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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Macaroni, Broccoli & Cheese

This one was submitted by Paula from the US.

A great way to sneak healthy vegetables into the kids.

Ingredients:
  1. 1 Box Elbow Macaroni
  2. 1 Block of Monterey Jack
  3. 1 Block of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  4. 1 Bunch of Broccoli (you may substitute frozen broccoli florets)
  5. ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese
  6. 4 Tablespoons of Butter
  7. 1 Tablespoon of Butter
  8. 2 Cups Low Fat Milk
  9. 2 Teaspoons Red & Black Crushed Pepper
  10. 1 Tablespoon Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  11. 2 Tablespoons of flour
  12. Breadcrumbs

Directions:
  1. Cook macaroni according to directions on package.
  2. Drain the macaroni rinse and set aside.
  3. Shred both blocks of cheese (Monterey Jack and Sharp Cheddar) into one bowl and set aside.
  4. Steam Broccoli in steamer for 10 minutes ( until fork tender) if you do not have a steamer you can use a 4 quart pan with water. Place broccoli in pan with enough water to cover the broccoli. Put heat on medium and cover pan for 15 minutes. Check with a fork for tenderness.
  5. Drain off water. Chop broccoli into small pieces. Set aside.
  6. In a 2 quart pan melt 4 Tablespoons of butter over a low heat. When butter is melted add 2 Tablespoons of flour, stir with a wooden spoon.
  7. Add 2 Cups of Low Fat Milk and turn heat to medium and continue to stir.
  8. Let milk heat up for a few minutes ( it will start to steam a little)
  9. Add 1 handful of shredded cheese to the milk, continue stirring. Continue adding 1 handful of shredded cheese at a time allowing time for it to melt in between addition. Continue stirring.
  10. When all the shredded cheese has been melted, Stir in ½ Cup of Parmesan cheese, 2 Teaspoons Crushed Red and Black Pepper and spices as you like.
  11. In a large bowl, combine macaroni, broccoli , pour melted cheese over and mix well.
  12. Using a 9 x 13 glass or ceramic casserole baking dish, use 1 Tablespoon of butter to grease the bottom of the dish.
  13. Pour mixture into baking dish and sprinkle with Breadcrumbs.
  14. Bake for 20 minutes on 325 degrees ( If oven is electric, place dish on center rack away from heating element.)
* May add or substitute Cauliflower and Carrots as well.
* May substitute Whole Wheat Elbow Macaroni

Be warned that some of these ingredients could prove to be fairly expensive, especially the mixing of three cheeses together. Also be warned this is cholesterol heaven and high on calories. You can of course substitute, as usual, the various cheeses for low-fat low-cholesterol, and use margarine instead of butter. However, Macaroni & Cheese by nature is a high cholesterol dish and most of what you substitute will still add up the calories. So this is not for those who are on a special diet.

I have given this a rating of three stars for difficulty, as the ingredients require planning and the dish can be expensive for a simple Macaroni & cheese dish. However, for a party or family gathering it does sound great. Additionally the directions to cook demand concentration and it requires a fair amount of cooking utensils to be utilized.

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