Mac and Cheese Soup

Recipe printed from Jenn's Food Journey, slightly adapted from the Food Network Magazine

1 cup (4oz) elbow macaroni
4 half inch thick slices baguette (I actually made 8 so we could have extras for dipping)
freshly ground black pepper
1 shallot
1 clove of garlic
1 carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups fat free low sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups 2% milk (if you want a thicker soup, you can use heavy cream)
6 oz (1 1/2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Cherry tomatoes, cut in half (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (I actually just used my toaster oven for this).  Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil.  Add the macaroni and cook per package instructions; drain and set aside.

Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Place in oven and bake until the bread is golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from oven.

In a food processor, add the shallot, garlic, carrot, and celery.  Process until minced.  Mist a large saucepan with cooking spray or oil.  Add the vegetables and cook over medium heat until softened; about 4-5 minutes.  Add the flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.  Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a boil; cook, stirring, until the soup thickens, about 6-7 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

Add the milk and the cheeses, stirring until the cheese is melted and the soup is smooth.  Add the macaroni and season with pepper.  Top with a piece of the toast and two tomato halves.  Enjoy!

(Nutritional info per serving -serves 4-:  476 calories; 20g Fat; 84mg sodium; 636mg carbohydrates; 27g protein)