May 21, 2010

Lighter Baked Macaroni and Cheese




I have gotten many requests to make a low point mac and cheese recipe. Here's a baked macaroni and cheese recipe that even got my skeptical daughter's approval.

I lightened this by reducing the butter, I replaced cream with skim milk and chicken broth, and I added some fresh baby spinach. I liked Sargento 2% cheddar cheese because after trying several cheddars, this was the one I felt tasted best and melted beautifully. I also use Ronzoni Smart Taste which is less points than regular pasta, with the same great taste. Whole wheat or low carb pasta would work with the same points too.

If you want to make this a quick stove top mac and cheese, you can serve it without the breadcrumbs and grated cheese. Points remain the same. Next time I make this I'll play around with using other vegetables like mushrooms or broccoli, and possibly try it with a variety of reduced fat cheeses.



Lighter Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 1 cup Old Points: 6 pts Points+: 7 pts
Calories: 296.67 • Fat: 9.7 g Protein: 15.8 g Carb: 34.5 g Fiber: 5.3 g 


Ingredients:

  • 12 oz high fiber elbows like Ronzoni Smart Taste
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp light butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 8 oz Sargento 2% reduced fat mild cheddar
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs
  • cooking spray

Directions:
Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Spray a baking dish with buttered flavor Pam. Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter. Add flour and cook over low heat stirring with a whisk. Add onion and cook another 2 minutes. Add milk and chicken broth and continue whisking, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Once it becomes thick, remove from heat, add cheese and mix well until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add cooked macaroni and baby spinach. Pour into baking dish. Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more buttered flavor Pam on top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for a few minutes to get the breadcrumbs golden.

247 comments :

  1. Yum, this looks fantastic!! Thank you! I can't wait to try it next week, I have so missed mac & cheese.

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  2. I will definitely try this. It looks yum. And I am not a mac and cheese person.

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  3. Oh Gina! Thanks for making my day!!! I am definitely trying this one...

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  4. Lindsey Fair5/22/10, 7:58 AM

    I've been waiting for this ! Mac and cheese is my ultimate comfort food.

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  5. This sounds great! I'm going to try to reduce the number of servings - if it can be made to serve 2 it will be perfect!

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  6. I am always on the lookout for standard comfort dishes lightened up--looks amazing!

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  7. You can easily half this. Leftovers were good too. BTW, I had 1 serving but my husband had 3!

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  8. I'll take a bowl right now. Looks amazing.

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  9. Oh now this looks REALLY good. I will definitely have to try this soon.

    I am new to WW so I will have to see if using my Fiber Gourmet pasta makes it even "lower" in points (I really like this pasta) - even though this is already pretty good in the points department.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Thanks for sharing--I look forward to making it!

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  11. @Kat- If you use your Fiber gourmet pasta, it's lower. I believe it will be 5.25 pts per serving.

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  12. I made this tonight. We were having chicken on the grill and I wanted something else as a side besides grilled zucchini/onions. This turned out perfectly and my husband loved it. Looking forward to trying this out with different vegetables - I think he might have liked broccoli over spinach, but he ate all the spinach that ended up on his plate.

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  13. No joke that I've been craving a good baked Macaroni and Cheese this past week. I'm going to make this ASAP! Thanks!!

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  14. I am telling you GINA...
    this looks like some kind of scrumptious GOOD!
    I know it is!
    Oh how I love your blog!
    Thank you for all the hard work that goes into creating the recipes and WW points!
    Last night I made the petite turkey meatloaves...served it with cauliflower mashed potatoes with chives and cabbage/kale mixutre!
    So good!
    Featuring a low cal frittata right now if you want to pop over!
    xo

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  15. Hey Gina!! Thanks so much for figuring out a lighter version of mac and cheese! I can't wait to make this and hopefully my fiance won't miss my prior mac and cheese that's loaded in fat lol .. love this blog by the way! :)

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  16. Love a lighter version of mac and cheese....One of my favorite dishes.

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  17. I made this last night!! Holey Delishious BATMAN! This was great! The hubby loved it.. But i definitely will be doing the math to figure out how to make since servings. Having this tray in the house is damaging! I just want to sit and eat it all its that good!

    THANK YOU GINA!!

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  18. Hi Gina-
    Haven't tried this one, but am making the turkey chili in the crock pot. I wanted to tell you how much I like your site.
    I am a life long foodie and have never much dieted...and now I am 40,and all of the sudden the pounds are catching up! So, I've been working out a lot and using your recipes, and i love them. I could never do a crazy grapefuit and cottage cheese diet, but when I am eating these great recipes, I really don't feel like I'm 'dieting'. Just good, real food. And my family likes them, too. And that's the key to life long health and fitness...thanks so much for all of your effort!
    Tracy
    Oh, and the chicken parm is so great!

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  19. Thanks for all the sweet comments! For those of you who tried this, I'm so glad to hear you liked it as much as we did!

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  20. @Tracey- I know what you mean about turning 40! I'm also 40 and with a new baby, I have to really work hard at staying fit. Oh yeah, and I too could never do a grapefruit diet. I need variety in my meals!!

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  21. Delightful mac and cheese. You rarely get it like this. As we remain concerned about health recipes, your choice of high fiber elbows and reduced fat mild cheddar give us much relief. You are very mindful about healthy choices in your cooking.

