There's an up and down swing to it as I anticipated a less flavorful outcome by using inferior-tasting fat free and low-fat cheeses. I countered it by adding a salty, crunchy topping to the dish. The additions and steps I took to inject it some healthy elements and take out some of the fat outweighed the addition of the topping to the dish and it was quite good.
Rating: 3 forks out of 5
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1 lb fusilli, elbow or corkscrew pasta
2 tablespoons butter "fake" butter (and 1 for topping)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 4 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup milk skim milk
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
1 cup fat-free shredded cheddar
1 cup part-skim swiss cheese slices diced
+ 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
+ turkey bacon cut width-wise into 1/4 inch strips
+ 1 cup broccoli cooked/steamed chopped (or 1/2 package frozen if cheating)
+ 3/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (mix in 1 teaspoon salt and pepper if not seasoned)
Directions I did it
Pre-heat broiler and boil a pot of salted water.
Steam your broccoli (or if cutting corners, like me, nuke some frozen), allow to cool and chop up. Set aside. In a small skillet, sprayed with a veggie spray, cook up your bacon until strips are crispy. Set aside. Cook your pasta, as directed on package, al dente. As the pasta cooks, melt butter in a small sauce pan and add oil over Low+ heat. Whisk, add flour and allow to thicken some. Add the milk and continue to whisk as it thickens. Up the heat a touch to Med-low. Add the nutmeg, cayenne, and mustard powder and whisk some more. Add your cheese (which again, I cut corners on and used packaged shredded cheese and cut up slices instead of grating my own) and mix up what will be a thick sauce. Stop when the cheese has just finished melting.
Drain your cooked pasta and put it back in the original pot and add the cheese mixture from your sauce pan and add your broccoli. Turn the ingredients so the noodles and broccoli are well mixed covered with the cheese. Add to a casserole dish, spread it out and cover with your bacon srips.
In the same sauce pan you used to cook the bacon, add a tablespoon of "fake" butter and melt. Add your breadcrumbs and mix with the butter until it's a little clumpy. Cover your dish with the breadcrumb topping and pop under broiler for a few minutes until the top has become crisp and a golden (if you like, char it some).
I cut out the fatty cheese and used low no fate cheeses.
I replaced the whole mile with skim milk.
I used "fake" butter.
I added brocolli
I added the crunchy top.
I didn't grate my own cheese
I used frozen broccoli
The cheese was, as anticipated, quite bland and luckily the idea of adding the salty topping to the dish was a really good move as it made up for it.
This dish, as I discovered, tastes even better on the second day!
This recipe is available in the CrOOK BOOK