Low Fat Mac

Every kid loves mac n cheese. Even as an adult, its hard to resist the carby, gooey, cheesy goodness. Of course, as an adult, I’ve now expanded my mac n cheese horizons with stewed tomatoes, tuna fish, various vegetables, different cheeses, or splurges like Valanni’s crab and lobster macaroni and cheese.

Its pretty difficult to find a mac n cheese that gives you all the bang for your calorie buck. When I’m really jonesing for it, I go with Fiber Gourmet’s Light Mac-mmm-Cheese.

Have you ever had the shells? The white cheddar? The shapes and cartoon characters? Blue cheese? Whats your favorite mac n’ cheese? Are you a Velveeta person or Kraft? Have you tried any flavors by Betty Crocker, like pizza or grilled cheese? Have you ever had mac and cheese pizza? What about mac n cheese  burger? How do you make your mac? 

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Macaroni and cheese is such a staple food in America, we are literally surrounded by it! The guys at Barry’s house go through it like its water and they frequently visit a local restaurant that only makes mac n cheese!

I’ve been on a mission to create a mac and cheese recipe, but upon googling, I found so many different ways to make it! Cottage cheese, evaporated milk, cream, half and half, mustard, bread crumbs, bake, stove top, types of cheese, sour cream, cream cheese…. I mean, how does one choose?

I was sent this low fat recipe and could not wait the try it!  (but we will get there in a second)…

I still remember how cool I thought EZ-Mac was when it first came out when I as a kid!

So, this comfort food-filled week was packed with meatloaf, garlic mashed potatoes, guiltless ice cream, and now, to wrap it up… can you guess?

This morning began in a dark room. Its 930am, why is it so dark in here? Holy smokes, its raining its butt off! It rained for hours, non stop this morning! To pass the time, I whipped up coffee and breakfast for the guys and me. I wanted to use the Fakin Bacon tempeh before it went bad, and thought, bacon is a breakfast food… this could work…

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I chopped up tomato, mushrooms, and onion, as well as the Fakin Bacon tempeh and whipped up and an omelette with swiss for Frank, and mozzarella for me. It was great with some hot sauce on top!

I decided to be a nice big sister, and Dom, my youngest brother, seemed super excited about the idea of a big breakfast sandwich! I threw some ham lunch meat and veggies in the skillet and served it up with cheddar on toast!

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Since it was pouring, I sat at the kitchen table and studied away. I guess I’ve been studying hard because I killed a highlighter. (Yay, for dad who sells them… I’ll never need office supplies).

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After a bunch of studying, my brain needed a break! After about an hour of serious procrastination on the computer, I needed to get out of this house! Thank God it stopped raining and I went for a quick 1 mile jog to clear my head and then resumed studying.

Dad came over after work and helped whip together our take on the recipe for tonight’s dinner:

Basic Fat-less MacWP_003290

serves 8

  • 3/4 cup(s) milk, fat-free evaporated
  • 1 cup Lactaid cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup fat free ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup fat free shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1//8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 12oz box Ronzoni Smart Taste elbows,cooked
  • 1 8oz Macaroni Tofu Shirataki Noodles *

WP_003291Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the evaporated milk in a saucepan over low heat. Add the cheeses until they melt, stirring constantly. Stir in the nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Remove the cheese sauce from the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and mix well.

Pour the mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes until the top is browned.

Top with what ever you’d like~ tomatoes, tuna, peas, more cheese, mustard (Barry puts ketchup on his, I don’t get it, but then again, I have some odd taste buds, too)!

*Since the recipe called for 1 lb of pasta, and the box only comes in 12oz, I improvised with the low cal, low carb option.

I decided to kick things up and made a toppings bar: WP_003293

  • diced tomatoes
  • sauteed bell pepper
  • sauteed onions
  • Morning Star ground soy crumbles, or ground beef, seasoned with taco seasoning
  • can of tuna fish seasoned with old bay
  • steamed green peas

Wow! I was so paranoid about the outcome of this dish! There are just so many different seasoning and ingredients, I did not know what I should season this with! The above recipe is a perfect mac and cheese for the simple soul and the best to dress up! Its not an abundantly creamy like a Kraft mac, but I loved the homemade taste and consistency!

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I topped mine with a bit of everything, except the crumbles ( I saved that for the men). The veggies the bowl so colorful and added so much flavor!

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To make this recipe even more meaningful to me, my mom informed me that Macaroni and Cheese was one of my grandpop’s favorite dishes! Today marks 8 years ago that he passed away. This is for you, poppop! I hope you would have liked this dish as much as we did!  We miss you and we love you!

Dork-ing It Up

I mentioned, yesterday, how important it is to surround yourself with positive vibes. Last night, I did just that. I typed up last night’s post while getting ready for bed, however the whole “going to bed” thing didn’t really happen.

Barry and I decided to stay up since neither one of us had anything to do in the morning, and that way we could sleep late.

I really enjoyed last night. We stayed up, playing Phase 10 and watching “Chopped” on Food Network until about 1am. We were googling exotic foods and talking about NASA and space travel…

It was a plain, simple night in and I loved it!

We awoke around 11am, today, and desperately tried falling back asleep. No such luck. So up we went to fix some coffee and enjoy our respective yogurts. I had the the Dannon Light & Fit Blueberry Greek and he experience Greek yogurt for the first time with OIKOS Blackberry. I also broke off a piece of a Gnu Brownie bar to give me a PMS chocolate-fix.