    We have similar recipes (about 20 of them) but with slightly different ingredients. We do not use grated Parmesan and spinach but the taste goes so well like yours will be.

    Great.

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  22. Yummy!!! My husband really like pastas esp bake macaroni. I will surprise him with this and I'm sure he will love me more. Nice... Thanks

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  23. OnoMeansDelicious5/25/10, 7:52 PM

    Haven't made this (yet), but am wondering if you thought to use f/f evaporated milk as I've seen done in other low cal mac n' cheese recipes?

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  24. I discovered your blog recently and i love it! (sorry for my english - he's not so good! my french is better) :-)

    I am doing Weight Watchers since 7 weeks (and 15 pounds less!) and i love your recipe!

    You doing great work, i'll visite you each futur days! :-)

    xxx

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  25. @OnoMeansDelicious Yes, I've used f/f evaporated milk, it works great!

    @Sarah- Thank you!

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  26. Do you cook the baby spinach prior to putting it in the dish? If so, what's the best/quickest method to cook it?

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  27. @Jessica- No, it wilts with the heat and cooks when it's in the oven.

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  28. I'm making this tonight, but I couldn't find whole wheat bread crumbs around here and don't have any whole wheat bread at home. Would using regular seasoned bread crumbs change the points? I am a huge mac and cheese fan and can't wait to try this tonight!

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  29. Yum! I made this Sunday while I had the minestrone soup in the crock pot for the next night, and had strawberries and cream both nights for dinner! Leftovers for the whole week - thanks!

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  30. Gina,

    What would you say is the best way of measuring a serving of the mac n cheese? I tried using a regular measuring cup (1 cup measurement) and I couldnt seem to make all the servings the same.

    How would you do it?

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  31. @Melissa- No, the points stay the same since it's a small amount.

    @Cady- Glad you liked it!

    @Monica- I just used a measuring cup. If you really want to be accurate, you could weight the whole dish (subtract the weight of the glass dish) then divide it equally by 8.

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  32. had this last night for dinner with Herb Dijon Pork chops. let me just say that this one is dangerous! omg sooooo good. i was afraid it wouldnt be cheesey enough, i was wrong!my husband and friend ate 2 servings each! friend said she would have never known her entire meal was low in calories if i hadnt told her and that it was the best meals shes had in a long time. i have all the ingridients to make it again, by the time they were done eating last night and me and the hubby had it again for lunch today, its all gone! this one is a winner Gina!

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  33. @vlo- glad you liked it! I've been experimenting with a low fat mac n cheese recipe for a while but I wanted it to be great before I published it. This I felt was worthy of publishing!! I'm going to make variations of this soon!

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  34. Absolutely delicious! We had this a few nights ago and we all loved it. I skipped the bread crumbs, only because I wasn't in the mood for them, and it was still fantastic! Definitely a keeper

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  35. I made this for dinner tonight!! I have an extremely picky 6 year old. The only vegetable he eats is potatoes, or so he thinks. lol. I sometimes have to get creative. With this dish, I told him it was just parsley. He ate every bite of dinner tonight. Thank you so much for this recipe!! I look forward to cooking many more of your recipes

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  36. @Chelsey, that's great!!

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  37. Do you think it would be okay to use whole wheat flour instead of regular flour?

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  38. Whole wheat flour should be fine!

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  39. You doing great work, i will visit you each future days! keep it up.

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  40. I used a delicious chicken sausage with fontina cheese, spinach, and roasted garlic, but feel free to use whatever brand or variety you like.

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  41. Well, I definitely will be doing the math to figure out how to make since servings. Having this tray in the house is damaging! I just want to sit and eat it all its that good, thanx for the recipe.

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  42. I had the minestrone soup in the crock pot for the next night, and had strawberries and cream both nights for dinner! Leftovers for the whole week , thanx for the share.

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  43. I couldn't find whole wheat bread crumbs around here and don't have any whole wheat bread at home. Would using regular seasoned bread crumbs change the points?

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  44. @Kristen, points are still the same with regular bread crumbs.

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  45. I sometimes have to get creative. With this dish, I told him it was just parsley. He ate every bite of dinner tonight. Thank you so much for this recipe!! I look forward to cooking many more of your recipes, thanx.

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  46. Doubled the recipe & the kids liked it. I didn't put the bread crumbs on top due to preference. Overall it was creamy & tasty! Would make again.

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  47. I think i will love it. I better cook it too. Thank you for the idea and the recipe looking forward to learn more recipes.

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  48. I definitely will be doing the math to figure out how to make since servings. Having this tray in the house is damaging! I just want to sit and eat it all its that good, thanx for the wonderful post.

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  49. Its PERFECT! I love baked macaroni specially when its full of cheese.. Very yummy :). Thank you for sharing this.

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  50. Very yummy one of my favorite dishes and I've never attempted to make it before this, very easy!

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  51. Gina, it was good as usual. My husband loved it and I even added extra spinach...there was a ton in there. When it came out of the oven it looked dry and I was worried I did something wrong. As soon as I scooped it up....yummy!!! It was a big hit in this house. Guess we won't be eating boxed mac n cheese again!!!!

