Macaroni and Cheese with Zesty Tomatoes

  • Yield: 8 servings


Zesty Tomato Mixture:
2teaspoons olive oil
1small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1medium tomato, cored and chopped
2teaspoons dried oregano
Macaroni and Cheese Sauce:
1pound uncooked pasta such as small shells or penned
Salt, to taste
Water for cooking pasta
1tablespoon butter, margarine or soy margarine
2tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2cups 2-percent milk, warmed
1 bay leaf
2teaspoons Dijon mustard
1teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1cup shredded sharp low-fat cheddar cheese
1/2cup shredded low-fat monterey jack cheese
1/2cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1/2cup shredded parmesan or asiago cheese
2slices sourdough or whole-wheat bread or 1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs


  1. To make tomato mixture: Heat oil in a nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, jalapeno, tomato and oregano and cook 2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. To make macaroni and sauce: Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Cook pasta in plenty of boiling salted water 5 to 6 minutes until tender but al dente. Drain and rinse immediately in ice cold water to stop cooking. Place pasta in a nonreactive large mixing bowl.
  4. Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add flour and combine well. Cook over low heat, stirring, 2 minutes until a roux or paste is formed. Add warmed milk, bay leaf, mustard and hot sauce; whisk to combine.
  5. Bring to a boil, continuing to stir well. Reduce heat to simmer and, stirring constantly, cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add cheeses. Stir for 1 minute until cheeses melt and sauce appears creamy and smooth. Pour over cooked pasta and mix well. Stir in tomato mixture. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  6. If using bread slices for topping, process in a blender or a food processor fitted with metal blade until they make crumbs. Sprinkle casserole with bread or cracker crumbs and bake, uncovered, 25 minutes.

Want more help? Check out this step-by-step video on making béchamel sauce.

Watch the video

Nutritional Info *per serving

  • Calories 385
  • Fat 9g
  • Cholesterol 16mg
  • Sodium 458mg
  • Carbohydrate 54g
  • Fiber 3g
  • Protein 20g