Healthy Mac & Cheese

Healthy Mac and Cheese
Here is one of my favorite make-ahead dinners. I love when I can get dinner done at nap time!
We love mac and cheese in our family, but the traditional recipes are so so so fattening that I’m afraid that if I make it I will instantly gain 10 pounds. So I make this lightened up version instead. It still has that cheddar cheese flavor and creaminess, and I love the crisp bread crumb topping. I do make a couple of changes from the recipe (have not been changed below). First, I usually use whole wheat pasta. I like the Barilla ‘Plus’ pasta because it’s made with flax, lentil, and garbanzo flour, which make it much higher in protein and vitamins than regular pasta. The second thing I change is substituting real butter for the called for margarine in the topping. You just can’t beat butter for it’s flavor and browning ability.
This week I made a minor mistake. I added too much pasta. The result was a mac and cheese that was not cheesy enough, so be sure to measure your cooked pasta.

Serves 6
Recipe from Cooking Light

  • 4 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese
  • 3/4 cup nonfat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons reduced-calorie stick margarine, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-calorie stick margarine, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Fresh oregano sprigs

Combine first 10 ingredients; stir well, and spoon into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Combine breadcrumbs and next 2 ingredients; stir well. Sprinkle over casserole. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 5 minutes or until set. Garnish with oregano.