Mac and cheese is a dish that’s typically reserved for an occasional treat, but my toddler has decided that it is his most favorite food in the entire world. In an attempt to be able to serve a homemade version more often without all of the added fat and calories of the original, I was desperate to come up with a low calorie mac and cheese that would be a tasty substitute of the original favorite.
At less than 350 calories per serving, this casserole serves up only a fraction of the calories as its popular big brother.
This casserole has a creamy cheese sauce that starts with thickened almond milk seasoned up and mixed in with a variety of lowered fat cheeses. Whole wheat macaroni is used to lower the glycemic impact of the pasta, and some cooked chicken gets thrown in for some extra lean protein.
This casserole is a meal on its own, but we served it alongside some chopped braised broccoli and stewed tomatoes. It was a fantastic guilt-free dinner and one that I will be making again and again, or at least until my toddler decides he no longer likes macaroni and cheese, which I don’t see happening any time in the near future.
Skinny macaroni and cheese doesn’t have to be boring – give this a try some time and see what you think!
|Lower Calorie Chicken Mac and Cheese Casserole|| |
- 2.5 cups uncooked whole wheat macaroni
- 3 cups almond milk
- 2 TBS cornstarch
- 2 TBS cold water
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2¼ cups shredded fat free cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup part-skim shredded mozzarella
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375F and lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and cold water until completely combined with no lumps. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, bring almond milk to a low boil and then add the cornstarch mixture, whisking briskly until combined. Continue to stir occasionally until mixture begins to thicken and then lower heat.
- Add paprika, seasoned salt, garlic powder, pepper, and both cheeses. Stir until the cheese melts and mixture is creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Add the cooked chicken and pasta to the cheese sauce and mix together, then transfer to the 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and Parmesan.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake on center rack for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
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