The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Skinny BBQ Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese with Caramelized Onions

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Level: Easy

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Description

A quick and easy mac and cheese that is grown up, decadent and guilt-free!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CARAMELIZED ONIONS:
  • ½ Tablespoons Butter
  • 1  Small Onion, Thinly Sliced
  • FOR THE MACARONI AND CHEESE:
  • 4 ounces, weight Whole Wheat Macaroni Noodles
  • ¼ cups Milk (I Used 1%)
  • ¼ cups Fat-free Half-and-half
  • ⅛ teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt, Or To Taste
  • ¼ teaspoons Pepper Or To Taste
  • ¼ teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Hickory Liquid Smoke
  • 1 cup (Packed) Reduced-fat Cheddar Cheese, Grated And Divided
  • ¼ cups Plus 1 Tablespoon Low-sugar BBQ Sauce (I Used KRAFT Light BBQ Sauce)
  • ¼ cups Cilantro, Roughly Chopped
  • ¾ cups Leftover Pulled Pork

Preparation

1. Preheat your broiler to high heat. Spray a 1-quart casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. To caramelize the onions:
3. Melt the butter in a medium sized pan over medium heat.
4. Stir in the thinly sliced onions, making sure that the butter evenly coats all the slices.
5. Turn the heat down to medium/low and stir the onions every 5 minutes or so until soft and golden brown, about 25 minutes.
6. While the onions cook, it’s time to make the mac and cheese.
7. Set a large pot of salted water on the heat and bring to a boil. Then add the macaroni noodles and cook as your package directs, until al dente.
8. Drain the pasta and return them to the pot and put the pot back onto the burner, on low heat.
9. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, half-and-half, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and Liquid Smoke.
10. Pour the milk mixture over top of the noodles, and give it a good stir.
11. Add in ¾ of the cheese in small hand fulls, letting it begin to melt between each addition.
12. Once the cheese has melted, stir in the caramelized onions, BBQ sauce (make sure you taste as you go, to get your desired level of smokiness), chopped cilantro and the pulled pork*. Stir well until everything is creamy and well combined.
13. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and top with remaining ¼ of the cheese.**
14. Put dish into the veon. Broil for 2-4 minutes, depending on how crunchy and browned you like your cheese.
15. Remove dish from oven. and set it on a rack. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.
16. Serve hot and devour!

Notes:
* You can totally omit the pork if you want to make this vegetarian, or serve as a side dish.
** You could leave the additional cheese off the top to make it even lighter … but don’t. You could also serve this straight out of the pan without the broiler if you want it super creamy!

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