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Macaroni and Cheese

Contributed by: ARA Content

Favorite foods without the extra calories

(ARA) - During the colder season, our hunger instincts can emerge causing us to seek out the cozy foods we knew and loved as children. These days those same foods impact our waistlines, rack up thousands of calories and are high in fat. You can still nestle up with your favorite foods this winter without sacrificing flavor and compromising diet by making a few easy modifications.

Macaroni and Cheese
"People think the words 'delicious' and 'healthy' can't be used in the same sentence, and I can hardly blame them since so many foods billed as 'good-for-you' are so disappointing in flavor and taste," says registered dietician Ellie Krieger, a New York Times best-selling author and Food Network host. "Food is such a joyful part of life. In my world, there is no fear or guilt about it, only pleasure and balance."

Children and adults alike crave foods like creamy macaroni and cheese, French fries and juicy hamburgers. Traditionally prepared, these tasty dishes are very high in calories and fat. The average side of fries contains approximately 430 calories and 22 grams of fat, while a portion of boxed mac and cheese can have more than 300 calories and 12 grams of fat.

Krieger's philosophy allows us to enjoy foods that we love, while focusing on moderation and simple adjustments that make them both nutritious and delicious. There are adjustments that can take high-fat foods and turn them into healthy, guilt-free indulgences.

One of Krieger's healthy cooking tools is T-fal's Actifry, a convenient, non-stick appliance that automatically cooks meals using no more than 1 tablespoon of heart-healthy oil to create a range of foods from golden French fries to decadent desserts. The Actifry creates healthier versions of staple meals, including mac and cheese, stir-fry, pasta and risotto by cutting out the fat and eliminating or reducing the use of oil.

Just 1 tablespoon of oil makes four servings of crispy French fries with the Actifry. To preserve the fiber and nutrients in the fries, Krieger suggests leaving the skin on and adding low-or-no calorie flavorings such as paprika, pepper or sea salt.

"It is about finding that sweet spot where healthy and delicious meet. With the right tools you can get both and the Actifry can help bring it all to your table with ease."

"We desire foods that are familiar and satisfy our immediate craving," Krieger explains. "Learning how to keep fat in check and promote healthy alternatives without giving up taste is important to improving our overall quality of life."

While the cold of winter may cause us to retreat and fall victim to some of our food cravings, Krieger believes healthy variations are easily achievable and easy to do.

"You can have it all - food that is bursting with flavor that delights your taste buds and benefits the rest of your body."

Ellie Krieger shares her lower-fat and delicious recipe for Macaroni and Cheese. For more information and recipes, visit T-falUSA.com.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces (2 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 cup milk, divided
  • 2/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup pureed winter squash, thawed if frozen
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Directions:

Cook the macaroni "pasta al dente" according to the package directions. Drain.

Place 1/2 cup of milk, cheddar cheese, squash, Parmesan cheese, salt and the dry mustard into the Actifry pan and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Cook for five minutes, until the mixture is hot and the cheese is melted. Add the cooked macaroni and cook two minutes more. Add the remainder of the milk (1/4 of a cup) and cook for another two minutes.

Serving Size: Makes 4 Servings

Nutritional Information: Per Serving: 300 calories, 7 grams total fat per serving


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