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Low Fat Three Cheese Mac and Cheese, Made From a Box But Healthier

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For years I’ve been on the quest for a decadent tasting, classic macaroni and cheese that’s low in calories and fat. So many recipes ended up in the trash. I was about to give up when I realized for years I’d been making a boxed recipe for my kids and it was a little healthier. In addition to the package of cheese from the box, I’d add reduced-fat butter instead of regular, reduced-fat milk and add a little reduced-fat cheese.  All of a sudden a light bulb went off!  I could doctor up a whole grain box by adding all healthy ingredients and make it even cheesier and a little gourmet! The results are a dreamy, cheesy, rich tasting mac and cheese!  The skinny for 1 serving, 283 calories, 6 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber and 7 Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS.  My entire family loves this recipe and I hope yours does too!

Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes


Ingredients for Macaroni:

! (6oz) box Whole Grain Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

¼ cup reduced-fat cottage cheese or fat-free ricotta cheese

¼ cup reduced-fat milk

3 tablespoons reduced-fat cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon reduced-fat butter or Smart Balance Light

1¼ chopped tomatoes, grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, drain liquid


Ingredients for Crumb Topping:

1 slice multigrain bread or whole wheat bread, I like Milton’s

1 teaspoon reduced-fat butter or Smart Balance Light


Instructions

1. Cook macaroni according to package directions but cook al dente. Set aside the package of cheese to add later.

2. To make the bread crumbs: Toast the bread. Add to a blender and pulse to make crumbs.

3. While macaroni is cooking, in a small pan or pot, melt 1 teaspoon of reduced-fat butter. Add bread crumbs and mix to coat.

4. Drain macaroni. Add back to pot and mix in the package of cheese from the box, cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, milk, cheddar cheese and 1 tablespoon butter. Mix well. Stir in the tomatoes. Remove from heat.

5. Coat a 9 x 9” pan with cooking spray. Add the macaroni and cheese and spread evenly.
Sprinkle with bread crumbs evenly over the top. Set aside until just ready to serve.

5. When ready to serve, set the broiler rack on the second line, not the very top. Preheat broiler. Place under broiler and cook until bread crumbs are golden brown. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

6. Remove from oven, cut into 4 squares. Using a spatula, remove each serving onto a plate.

Makes 4 servings (about 1 cup each)


Food Facts

The exact origin of macaroni and cheese is unknown, though it most likely hails from Northern Europe, with the earliest known recorded recipe being scribbled down in 1769. A staple of American cuisine, the creamy combo made its way to the United States courtesy of Thomas Jefferson, while visiting France. He feel in love with the fashionable pasta dishes served there.

Kraft Foods introduced its boxed macaroni and cheese in 1937, when America was in the throes of the Great Depression. The product could serve 4 for 19 cents. The company sold 8 million boxes of its quick-and-easy macaroni and cheese in a year!


Healthy Benefits

Switching to whole grain pasta is much better for you. You may even prefer its heartier taste. Each serving has 5 grams of fiber.

Reduced-fat cottage cheese or ricotta cheese is low in fat, calories and cholesterol. It’s a very good source of vitamins B12 and calcium.


Shopping Tip

Happily boxed Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is now available using whole grain pasta. Most supermarkets sell it in the same section where the boxes of classic mac and cheese are displayed.


Weight Watchers
(old points) 5

Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 7

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 serving (~1 cup)
283 calories, 6g fat, 11g protein, 46g carbs, 5g fiber, 605mg sodium, 7g sugar
FAT FACTS: for 1 serving (1 cup) with full fat ingredients
423calories, 21g fat, 16g protein, 43g carbs, 2g fiber, 928mg sodium, 6g sugar

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9 Responses to “Low Fat Three Cheese Mac and Cheese, Made From a Box But Healthier”

  1. Jess Says:

    One of my favorite “College Recipes” is taking a whole grain Annie’s mac-n-cheese mix and throwing in tomato sauce or salsa plus a ton of fresh or lightly sauteed vegetables. It’s so good! I’ll have to try it with the cottage cheese idea, though – that sounds great too!

  2. admin Says:

    Jess, I also like Anne’s mac and cheese especially the white cheddar. Adding salsa and veggies sounds like a delicious idea! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jacki Says:

    I’m not sure if I missed it, but does the box of Whole Grain Kraft Macaroni & Cheese have a packet of powdered cheese? If so, where is this added or is it complete omited?

  4. admin Says:

    I’m so sorry I didn’t make it clear. Yes, you add the package of cheese. After the macaroni is cooked, drain macaroni. Add back to pot and mix in the package of cheese from the box, cottage cheese, milk, cheddar cheese and 1 tablespoon butter. Mix well. Stir in the tomatoes. Remove from heat.

    Thanks so much Jacki for letting me know. I’ve added this step to the recipe!

  5. agents london Says:

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your web site!

  6. admin Says:

    Thank you!!!

  7. Faseela Says:

    yummy

  8. Tianna Says:

    This sounds delicious, and I want to try it soon with my family. However, they are pretty picky with food, and cottage cheese isn’t a favorite. Anything I could substitute it with, or will it hide nicely?

  9. admin Says:

    Tianna, the reason I’ve added cottage cheese is to make this mac and cheese much more cheesy tasting without having to add more reduced-fat cheese. This keeps the skinny facts in check. You actually can’t tell it’s got cottage cheese in it. It mostly melts. That said, you could leave it out and add more reduced-fat cheese instead.
    Best of luck to you.
    Nancy

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