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  52. :) personally.. i really do light popcorn with cheese powder or something like that.. :) yumm! i feel like going to the movies.. ;)..
    and baked cheese macaroni.. but sadly.. i'm watching my weight.. :(.. *sob* lol..
    and for a healthier one is yogurt.. :) strawberry yogurt.. another yumm! for that one..
    [currently eating a cup of starwberry yogurt now.. *tummy's full*.. haha..

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  53. This recipe is great!
    I just made it, but i added some baby bella mushrooms and ground turkey! Great way to add some protein into the meal! Also, made my own breadcrumbs with some whole wheat bread!

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  54. My family loved it. Next time, I think I will cut back on the mustard, or use the regular yellow because the flavor came through a little strong for my taste. Otherwise, it worked for what I was trying to accomplish.

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  55. @Jean- I didn't have mustard in the ingredients. I'm not sure if that was from a comment?

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  56. This is by far my favorite recipe for Mac and Cheese. I have tried many recipes and this is truly the best. The only thing i do differently is add a little cayenne and paprika to give it a little flavorful kick!

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  57. michaela :)7/27/10, 8:37 PM

    curious about using broccoli and/mushrooms instead of spinach.. Would you cook the broccoli/mushrooms prior to baking the casserole? Thanks!! I love your site, I reference back to this site at least a few times a week for delicious meal ideas that the whole family will love!! :)

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  58. Yes, I would saute them first. Sounds like a great combo!

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  59. Ive made this several times but finally got around to rating the recipe. Make sure you constantly stir or the cheese will stick to the bottom of the pot in a matter of seconds. This is a great side for any hearty meal.

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  60. We had this tonight for the first time and it was a hit! Thanks for offering so many healthy recipes!

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  61. Tried this, It is delicious, quick and reliable side dish for any night of the week.

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  62. Hi Gina! Glad I came across this receipe!!! I'm gonna make it this weekend, can't wait! I'm thinking of using frozen butternut squash to give it more of a cheesy color and to get some extra fiber!!! It's so refreshing to know you're not alone when it comes to dieting and staying fit!!!! I'm a big fan of your crockpot chicken taco chili receipe, I make it alot minus the corn, I just picked up some turkey breasts at the supermarket I may subsitiute the chicken for the turkey.

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  63. I'm sure that it was me who messed this up, since so many others have had good results, but my came out a royal mess. Looking though the steps again, I don't know what I did wrong! I added the cheddar to the milk/onion/broth mixure, and the cheese melted but it didn't mix together with all the other ingredients. It was basically cheese at the bottom of a pan of milk. I was very disappointed, especiallt since I already have a whole box of elbows cooked. I think the problem was that my milk mixture never really got thick... I waited 3-4 minutues, whisking, but on low heat, I don't think that was enough time to thicken.

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  64. That's very strange! It sounds like the milk wasn't hot enough. The cheese should melt if the milk is hot. What kind of cheese did you use?

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  65. I specifically bought the Sargento 2% reduced fat mild cheddar that you mention, even though I normally buy the store brand. I agree... the milk wasn't hot enough, but i was afraid to heat it too much, and wanted to follow your steps of 2-3 minutes. I'll have to try it again

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  66. Sorry it didn't work out for you, all stoves vary so maybe the milk needed to cook longer. It should have been very hot. The cheese then melts instantly. Once melted, then remove it from the heat. Sorry if my directions weren't clear enough. It's very good! I would def try again! Let me know how it turns out!

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  67. Hi Gina, This looks great but one question:
    What do you mean by light butter?

    Thanks!!

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  68. A light butter flavored spread like smart balance light.

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  69. Gina - you are a life saver!! My whole family is doing WW and I use so many of your recipes. The mac and cheese was delicious! To answer Katie - you probably need to turn the heat up and cook the milk longer. It took a good 7 minutes for mine to thicken. (Also, for me, minced onion means the kind in the bottle and 1/4 cup is waaaaaaay to much. Oops). We dine "a la Gina" all the time - chicken chili at least once a week during the winter, Pasta Fagiola is delish, turkey stuffed peppers - wonderful! and the points are already figured out for me! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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  70. I made this tonight and it was wonderful! I found the recipe a few weeks ago and I have been looking forward to making it. We added red pepper flakes to give it an extra kick and it was delicious!

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  71. Ordinarily, I have a terrible time finding recipes because most have peppers in them, which I can't eat. I've already downloaded four of your recipes, and I've only been at it for 10 minutes!

    Thank you from bottom of my heart.

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  72. I also made this recipe. I added more cheese, i like my mac& cheese cheeesy:) also i covered my pan and then uncovered it for the last few mins to brown the top a little.

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  73. I made this last week and it seemed to be missing something. We decided that for mac n cheese, we'd leave out the onions. But add a can of tuna (which we did the next night) and it made an awesome tuna casserole!

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  74. Has anyones come out dry? It seemed creamy before it went in the oven and then when it was baked it seemed dry and I didnt even add the spinach to the recipe?
    Also can anyone explain the 12 ounces to me? I know it sounds dumb but 12oz mesured it 1 1/4 cups but weighed is a heck of alot more , should the 12oz be weighed?

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  75. Hi Sabrina, not sure why it came out dry? Maybe it stayed in the oven too long.

