It is Time for Some Comfort!

The last 8 months have been hard on everyone. With the pandemic came the COVID 19, reffing to the pounds that people were gaining when the lockdowns started. I mean who wasn’t’ the baking sourdough and other goodies.

Then we got real and a lot of us lost the weight. Now we are coming into winter 2020 and we are starting to look for that comfort food option. I love to take those comfort foods and “lighten” them up.  I make no pretense that they become low calorie or “diet” foods. However, if you lessen the salt and fat, you’ve got a better chance of it not ending up on your thighs ;  )

Here is my “Garbage” Mac & Cheese. I call it “garbage” because I often will clean out my pantry, fridge and freezer for ingredients. I use leftover meats and veggies to add volume and the good stuff.  If I don’t have any fresh veggies I will use up all the half filled bags of frozen veggies. It is just a great way to eat less of the pasta and cheese. It also bumps up your protein and green stuff intake.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and I can’t wait to hear what you mix in. You know my drill. Take pictures and send them to me! And please follow me on Instagram @whiskinthesouthern.

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Fridge Mac & Cheese

This Mac and cheese uses low fat cheese and reduced salt broth to lighten it up.
Course: Middles
Cuisine: American


  • 1 1 lb.box Smaller Shaped Pasta, see notes below cooked slightly less than al dente
  • 2 Tbs. Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 cup Finely Chopped Yellow Onion
  • 1-3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Skim Milk, brought to room temperature
  • 1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. White Pepper
  • 2 cups Grated, Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese, see notes below
  • 1/4 cup Whole Grain Bread Crumbs season generously, see notes below
  • 1/4 cup Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Clean out your fridge and pantry for add ins, see notes below


  • Preheat oven to 350°
    Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
    Gather your add-ins and see what needs to be cooked.
  • In your largest skillet, melt the butter over low heat and add the onion, for 2-3 minutes. It should just be starting to soften and get translucent.
    Add garlic and stir for another minute or two.
    Stir in flour. Stir and cook until onions and garlic are coated with flour and the “dusty” smell is gone, about a minute.
  • Whisk in milk and broth. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil, whisking continuously.
    Cook until it starts to thicken and look more sauce like. The sauce should hang on the back of a spoon for 10 sec before it starts to drip. This should take 5-10 minutes.
    Season with salt & pepper.
  • Remove from heat and start stirring in cheese, until melted. Then add your pasta and stir to coat.
    This is where I add my add-ins. I love to load it up with veggies and leftover roasted chicken. But you can add whatever you have.
  • Pour entire mixture into prepared baking dish.
    Mix bread crumbs and Parmesan together and sprinkle evenly over pasta. Drizzle a little extra oil (avocado or EVOO) over the top and bake.
    Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Your sauce should be bubbly and your topping should be golden brown.
    If your topping is not browned to perfection, you can pop it under the broiler for a minute or two. Just keep an eye on it, it can burn quickly.
    Let stand for a few minutes then serve hot.


*Pasta* Traditionally macaroni & cheese is made with elbow macaroni or rotini pasta.Both are great, but what I ant you think about is mixing it up and using all those partial boxes in your pantry. If you are buying pasta to make this look at some of the different shapes you haven’t tried. What you are looking for is something that can hold the sauce. Orchiette is like little saucers.
* Cheese* I recommend grating your own cheese. Some of the pre-shredded varieties use filler and such. You can even see “cellulose” on their ingredients. That is a by-product of wood!
*Bread Crumbs* You can use store bought bread crumbs, panko or make your own. I don’t like to buy the pre-seasoned variety. I like to do that myself.  I use garlic salt, pepper and dried herbs.
*Add-ins* Truly I call this my garbage Mac & cheese, in my home. This is true because whatever I have in pantry, fridge or freezer goes in.  The more I can load it up with veggies (fresh or frozen), protein, like chicken, shrimp or beef; the less cheese and pasta you actually eat. Healthier.

If you follow me, you can expect high-quality recipes, a wealth of tips from my years of culinary experience, useful product recommendations, and lessons taught in an accessible and fun way. I focus on an easy-to-understand and accessible style of teaching that anyone can follow.  

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