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We continued to dork it up after breakfast while watching an episode of “Star Trek: Next Generation” and the final “Lord of the Rings” movie. Yes, I’m aware how exciting we are, but after my freak out on Monday night, surrounding myself with positive people and events really made a difference.

I ran a few errands on my way home and grabbed another Special K cereal bar, Red berries, for a mid-day snack to hold me over until my shake, which I will make before heading to work. I also managed to pick up these little cuties from Five Below!

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Unfortunately, today is another day of belly bloat. Super uncomfortable! When I get bloated, I’m never really sure if I’m hungry or not, so I’ve been trying to keep hydrated. If I keep drinking and still feel hungry, I’ll eat, but as of right now, I feel like a bowl full of jelly. HAHA

In the world of animals, I told you I’d get back to you about the Blue Buffalo I got for the kids. Beauty scarfs Wellness, like devours it. She kind of sniffed the Blue Buffalo and walked away. She eventually ate it, but I’ll save some money and stick with the Wellness brand.

In the world of bars, I had a Maple Glazed Pecan and Sea Salt KIND bar. How good does that sound?! I wasn’t sure after my first bite, but after my second I began to pick out the maple notes, then the mild saltiness. Its nice low GI treat with 6g protein and 5g fiber.

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In the world of recipes, to keep myself busy before, I made a very anticipated recipe: Homemade Nutella! You know I’m addicted to the stuff, so based off Katie’s Healthy Nutella recipe, I created a virtually sugar free, low fat, low carb chocolate hazelnut spread. I dig it!

The day I took Barry to Wholefoods, we picked up a bag of hazelnuts to make this, but life got in the way and I decided today was the day! Sorry, Barry, I just couldn’t wait any longer!

Be Well NutellaWP_003208

  • 2 level cups raw hazelnuts (240g)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar free maple syrup
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1 Tbsp sugar free chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I used unsweetened Flax milk)

Roast the hazelnuts for about 9 minutes 400 F. Rub them together in a paper towel to get the skins off. Be careful, as the nuts are pretty hot. In a food processor (I used the MagicBullet) blend the nuts until they begin to be ground very fine, almost nut butter-like, Add all other ingredients, adding 1 at a time and blending. Continue to blend until it’s smooth!

The Bullet was not the easiest thing to use for this, but my food processor at this house is a hand crank, and that just was not happening. I alternated between adding wet and dry ingredients between blending. Because the Bullet isn’t exactly full of space, I removed some of the ingredients and blended in small batched to ensure it was well mixed and smooth.

WP_003209Depending on your taste buds, play around with the sweetness and chocolate decadence.

Next time I make it, I’d like to try Hershey Dark Cocoa!

It made enough to refill my old Nutella jar, plus some! Yum!

Let us compare the chocolate hazelnut spreads that have appeared on Be Well Bundo , shall we?

 per 2 level Tablespoons Nutella (original) Hazelnut Spread GO-LO Sugar Free Be Well Nutella
Calories 200 160 130 122
From Fat 110 80 110 **
Fat 12g 9g 13g 10.7g
Sat. Fat 4g 4g 4g 0.1g
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg 0mg 0mg
Sodium 15mg 10mg 5mg 18.3mg
Carbs 21g 20g 17g 5g
Fiber 1g 0g 11g 2.1g
Sugar 21g 19g 0g* 0.9g
Protein 2g 1g 1g 2g
Vit A 0% 0% 0% 0.3%
Vit C 0% 0% 0% 2.2%
Calcium 4% 8% 0% 1.3%
Iron 4% 4% 4% 3.5%
*contains erythritol**not calculated by MyFitnessPal

Because this recipe contains milk, I would recommend to refrigerate it. Plus, the cold will help make it nice and thick.

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WP_003211In the world of work, I am working a 12. I threw together a shake using a bit of the nutella and some random frozen fruit with protein mix…nothing to write home about. I also made a mug of coffee to take with me. I totally forgot I had this 12 Coffees of Christmas box in the cupboard. I found it while digging out the ingredients for today’s nutella and butter pecan coffee sounded too good to pass up. It smelled amazing!

WP_003212Although I kept busy, time was not passing as quickly as I had hoped. I encountered a tempting blueberry muffin that everyone was snacking on. I had not had one in a long time at treated myself to the quarter that looked like it had the most blueberries! PMS loved the sweet blueberry muffin and after grabbing a soda for my patient, it also decided it wanted a Dr. Pepper. Not just any Dr. Pepper, but a Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper. I was off to the vending machine only to discover Cherry Cola and Diet Dr. Pepper! Darn it! 23 flavors it is…

Around 230am, I hit the wall! I got so tired and bolted to the caf for some coffee. The bad thing about night shift is that your body is not used to being awake, and therefore, gets those crazy late night snack urges, like oreos! Snacking smart, I packed a sliced bell pepper! I just love that crisp and sweet bite from those things! But those oreos are not easy to resist. I also packed a tempeh salad using spring mix, baby carrots, tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, beets, and fakin’ bacon tempeh. Hmmm bacon… yup, Walden Farms Blue Cheese dressing it is!

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It was a  really satisfying salad! I could have kept on eating it (ya know, if I didn’t already eat it all)!