Skinny and Vegetarian, Mexican Mac and Cheese Casserole

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Perfect for “Meatless Mondays” or anytime. This fiber packed mac and cheese has it all…It’s super rich tasting with great Mexican food flavors.  And, just a hint of spice.  If you want more, you can use a spicy salsa!  The skinny for 1 serving, 329 calories, 5 grams of fat, 8 Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS and 10 grams of fiber! I hope you get a chance to make this super yummy casserole!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook and Bake Time: 32 minutes (including the pasta)


Ingredients for Mac and Cheese:

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

1½ cups fat-free cottage cheese

1½ cups grape, sugar plum or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1¼ cups salsa, I used Pace Medium Chunky Salsa or choose a hot salsa if you like it super spicy

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

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

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

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Fresh ground pepper, to taste


Ingredients for Topping:

1 cup fat-free sour cream or nonfat Greek yogurt (plain)

½ cup scallions, sliced

½ cup shredded (2%) reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese

 

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. You can use a glass or metal pan.

2. Cook pasta and only cook 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, mix together cooked pasta, cottage cheese, tomatoes, salsa, beans and butter.  Blend in egg, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and pepper, to taste. Be sure to mix well.

4. Transfer pasta mixture to the baking pan. Bake casserole 20 minutes.

5. In the meantime, in a small bowl, mix together sour cream and scallions. Remove casserole from oven after 20 minutes and spread mixture over the top, using a rubber spatula. It’s a must to use a rubber spatula for spreading to prevent the casserole from lifting up. Next, sprinkle evenly with cheese. Place back in oven and bake about 6 minutes longer, until cheese is melted.

8. Remove from oven. Let casserole rest for 10 minutes. Cut into 6 serving. This casserole freeze great!

Makes 6 servings (each serving about 1½ cups)


Healthy Benefits

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

Black beans really pack a punch when it comes to protein and fiber. On average, each cup has about 15 grams of both protein and fiber.

Thanks to the whole grain pasta and black beans this mac and cheese has 10 grams of fiber per serving!!!


Shopping Tip

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.


Serving Tip

I like to serve this mac and cheese casserole with a really simple side salad. I use spring mix, shredded carrots, shredded purple and chopped tomatoes. If you have a Trader Joe’s, I love to toss this salad with their reduced-fat cilantro dressing. In addition, add just a small amount of honey mixed into the dressing before tossing with the salad. A little honey makes this dressing taste yummy!


Weight Watchers
(old points) 6

Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 8

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 serving (about 1½ cups)
329 calories, 5g fat, 21g protein, 52g carbs, 10g fiber, 795mg sodium, 10g sugar
FAT FACTS: for Marie Callender’s Macaroni and Cheese (1½ cups)
550 calories, 26g fat, 24g protein, 54g carbs, 6g fiber, 1646mg sodium, 13g sugar

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18 Responses to “Skinny and Vegetarian, Mexican Mac and Cheese Casserole”

  1. Jeni Says:

    Sounds yummy!

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks Jeni. I think it’s super yum! I hope you get a chance to make it.
    Best,
    Nancy

  3. Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen Says:

    Love it! Now if I could just sneak a meatless meal in on the Mr I would be doing good LOL Thanks for sharing it on Manic Monday!

  4. admin Says:

    You crack me up Bobbi! Love your Manic Mondays!!!
    bobbiskozykitchen.blogspot.com

  5. Debbie H Says:

    Can you use canned diced tomatoes instead of the fresh?

  6. admin Says:

    Although I’ve never tried this recipe with canned tomatoes, I’m sure it will work. Just be sure to drain the liquid completely.
    I’d love to hear how it turned out Debbie!
    Best of luck,
    Nancy

  7. 2013 Healthy Meal Plan: Week 20 « Half Size Me Says:

    […] Mexican Mac and Cheese Casserole (8PP per serving from Skinny Kitchen) […]

  8. admin Says:

    Heather, thanks so much for sharing my Mexican Mac and Cheese Casserole!.
    I hope you enjoy it.
    All the best,
    Nancy

  9. Robin Says:

    Nancy can I use greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

  10. admin Says:

    You sure can Robin!

  11. SF Says:

    I’ve been craving ac and cheese. This looks good. I think I am going to try this recipe this weekend.

  12. admin Says:

    Sounds like a yummy plan to me!

  13. Andrea May Says:

    Just tried this recipe last night and LOVED it. After my boyfriend was eating out all week traveling for work, we were both thrilled to have a filling but healthy dinner together. If I did it again, I would try bell peppers instead of the tomatoes, but overall AWESOME. Thanks!

  14. admin Says:

    I love your feedback Andrea. I’m so happy you and your boyfriend enjoyed this recipe! I think red bell pepper would taste great.
    All the best,
    Nancy

  15. Andrea May Says:

    Nancy – I tried it again the following week I had loved it so much. This time I replaced the tomatoes with a bell pepper, and also added some ground turkey. Great again!

  16. admin Says:

    Wonderful Andrea. Thanks for sharing!
    My best,
    Nancy

  17. Food and Fitness Plan Week #6 | Running makes me ____________! Says:

    […] Tuesday: Creamy Dijon Chicken Wednesday: Out to dinner!  Maybe Angry Bear Kitchen? Thursday: Mexican Macaroni and Cheese Friday:Lots of meal prep. Making Cincinnati chili for friends who have newborn twins at home, then […]

  18. admin Says:

    Sounds like a yummy week of food. Thanks so much for including my Skinny Mexican Mac and Cheese Casserole!
    All the best,
    Nancy

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