Friday, November 30, 2012

My Kid Won't Eat That!


On the Menu

Angelique
Back in my day, if you didn't eat what mom put on the table, you didn't eat.
Joyce
It's true.  I made one meal and everyone ate it.  But I'm not here to lecture about parenting or forcing your kids to eat their broccoli.
Angelique
Cause she still can't get me to eat Brussels sprouts.  What we would like to do is give you more tools to get the best results.
Joyce
Number 1 and most important, kids eat what you eat.  You can't possibly expect them to eat right if you don't.  Model great eating by not only eating your vegetables, but loving the veggies and sharing with your child how important healthy eating is.  They will learn to value it and it will become a part of their lives.
Angelique
It's true. My girlfriend's kids love broccoli.  They devour it because they see their Mommy doing the same thing.  Number 2, keep the food simple.  I spoke to Dr. Oz about this very issue.  He explained that children's taste buds are extremely sensitive.  So a dash of red pepper tastes like an inferno to them.  The remedy is to keep their food plain, simple and lightly seasoned.
Joyce
But that doesn't mean your child gets a smorgasbord of options at dinner time, so Number 3, limit the child's options.  You can serve chicken and fish and ask, "which one do you want?"  But you can't, get up from dinner and make the child a hot dog or a sandwich or let them spend the rest of the evening eating snacks from the pantry.  This is the beginning of disaster.  Cook one meal with a few options and they eat it or else they starve.  And trust me, they won't starve.
Angelique
But here's the trick to making this work.  I got this from Dr. Oz too.  It takes multiple tries before a child will develop a taste for something.  Often times, we try a dish once or twice and then give up.  Dr. Oz says keep at it.
Joyce
Even I would rather have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich than Brussels sprouts, but we get very little nutrition from Pb&j.  These are lessons your child needs to learn just like math and science.  We don't need science every day of our lives, but food is a constant.
Angelique
So please, don't leave it up to your child to decide what to eat, when to eat and how much. We grown ups have to teach children the rules of eating.  They don't teach portion control in school.  They never tell you not to eat at 10pm.  If we don't teach kids to be disciplined eaters, they develop a lifetime of bad habits that lead to weight problems, eating disorders and low self esteem.
Joyce
This is a lot bigger than just telling them to eat their vegetables. Choose colorful fruits and vegetables and when ever possible use sweet fruits and veggies i.e. carrots, apples, oranges and red bell peppers as sweeteners.

Example: Juice from a freshly squeezed orange and grating a carrot in the spinach or any green vegetable will sweeter the dish and make it more enjoyable to children's pallet.

Soulful Eating!
Angelique & Joyce

Sweet Potato Oven Fries
4 Servings
Ingredients
4 large sweet potatoes (yams)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Method
Place oven rack in center, heat oven to 425°F. Wash and scrub sweet potatoes, slice into wedges, length-wise.
In a large bowl, toss potato wedges with oil and seasoning.
Spread on cookie sheet. Roast in the oven, turning occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.

Caprese Salad
8 Servings
Ingredients
8 cups water
1 pound pasta (macaroni, orzo or penne)
2 teaspoons sea salt
¼ - ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound fresh mozzarella, ½” dice
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 small bunch fresh Basil, chiffonade

Method
In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil, add pasta and bring the pot back up to a rapid boil then stir.
Cover pot, turn off the burner and let pasta sit, undisturbed 6 – 8 minutes (see package for exact cooking time). 
Drain pasta in a colander then transfer to a large bowl.  While pasta is still hot, stir in the salt and mix thoroughly.
Add ¼ cup olive oil mix until pasta is coated with oil then refrigerate until pasta is cool.
Once pasta is cool, add pepper, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and remaining oil if needed.
Mix thoroughly and refrigerate until salad is cold.


 
Roasted Baby Carrots with Herbs
4 Servings
Ingredients
12 ounces baby carrots
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 orange, juiced
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill or any fresh herb or 1 teaspoon dried
Method
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Toss carrots in a bowl with the olive oil, orange juice, salt, pepper and herbs. Transfer to a baking sheet in 1 layer and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until browned and slightly tender.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Eat Yourself Skinny!



Reprinted from: Dr Oz - Eat Yourself Skinny!

