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When stress hits, we want comfort food.  Try this delicious, nutritious and lowered fat dish with a Hispanic twist.  For higher nutrition you can use whole-wheat macaroni, but I don't care for it -  rather get my fiber elsewhere.   If anyone has a tastier brand of whole grain macaroni, please let me know.

Low-Fat Macaroni and Cheese

16 oz. package of small elbow macaroni
1 tsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, crushed and chopped
1/2 to 1 tsp salsa seasoning
or Mrs. Dash extra spicy
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
1 red bell pepper, in med. chunks or slices
1 green bell pepper, med. chunks or slices
1 lg. garlic clove, minced
1 med. to lg. ripe tomato
1/2 cup dry white wine or water
3 1/2 cups skim or low fat milk
16 oz fat free shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 C. cheese soup & sauce base OR 4 slices fat free cheese
1 Tbsp cornstarch or 2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup salad olives, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp capers, drained (optional)
black pepper to taste (optional)

Put large pot of water on high heat; add tsp. olive oil, crushed garlic and spice.  When water boils, add macaroni.  Stir once or twice until water returns to a boil.

While water heats, place olive oil in non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Add onions and bell peppers.  Sauté, stirring frequently, until onions are soft. Add garlic and sauté briefly, then add chopped tomatoes;  stir and sauté another two or three minutes. Add wine (or water), bring to a boil. Cover.  Lower heat to a simmer until macaroni is done.

Drain macaroni well when slightly al dente, and return to pan.  Add veggie mixture and leave on as low a heat as possible.

Warm milk.   Place cheese, 1 cup of milk and cheese base (or flour or cornstarch) in a blender or food processor.  Process, adding milk as needed until smooth and pourable.   Add to macaroni with rest of milk, chopped olives, capers and black pepper if desired.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and macaroni is coated.

Note:  You may add the cheese and cold milk directly into the macaroni mixture, reserving 1/2 cup milk to make a slurry with the cheese base or flour or cornstarch.  However, the cheddar has a tendency to clump and clot.  Bring to a boil, then add slurry slowly and continue to cook until thickened.

The Sneaky Kitchen
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