Tuscan Macaroni and Cheese Bake
Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Café
Makes 4 Servings
3 links Italian chicken sausage, diced and cooked for 4-5 minutes until heated
7.5 oz. elbow macaroni
6 oz. fat-free cream cheese, softened
80 grams shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp light butter
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp sage
¼ tsp thyme
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 ¼ cups fat-free milk
1 tomato, sliced thinly
4 tbsp Kraft parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350. Cook macaroni according to package directions but undercook by 1-2 minutes since it will continue baking. In a large bowl, combine sausage, pasta, cream cheese and mozzarella cheese. In a small bowl, mix flour and spices together. In a medium saucepan melt butter, then whisk in flour and spices. Allow the flour/butter mixture to cook without browning for about 30 seconds while whisking/stirring. Slowly add the milk and stir until slightly thickened, this may take 5-6 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan. When slightly thickened, pour milk mixture over pasta mixture and mix well. Pour into an 11x7-inch lightly greased casserole dish. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove cover and add tomato slices on top then sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered.
Nutritional Information: 456 calories, 52 carbs, 14 fat grams and 32 protein grams.
Review: We really liked this one! It was my first time cooking with fat-free cream cheese so I was a bit nervous, but loved the mix it made with the mozzarella cheese, and the milk sauce/mixture helped ensure that nothing was too dry. I also like the spices that the Italian chicken sausage added. If anything next time I may consider saving some mozzarella cheese for the top as the parm isn't very melty/pretty. All in all, I liked the bake, thought it was quick/easy to put together and it made a lot of food and is very filling!