9 ounces macaroni or other tubular pasta (ditalini or cavatappi work well, too)
2 teaspoons salt
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12 ounces all-natural, smoked chicken sausage (I like garlic), grilled and chilled
1 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose, unbleached wheat flour
8 slices (⅔ ounce each) American pasteurized process cheese product (organic preferred)
2 ounces grated, reduced-fat cheddar cheese
⅓ cup fat-free cottage cheese
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
Fresh ground black pepper
Place a large saucepan two-thirds filled with cold water over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir in salt, add macaroni and cook according to package directions. Drain but do not rinse.
While the macaroni cooks, slice grilled sausage links crosswise into ¼-inch rounds. Set aside.
Whisk the flour into the milk. Place the now empty saucepan back over medium heat and add the milk mixture. Add cheese slices, grated cheddar and cottage cheese to the milk mixture and stir together until the cheese begins to melt and steam begins to rise off the mixture. Stir in drained macaroni, sausage and peas; continue stirring frequently until the sauce is smooth and coats the macaroni and the peas are hot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Cook's note: This is higher in sodium than I like due to the cheese and sausage. Mindful monitoring of other meals through the day will help keep your sodium in check.
Nutrition values per serving: 406 calories (33 percent from fat), 14.9 g fat (6.4 g saturated), 41.6 g carbohydrates, 1.6 g fiber, 25 g protein, 61 mg cholesterol, 807 mg sodium.