    12 oz of dry pasta, don't measure the dry pasta by cups, it expands when cooking and you'll get the wrong measurement. Weigh the pasta before cooking. 2 oz dry usually yields approx 1 cup cooked.

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  76. I've attempted this recipe twice now, using the exact measurements & even the exact brands of cheese, ect and mine has come out far too soupy. I'm not sure why, it just seems the milk and the broth never thickened up. Even after reading through the comments section here & getting the tips about getting it hot enough, it still didn't work. Any suggestions? Thanks! Love love love this site!!

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  77. Hi Molly, funny Sabrina person said it was dry but others had success with this. I'm scratching my head. I'm assuming you added the flour and let it boil and thicken a bit, like you would thicken a gravy? It gets thicker the longer it boils so maybe it needed to boil a little longer before adding the cheese?

    I'm going to have to make this again and follow my own directions and see if I have any issues with this. Sorry if you were unsucessful. And thanks about the site :)

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  78. Just made this! It is delicious! I added cayenne pepper to the cheese and sprinkled some on top too. I like things with a little kick to it ;)

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  79. Gina......this recipe is awesome!!! I have made this recipe 3 times and each time it came out perfectly. This last time I switched up the spinach and used fresh broccoli - it was great too!!! Thanks for this wonderful website....I have probably made about 10 of your recipes and loved each one. Again, thanks!!!

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  80. Great recipe!!! The whole family loved it and it made enough for 2 nights of dinner as a side dish!

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  81. I made this tonight and it was fantastic! I didn't have an onion handy, so I added a pinch of onion and garlic powder. I also halved the recipe to make 4 servings. My picky husband had two servings! I had one with a side salad and found it to be a filling and hearty dinner. I now have a great lunch for next week. Thanks for the great recipes!

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  82. Thanks for sharing all your subtle changes, cooking is so versatile and I love hearing all your ideas! I'm glad to hear most of you had success making this!

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  83. Perfect Mac and Cheese Recipe. Very simple and still tastes great! I added bread crumbs and parmesean cheese to add a little more flavor.

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  84. So I just tried to make this recipe and it was a complete failure.

    I could tell something was wrong when the milk wouldn't get think, but I put the cheese in and it melted just fine. So i put the macaroni in liquid the consistency of milk.

    In the end, did not turn out well. Tasted pretty bad. I'm definitely not a cook but I can follow a recipe so I'm really not sure what went wrong here?

    Buummer.

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  85. Jennifer, I just made this again this week and it got very thick, it sounds like you had problems with the basic white sauce, which is the butter, flour and milk. It needs to boil and you need to whisk it for a few minutes until it thickens. The same way you make a gravy. You can't add the cheese until this happens.

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  86. We made this as a side to go with our Christmas ham and it was FABULOUS! I was so skeptical, and even apologized to our guests in advance in case it didn't turn out well. However, it was a huge hit and everyone loved it.

    Changes we made:
    Our store had Ronzoni noodles, but not elbows, so we used store brand. Also, they didn't have Sargento shredded cheese, so we used Kraft. We didn't include spinach.

    Just a note:
    My husband was actually the one who made it, and he said it took WAY longer than 2-3 minutes for the sauce to thicken.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

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  87. I have made this twice now, the first time baking it, and the second time eating it straight out of the skillet. It's delicious either way, and a really really good version of mac & cheese! Like the commenter above me said, it does take longer (about 10 mins for me) to get the sauce to thicken.

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  88. I'm so happy you enjoyed it, and all your guests enjoyed it as well!! Thanks for the note, perhaps that is why others had problems, I will adjust this in the instructions.

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  89. I made this tonight and I think the issue that most are having with it not thickening is because you need the sauce to boil in order to thicken but the directions after adding the flour say to cook on low heat. The temp needs to be raised to medium high or high when the milk/stock is added in order to thicken properly.

    I subbed diced shallot for the onion (which is what I usually make mac n cheese with) for a more subtle flavor.

    Also, for a little kick, add 1/8 tsp cayenne to the sauce. And, for deeper flavor add a skosh of ground nutmeg.

    Another winner, Gina :)

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  90. Great, I adjusted the directions for those of you not having success. I love the addition of nutmeg, have a great day!

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  91. This looks fab and I can't wait to make it for the boys :). Thank you

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  92. I am so so so darn glad to have found this. Someone posted this on 3FC and I love mac and Cheese. No one has been able to make it like my mom. Well mom made it with total fat. I can't say enough about this recipe. I'm sold, I'm baked. I'm stoked. I'm so darn happy to have a skinny mac and cheese that above all else. TASTES GOOD. Thank you so much and I will be back for more recipes to make me lean. God Bless you for this.

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  93. What is 3FC? Well I'm very happy you enjoyed my skinny mac and cheese.

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  94. Great comfort food! I enjoyed it with sharp cheddar. Thank you!

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  95. This was EPIC!

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  96. THE MACARONI AND CHEESE SOUNDSGREAT WILL TRY IT NEXT WEEK. I LIKE SOMETHING THAT WILL MAKE ME SKINNY. THANKS FOR PRINTING IT UP. I WILL LET YOU KNOW. THANKS! EVA

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  97. Do have any idea what is the sodium content per serving? This sounds like a diabetic's dream, but if the sodium is still too high I can't enjoy. Please let me know, if you know.

