(Closed) Healthy Mac & Cheese?

posted 8 years ago in Wellness
Post # 3
2144 posts
Buzzing bee

I’d love to know as well! Too many “healthy” ones are dry and yucky. I love me some mac and cheese!

Post # 5
5263 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2012

I made this recipe (Martha via Smitten Kitchen) with honey wheat bread instead of white and wheat noodles. 

It may not be super low calorie healthy, but I firmly believe if you put the right food into your body and cut down your portion size, you’re being healthy. 

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to l/2-inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyère or 1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place the bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.

2. Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

3. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyère (or 1 cup Pecorino Romano); set the cheese sauce aside.

5. Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Stir the macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyère (or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano), and the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes (though we needed a bit more time to get it brown, but your oven may vary). Transfer the dish to a wire rack for 5 minutes; serve.

Post # 6
281 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010 - The Glen Manor House

If want to try one from a box I grew up eating Annie’s Mac and Cheese. It’s organic. Try the purple box – I still love it!

Post # 7
1060 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2010 - Anela Garden Chapel & Japanese Cultural Center, Honolulu

you could use whole wheat pasta instead of the normal kind! and if you’re doing chili mac, use vegetarian chili instead, soooo much better for you, and still tastes great!

Post # 8
177 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

velveeta has one that’s made with 2% milk, i use that packet of cheese and make it with my own whole grain pasta. i like that the cheese packet is actually cheese, not powder so i don’t have to fuss with milk and butter. i sometimes throw some brocolli in it to get some veggies involved.

Post # 10
1184 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I would just leave out the butter or substitute it for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.

Post # 11
2476 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I’ve tried this one by Ellie Kreiger of the Food Network– it’s actually pretty good!  🙂


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash
  • 2 cups 1 percent lowfat milk
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 2 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, grated (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon powdered mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but firm, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, place the frozen squash and milk into a large saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the squash with a spoon until it is defrosted. Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the mixture is almost simmering, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the Cheddar, jack cheese, ricotta cheese, salt, mustard and cayenne pepper. Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, then broil for 3 minutes so the top is crisp and nicely browned.

Post # 12
5154 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

I like Annies organic ones 🙂

Post # 13
2006 posts
Buzzing bee
    12oz Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Rotini
    1/2 cup Fat Free Sour Cream
    1 cup 2% Cheddar Cheese
    12oz Fat Free evaporated Milk


    Powdered Mustard

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Cook pasta according to package directions without added fat or salt; drain and transfer to a large bowl. While pasta is still hot, stir in sour cream; set aside.
Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles appear just around the edges (known as scalding). Reduce heat to low, add cheese and simmer until cheese melts, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, about 2 minutes; remove from heat and stir in mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Add cheese mixture to pasta; mix well. Transfer to a 3-quart casserole dish.

Bake until top is golden, about 30 minutes. Yields about 1 cup per serving

Number of Servings: 8.

Here is the nutrition per serving: 

  • Calories: 225.0

  • Total Fat: 4.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 11.0 mg
  • Sodium: 200.0 mg
  • Total Carbs: 39.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4.5 g
  • Protein: 12.8 g

Post # 14
1465 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I don’t have any recipes per se but a friend of mine is diabetic and 2 of her kids love mac and cheese so she was asking her doctor for advice on healthy alternatives. She said that she was told to just fix it like you normally do since there isn’t anything unhealthy in it. The unhealthy version is the box mac and cheese with the powdered cheese, while the healthiest you can fix is regular pasta, regular cheddar, and butter  (which is better for you than margarine and alternatives), that is simply baked in the oven.

Post # 16
130 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I just got back from dinner but I am not craving some mac. My grandmother makes a great one but I am pretty sure it is far from healthy so no recipe sharing.

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