Kid-Friendly Mac and Cheese, and a Grownup Way to Use the Leftovers
People constantly confess to me that their biggest diet pitfall is nibbling on their kid’s leftovers. French fries, macaroni and cheese, burgers, pizza. Things you wouldn’t put on YOUR dinner plate, but eat while doing the dishes. Instead of feeling guilty, why not enjoy kid food with reckless abandon? Even better – get creative with leftovers and make memorable meals for the entire family. Macaroni and cheese is the perfect place to start because kids love it and parents devour all remaining scraps (along with their adult meals). That’s when calories skyrocket. To start, you need a great recipe for macaroni and cheese; one that’s healthy yet rich and bursting with cheese flavor. My renowned macaroni and cheese is below. I bake mine to create a creamy middle and crisp, Parmesan-spiked topping (the part everyone loves). It’s sinful tasting, yet lighter in fat and calories thanks to light sour cream and evaporated skim milk. Since the recipe makes a big batch, you can easily store leftovers and enjoy my mac n cheese cakes with spicy tomato sauce another day – crispy, Parmesan and panko-crusted cakes dipped in warm, smoky tomato sauce. Got creative uses for YOUR leftovers? Let’s hear ‘em!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together cheese, evaporated milk, sour cream, egg, seasoned salt, dry mustard and pepper. Whisk until large lumps disappear. Add cooked pasta and stir to combine (mixture may seem thin but it bakes to perfection). Transfer mixture to prepared dish and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top.
Bake 20 minutes, until top is golden brown.
The macaroni and cheese is easier to shape into cakes when it’s been chilled. And you can incorporate the crispy Parmesan topping into the cakes when shaping them (unless that part has been eaten!).
1 cup prepared tomato sauce (your favorite pasta sauce or canned tomato sauce)
In a shallow dish, combine panko, onion and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine macaroni and cheese, egg whites and 2 tablespoons of the panko mixture. Mix well. Shape mixture into four cakes, each about 2-inches thick. Transfer macaroni and cheese cakes to remaining panko mixture and turn to coat both sides. Refrigerate 10 minutes, until cakes hold their shape.
Meanwhile, combine tomato sauce and chipotle chilies in a small saucepan and set pan over medium heat. Simmer 10 minutes.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cakes and cook 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown and cooked through.
Serve macaroni and cheese cakes with sauce underneath or spooned over top.