Healthier mac & cheese with meatballs and more

Are your kids tired of out-of-the-box mac & cheese? Not for long. Parents magazine dished out 8 recipes that will definitely add a punch to this dinner classic.

Basic mac & cheese

Ingredients

    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 3 cups dried fusilli pasta
    • 1/4 cup light butter with canola oil (Land O Lakes)
    • 3 tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. low-fat milk
    • 1 1/2 cups fontina cheese, shredded
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2 qt. square baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.Cook pasta as directed. Drain and keep warm. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and salt and stir for 1 minute. Add milk and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted. Toss together pasta and cheese sauce. Transfer to baking dish and sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Stovetop mac & cheese

Ingredients

    • 3 cups dried elbow macaroni
    • 2 tbsp. light butter with canola oil
    • 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup fat-free milk
    • 6 oz. reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
    • 3 oz. plain low-fat Greek yogurt

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Cook macaroni as directed on package. Drain and return to pot. Keep warm.Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir flour into butter. Whisk in milk. Stir until milk is thickened and bubbly. Cook 1 minute more.Remove pan from heat and add cheese. Stir until smooth. Stir in yogurt. Mix together sauce and macaroni.

Mac & cheese with Buffalo chicken wings

Ingredients

    • Buffalo wing sauce
    • 1 cup of shredded chicken breast
    • 1 tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 3 cups dried fusilli pasta
    • 1/4 cup light butter with canola oil (Land O Lakes)
    • 3 tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. low-fat milk
    • 1 1/2 cups fontina cheese, shredded
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Make the basic mac & cheese recipe as directed. Stir buffalo sauce and shredded chicken into completed mac & cheese. Transfer to plates and top with crumbled blue cheese.

BBQ-inspired mac & cheese

Ingredients

    • 2 tbs. barbecue sauce
    • 1 cup shredded chicken
    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 3 cups dried fusilli pasta
    • 1/4 cup light butter with canola oil (Land O Lakes)
    • 3 tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. low-fat milk
    • 1 1/2 cups fontina cheese, shredded
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Make the basic mac & cheese recipe as directed up until mixing pasta and cheese sauce together. Add in the barbecue sauce and shredded chicken. Mix all together. Transfer pasta to baking dish. Add the bread crumbs and bake until heated all the way through.

Mini meatball mac & cheese

Ingredients

    • 1 cup frozen mini meatballs
    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 3 cups dried fusilli pasta
    • 1/4 cup light butter with canola oil (Land O Lakes)
    • 3 tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. low-fat milk
    • 1 1/2 cups fontina cheese, shredded
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Make the basic mac & cheese recipe as directed. Heat the mini meatballs as directed and stir into completed mac & cheese.

Greenalicious mac & cheese

Ingredients

    • 1 or 2 cups of packed fresh spinach
    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 3 cups dried fusilli pasta
    • 1/4 cup light butter with canola oil (Land O Lakes)
    • 3 tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. low-fat milk
    • 1 1/2 cups fontina cheese, shredded
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Make the basic mac & cheese recipe as directed, but puree the milk and spinach in a food processor before adding to the cheese sauce.Transfer pasta to baking dish. Add the bread crumbs and bake until heated all the way through.

Extra gooey mac & cheese

Ingredients

    • 1 cup cubed fresh or frozen butternut squash
    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 3 cups dried fusilli pasta
    • 1/4 cup light butter with canola oil (Land O Lakes)
    • 3 tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. low-fat milk
    • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Make the stovetop mac & cheese recipe as directed, but swap cheddar cheese for fontina. Boil 1 cup cubed fresh or frozen butternut squash until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and mash with fork.

Pizza time mac & cheese

Ingredients

    • 1 cup cubed fresh mozzarella
    • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
    • Basil
    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 3 cups dried fusilli pasta
    • 1/4 cup light butter with canola oil (Land O Lakes)
    • 3 tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. low-fat milk
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Make the stovetop mac & cheese recipe as directed, but substitute cheddar cheese for 1 cup cubed fresh mozzarella. Add 1/2 tomato sauce and a bit of basil.

French onion mac & cheese

Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese
    • 1 cup caramelized onions
    • 1 cup cubed fresh or frozen butternut squash
    • Nonstick cooking spray
    • 3 cups dried fusilli pasta
    • 1/4 cup light butter with canola oil (Land O Lakes)
    • 3 tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. low-fat milk
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Make the basic mac & cheese recipe as directed, but substitute fontina cheese with Gruyere and stir in 1 cup carmalized onions.

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