● ● ● ● ●
Don Mauer's column:
his newest recipe in
this week's Chicago-area
Can't Be Low-Fat
Macaroni and Cheese
Did your mom make macaroni and cheese for dinner when
you were growing up? I know my mom did. She made the best macaroni and
cheese I ever tasted. Little did I know that her secret to macaroni and
cheese was Velveeta.
I consider Velveeta to be a touch on the odd side. Why?
Well, it isn't cheese exactly, but a “process cheese product.” Until a
Velveeta package is opened, it doesn't need to be refrigerated.
After I lost more than 100 pounds, and promised myself
I would keep it off for the rest of my life, I stopped eating macaroni
and cheese. The reason for my action was simple: Regular macaroni and
cheese is loaded with fat and calories. Standard macaroni and cheese
contains butter or margarine, whole milk, sometimes an egg or two, gobs
of shredded cheese, and finally buttered bread crumbs. Macaroni and
cheese would be higher than 40 to 50 percent calories from fat without
the macaroni, which is almost fat free and high in no-fat calories.
Two years into maintaining my weight loss I missed good
ol' homemade macaroni and cheese so much that I started from scratch and
created a version lower in fat and calories. My recipe worked so well I
shared it in my cookbook “Lean and Lovin’ It.
This was great until I read Pam Anderson's cookbook
“The Perfect Recipe” (Houghton Mifflin, 1998). In her macaroni and
cheese chapter, Anderson reviews how she tested every single ingredient
for macaroni and cheese and made a discovery that suggested I consider
the way I made mine.
About different milks Anderson wrote: “After testing
the recipe with whole and low-fat milk as well as with half-and-half, I
realized that evaporated milk was not an unconsidered holdover. All the
macaroni and cheeses made with fresh milk curdled a bit, resulting in a
chalky, grainy texture. The one made with evaporated milk was always
Up to that moment I had been using fresh skim or 1
percent milk. Not only did I believe that the processing of the milk
helped make a smoother sauce, but that since Velveeta Light process
cheese product was highly processed as well, it might make my macaroni
and cheese even better.
The other change I was going to test was using a little
nonfat sour cream. This idea came from Shirley Corriher's cookbook
“CookWise” (Morrow, 1997). Corriher uses fat-free sour cream in a
low-fat ice cream recipe because: “Maltodextrins in the nonfat sour
cream give ice cream a rich, creamy mouthfeel.”
“If those maltodextrins can do it for ice cream,” I
thought, “why not for macaroni and cheese?”
Into my kitchen I went to test my theories. I prepared
my new cheese sauce with evaporated milk, Velveeta Light, reduced-fat
cheddar (since it too was processed more than regular cheddar) and
cottage cheese and poured it over the cooked and drained macaroni. At
first, it was soupy, but I stirred it for a minute or so to allow the
sauce to fill up the tubes of macaroni, which it did nicely.
Now came the true test; how does it taste? I dipped
into the pot with a clean spoon and scooped up some macaroni and cheese.
I blew on it a little, since it was still very hot. Then into my mouth
it went. Unbelievable, it was smooth and creamy and tasted so much like
my mom's old-time macaroni and cheese as to be virtually
Final concern: fat. I fired-in all the nutritional
numbers and once the smoke cleared over my calculator, I found that my
new recipe not only tasted better, but contained even less fat than my
1993 recipe. Instead of 20 percent fat calories, I now got 16.5 percent
and the fat grams per serving became leaner by dropping from 9.8 grams
to 6.9 grams.
Now there are no mamby-pamby serving sizes. Eureka.
Can't Be Low-Fat
Macaroni and Cheese
16 ounces uncooked macaroni pasta
1/2 cup 1 percent milk
1 (12-ounce) can fat-free evaporated milk
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard, dissolved in 2 teaspoons of water 2
tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 ounces Velveeta Light reduced-fat processed cheese
4 ounces reduced-fat, sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup 1-percent cottage cheese (not Light n’ Lively brand)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup nonfat sour cream
1. In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of cold water
to a boil over high heat. Add one generous tablespoon of kosher salt (or
1 1/2 generous teaspoons table salt) to the water and stir until
dissolved. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the macaroni
pasta and stir until the water returns to a boil. Reduce the heat
sufficiently to keep the pot from boiling over and cook, stirring
occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the macaroni is tender.
Drain well, do not rinse, and return to the pan.
2. While the macaroni is cooking, add
the milk, evaporated milk, mustard paste, and flour to a 2-quart
saucepan. With a wire whisk, whisk together until combined. Place the
saucepan over medium heat, and while stirring bring almost to a simmer.
Add all three cheeses, the salt and peppers; reduce the heat to low, and
stir until the cheese melts, and the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in
the sour cream until incorporated, and remove the pan from the heat.
Pour the sauce over the drained macaroni and over medium-low heat stir
together until heated through and combined, about 1 minute. Makes eight
generous, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cup servings.
Nutritional information per serving: 381 calories (16.5 percent from
fat), 6.9 g fat(3.7 g saturated fat), 21.8 g protein, 55.5 g
carbohydrate, 2.5 g fiber, 14 mg cholesterol, 795 mg sodium.
SaltSense: Omitting the added salt reduces the sodium content to 662
milligrams per serving.
Every low-fat recipe I create
You have my name on it.
Go To Low-Fat
● ● ● ● ●
Exceptionally Delicious Recipes
for Low-Fat Living and Permanent
● ● ● ● ●
Guy's Guide to Great Eating
Recipes for Men
Who Love to Eat
● ● ● ●
The One Pan Gourmet
A Low-Fat Guide to Outdoor Cooking
by Don Mauer
& Don Jacobson
One, Two or all Three Now!
Just click on the
cover or title.