It may seem too good to be true, but the key to weight loss is right in your grocery store. These 10 superfoods can rev your metabolism, whittle your waist, and leave you looking and feeling better than ever.


from: New Age Soul Food
 Beans
Ignite your body’s fat-blasting furnace with beans. They’ll keep you full, and are high in resistant starch, meaning that half the calories consumed cannot be absorbed. They also reduce blood sugar, and create the fatty acid butyrate, which may burn fat faster. Studies show that butyrate improves mitochondrial function in your cells, leading to a decrease in fat. If you’re worried about gas, fret not. The more beans you eat, the more your body will build up the good bacteria you need to digest them. You can enjoy beans in a burger patty, in chili or as a dip.

Pine Nuts
Just one shot glass full of pine nuts every day can help suppress hunger. Pine nuts contain pinolenic acid, a naturally occurring fat that stimulates cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1), both powerful hormones that alert the brain that the stomach is full. In one study, women who consumed pinolenic acid reported a decreased desire to eat and also reduced their food intake by 36%. These small nuts also contain the highest protein content of any nut, so they’re a great two-for-one deal!

from: New Age Soul Food

Fennel Tea
Squash morning hunger pangs by drinking fennel tea before bed. Fennel is known for its cleansing, clarifying flavor that helps reset taste buds and reduce cravings. It also boosts digestion, facilitating the absorption of nutrients, and reducing fat storage in the body. You can find fennel tea at health food stores or online.

Crimini Mushrooms
These mini-Portobello mushrooms have a delicious meaty flavor. Blending crimini mushrooms with ground turkey is a great way to cut half the fat without losing taste. The high-fiber mushroom mixture works well for any meat-based dish, like tacos, meat sauce, hamburgers and more.

Apples
Apples are the perfect pre-dinner snack. Soluble fiber in apples, called pectin, reduces the amount of sugar and calories that’s absorbed into the bloodstream after a meal. That’s good news for folks who want to prevent type 2 diabetes, but it also makes apples one of the best snacks for dieters. Apple pectin prevents spikes in blood sugar that lead to increased fat storage. It will help you avoid the blood sugar “crash” that leaves you craving more food and can keep you satiated for up to two hours.
from: New Age Soul Food
 Avocados
Trim your tummy by packing your grocery cart with monounsaturated fats, easily remembered as MUFAS. Found in nuts, olive oil and seeds, MUFAS are healthy sources of energy to keep you going all day long. Other fat burners include avocados, green tea and whole grains.

Raspberry Ketone
Raspberry ketone is the primary aroma compound of red raspberries. This compound regulates adiponectin, a protein used by the body to regulate metabolism. Raspberry ketone causes the fat within your cells to get broken up more effectively, helping your body burn fat faster. The recommended dose is 100mg per day. To get the same benefit from the whole fruit, you'd have to consume 90 pounds of raspberries.

Chili Peppers
Capsaicin, the compound that gives these spicy peppers their zing, also curbs your appetite while you eat. Not only that, it raises your body temperature, which may boost your metabolism. Add some chili sauce to your next omelet or burger and see for yourself.

from New Age Soul Food 

Vinegar
Vinegar will slow the absorption of carbohydrates and prevents sudden surges in your blood sugar. It also slows the passage of food through your stomach, keeping you fuller for longer. Add some zest to pasta or potatoes with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette.




    Chai Tea Mix
from: New Age Soul Food
Cinnamon
This delicious spice slows the passage of food through your stomach. It also lowers your blood sugar levels by stimulating glucose metabolism. Click here for a pork tenderloin recipe seasoned with cinnamon. You can also sprinkle this spice in your oatmeal, stews or coffee.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Left Overs 2012


On the Menu
 
 Turkey Enchiladas
8 Servings
Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 to 2 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups leftover turkey, chopped
2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon sea salt

Garnishes:
Red onion
Avocado
Fresh cilantro
Red or Green leaf lettuce, shredded

Method
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and jalapeños and cook until the onions are translucent.
Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Remove from heat. Place onion mixture in a medium mixing bowl.
 Mix in the turkey, beans, 1 cup cheese, ¼ cup cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, ½ cup enchilada sauce and ½ teaspoons of salt, set aside.
Coat a large casserole dish with oil or non-stick spray.  Pour ½ cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish.
Assemble enchiladas by spooning the mixture into the tortillas, rolling up, and placing seam-side down in the casserole dish.
Continue assembling until all 8 tortillas are stuffed, rolled, and placed into the dish. Cover the roll-ups with the remaining enchilada sauce and top with remaining cheese.
Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish, as desired.


Rivera's Left Overs Holiday Patties
 4 Servings
Ingredients
2 cups left over stuffing
½ cup any green leafy vegetables
½ cup cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons of oil for frying
1 egg (if needed to hold patty together)

Method
Mix all ingredients together and form into [4 – 6] balls, then flatten into patties.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil, let oil get hot then add the patties.
Cook patties 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. 