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  98. Would using a sharper cheddar cheese, rather than the listed mild cheddar change the points? Still plan on using a reduced fat version.

    Thanks,
    Mary

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  99. Mmmm, I made this tonight. It was really good. When I put the recipe into the recipe builder on etools, I got a points plus value of 8.

    As to a previous poster, I believe 3FC is a reference to a website - 3 fat chicks.

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  100. It took about 20 minutes for the white sauce to thicken for me, even on med-high heat. I have a gas stove and it normally seems to cook faster than electric, but certainly not in this case. I almost gave up, but glad I didn't, even though I was broiling right alone with the sauce! The dish turned out well, although my husband said he's prefer it "plain" without the spinach and croutons.

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  101. Gina, you are officially my new best friend! I have only made 2 recipes from your site so far (man and cheese and the coconut curry shrimp)but they have both been outstanding. I wouldn't hesitate to serve either to guests and usually when I have friends for dinner, all healthy recipes go out the window. Thank you for your wonderful work!

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  102. Thanks Dawn, that is my goal so I'm happy you would feed this to your guests!!

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  103. Gina,
    Thank you sooooooo much for providing a mac and cheese recipe that uses REAL cheese and still fulfills our WW needs. Although sometimes I know it is necessary, I dislike using "processed cheese food" and other artificial ingredients. I can't wait to make it--my biggest worry is how to keep from eating multiple servings! :-)
    Polly

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  104. Real cheese is a must! Polly, make half if you are worried about eating too much! Or... make them in individual servings if you have oven safe dishes.

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  105. I just popped this out of the oven and had some..delicious! So happy I found this site! I ended up having to wait a good amount of time for my milk, broth, and flour mixture to thicken..towards the end I got anxious and just turned up the heat to high, but kept whisking the entire time until it thickened..no problems here :) YUMMY
    This weekend I'm going to try the spinach dip and see if I can fool my friends hehe

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  106. Thank you yet again for an amazing recipe. This is 6 for 6 for recipes from your site. My husband and daughter loved it. Already they are asking when I will make it again. Only change they have requested is more spinach and I have to admit I was sceptical about spinach in it, but it is wonderful.

    You ROCK!!!

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  107. Robin Geller2/21/11, 8:00 AM

    Made this last night for dinner and it was absolutely spectacular. You would never know you were eating light! Keep these recipes coming, Gina! I have lost 40 lbs making tons of them.
    Thank you so much,
    Robin

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  108. I'm so happy you all are enjoying this!!

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  109. I'm really frustrated, I had to shop at Walmart because I could only make one stop and they literally had NO "reduced fat" cheese, Just regular or fat free. I was hosting a dinner so I made this with regular Mild Cheddar (I was afraid the fat free wouldn't melt correctly). Do you know how much of a difference the points per serving would be?

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  110. And by the way this was a HIT! I hosted a dinner for some friends from church. I made this as a side to your Sloppy Joe's. And finished the dinner off by serving your rice krispy treats! This website has been such a hit with my family, friends, and anyone else that I've cooked for in the last month! Thanks for all the work you put into this blog so we can all be eating better! :-)

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  111. I re-calculated the points on the recipe builder on WW and found that just regular mild cheddar makes the points 9 per 1 cup serving!

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  112. SAHM- no reduced fat cheddar, I guess I must be lucky! My supermarket caries it in various brands. You made th right choice with full fat, fat free is awful. Maybe a blend of both would have worked out but I'm sure your guests were happy!

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  113. I've been reading lots of your recipes and so many of them look so good. So daycare friendly too. I have daycare 12-14 hours a day so that means lots and lots of meals cooked plus with me working hard to lose weight I need some help and ideas. So cool that you're have these and thank you for sharing.
    Take care and God Bless!!

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  114. You rock Gina! Just had this for dinner. I have been on WW 2 months and lost every week thanks to you. Great to hear the news on the personal front too. Thank you for so many great recipes.

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  115. I just made this for dinner tonight along with your mashed potato recipe. It was so good!

    Thanks so much for the recipes. You are making it easy to stick to my WW plan. :)

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  116. I can't wait to make this and hopefully my family won't miss my prior mac and cheese that's loaded in fat (LOL)

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  117. I just made this, and added 1.5 cups of sweet potato puree to the sauce. It helped thicken it up into a lovely thick and creamy sauce (I accidentally switched the broth and milk amounts). And, the sweet potato adds a nutritional bonus! It has turned out beautifully - and my husband will never know about my healthy addition!
    Thanks for a great recipe, as always!

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  118. I made this last night but made it with spaghetti squash instead of pasta (carb and gluten issues) and it was awesome!!!!

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  119. Thanks for sharing all!!

    Paula, yum, i have to try that!

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  120. Could you freeze this and then heat it up later? like, put it all together, freeze it and then pop it in the oven when needed?
    Thanks, this looks great!

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  121. Coco- I think it would be great! Why not, they sell frozen mac and cheese and it works, I think this would work as well. Add the crumbs before baking.

