RecipeMac and Cheese

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
  • Calories: 290
  • Protein: 18 g
  • Total Fat: 11 g
    • Saturated Fat: 6 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 30 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 35 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0 g
  • Total Sugar: 5 g
    • Natural Sugar: 5 g
    • Added Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 360 mg
Take Note

Contains Wheat/Gluten

A few years back, my daughter Ayden Jane pleaded for a healthier rendition of Mac and Cheese (she is a self-proclaimed connoisseur). I tested and tweaked until I came up with a delicious yet lightened-up spin. We all agreed this recipe is a winner—it’s creamy and satisfying, with plenty of cheesy goodness to go around. Some of the sauce ingredients, like soy sauce and the option for hot sauce, may seem odd… but trust me, it all comes together and delivers the classic flavors we love and crave in a mac and cheese. Whether you’re feeding a crowd or just looking for a cozy weeknight dinner, a bowl of this will fill your belly with sheer happiness!

For a baked version, simply transfer the cheesy mixture into a casserole pan, sprinkle grated parmesan over the top, and bake in the oven for 4 to 7 minutes.

  • Prep time
  • Total Time
This recipe makes 9 servings
  • • 1 box (~14 ounces) whole-grain elbow macaroni
  • • 2 cup 2% low-fat milk, divided
  • • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • • 1 bay leaf
  • • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • • 3 to 5 drops hot sauce, optional
  • • 10 ounces (or 2 ½ cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • • 2 tablespoons butter
  • • ¼ to ½ cup grated Parmesan, optional for sprinkling on top

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and follow the directions on the package for al dente pasta. Drain macaroni (do not rinse), and return it to the pot.

While the macaroni is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce: In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups of the milk with the soy sauce, onion powder, dry mustard, paprika, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Place the mixture over medium heat, and cook until it comes to a gentle simmer.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and add the shredded cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and no lumps remain. Add the butter to the cheese sauce and stir until it is completely melted and combined.

Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked macaroni and stir until everything is coated. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and let the macaroni and cheese to sit for 10 minutes, to allow the sauce to thicken before serving.

Spoon into bowls, or make a baked casserole version by transferring the contents to a 9- x 13-inch baking dish coated with oil spray. Sprinkle Parmesan over the top. Place under a preheated broiler for 4 to 7 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy; check often to make sure the cheese does not burn.

Nutrition provided per one cup.

For more pasta recipes, try my Penne alla Vodka and Kale Pasta Pesto!