Cranberry Salad Dressing

Ingredients
½ cup cranberry sauce
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup extra virgin olive
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Method
Whisk together all ingredients by hand or place ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and creamy.
Serve over any salad greens topped with chopped nuts.
This dressing can also be used as a marinade for chicken or fish.


 





Turkey Enchiladas



 Turkey Enchiladas
8 Servings

Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 to 2 jalapeño chili peppers, seeded, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups leftover turkey, chopped
2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon sea salt

Garnishes:
Red onion
Avocado
Fresh cilantro
Red or Green leaf lettuce, shredded

Method
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and jalapenos and cook until the onions are translucent.
Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Remove from heat. Place onion mixture in a medium mixing bowl.
 Mix in the turkey, beans, 1 cup cheese, ¼ cup cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, ½ cup enchilada sauce and ½ teaspoons of salt, set aside.
Coat a large casserole dish with oil or non-stick spray.  Pour ½ cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of the dish.
Assemble enchiladas by spooning the mixture into the tortillas, rolling up, and placing seam-side down in the casserole dish.
Continue assembling until all 8 tortillas are stuffed, rolled, and placed into the dish. Cover the roll-ups with the remaining enchilada sauce and top with remaining cheese.
Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish, as desired.

Rivera's Left Overs Holiday Patty

Rivera's Left Overs Holiday Patty

4 Servings
Ingredients
2 cups left over stuffing
½ cup any green leafy vegetables
½ cup cranberry sauce
2 tablespoons of oil for frying
1 egg (if needed to hold patty together)

Method
Mix all ingredients together and form into [4 – 6] balls, then flatten into patties.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil, let oil get hot then add the patties.
Cook patties 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

On The Menu


Like Most Americans, we basically eat the same Thanksgiving Dinner every year. I try to make a new version of the same old dishes and even introduce a new dish or two.  
This year I elected a Greek Salad rather than a green because its unique flavor will add a pleasant flare to the Thanksgiving meal.
I also choose a Tropical Mango Salmon dish, again due to the uniqueness of its flavor. 
The Rosemary Lemon Green Beans Almandine is just for a change of pace.  And I'm sticking with last year's Apple Cranberry Stuffing because I think it's the best stuffing ever.
No matter what you choose for your Thanksgiving Dinner, make it a Family Affair and  have everyone be a part of the process. Have a Safe and Happy Holiday!

Soulful Eating!
Angelique & Joyce 
Split Pea Soup
Yield 6 - 8 Servings
Ingredients                                               
3 quarts water
1 large bay leaf
1 pound split peas
1 large potato, peeled, quartered
1 large carrot, sliced
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon ground fennel (cumin or rosemary)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Method
Roughly cut potatoes and carrots because they will be pureed
In a large stockpot, add all ingredients. Bring to a boil then lower heat to medium low and cover. 
Cook for 1 – 1 ½ hours or until everything is soft; when soup is done, remove the bay leaf.
Remove pot from the heat; if you have an immersion blender (hand wand) puree soup in the pot.
If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer soup in batches to a food processor or blender and puree, then return soup to the pot. 
Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
Continue cooking uncovered an additional 15 minutes or until the soup reaches the desired thickness.  Keep in mind that once the soup sets, it will become twice as thick.

 8 Servings
 Ingredients:
4 large Roma tomatoes, ½” dice
1 large red bell pepper, ½” dice
1 large green bell pepper, ½” dice
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 cup feta cheese, diced
3 large cucumbers, seeded, diced
½ cup kalamata olives, halves
1 head red leaf lettuce, chopped
For the Dressing:
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon oregano, dry
½ teaspoon thyme, dry
½ teaspoon sage, dry
½ teaspoon basil, dry
½ teaspoon rosemary, dry
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions:
Dice tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and feta [about a half inch dice].
Cut cucumber in half [lengthwise], scoop out the seeds with a spoon and dice.
Slice or cut olives in half.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Thoroughly whisk together all the dressing ingredients and pour ½ of the dressing over the vegetables. Mix thoroughly and refrigerate at least 2 hours prior to serving. 
Serve on a bed of red leaf lettuce, add more dressing if needed.
Remaining dressing can also be used as a marinade for meat, fish or vegetables.
 