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  122. This sounds AMAZING!!! I would like to know how to find out all of the nutritional details. I have recently been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and I need to look closely now. I also probably need to lower the sodium. ANY TIPS??

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  123. momma - there are so many great free online resources for ni like Sparks and my fitness pal.
    I love salt so I'm not the best person to help with sodium but I'm sure buying low sodium products and not adding salt to your meals would be the answer. A great low sodium blog is sodiumgirl.com

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  124. Gina- I've made this once before and it was amazing! I'm running short on time this week and wondered if I could make it up the night before and refrigerate until I need to bake it. Do you think it would work? I'm planning on leaving the bread crumbs off until I'm ready to cook it so they don't get soggy.

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  125. I think it would work fine, maybe undercook the pasta 1 minute so it doesn't get soggy. Other than that it should be ok. Let me know how it turns out.

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  126. love this recipe! i usually add a bit of frank's red hot in my bowl before i eat it and make it buffalo mac and cheese, which is a great addition if you want to add a kick to it :)

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  127. I've resisted making this recipe, because I've never had much success with homemade macaroni and cheese (full fat & high calorie), so I thought there was no way this could be good. Wonderfully surprised. My husband loved it too. Will definitely be making this again!

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  128. The whole family LOVED THIS! I wasn't too sure about the recipe, never heard of minced onion in mac and cheese. But it was incredible! Loved it and will definately be making it again very soon!

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  129. I made this recipe tonight and it was awesome!!! Thank you for giving me a healthy way to quell my mac & cheese craving.

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  130. Thank you for this! I was looking for a recipe with macaroni and swiss chard, because there's macaroni in my pantry and swiss chard in my garden! I found a lot of delicious looking recipes, but they all had tons of butter in them. (yum, BUT!) Then I thought, 'I'll check Gina's site, she's never let me down!' sure enough, there it was. I used your recipe as an inspiration- I used swiss chard instead of spinach and gouda instead of yellow cheese. With a little nutmeg grated over the top- heaven!
    What you do brings so much happiness to others- thank you! Keep up the good work! -Mia

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  131. Thanks Mia, I may have to try your version!

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  132. I made this the other night and thought it was tasty! My mom and sister liked it but the men seemed a little hesistant to eat it- they aren't big spinach eaters, and even though I halved the spinach, there was still quite a bit in the meal. I think I may not have used quite enough salt or pepper either. But it was a good meal, kicked the cheesey pasta craving, and I really liked the bread crumbs and parmesan on top.

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  133. Do you think I could make this up until the point of baking it, stick it into the freezer, and finish with baking in a couple of nights?

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  134. Laur - Sure, that should be fine. I would slightly under cook the pasta so it doesn't get mushy when you bake it.

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  135. This was amazing!

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  136. It's in the oven as we speak! I love WW recipes and especially homemade ones, such as what you've made.
    glassy~

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  137. Holy mother of god. This was amazing!! I can't wait for my vegetarian, mac and cheese-loving teenage daughter to get home and see how great it is. BTW . . .LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog. Great recipes and beautiful photography. Great job!!

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  138. We tried this tonight and LOVE it! Thank you!

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  139. This was so good. I'd been using the baked mac and cheese recipe on the WW site for years but it definitely tasted like a diet recipe. Your recipe, on the other hand, tasted really really creamy and cheesy and not low fat at all. Everyone in my house liked it, and we all agree that it's a keeper.

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  140. Another great recipe. I made this last night and used the sharpest reduced fat cheddar I could find. I also added freshly ground nutmeg and hot sauce to the melted cheese mixture. Next time I think I will eat the spinach on the side. I appreciate the idea of adding greens to the mac and cheese, but I think w/out them you would be hard pressed to tell it was "healthy". I froze my leftovers in individual portions and can't wait to eat it for lunch tomorrow.

    I just love your website and recipes. You are some kind of food genius!!

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  141. I made this for the second time tonight, and it was fabulous! The first time I made this I used a store brand cheese, and the results were dry. Lesson learned: don't skimp out on the cheese - when making a good mac and cheese dish, you need a high quality brand!
    This time I also sprinkled some feta cheese on top instead of the parmesean. I love the combo of spinach and feta, and this was awesome!
    Thanks Gina!

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  142. Yes September, not all cheese is created equal! I like Cabot and Sargento.

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  143. Hello,
    Can you make this recipe with mozzarella as well?

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  144. I suppose you could, it will chance the taste completely.

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  145. AMAZING AMAZING AMAZING! My husband gobbled it up and 2 1/2 year old had seconds! This looked beautiful and tasted INCREDIBLE! Thank you for helping me make my family healthier!!

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  146. Thumbs up from my family! I found your blog through MFP and am so happy I did. This was the recipe that brought me here so I knew it would have to the first one I tried. All I can say is it will not be the last. I made it with sharp cheese, it was store brand but I have always liked kroger's store brand and this turned out perfect. I also added a little garlic powder (ok,a lot of garlic powder, I really like my garlic :) and onion powder for a little more flavor impact. The sauce did take a little bit to thicken but I expected that with skim milk and didn't rush it. By the time I added the pasta it had thicken a bit to much, which may have produced the dryness that some have spoken of, no big deal though I just added more of the chicken broth and it was fine. This was really a treat, it turned out so much like our normal mac and cheese did, the kind we really can't make now that we are trying to lose weight, and I was able to eat a hefty serving rather then just a bite or two like I do the other stuff. I know you here it over and over but you really are doing something wonderful here. Thank you.

