You don’t have to be a fancy cook to learn how to make a white sauce.
A Bechamel sauce is a basic white sauce. Often you may associate creamy sauces with “unhealthy” or calorie-laden, but when you make them at home, you can modify the fat, sodium, and calories. Since the sauce is milk-based, it can add a serving of milk to your DASH Diet meal plan too.
The secret to making this sauce creamy when using less flour and a lower fat milk, is cream cheese. Just remember 1:1:1 (1 TB butter to 1 TB flour to 1 cup milk. To double, or triple, just change the 1s to 2s or 3s!).
Try adding this basic white sauce to your skill set in the kitchen. Once you nail this basic sauce, you can use it as the platform for all sorts of yummy dishes.
Basic White Sauce
- Wire or silicone whisk
- Small sauce pan
- Baking pan with silicone mat
- Pasta pot or medium pot
- 1 TB Butter
- 1 TB flour
- 1 cup 1% milk
- 2 TB light cream cheese
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground pepper
- Melt butter in a non stick saucepan over low-medium heat.
- Add flour to butter, and stir quickly using a wire whisk. Cook for 1-2 minutes before too brown. This is called a roux.
- Gradually, pour the milk into the roux, stirring constantly as you add it.
- Stir sauce continuously for 1-2 minutes, then add the cream cheese. Continue stirring until cream cheese has melted and sauce is slightly thickened.
Once you know how to make this basic sauce, you can create a lot of amazing dishes, like my Buffalo Chicken Mac-N-Cheese. Half the dish is chopped chicken, which lowers the overall carb count (compared to just a big bowl of macaroni and cheese).
Buffalo Chicken Mac-N-Cheese
- 2/3 cup celery, chopped
- 12-16 ounces roasted chicken breast, shredded You can substitute an equal amount of canned chicken.
- 1 TB butter
- 1 TB flour
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 4 TB light cream cheese cut into small cubes
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 2 TB hot sauce more to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 3 TB blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 3/4 cups elbow macaroni
- You can either purchase cooked chicken at the store, or poach or roast your own. To roast, heat oven to 400 degrees, place chicken breast on a baking sheet, season with a sprinkle of salt, and roast chicken for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and chop or shred.
Buffalo Chicken Sauce and Pasta
- Add water to a medium stock pot, and place on high heat to boil.
- Saute chopped celery in a non stick pan, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same pan you sauteed the celery in, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir quickly, then reduce heat to low-medium. Cook for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned.
- Gradually add milk, stirring with whisk while adding. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add cubes of cream cheese to milk mixture, and stirring constantly over low to medium heat until well blended. Stir in garlic powder, salt and pepper, and hot sauce.
- Add shredded cheese and blue cheese. Continuing stirring until smooth and thickened. Stir the celery into the sauce. If sauce seems to be too thick, add a little bit of milk to thin.
- Add cooked chicken to sauce and stir until combined. Set sauce aside or keep it on a very low simmer to keep warm.
- Put the macaroni into the boiling water to cook. Cook for 8-9 minutes. (note, you can add broccoli flowerets to this. Add washed, fresh flowerets 6 minutes into cooking pasta. Drain with pasta as below, and toss with Buffalo Chicken sauce).
- Drain macaroni when done, and pour drained macaroni into Buffalo Chicken Sauce. Stir to combine, and serve.
- Add additional hot sauce to taste, and sprinkle with paprika if desired.
- Enjoy with a simple side salad or vegetable.
You can find cooking tools needed for these recipes here. This is an affiliate link, and if you purchase any of these items, I will be paid a small portion of the cost.