Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese Casserole (2)

Enjoy this classic comfort food—without the guilt. I often make it and freeze individual servings in plastic containers, which are perfect for lunches. It’s kids’ favorite pasta dish, and when they prefer it to any of the boxed versions, you know their taste buds are tuned in to health! Feel free to add some vegetables—green peas, diced bell pepper or carrots look and taste great.

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly coat a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. Whisk together the flour, stock and milk in a saucepan until smooth. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes or until the mixture is hot and thickened. Stir in the 3/4 cup cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and the mustard. Cook until the cheese melts, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain well and place in the casserole dish. Add the cheese sauce and chicken and toss to combine.

4. To make the topping, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni and top with the remaining 4 cup cheddar cheese.

5. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the filling is hot and the top is golden. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken (or vegetable) stock
3/4 cup canned evaporated milk (2%)
3/4 cup shredded aged light cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 3/4 cups elbow macaroni
3/4 cup diced cooked chicken
1/4 cup seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup shredded aged light cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp chopped parsley

Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 321
Protein 25 g
Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 3.9 g
Carbohydrates 37 g
Cholesterol 41 mg
Sodium 390 mg
Fiber 1.6 g

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Make Ahead: Prepare the entire dish a day in advance and refrigerate. Add 10 minutes to the cooking time, and garnish just before serving.

Serves 6

Nutrition Watch: If you don’t take the skin off the chicken, it will add 60 calories and 5.5 g of fat—mostly saturated.