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  147. Thanks Shae, I love every comment I get! I'm glad this worked out great for you, I love this as well! Perfect comfort food!!

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  148. Yummmm!!! Oh this hit the spot, I felt sooo guilty eating it! I could only find Mexican cheese blend in 2% milk, it was still very yummy, but I will look at a few more stores to try and find the cheddar blend :) I have loved all your recipes! Thank you!

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  149. Gina, I have been a long follower of your blog but this is my first comment. I have lost 30 pounds with Weight Watchers and I have about the last 15 to thank of you. You have made cooking and eating healthy fun again. I anticipate your recipes every week! I also have the issue of having to be Gluten Free/Dairy Free/Egg Free. I have had a lot of fun converting your recipes to something I can eat.

    This recipe has been one of my favorites. My fiancee has asked me to make it again twice this week. To make it suitable for my allergies I use Brown Rice Pasta, Daiya Vegan Cheese, Unsweetened Coconut Milk and Smart Balance Light. Instead of breadcrumbs I use crunched up baked chips. And I up the onion a bit for some more flavor. I'm not 100% sure on how the points will change but I am so pleased with the flavor I could care less!!

    Thanks again for your blog!

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  150. I'm so glad you were able to convert this to suit your dietary needs! I wouldn't not have been able to figure that out so thanks for sharing!

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  151. Made this again tonight but put less spinich and added green chilis! Still delicious. (I also add chicken sausage.) I might get adventerous and make a "buffalo style" version one of these days. Thanks again for these life savers Gina!

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  152. Made this tonight for dinner! Amazing!

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  153. I made this last night and it was awesome! I halved the amount of pasta by replacing it with diced cauliflower florets and it was scrumptious! My 7yo is asking for this for leftovers for school!
    Thanks for a great recipe!

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  154. Friends brought us this for dinner last night (we had a baby 2 weeks ago) - it was DELICIOUS. Definitely bookmarking it to make on our own, too!

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  155. I did not care for this one too much. Mine came out pretty dry and not very tasty. Not sure what I did wrong. Only thing I changed is substituting the milk for Almond Milk since we don't keep regular milk in the house.

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  156. We really liked this recipe, even with the spinach my hubby enjoyed it (and I had my doubts). But I have a question: when I went to put it in recipe builder so I could track the points online, it came out to 8 points per serving instead of 7. Any ideas why. I double checked all the ingredients, measures and instructions.

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  157. Not sure, did you use the same cheese?

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  158. This recipe was a hit at our last dinner party! Thanks for letting me share it on my blog!

    http://ashleyscookingadventures.blogspot.com/2011/09/skinny-baked-mac-and-cheese.html

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  159. This was so delicious! The sauce took about 7-10 minutes to thicken after I added everything. I used an entire small yellow onion and added a few cloves of garlic because I enjoy the flavor. Couldn't find whole wheat bread crumbs anywhere so just used regular italian. Even my non-dieting roommates were exclaiming over the flavor!

    Thanks so much!

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  160. Just had this for lunch. Love how creamy the sauce is (and it thickened up perfectly). I followed instructions exactly this time, and it was pretty good - my daughter likes it. Next time I'm going to replace some of the cheese with a sharper variety of cheddar for a little more zing and maybe add a little mustard powder.

    Thanks so much! This is definitely a keeper.

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  161. I made this last week and didn't love it. I felt like it was spinach overload and didn't have that "macaroni taste." Please note that all of the recipes on this site have been great, so I'll keep trying other things.

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  162. This is by far my favorite recipe from your site. Upon my friend's recommendation, we made it a buffalo chicken low fat mac and cheese by adding a cup of hot sauce and 24 oz. of canned chicken! I am making this tomorrow! You are amazing Gina! Thank you for getting me excited about cooking again!

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  163. Like @parakiel, it came out to 8 points for me, too. Maybe my light butter isn't light enough...? Either way, it was wonderful. I am totally hooked on your site, Gina! :)

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  164. Dear Gina,
    I couple of years ago I was on a diet for a few months,it was very easy to follow my doctor´s advise, but sometimes you know we need to eat something diferent, so my doctor advised me this Spanish cheese she said I could eat with any thing as it was low fat, so I tried and I have to say I never got any weight back, so why don´t you give it a try,just have a look at this website and let me know what do you think.
    kind regards
    Ana
    http://www.asturiascheese.com/spanish-cheese/abredo-2

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  165. This Mac and Cheese is awesome!!! Throw a bunch of other veggies in the bottom of the pan - like broccoli!

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  166. Hi Gina!!

    I thought I'd add my experience too!

    This recipe is a hit at our house. I love that I can leave it as is or bulk it up with other veggies.

    As far as the sauce thickening, my husband refers to me as "THE IMPATIENT CHEF". Do I need to elaborate?? Basically, he often hears me say "I'm not sure if this is ready, but I'm done waiting."

    Point being, I waited for it to thicken and eventually it did.

    Thanks for sharing!! Such a great resource for foodies trying to be healthy!

