Light Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach

READY IN: 55mins
Recipe by TishT

This updated recipe illustrates how you can lower the saturated fat, without sacrificing the rich, cheesy taste, in classic macaroni and cheese. A layer of spinach in the center adds flavor and nutritional value. From Cooking Club

Top Review by fluffington

I was on a soft food diet as a result of a dental injury this Thanksgiving. I chose to make this as a side dish for the family and as a main course for me, and it was a hit all around. Many baked mac & cheese recipes can be rather bland, but the extra sharp cheddar makes it quite flavorful. Despite the "light" in its name, I was a little concerned about the fat content ( 52% DV saturated fat - ouch!) , so I used skim milk and non-fat cottage cheese and it was still extremely rich and tasty. I also used whole wheat pasta and fresh rather than frozen spinach. I doubled the recipe and cooked it in a 13"x9" casserole dish - perfect! This is one of those dishes that tastes even better as next-day leftovers.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat oven to 400F.
  2. Spray 8" square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the milk and flour until smooth.
  4. In heavy medium saucepan, heat remaining 1 1/2 cups milk over medium heat until steaming.
  5. Add flour mixture; cook 2-3 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens, whisking constantly.
  6. Remove from heat; stir in cheddar cheese until melted.
  7. Stir in cottage cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  8. Cook spinach according to package directions; drain.
  9. Rinse under cold running water; squeeze out excess moisture.
  10. Cook macaroni in large pot of boiling lightly salted water 4-5 minutes or until not quite tender, stirring often.
  11. (Macaroni will continue to cook while baking.) Drain; rinse with cold water.
  12. Drain again.
  13. In large bowl, stir together cheese sauce and macaroni.
  14. Spread half of the macaroni mixture in baking dish; spoon spinach over top.
  15. Spread remaining macaroni mixture over spinach layer; sprinkle with wheat germ.
  16. (Dish can be made to this point and refrigerated for 2 days or frozen for 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator before baking.) Bake 35-45 minutes or until bubbly and golden.
  17. TIP*If you can't find wheat germ, substitute an equal amount of Parmesan cheese, cracker crumbs or bread crumbs.
  18. VARIATION: To make Southwestern Macaroni and Cheese with Peppers, substitute 1 cup grated pepper Jack cheese for 1 cup of the cheddar cheese.
  19. Omit the nutmeg.
  20. Add 1 (4 1/2-oz.) can chopped mild green chiles, 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro and dash cayenne pepper to cheese sauce.
  21. Omit spinach.
  22. Instead, cook 2 cups thawed frozen pepper stir-fry vegetables in 1 teaspoon olive oil 3 to 4 minutes or until tender.
  23. Replace spinach with pepper mixture.

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