 Ginger Tropical Mango Salmon
4 Servings

Ingredients
4 (6 oz.) salmon filets
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon crushed red chili peppers
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
1 lime, juice
Zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 large mango, peeled, diced 
¼ cup chopped red onions
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Method
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Season the fish with salt, pepper flakes, granulated garlic and onion.  Let fish soak 1 hour in seasoning at room temperature.
Meanwhile, place the juice, zest and ginger in a small saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
Boil until the mixture is reduced to about ½ cup. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Cut 4 pieces of heavy-duty foil large enough to individually wrap each filet. Spray or wipe the foil with nonstick spray or oil.
Place each fillet on a piece of foil and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the liquid over each filet.
Mix together mango, onion, cilantro season with salt and pepper and spoon over top of each fillet.
Fold the foil over the fish creating a tent then push the foil down to the fish.
Place foil packets on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes.
Carefully open the ends of the packet, letting the steam escape.
Then, open the top.
Transfer fish to plates and spoon juices over the top.
Brown Bag Roasted Turkey
8 - 10 Serving
 [1 - 1½ pound serving per person]
Ingredients
1 – 12 lb turkey
1+ tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1+ tablespoon garlic powder
1+ tablespoon onion powder
1 cup peanut oil (use peanut oil only.  Other oils will set the bag on fire)
2+ teaspoons poultry seasoning (recipe to follow)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 large brown paper bag

Note:  Turkey should be seasoned 1 day prior to cooking.  If turkey is frozen allow 3 day for it to thaw in the refrigerator.

Method:
Remove giblet bag from turkey clean it inside and outside thoroughly.  Pat it dry with paper towels then generously sprinkle the inside and outside with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and poultry seasoning.  (It is best to purchase new poultry seasoning or make it fresh.)  Wrap the bird in foil and let it sit over night.
 
 Poultry Seasoning
Ingredients
2 tablespoon sage, rubbed
1 tablespoon thyme, dried
1 tablespoon rosemary, dried
1 tablespoon marjoram, dried
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Method 
Combine all ingredients.
Try and purchase all ingredients from a specialty store that sells herbs and spices in bulk.  This way you can purchase only the amount that is needed.  

24 Hours Later

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a small bowl, mix together the peanut oil with 1 tablespoon each of the following:  garlic powder, onion powder and paprika and 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning.
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator and unwrap.  Drain turkey of any excess liquid that may have accumulated then rest it on the foil.  Massage the oil mixture over the turkey making sure you coat it inside and out thoroughly.
Coat the paper bag thoroughly with the remaining oil mixture. Add more peanut oil if needed to coat the bag. To ensure that the bag does not catch fire, you must use peanut oil.
Place the paper bag in a roasting pan, insert a roasting rack (if you have) in the bag and place the turkey on the rack then staple the bag shut.
Put pan in the oven and bake undisturbed 10 minutes per pound (a 12 pound turkey will cook in 2 hours).
After the cooking time has elapsed, remove turkey from oven and let it sit  in  the unopened bag 1 hour before serving.
Note: Even after the turkey is removed from the oven it will continue to cook.  Just know, that if you followed the instructions your turkey will be done, juicy and golden brown.
Do not over crowd your oven.  The more food you have in it, the longer it will take your food to cook.

Apple Cranberry Stuffing
8 - 10 servings

Note: This dish can be put together 24 hours prior to actually cooking.  Just moisten with ½ cup of vegetable broth prior to baking.

Ingredients
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sage
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
3 large cloves garlic, diced
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, diced
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 bag Pepperidge farm stuffing - 16 oz [cornbread or herb]

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly spray a baking dish
In a small bowl, combine vegetable broth and cranberries; let soak for 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sage, saute 3 minutes.
Add bell pepper, celery, garlic, poultry seasoning and salt; cook for a few minutes stirring frequently until tender.
 Add apples and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and add vegetable broth, seasonings and stuffing mix.
Mix gently to combine then spoon mixture into prepared dish.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until center is set.





Cranberry Sauce

8 – 10 Servings


Ingredients
 12 ounce bag of cranberries 
1½ cups sugar
1 cup water
1 whole orange, peeled, seeds removed and chopped 
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup of crushed pineapples, juice included
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Note:  Fresh cranberries can be found in the produce section


