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Sinfully Rich and Skinny Macaroni & Cheese, Italian-Style

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Get ready to make the most amazing mac and cheese, skinny or not!!! This casserole is so over the top rich and is completely vegetarian. Using a store bought container of light Alfredo sauce transforms ordinary mac and cheese into extraordinary! To make it super cheesy and keep it skinny, I’m adding fat-free cottage cheese or ricotta cheese to the sauce and topping the casserole with a small amount of reduced-fat mozzarella. The skinny for 1 serving, 293 calories, 9 grams of fat and 7 Weight Watchers Points PLUS.  Great to make for the family and truly fabulous to impress company. If you’re looking to try “Meatless Mondays” here’s a wonderful recipe to start with!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook and Bake Time: 40 minutes


Ingredients

2 cups (8 ounces) dry Barilla Whole Grain Elbows pasta or penne, see shopping tip

1 (10 oz) container Buitoni Light Alfredo Sauce, see shopping tip

1 (9 oz) package frozen and thawed chopped spinach, well drained

1 cup fat-free cottage cheese or fat-free ricotta cheese

¼ cup fat-free milk

1 tablespoon reduced-fat butter or Smart Balance Light, melted

1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon dried basil

1 egg, I like using Egg-land’s Best eggs

A small dash of salt and black pepper, to taste

½ cup shredded (2%) reduced-fat mozzarella cheese


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Coat a 9×9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. You can use glass or metal.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Cook only for 6 minutes so it will not be overcooked. No need to add salt to water! Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain again.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together Alfredo sauce, drained spinach, cottage cheese, milk, butter and garlic. Add pasta and mix really well. Blend in egg, basil, salt and pepper. Be sure it’s all mixed together well.

4.Transfer pasta to the prepared baking dish.

5. Sprinkle the top evenly with mozzarella cheese

6. Bake casserole 25 minutes until golden brown. Let casserole rest for 10
minutes. Cut into 6 serving. This casserole freeze great!

Makes 6 servings (about 1½ cups each)


Healthy Benefits

I love the fiber-rich whole grain pasta available in the supermarket today. Barilla Whole Grain Elbows contains 6 grams of fiber for a 2 ounce serving!

Frozen spinach might just be more nutritious than fresh. The nutritional benefit of fresh spinach, in just four days in the crisper, can be greatly reduced.  Frozen spinach is processed immediately after being picked, locking in the nutrients.


Shopping Tips

Use Buitoni Light Alfredo Sauce, if possible. It comes in a 10 ounce container and can be found in most supermarkets in the refrigerator section, where fresh pasta and sauces are displayed. If you can’t find it, there are several brands of jarred light Alfredo sauces in the pasta aisle. They come in a larger, 15 ounce jar, so you’ll have some leftover.

There are several brands of whole wheat or whole grain small pasta that will work for this recipe. I used Barilla Whole Grain Elbows pasta. It looks like a macaroni shell. You could also use a whole grain or whole wheat penne or rigatoni pasta, if desired.


Weight Watchers
old points 6
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS
7

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 serving (about 1½ cups each)
293 calories, 9g fat, 18g protein, 36g carbs, 5g fiber, 593mg sodium, 5g sugar
FAT FACTS: for 1 serving made with full fat ingredients
429 calories, 28g fat, 22g protein, 22g carbs, 2g fiber, 1172mg sodium, 2g sugar

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70 Responses to “Sinfully Rich and Skinny Macaroni & Cheese, Italian-Style”

  1. Carrie @ My FAvorite Finds Says:

    This looks wondeful! I love homemade mac and cheese. THanks for sharing at Must Try Monday.

  2. Lois Christensen Says:

    I love homemade mac and cheese! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday! Please come back on Sunday to VOTE!

  3. admin Says:

    Thanks Lois. See you Sunday!

  4. Charlene@APinchofJoy Says:

    This sounds fabulous – love the alfredo sauce idea. Pinned (and ZipListed). Thanks so much for sharing on Busy Monday!

  5. admin Says:

    Thanks so much Charlene. Also, thanks a bunch for hosting Busy Monday!

  6. Diane Balch Says:

    I love this… it’s like a light white lasagna. Thank you for sharing your recipe on foodie friday.

  7. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom) Says:

    Soooo tasty. Wish I had some right now.

  8. admin Says:

    Thanks Susan! Also thanks for helping to promote other sites on your FB page-http://www.facebook.com/5minutesformom

  9. Jenny Says:

    I just saw this new posting on flaunt. I go there like once a week to see new foods. But on your profile there I only saw one food posting! =0( oh well, i guess 1 was enough cuz i found your site! Flaunt Your Food Girl!~ =p)

  10. admin Says:

    I’m new to Flaunt My Food so keeping checking back. I plan to share many more! Thanks Jenny.

