I love a good bit of macaroni cheese and I’m not prepared to give it up fully when I’m a calorie-counting/weight-loss mission. So I did some research, tallied it up and found that I can have mac’n’cheese in moderation, as a side without meaning that I can’t eat much for the rest of the day.
I do sometime add veggies like caramelised onion and sauteed mushrooms to the basic mix – you could add some bacon or chicken and double the recipe to make it into a full meal.
This version doesn’t have a crunchy breadcrumb topping and I don’t bake it, partially to keep the calories down and partially because I’m not patient enough to wait for food which is totally edible straight out of the saucepan.
I most regularly have this with a gammon steak or chop as the salty/cheesy combo is delicious.
Serves 1 – 337 kcal
(With Gammon Steak and Mushrooms – 604 kcal)
50g Macaroni (or any other pasta you fancy really)
100ml Skimmed Milk
1/2 tsp English Mustard Powder (or wet mustard)
1 tsp Cornflour (Cornstarch)
40g Reduced Fat (30%) Mature Cheddar Cheese
1/2 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
Start by boiling a kettle of water and meanwhile putting a small saucepan with a little water onto a medium high heat to pre warm. Once the water is boiling, add 50g Macaroni, give it a little stir to separate the pasta and leave to boil for circa 12 minutes.
Tip – I warm a pan whilst I’m waiting for the kettle to boil as this saves a minute or so more than if you put fresh boiled water into a cold pan.
Tip – If you are adding vegetables or some meat to the dish, put this onto cook now.
Tip – Salting pasta water is supposed to be the be all and end all of cooking pasta but when you’re coating it in cheese sauce, I’ve never been able to tell the difference, just make sure the sauce is well seasoned. Or add salt to the water if you like.
Whilst the pasta is cooking, make a slurry with 1/2 tsp English Mustard Powder, 1 tsp Cornflour and a little cold water.
Tip – A slurry is a paste, in this case you are looking for the consistency of double cream.
Take another small pan and add 100ml Skimmed Milk, the mustard/cornflour slurry and put on a medium heat stirring gently until hot and slightly thickened.
Chop 40g Reduced Fat (30%) Mature Cheddar Cheese into little chunks and add to the thickened milk and carry on stirring until the cheese has melted and it is thick and bubbling.
Tip – Try not to boil the sauce for more than a few seconds as it may separate. Not the end of the world but not so attractive to eat.
By this time, the pasta should be cooked (I like mine quite soft, I’m not really a fan of ‘al dente’ but stick with your preference) so drain it using a small sieve or colander and add the pasta to the sauce.
Tip – I own a children’s colander for draining single servings of pasta – using a full size one for this makes my teeth itch and unnecessarily fills the dishwasher!
Add 1/2 tsp Sea Salt Flakes, bit by bit until the sauce is seasoned to your preference.
Tip – When seasoning bear in mind what you are serving this with – I will go much easier on the salt if I’m having it with salty gammon than if I’m adding in some chicken.
Serve as desired. In my case, a gammon steak cooked in the time it took to boil the pasta and make the sauce. I cooked the mushrooms around the gammon steak.