This Healthier Baked Mac and Cheese is a lightened-up version of a comfort food classic. It's rich, creamy, cheesy, and topped off with crispy, golden-brown breadcrumbs.
– 375 grams whole wheat macaroni (about 3 cups dry) – ¼ cup butter or margarine – ¼ cup all purpose flour – 1 ½ cups 1% milk – 1 ½ cups chicken broth – ¾ teaspoon salt – ¼ teaspoon black pepper – ¼ teaspoon paprika – 2 cups + 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese low fat if desired – ⅓ cup Panko bread crumbs
Cook macaroni according to package directions (you want it al dente or a little undercooked, as it will continue cooking in the oven). Drain and rinse under cold water. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (if baking right away)
Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large skillet, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and paprika and cook 1 minute. Whisk in milk and chicken broth and cook over medium heat, whisking often, until thickened (about 5-6 minutes).
Add pasta to sauce and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Pour into a lightly greased 9×13" baking dish and top with remaining cheese and Panko bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until bubbly. Broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the top if desired.