  11. JennyH Says:

    I made this for dinner last night with some steamed broccoli on the side. It was SO good, with tons leftover. Thank you!

  12. admin Says:

    Thanks for the great feedback Jenny! This is such a favorite in my house, I plan to share tomorrow for the first “Meatless Monday” of 2013!

  13. Sonya Says:

    This looks yummy :) I’m new to this…..could you please tell me how much one servings size is (1/2 cup etc.)? Thank you.

  14. admin Says:

    Sonya, this casserole is cut into 6 servings so I’m not quite sure the servings in cups. I suggest when you make it and then cut into the 6 servings and scoop out each. Sorry I couldn’t quite answer your question.

  15. Michelle Says:

    What can I substitute for the cottage cheese? I am not a fan of cc :(

    Thanks

  16. admin Says:

    Michelle, you really don’t taste the cottage cheese at all. It mostly melts into the mac and cheese. But, you could substitute with fat-free ricotta cheese, if you like. Most supermarkets sell it in containers in the cheese aisle.

  17. admin Says:

    Sonya, I just figured out this recipe makes about 1½ cups for each serving. I just added this information to my site!

  18. Sonya Says:

    Thank you! :)

  19. Joy from Yesterfood Says:

    This really does look very good! I like the idea of being able to freeze it, too. Thanks! :)

  20. admin Says:

    Thank you…Enjoy!

  21. la gourmande Says:

    ahh super un blog qui fais weight watchers comme moi !!!
    Je m’inscrit a ta newsletter
    a bientôt

  22. admin Says:

    Merci! :-)

  23. Angela Says:

    I made this last night and it was delicious!! Definitely satisfied my craving for something bad;) Plenty of great flavor and a wonderful mac and cheese texture! I will be making this again for sure. Thank you for all these great recipes!

  24. admin Says:

    Angela, thanks for taking the time to give me your feedback. I’m thrilled you enjoyed this mac and cheese!
    Thanks for joining me on Skinny Kitchen.
    Best wishes,
    Nancy

  25. Jodi Says:

    I made this for dinner tonight. It was tasty and easy! Thanks!

  26. admin Says:

    Jodi, thanks so much for your feedback. I’m so glad you enjoyed this mac and cheese!
    Best wishes,
    Nancy

  27. Sinfully Rich and Skinny Macaroni & Cheese, Italian-Style with Weight Watchers Points | Skinny Kitchen | MOM2MY5 Says:

    [...] Sinfully Rich and Skinny Macaroni & Cheese, Italian-Style with Weight Watchers Points | Skinny K…. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… This entry was posted on June 11, 2013. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment [...]

  28. Lisa @ Flour Me With Love Says:

    This sounds and looks delicious! Thanks for sharing at Mix it up Monday :)

  29. admin Says:

    Thanks Lisa!

  30. christina Says:

    how many servings does this make? they give the nutrition information per serving but i’m not sure how many servings in total this recipe makes. thanks!

  31. admin Says:

    Christina, this recipe makes 6 servings (about 1½ cups each)

  32. tori Says:

    This looks delicious! Thanks for linking up to Tell Me Tuesday! You will be featured this week:) Have a good one!

  33. admin Says:

    I’m so excited Tori. I’ll check it out tomorrow. Thank you!!!
    With my best wishes,
    Nancy

  34. Tell Me Tuesday Link Party! Says:

    [...] – The Tip Toe Fairy//Smores – The First Year Blog// Skinny Mac and Cheese – Skinny Kitchen Kindergarten photo ideas- Measurements of Merriment// Momopause – My Love for Words [...]

  35. admin Says:

    I’m so excited to see you featured my Skinny Mac and Cheese. Thanks so much Emily! Great link party.
    All the best to you,
    Nancy

  36. Jeanne Says:

    I’m making this to freeze for after my baby is born. Would it be better to freeze before or after baking?
    Thanks!

  37. admin Says:

    First off Jeanne, how exciting about your baby boy! Sounds like you are getting very organized. So smart!
    I’d bake this casserole and then freeze it. You can either freeze the entire casserole or divide into individual or 2 serving sizes and then freeze. Just be sure to wrap everything really well first. You could use plastic containers and mark them for your freezer.
    Best of luck to you!
    Nancy

  38. Kim Says:

    I love this recipe and it is on the menu whenever ,y fiancé is home. He is home for 30 days and then gone for 30 days at a time. I would like to make this for my lunches and freeze, do you think I could do individual portions in muffin tins and bake them that way?

