RecipeMac and Cheese

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
  • Calories: 419
  • Protein: 25 g
  • Total Fat: 13 g
    • Saturated Fat: 6 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 7 g
  • Cholesterol: 35 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 58 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 6 g
  • Total Sugar: 4.5 g
    • Natural Sugar: 4.5g
    • Added Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 680 mg
Take Note

Contains Wheat/Gluten

A few years back, my daughter Ayden pleaded for a healthy rendition of Mac and Cheese. I tested and tweaked until I came up with the perfect spin, and then I recently tried baking the recipe in a muffin tin in individual portions for a fun presentation (check out instructions at end). It worked! These adorable single serve muffins are ideal for little hands—and adults, too.

  • Prep time
  • Total Time
This recipe makes 6 servings
  • • 1 box (14 ounces) whole-grain elbow macaroni
  • • 2¼ cups skim milk
  • • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • • 1 bay leaf
  • • ½ teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt
  • • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • • 3 to 5 drops hot sauce
  • • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • • 10 ounces (or 2½ cups) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • • 2 tablespoons whipped butter or trans-fat free buttery spread

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and follow the directions on the package for al dente pasta.

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.

In a small bowl or cup, mix the cornstarch with the remaining ¼ cup milk. Add the cornstarch mixture to  the saucepan and stir to combine. Return the sauce to a simmer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thick.

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.

Drain the macaroni (do not rinse), and return it to the pot.

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.

Serving Size: 1.5 cups

To make Mac and Cheese Muffins: Liberally mist 1 to 2 standard muffin tins with non-stick oil spray. Split the macaroni mixture among 20 muffin tins (about ¼ cup mac and cheese in each). Sprinkle ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese over the tops and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the tops are slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes so the muffins have a chance to firm up before serving. After muffins have slightly cooled, carefully remove by loosening up the sides and enjoy. 

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