Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese

This healthy, homemade macaroni and cheese recipe is topped with plenty of golden breadcrumbs. If you want to add a little flair to this healthy macaroni and cheese, use aged Gruyere instead of Cheddar and add extra ingredients like peas, chopped cooked mushrooms or chopped ham. This recipe makes more Cream Sauce without the Cream than you’ll need for the macaroni and cheese. Refrigerate or freeze the extra sauce and use it in place of heavy cream in any sauce or soup that calls for cream.

From EatingWell: January/February 2013
Yield: 4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each
Active Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours


Cream Sauce without the Cream

  1. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 cup finely chopped onion
  3. 2/3 cup long- or medium-grain white rice
  4. 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or “no-chicken” broth (see Tip)
  5. 1 cup dry white wine
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  7. Freshly ground pepper, preferably white

Mac & Cheese

  1. 8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat elbow noodles or other small pasta
  2. 2 1/2 cups Cream Sauce without the Cream
  3. 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar or Gruyère cheese
  4. Freshly ground pepper to taste
  5. Hot sauce to taste
  6. 3/4 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tip)
  7. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  8. 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  9. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


  1. To prepare cream sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add broth and wine and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the rice is very soft and the liquid is greatly reduced, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree, in batches if necessary, until smooth. (Alternatively, puree in the pot with an immersion blender.) The consistency should be similar to a pourable sauce; add more broth or water as needed. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, preferably white pepper.
  3. To prepare mac & cheese: Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 6-cup (or similar-size) baking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook 3 to 4 minutes less than the package directions. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  5. Combine 2 1/2 cups of the Cream Sauce and Cheddar (or Gruyère) in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until melted. Season with pepper and hot sauce. Pour the sauce over the pasta and gently stir to combine. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley and 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl and sprinkle over the casserole.
  6. Bake until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Tips & Notes


Nutrition Per Serving: 511 calories; 17 g fat (8 g sat, 7 g mono); 34 mg cholesterol; 64 g carbohydrates; 23 g protein; 6 g fiber; 712 mg sodium; 328 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Calcium (32% daily value), Magnesium (22% dv), Zinc (21% dv), Iron (18% dv).

4 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 4 1/2 starch, 1/2 lean meat, 1 high-fat meat, 1 fat