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  167. Hey Gina, this is from a previous convo:

    "12 oz of dry pasta, don't measure the dry pasta by cups, it expands when cooking and you'll get the wrong measurement. Weigh the pasta before cooking. 2 oz dry usually yields approx 1 cup cooked."

    So you're saying don't measure it by cups but rather by weight? If so, does that mean I need to buy a scale? Sorry, I'm confused too.

    I'm making this for my family for Thanksgiving and want it to come out perfect so they have no clue it was made lighter. I'm trying to be sneaky. :)

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  168. This recipe is absolutely delicious. Thank you for making one of my all time favorites possible to eat again.

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  169. I am all for healthy mac and cheese especially if it tastes good. I am going to try mine with spinach next time I make it. Great recipe!

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  170. I made this tonight - hit with my hubby and my 2 year old. I was hesitant about the spinach, but it was great!! My embellishments: I added about 2 T of Dijon mustard, a few shakes of green Tabasco, some garlic power, and a dash of nutmeg before stirring in the cheese. This is definitely going in the rotation! Thanks again Gina!

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  171. I'd like to see an ACTUAL REVIEW from someone who went the extra mile to make one of these skinny dishes. Who cares if your going to make this dish today and that dish next week. Let us know the outcome and taste.

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  172. Gina,
    I love all of your recipes and I have to say this one has been a big hit in our home. We actually used Almond Milk and it came out great. I wanted to make Mini Max and Cheese for a BBQ this weekend do you think it will bake well in a muffin pan? If not do you have any ideas.
    Thanks Again.

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  173. I think they would bake ok in muffin tins, I would just bake it for less time.

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  174. Not sure if anyone suggested this because I didn't read through all the posts, but I think I'll substitute tofu shirataki elbow noodles for the pasta!

    Can't wait to try it!

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  175. dumb question...should the cheddar be grated?
    i'm excited to try it!

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  176. Found your website yesterday and I have already made 3 of your recipes. I made this one tonight and the family loved it. I actually used Unsweetened Almond Milk instead. It did take a while longer to thicken up, but worth the calories saved. I sauted mushrooms seperately and added it to my serving. Yum!

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  177. This is one of your best recipes!!!loovvve it!

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  178. I made this for the first time tonight and both my husband and I loved it! I added some cayenne pepper to spice it up a bit and it was very tasty.

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  179. Ohhhh I can't wait to make this tonight. I'll add some crushed red pepper flake or cayenne to the bread crumb mix. Might also use some center cut bacon and crumble a little over each serving. It will change the points but will be a nice treat. Did I mention I can't wait to make this!?!?

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  180. Made this along with your split pea soup tonight! It was superb! I will be making it again on Sunday to bring to my mother's house for the superbowl party we are having. It will go well with the pulled pork sliders we'll be having! Thanks for the recipe, Gina! What would you suggest is the best way to make this portable? Should I wait and bake it over at my parents house? Or reheat it? Thanks!

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  181. dreamgirl122/6/12, 6:32 PM

    Delicious!!!! This was easy to make and so yummy. I will definitely be making this again! Thanks!

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  182. I made this for Super Bowl Sunday and it was just o.k. I had to add more butter because it was not enough to get the flour cooked in. The bread crumbs did not really brown either, even thought I baked it for 20 minutes. It was pretty bland, so after it was baked I had to liven it up with some onion salt and stir it up, which helped. I'd make it again, but next time will add a lot more seasoning and maybe some mustard.

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  183. Tried this today. Recipe was easy to follow. Made a few adaptations so I had to adjust my points as my grocery store does not carry sargento reduced fat cheese. I used Kraft Fat Free cheddar. It was wonderful!!

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  184. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  185. I have tried lots of lo cal Mac and cheese recipes and this one is by far the BEST one!!! It was so creamy and delicious. Plus my kids ate it all up...spinach and all! Thank you!!!

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  186. I plan on making this on Tuesday and was wondering how much butter I should use, are you calling for 1 TBSP butter AND 1 TBSP Light butter? Why not just use 2 TBSP of Light butter for the entire recipe... I'm a little confused on that part. However, this sounds great and I am looking forward to making it! Your website is amazing!!!!

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  187. I have to say that this was amazing!!! I made it for the first time tonight and it came out so much better than expected and I am so excited to have a recipe for macaroni and cheese that I can actually eat on while on WW. Even my husband, who is very picky about eating "light" couldn't get enough. Thank you for this recipe!!! I can't wait to eat leftovers tomorrow!

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  188. Delicious! It didn't taste like I was eating lo cal mac & cheese by any means. In fact, this recipe was better than some of the regular mac & cheese recipes I've made in the past. Definitely a keeper. I'll be putting this recipe into my regular rotation.

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  189. I stumbled across your website via Pinterest. I am a novice at cooking to say the least and this was the first recipe I tried of yours - turned out perfect! Thanks so much and can't wait to try other recipes!

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  190. Gina, I've been craving mac n cheese so was thrilled to find this on your site! I'm new to cooking, and would like to use butternut squash so my DH will try it. How would you recommend substituting the squash for the spinach, for quantity? I bought cubed squash, should I cook it at all before adding it?

    many thanks to you and everyone adding tips in the comments!

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