Macaroni & cheese is often a favourite dish among youth. I know it was my favourite and I know many who are indeed the same. The problem with mac n’ cheese is the excessive amounts of butter and cheese, in addition to white pasta, that often goes into it. But there are ways to make mac and cheese much, much healthier. Here is a recipe for athletes to make their macaroni and cheese dish better for their health, while still tasting good.
- 1 chicken breast
- 1/2 cup broccoli
- 2 cups water (for boiling)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons flour.
- 1 cup 100% whole-grain macaroni
- 1 cup skim or 1% milk (no trans fat)
- 1/3 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 2 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Optional: Italian seasoning, parsley, basil
- Set the chicken on medium-high heat and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until cooked all the way through to a temperature of at least 71 degrees C. Season both sides during the cooking process (or before) with 1/2 tsp garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper. The chicken can be flipped at least once halfway through or multiple times to ensure it is cooked all the way through.
- While the chicken is cooking, set 2 cups of water to boil. Once boiled, add in the macaroni noodles and cook for the time recommended on the box by decreasing the temperature to medium-high. Typically, it takes eight to ten minutes, but can be less depending on the brand. Stir every few minutes to avoid the noodles sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- When making the “cheese”, start with the olive oil and add in flour to match. Then add in milk, stirring or whisking repeatedly until flour is completely mixed in. Add in seasoning like 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Optional seasonings like italian seasoning, parsley, basil and even oregano can be added to give it an extra healthy taste.
- Once the flour is completely mixed in, add in the 1/3 cup of grated cheese. For a cheesier dish, more can be added. Just be cautious of trans fat and avoid adding too much.
- With five minutes left to go in the macaroni, add in the 1/2 cup of broccoli to the water.
- Once the macaroni noodles, broccoli and chicken are cooked, add them into the cheese sauce.
- From here, everything can be baked in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F to add some different textures, or eaten right away without baking.
So there it is! A healthy macaroni & cheese dish with broccoli and chicken to help turn one of your favourite meals into one that will benefit you as an athlete as well. Thanks for reading and see you soon!