Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Arthrtis-Friendly Recipe: One Pot Healthy Macaroni Cheese

Of all my arthritis diet friendly recipes, this one's title seems to be promising the most: all-in -one pan, healthy and a good recipe for macaroni cheese. I won't be offended if you feel a bit sceptical about it but I promise you that not only does it taste delicious but I have just made it on a very bad arthritis day using one arm and whilst on crutches. The pasta is cooked in milk with the natural starches helping to thicken the sauce. The method may seem obscure but it's a similar idea to making a risotto or an all-in-one white sauce. 

150g macaroni pasta shapes (or other small pasta shape)
300ml cold water
300ml semi-skimmed milk
30g very strong/extra mature cheddar (you can use reduced fat and I used ready grated)
1tsp english mustard
1tsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
15g plain flour
Black pepper 

Serves 2 (easily doubled)

Put a medium sized pan or casserole dish on the hob and throw in your pasta, all the water and 200ml of the milk. Set on a gentle heat and bring slowly up to a simmer. Stir occasionally and cook until the pasta is cooked al dente. 

Whilst the pasta is cooking, mix the remaining 100ml of milk with the flour to form a thin, smooth paste. 

Once the pasta is just cooked, add this milk and flour mix to the pan along with the mustard, butter, grated cheese, salt and black pepper to taste. Gently heat the whole lot and stir continuously until the sauce thickens. 

You can either serve it straight from the pan or if you want to go one step further, cook the whole recipe in a skillet or shallow casserole dish, top with a little cheese and then pop under the grill for 5 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

Arthritis diet notes:
Macaroni cheese gets a bad rap normally from nutritionists as many chef-style recipes are crammed full of extra cheese and double cream. However, the traditional British version of the dish is comparatively light - it's normally made using a simple white sauce with cheese added and then topped with either breadcrumbs or more cheese. Obviously, full fat dairy products are rich in unhealthy saturated fats which can exacerbate arthritis inflammation but you can easily substitute lighter versions which are a good source of bone-boosting calcium. To ensure you still get maximum flavour, try adding a little mustard to boost the cheese flavour and pick the strongest or most mature types of cheese for the most cheesy taste.

My all-in-one version makes the most of these healthy short-cuts and makes a perfectly well-balanced meal served alongside plenty of vegetables - try a few little cherry tomatoes and peas or spinach with a touch of garlic.


  1. You've done it again, Kate! Mac and cheese is one of my favorite dishes--and one I rarely allow myself to eat, because of the high calories and etcetera. I'm looking forward to trying your recipe. I'd never have thought of adding a little mustard or of using a stronger cheddar. I hope this finds you over the bad flare, off the sticks and feeling much better. :)

    1. Thanks Wren. This clocks in at around 400 kcal depending on the cheese you use so should be a good option. If you want a crispy topping with less fat and calories, you could try topping it with breadcrumbs and then popping it under the grill. Hope all is well with you. Still got the sticks but getting nippy on them now!

  2. Cooking the macaroni in milk sounds absolutely delicious, and I've never heard it done before - I'll have to try it. Also, what a bonus that it can all be made in one pot! So easy. Thanks for the great recipe.



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