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Lighter, But Still Delicious, Mac & Cheese

Lighter, But Still Delicious, Mac & Cheese


Yes, it can be done! You can get all the goodness of homemade mac and cheese, and not as many calories. Though it’s certainly not a diet food, this recipe for macaroni and cheese sure takes the calories and fat down a notch or two.

Lighter, But Still Delicious, Mac & Cheese


  • Coarse salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • 1/2 Pound short, tubular pasta, like macaroni, cavatappi, or penne
  • 2 Cups broccoli, cut in florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Small yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground mustard
  • 5 Tablespoons flour
  • 5 Ounces Neufchatel cheese
  • 3 Cups 1% milk
  • 1 1/4 Cups grated extra-sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 Cup toasted panko

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta in boiling salted water. Three minutes before the package says it is done, add broccoli. Continue cooking for 3 minutes. Drain pasta and broccoli.
2. While you’re cooking the pasta, heat oil over medium-high in a large pan. Stir in onion, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and mustard. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Stir in flour and cooking for an additional 1 minute, stirring the entire time. Add 1 tablespoon of Neufchatel cheese at a time, continuing to stir, until the cheese incorporates fully. Whisk in milk gradually, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring constantly, for another 3 minutes. Off the heat, add cheddar and parmesan, stirring to combine. Add pasta/broccoli and coat well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Place pasta in an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until bubbling in the center. Sprinkle panko over macaroni and cheese. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Recipe Credit: Martha Stewart.

More Fall Recipes:
Autumn Bread Salad
Pumpkin Mulled Wine
Pumpkin Salted Caramels
Fall Veggie Pot Pie with Rosemary Biscuit Crust


Read more: All recipes, Eating for Health, Entrees, Food, Side Dishes, Vegetarian, , , , ,

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


+ add your own
12:00AM PDT on Oct 29, 2013

This look very tasty and I am happy that the directions are complete. I printed it out.

10:19PM PDT on Oct 24, 2013

thanks, sounds good

10:05PM PDT on Oct 23, 2013


9:59PM PDT on Oct 23, 2013

Thanks...sound good...will try it.

9:12PM PDT on Oct 23, 2013

Made this for dinner tonight. It was tasty. Wonder how much different in fat & calories it is over just adding broccoli to another mac & cheese recipe. FYI, the step where you add flour to the onion seems weird because there isn't any liquid to absorb the flour, but in the end it turned out ok. I liked it with extra bread crumbs on top.

8:23PM PDT on Oct 23, 2013


1:48PM PDT on Oct 23, 2013


12:13PM PDT on Oct 23, 2013

Thanks for the recipe

9:57AM PDT on Oct 23, 2013

thank you for the recipe

9:55AM PDT on Oct 23, 2013

Thank you for the recipe. We will try this one, but there is more cheese in this recipe than I use.

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