creamy Greek yogurt macaroni and cheese

No matter how health conscious I become, I will never be able to give up cheese. And since I’m not willing to compromise on my undeniable cheese obsession, I constantly need to find other ways to keep my mac and cheese healthy (I use that term loosely). I’ve heard through the grapevine that Greek yogurt makes mac and cheese extremely thick and creamy. This isn’t surprising, since I’ve used plain yogurt for a slew of other dips and sauces. I love adding cream cheese to my homemade cheese sauce – it makes it richer than regular cream. However, since I’ve been trying to develop healthier eating habits as summer approaches, I decided to swap my go-to cream cheese with the healthier Greek yogurt alternative.

I was extremely surprised – in a good way. Plain Greek yogurt lacks the flavor of cream cheese, so I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much. After I mixed the sharp cheddar with whole milk (I thought skim milk might make the sauce too watery), I added the yogurt and went in for the sample. It was Heaven on a spoon. Using Greek yogurt as a cream cheese alternative was the best culinary decision I’ve made in a while (special thanks to Pinterest for pointing out that Greek yogurt was worth a shot).

My previous mac and cheese post wasn’t exactly the definition of healthy. It’s important for me to find alternatives to my favorite foods that will allow me to still enjoy them without having to sacrifice the progress I’ve made with healthy eating habits. Now, I invite you to do the same. When you’re craving mac and cheese but trying hard to stick to healthy eating, dive into this recipe.

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¾ c whole wheat elbows

1/3 c whole milk

½ c sharp cheddar cheese (grated, originally from block)

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 c raw spinach, chopped

½ garlic clove

¼ c plain Greek yogurt

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile, pour olive oil into small pan. Add spinach and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes on medium-low heat. Feel free to add salt, pepper, rosemary, etc. to taste. Remove spinach and garlic from pan and cover to keep warm. Next, add milk and cheese to pan. Simmer on low heat until cheese is fully melted, creating a sauce. Add Greek yogurt and stir into sauce. Finally, add spinach and garlic sauté. Pour over cooked elbows and enjoy.

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