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low-fat mac and cheese

is there such a thing as GOOD low-fat mac and cheese?

please post a recipe!

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  1. There's one in the Best Light Recipe book by Cooks Illustrated. It's quite good. I suggest you check out the book. Lots of great Lite recipes.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Davwud

      I tried the Best Light recipe one with Cabot low-fat cheddar and *hated* it. Very off tasting and chemically. It was my first experience with low-fat cheese, though. I guess it's an acquired taste?

      1. re: annex

        I should admit. I've only made it as a casserole with other things. Mostly tuna.
        The low fat cheddar we get here is top notch. As far as light cheeses go. I go for the old and it's more like a medium of the regular. Still it's quite good.


    2. I made one the other night from the NY Times a while back with cottage cheese. I used low-fat, and low-fat cheddar, and it turned out delicious! The best thing is, it's so easy. No pre-boiling the pasta. You can find the recipe online pretty easily if you google "New York Times macaroni and cheese"

      1. Moosewood low fat favourites cookbook has a fantastic one. It uses cottage cheese and a small amount of extra old cheddar but then mustard, nutmeg and a pureed onion - which oddly enough makes it seem very cheesy tasting - I think the onion is the trick. We follow the recipe to the letter but then crush cornflakes and sprinkle them on top before baking.

        I've tried to find the recipe online but can't - has anyone else seen it?

        If not it's worth the cost of the book for that recipe alone.

        2 Replies
          1. re: hummingbird

            this is it! thanks!

            I don't add spinach and instead of bread crumbs use crushed cornflakes. I LOVE that you don't have to pre boil the pasta.

        1. Wish I could just give you a link, but this is an old recipe from Bon Appetit. I've been using it for ages and love it. I'm sure you could omit the veggies it you wanted.

          Mac and Cheese

          2 cups dried tubular pasta, such as elbow macaroni, penne or rigatoni
          2 medium carrots cut into 1/4 inch slices
          5 oz. broccoli florets
          1 cup lowfat cottage cheese
          1 T Dijon mustard
          1/4 t Tabasco or to taste
          salt and pepper
          4 oz. lowfat cheddar (preferably sharp)
          4 oz. part skim mozzarella
          1 T freshly grated Parmesan

          Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook 2 minutes. Add broccoli and cook 2 minutes. Drain pasta and vegetables reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta and vegetables to pot.

          Preheat oven to 400. Spray 1 1/2 quart soufflé dish with non-stick spray. Blend cottage cheese, reserved pasta cooking liquid, mustard and Tabasco in processor until smooth. Stir into pasta and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in cheddar and mozzarella. Transfer to prepared dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until top begins to brown, about 20 minutes.

          1. I'm not proud of this, but it turns out to be low fat, very easy, and delicious. That's all I ask and this idea delivers. I only bought the Velveeta macaroni and shells because it was on sale for ONE DOLLAR. It don't like mortar-like stodgy macaroni & cheese at all, but I like the concept of creamy mac n' cheese and I wanted to find my way with it, and I succeeded. You'll need some good grated parmesan, some yogurt or quark, and a bunch of broccoli. I think you could also add some fried, with a tiny amount of oil, mushrooms.

            Make the Mac & Velveeta al dente (I KNOW, I hate the very idea of it too - but it's really good, I promise), after the noodles have boiled about 3 minutes add the broccoli flowerettes and tender branches - chopped to 1/2" and finish cooking. Drain and mix with the horrible Velveeta they give you in the mix, about 1/3 cup parm., about 1/3 cup plain yogurt or quark, and fresh ground pepper. Mix well.

            1. thanks.... i went to barnes and noble and wrote down the recipe for the cooks illustrated one.
              but now the other ones do sound better.... but i already bought the ingredients!
              oh well i'll give it a shot anyway!!!

              niki: i love velveeta. my mom makes the most wonderful (full fat) mac and cheese with velveeta. she makes a white sauce, adds a ton of velveeta, mixes it with cooked macaroni, puts it in a baking dish... tops it with breadcrumbs, dots with butter, and bake until golden. ALWAYS loved this as a kid, and i still do! even delicious the next day, two , three... :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: junglekitte

                I'll give it this - it has a good texture. With mac n' cheese it's way easy for it to be gummy, grainy, starchy, fatty. But the nasty Velveeta - it's got the right texture.

              2. i hope you like it! i still love it every time my mama makes it

                1. Has anyone tried Ellie Krieger's mac & cheese?


                  She's the Food Network nutritionist who recently did a show on "good for you" versions of comfort food. Her mac & cheese features pureed butternut squash along with relatively small amounts of full-fat cheese.

                  I kinda like her show, and her apple muffins (different episode) are quite tasty. But I'm not quite sure if I'm ready for squash in my mac & cheese. So I'm curious if anyone else has tried it and has a verdict.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                    I've made Ellie Krieger's mac and cheese several times, and it is very good. I could not find the pureed winter squash (not even WF had it) so I subbed a little over 1 lb. of roasted butternut squash. I also replaced the ricotta with the same amount of low-fat sour cream, assuming Ellie would approve of that, and it was wonderful. It's important though to use the absolute best cheddar and parmegiano you can afford because it helps to cut the sweet taste of the squash.

                    1. re: arlingtonite

                      You can find frozen squash puree in almost every grocery store. Bird's Eye, Green Giant - all the standard companies make it. In any case, you can sub canned pumpkin.

                  2. Make sure you choose a recipe with some form of starch. Starch is vital for stabilizing the cheese and preventing it from curdling. Fat helps prevent curdling, so low fat cheeses curdling a lot easier than full fat ones.

                    A roux is ideal, but you have to be careful with the amount of fat you add. I've done dry roux successfully, but it's tricky. The easiest route would probably be making a slurry with part of the skim milk.

                    Skim milk + flour slurry + small amount of full fat aged cheddar + a slice or two of American cheese.

                    Even with a flour slurry, you don't want to bring the sauce to a boil.

                    1. so i made the cooks illustrated version. i used the recipe almost exactly except i did it with lowcarb macaroni and i added a TOUCH of fullfat sharp cheddar to give it a little more flavor.
                      but it was pretty good!

                      i should have stopped there..but i topped it with breadcrumbs and baked it in the oven. the oven temp was off. i meant to brown it quickly but my clients oven is wacky and it ended up baking a bit too long and it soaked up most of the sauce as a result. would have been much better if i left it as is.

                      thanks! :D