  39. admin Says:

    I’m thrilled you both love this mac and cheese Kim! Although I never tried baking this in muffin tins, I’m sure it would work just fine. Or you could bake it the way the recipe says to and cut into individual servings and freeze each in small plastic containers.
    All the best to you,
    Nancy

  40. Kim Says:

    I am going to try it this weekend. I will let you know. :)

  41. Kristin Says:

    Oh yum! Another amazing recipe! Pinning to our Tips and Tricks Tuesday board!

  42. admin Says:

    You are so nice. Thanks again for the fun link party Kristin! See you next week.

  43. 15 Lunch Meals Under 450 Calories Says:

    [...] Recipe & Photo credit to skinnykitchen.com [...]

  44. admin Says:

    Thank you so much for including my skinny macaroni and cheese in your yummy list!

  45. Pam@over50feeling40 Says:

    I am afraid to make this…I might eat the whole thing…it sounds awesome!

  46. Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered) Says:

    I think I need to move into your house. I’m so loving these recipes. Especially this one. :)

  47. admin Says:

    You are so funny Andrea. I’m so glad you’re enjoying my recipes. Thank you!

  48. admin Says:

    I hear ya Pam. But it’s so much fun to have leftovers. Enjoy!

  49. More Meatless Recipes | Northwest Ohio Primary Care Physicians Says:

    […] Skinny Kitchen – Sinfully Rich and Skinny Macaroni & Cheese […]

  50. admin Says:

    So sweet of you to share my skinny recipe. Thank you!
    All the best,
    Nancy

  51. crale Says:

    Will it be ok to just use Greek yogurts instead of cottage cheese or ricotta cheese

  52. admin Says:

    Although I haven’t tried it that way I think it will still taste good. It will have a creamy texture but you’ll loose some of the cheese flavor. If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear how it turned out!

  53. Andrea B (@goodgirlgonered) Says:

    This looks really good. :) REALLY good!

  54. Linda (Meal Planning Maven) Says:

    Nancy, My girls would be in love with this dish! Great for weeknight family dinners as well as company. Thanks for another terrific “skinny” recipe!

  55. admin Says:

    Have fun with this one Linda!

  56. admin Says:

    Thanks Andrea. Enjoy!

  57. Jody Says:

    I made this without the mozzarella cheese on top – I sprinkled some whole wheat bread crumbs on top, to save some points. Delish. My teacher friends asked to taste this at work on Friday, and I just made both of them a small pan for lunch for the week. We teach Summer School.
    Great recipe, love it — used brown rice pasta.

  58. admin Says:

    Thanks for the yummy feedback Jody. All of your changes sound great. What a nice friend you are. Hope they enjoy their lunch!

  59. Carol Cassara Says:

    How interesting! WHERE do you come up with these great ideas?

  60. admin Says:

    It’s my passion for sure Carol. Thanks!

  61. Haralee Says:

    This sounds good but i have yet to fall in love with shoe wheat pasta! I want to I really do!

  62. admin Says:

    You could ease into it by using 1/2 regular and 1/2 whole grain. But don’t use it if you really don’t like it Haralee. Get your fiber another way. Enjoy!

  63. Ava Chin Says:

    Great idea for Meatless Mondays! Thanks for posting. I like Jody’s idea of whole wheat bread crumbs as well!

  64. admin Says:

    The whole wheat bread crumbs sound good to me too Ava. Enjoy!

  65. Maggy Says:

    Another wonderful recipe! I’m not of fan of ricotta or cottage cheese, but it looked so good that I had to try it. I’m so glad that I did! I never would have guessed there was cottage cheese in it. I did swap out the spinach for 2 cups of chopped raw broccoli which gave it a nice crunch. I also added 2 cups of cooked ground turkey to make this a complete meal. In the last several months I’ve cooked dozens of your recipes and they rarely disappoint. As of today, I’ve lost 39 pounds thanks to all your wonderful recipes. =) Thank you! =)

  66. admin Says:

    First off, congratulations Maggy on all the weight you’ve lost!!! That’s fantastic. I’m so happy you’re enjoying my recipes.
    You’ve just proved that you can eat very decadent, be healthy and loose weight too with my skinny recipes!
    And you’re so right about the cottage cheese in this recipe. You don’t have to be a fan of it. It just melts into the casserole and creates a lovely cheese flavor and texture.
    Thanks for sharing your additions. They sound wonderful!
    With my very best wishes,
    Nancy

  67. Andrea Says:

    This sounds awesome, but Im not a fan of alfredo sauce, would I need something else in its place.

  68. admin Says:

    I’m not sure what else you could use Andrea since I haven’t tried an alternative. Sorry. Maybe a can of mushroom soup, undiluted?

  69. Diane Says:

    Made this tonight for my daughter and grandkids. It is ahhhh-some!!! Thanks!

  70. admin Says:

    Fantastic Diane! I’m really happy to hear that. Thanks for letting me know!
    My best,
    Nancy

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