart sauce pan.
  2. Turn your flame up to medium and stir in the water (I use a wisk to get it all moving around so it doesn't get lumpy).
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook on low, stirring for 1 minute (this minute gets rid of any starchy flavor).
  4. Add the jello off the heat and mix completely.
  5. Pour the mixture over the berries to coat completely.
  6. Pour berries into you pie shell.
  7. Refrigerate until set (a few hours).

This is 8 servings and only 3 points each.

I usually top each piece with a dollop of lite whipped topping and a big strawberry.