Waves of Grain..and Cheese

I love my carbohydrates. Put of plate of any form of carbohydrate in front of me, and I am a happy girl (particluarly fruit..mmm pineapple was on sale at Sprouts this week–picked up two!) BUT, as much as I love the fruit and veggie kind of carbohydrates- grains, particularly whole grains, are an essential part of a healthy diet. A whole-grain kernel starts with three parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm. When these kernels are heavily processed or refined, they no longer remain whole. Most of the bran and some of the germ is removed, resulting in the loss of fiber as well as a multitude of vitamins, minerals and other health-promoting phytonutrients (insert white flour here!) Although food manufacturers “enrich” refined grains by adding back some important nutrients, like iron and B vitamins, this does not add back all of the whole-grain benefits. Although I do love my fair share of enriched foods, I really enjoy incorporating whole wheat products into my everyday meal planning. Try whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, whole-wheat pasta instead of regular, whole-grain bread instead of white, and brown rice instead of white rice. There is a wealth of items out there now and can be easily picked up at the local grocery. Walmart even has the Great Value brand whole wheat pasta. This recipe uses 100% whole wheat macaroni and three kinds of delicious cheeses! This ain’t no Blue Box..oh but it is sooo much better!

Three Cheese Mac

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups (1%) low-fat milk
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup (2 ounces) Gouda cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces)
Cooking spray
2/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add flour and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add Gouda, 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, sour cream and salt; stir until cheeses melt. Cook pasta in boiling water 5 minutes or until almost tender, drain well. Add pasta to cheese mixture, stirring well. Place 1/2 of pasta mixture into a baking dished sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella. Top evenly with remaining pasta mixture. Combine remaining 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and panko; sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Spray lightly with cooking spray; sprinkle with black pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until heated.

Nutritional Information
Makes: 6 servings
Calories: 325
Fat: 9.9g
Protein: 18g
Carbohydrate: 40.8g
Fiber: 2.4g

When in doubt, check the label. Look for the word “whole” on the package, and make sure whole grains appear among the first items in the ingredient list. Try to choose items with at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving.Still confused on how many and what exactly is considered a grain? Check out MyPyramid.gov and go inside the pyramid for more information.



  2. Mindy Rives says:

    I want this….but, will you cook it for me?!

    Just kidding. This recipe sounds so tasty! I'm going to have to make it soon!

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