Method:
Sort through cranberries and remove stems or bad berries rinse, then set aside.
Mix sugar and water together and bring to a boil.  Add cranberries, oranges, allspice and cinnamon.  Cook over a medium flame, uncovered until berries pop open stirring frequently.  Add pineapples, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 45 minutes - 1 hour or until desired thickness is reached stirring occasionally.
Sauce can be served hot or cold.
Mashed Rutabaga
6 servings
Ingredients
2 lbs rutabaga, peeled, dice
2 cups water
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Method
Peel rutabagas with a vegetable peeler, and cut into cubes.
In a saucepan over high heat add water, bay leaf and rutabagas.
Bring pot to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered 15 – 20 minutes or until fork tender.
Drain, remove bay leaf and using a potato masher, mash rutabagas in the saucepan until they are as smooth as you want them to be.  They can be chunky or smooth like mashed potatoes.
Add the salt, pepper and oil, taste for flavor and add more salt/pepper if needed.
Rosemary Lemon Green Beans Almandine
8 Servings
Ingredients
2 pounds green beans, trimmed and sliced diagonally into 2-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
⅓ cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
½ teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper
Method
In a saucepan add the green beans and bay leaf.  Bring water to a boil. Cook until beans are tender-crisp, about 6 minutes.
Drain and remove bay leaf.
Heats a sauce pan add almonds and dry roast almonds until they are slightly brown.
Add olive oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary and green beans, season with salt and pepper.
Mix thoroughly and for a few minutes then transfer to a serving dish.
 
Orange Ginger Carrots
6 Servings

Note:  This recipe was taken from: http://thanksgiving.betterrecipes.com/orange-and-ginger-carrots.html  We eliminated the sugar, butter and reduced the salt.  We added seasonings to enhance the flavor and produce a healthier yet equally delicious dish.
Ingredients
1 pound carrots, cut on the bias
1 bay leaf
1 orange, juiced
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon granulated onion
¼ cup chopped parsley
Curls of slivered orange peel
Method
Cook carrots and bay leaf in boiling water for 6 minutes, drain and discard bay leaf.
In a saucepan whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, cornstarch, sea salt and dry seasonings.
Add the carrots, bring to a boil and mix thoroughly.
Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 3 minutes. 
Place carrots in a serving bowl and top with some chopped parsley, and orange peel, if desired.   
Macaroni and Cheese – for Holidays Only
8 – 10 Servings


Ingredients
1 pound box elbow macaroni
4 quarts water
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons sea salt 
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon paprika
½ teaspoon basil, ground
3 cups milk 
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups (1 lb.) pepper jack cheese
2 ½ cups (1 1/2 lbs.) NY or WI Xtra-Sharp cheddar cheese 

Method
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Cook macaroni until its al dente:  In a large pot, pour in 4 quarts of water add the bay leaf, salt, granulated garlic and granulated onion and bring to a  boil.
Add macaroni, stir and bring water back up to a rapid boil.
Once water is boiling, stir again, cover pot and remove it from the heat.
Let the pot sit covered and undisturbed until the length of cooking time stated on the box is reached.  Approximately 6 minutes. 
Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, add the milk and butter heating just long enough to melt the butter.  
Once the cooking time has elapsed, drain the pasta and remove bay leaf, then return macaroni to the pot.
Add the warm milk mixture to the pot along with in the cheese and mix until well combined. The cheese does not necessarily have to be melted, just make sure its well distributed throughout the dish.  Mixture should be moderately moist, if needed add more milk.
Taste for flavor and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
Transfer mixture to a baking dish.  
Cover dish with plastic wrap and then cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and plastic wrap and bake uncovered another 15 minutes or until casserole is slightly browned on the top and all the milk is absorbed.
      
 
Reduced Fat Mac and Cheese
8 – 10 Servings
Ingredients
4 quarts cold water
1 bay leaf
1 lb whole wheat elbow macaroni
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powered mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon basil, dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces skim milk
8 ounce nonfat Greek yogurt
8 ounces New York or Wisconsin extra sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces reduced fat pepper jack cheese, grated
2 ounces reduced fat Parmesan/Italian blend cheese, grated
Note: In order for your cheese to have some resemblance of melting, you need at least 1 whole milk cheese.  My suggestion is the x-tra sharp cheddar since it is so strong in flavor.
Method
Preheat Oven 350 degrees
In a large pot, pour in 4 quarts of water add the bay leaves and bring to a rapid boil.
Add macaroni, stir it and bring water back up to a rapid boil.
Once water is boiling, stir again, cover the pot and remove it from the heat.
Let pot sit covered and undisturbed for the length of the cooking time that is stated on the box.
Meanwhile in a small sauce pan, heat the skim milk and mix in the yogurt.  Do not let it come to a boil.
Once the pasta's cooking time has elapsed remove the bay leaf.
Working rapidly, pour 1 cup of the cooking liquid into the milk mixture then drain the macaroni. 
Add all dry ingredients mix thoroughly while pasta is still hot.
Mix in olive oil then add the grated cheese and the warm milk mixture.
Pour mixture into a casserole dish cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.
Uncover and bake another 15 minutes or until top is brown.