Well, I probably shouldn't do this, but I've started another Blog. Like I don't already spend too much time at the MacBook. As some of you might have guessed, I like to cook and I love to eat. So I thought I'd share my recipes, humble as they may be and an occasional dinner menu at our house. I am somewhat "reluctant" to share this project right now, but caution to the wind. The plan is to be discovered by the Food Network for my cooking show Cranky Franky's in the Kitchen.
Am I ready for critics? Probably not. I know my instructions are not always clear or precise. Let me know if something doesn't make sense. Anyhow, if you're interested, check out "Dinner's Ready"

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Lower Fat Mac and Cheese

I am on a low-fat "diet"- lowering my fat intake for the doc.

I was making broiled fish tonight and thought fennel would be an excellent accompaniment because of its delicate anise/liquorice flavor. My favorite fennel recipe is the one with bechamel sauce - basically the same sauce you would use as a base for mac and cheese. And I happened to have a little cooked pasta (plain without any sauce) - about 2 cups of cooked pasta -  left from the other night.

So I came up with a nice side dish - Mac and Cheese with Fennel.

For the fennel, I first sauteed two large fennel bulbs that I cut into eighths, in a little olive oil, garlic and dry vermouth - but with only a smidgen of olive oil.

For the sauce I used about 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter or less and 2 tablespoons of flour (usually the proportion is 1:1 but this will just barely work - the roux may be a bit dry, but oh well, I am cutting down on fat.

I added 1% milk a bit at a time, letting the sauce thicken each time until the sauce achieved the proper consistency. Off the heat - you don't want the parmesan clumping -  I added about 4 oz of fat-free feta cheese and about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan (parmigiano) and a few grates of black pepper. Forgot the nutmeg, but you can add a little if you like.

I put the sauce over the pasta and fennel, dusted with bread crumbs and baked it at 350 until the top browned. The flavors all go well together, the anise vegetable and the chew of the pasta with melted cheese sauce. Scrumptious. I don't miss the taste of sharp cheddar which is my usual base along with whatever other cheese I have on hand, including sour cream. talk about FAT. This, on the other hand is very low on fat and just as tasty I think.

If you like you can  use broccoli or other vegetable in place of the fennel - I've often added broccoli to my mac and cheese but this version uses more vegetable than pasta, less fatty cheese and so it is "healthier" of course.

This makes about 4 servings - but I could easily eat half the recipe. I restrained myself however and had only one fourth of the casserole. There's always tomorrow.

Dinner's ready! Buon appetito!