SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - This is one of my favorite recipes, borrowed from a co-worker years ago. She made this for potlucks and everyone loved it! This recipe was generously shared with me, and I would like to pass it on. I did make just a couple of changes by cutting the amount of butter and cheese used and changing the milk and Half and Half to either fat-free milk or fat-free Half and Half. Despite the changes, the finished dish is not lacking in flavor. Enjoy!
1 pkg large elbow macaroni
2 tbsp each - olive oil, unsalted butter
3 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp each-garlic powder, onion powder
1/2 tsp each - black pepper, paprika
2 1/4 cups fat-free Half and Half or fat-free milk, heated in microwave to warm
2/3 cup each of three cheeses (Ex: shredded parmesan, sharp cheddar and mozzarella cheese) - more if you like it cheesy
9x3x10 inch baking dish
Spray baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a mixing bowl, combine shredded cheeses, reserve one cup of the mixed cheeses. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season the water with a good amount of sea salt. Add the macaroni to the pot of boiling water and cook according to package instructions for al dente then drain, place in casserole dish and set aside.
Return the same pot to the stove on medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil has heated add the unsalted butter and stir with a wooden spoon until butter has melted, then add the flour and stir for three to four minutes, but do not brown. Next, add seasonings and continue to stir. Slowly pour in warmed fat-free Half and Half or fat-free milk, stirring continuously with a wire whisk. Increase the heat to high once thickened, then reduce heat to low and add cheese. Stir until cheese has melted, then remove from heat. Pour half of the cheese sauce over the macaroni in baking dish using a spoon to combine macaroni with the sauce, then pour remaining cheese sauce over top and sprinkle remaining cup of cheese over top. Season top with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Place baking dish on a baking sheet, cover with foil and put in 350 degree preheated oven. Cook for 35 to 45 minutes. Remove foil during last 15 minutes of cooking to brown the top. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 to 7 minutes before serving.
For individual servings, spray a regular sized muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and spoon prepared macaroni and cheese into the tins. Top with cheese and bake until heated through and cheese has melted on top. Remove and let stand for a few minutes before serving.
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