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Healthier Baked Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 6 servings

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This Healthier Baked Mac and Cheese is made with whole wheat pasta, low fat milk, and chicken broth but is just as creamy and cheese as ever! It’s a great make ahead meal for those busy weeknights! With a how-to recipe video

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healthier baked mac and cheese on grey plate with fork and crispy topping

It’s that time of year again: Comfort Food Season!

Yes, we all love summer, and it will return! But for now? Healthier comfort food is where it’s at.

overhead image of pan of baked mac and cheese with some macaroni on metal scoop

I think the best part about winter is those miserable days where you can just curl up in some sweats, by the fire, with a vat of mac and cheese or soup or chili. I have to say, it gets me a little excited when I know I don’t have to venture out in it!

For me, if we could have just one or two months of winter and snow, and a couple more months of fall I would be ecstatic. But since I’m not going to get my pick anytime soon, here is some mac and cheese.

plate of mac and cheese with fresh parsley and fork on the side

For now, my goal is to bring you some healthier versions of my favorite cold-weather comfort foods, along with some extra special treats for the holidays (they balance each other out, right?!?). I hope you are ready for all the delicious things to come!

close up square image of baked mac and cheese on a plate

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Healthier Baked Mac and Cheese

This Healthier Baked Mac and Cheese is made with whole wheat pasta, low fat milk, and chicken broth but is just as creamy and cheese as ever! It’s a great make ahead meal for those busy weeknights!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 6 servings
Calories 429kcal

Ingredients

  • 375 grams whole wheat macaroni (about 3 cups dry)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups + 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese low fat if desired
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  • Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Pour into a greased 9×13″ pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large skillet, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute.
  • Whisk in milk and chicken broth and cook over medium heat, whisking often, until thickened (about 5-6 minutes).
  • Stir in salt and 2 cups cheese until melted. Pour over macaroni in pan and stir until combined.
  • Sprinkle with Panko bread crumbs and remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until bubbly. Broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the top if desired.

Notes

*TO MAKE AHEAD: Prepare up until baking. Cover and place in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until hot.
**Please note: Nutrition information is calculated with My Fitness Pal and is an estimate only — this will vary greatly depending on the brand of products you use. Nutrition information for this recipe is calculated using margarine and low fat cheddar cheese.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 429kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 15g | Fiber: 6g

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Grace says

    I’ve made this about 6 times and every time my sauce never thickens up. In step 3 when you add milk and chicken broth and stir until thickened it never thickens, even if I leave it on the stove longer. So the mac and cheese isn’t thick and creamy like yours. Any suggestions?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Grace! I’m sorry to hear it hasn’t worked out for you. 1/4 cup flour should easily thicken the 3 cups of liquid, but if you’re finding that it is still not thick enough, you can always add a tablespoon or two of corn starch diluted with water.

  2. gloria says

    It needs a lot of ‘doctoring’ I added onion & garlic powder as well as paprika. Overall not bad for a quickie dinner.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      It really depends on your tastes and the kind or brand of chicken broth you use. Broth generally has a good amount of onion and garlic already in it, but every kind is different. Feel free to adjust to your tastes!

  3. marcie says

    Healthier comfort food is where it’s at for me! I don’t like my mac and cheese too rich, so I love that this is lightened up with skim milk. This looks so cheesy and delicious!

  4. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says

    Yay for comfort food season! While I really dislike the cold and snow, I do love curling up in my comfy clothes with some comfort food and a hot beverage. This healthier mac ‘n cheese looks perfect for that! Love, it Ashley!

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