Recipe Makeover: Macaroni and Cheese

Think it’s impossible to make a tasty—and healthy—macaroni and cheese? Think again. Compared to traditional macaroni and cheese, the HealthAfter50 version cuts out almost 300 calories (from 649 to 367), slashes saturated fat by 20 grams (from 24 grams to 4 grams), and reduces sodium from 1,235 milligrams to 392 milligrams. Here’s how you do it:

Change the type of cheese used; if the original recipe calls for fontina or Gruyere, replace it with Parmesan, which is naturally lower in fat.

Use low-fat milk instead of whole milk.

Replace the butter with olive oil.

This recipe serves: 6


Nonstick cooking spray

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups nonfat milk, hot, but not boiling

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

3/4 pound macaroni noodles

1/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1/4 cup bread crumbs

Cooking instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375º F and spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

3. In a 2-quart saucepan, whisk the olive oil and flour together over medium heat. Cook until the mixture gives off a "nutty" aroma, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Add the macaroni to the boiling water and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 7 or 8 minutes. Drain the pasta.

5. Pour the macaroni into the prepared casserole dish. Immediately pour the milk mixture over it and stir to combine. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese over the top and then sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the cheese.

6. Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until the edges are bubbling and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups

Nutritional Information

Number of Servings: 6

Per Serving

Calories 367

Carbohydrate 51 g

Fat 10 g

Fiber 2 g

Protein 17 g

Saturated Fat 4 g

Sodium 392 mg