Tip For Day Six

Mac and Cheese Goes On A Diet! - flickr photo

Have Fun In The Kitchen Again!

Think about some of the really quick go-to foods that you grab to fix on nights when you’re in a hurry that aren’t allowed during the No Fast Food Challenge.  There’s a bunch of them:  Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Betty Crocker scalloped potatoes, Hamburger Helper.

You can make all of these from scratch.  They will taste better and be better for you than the meal–in-a-box versions.  Plus you’ll learn how to have fun in the kitchen again. If you have children or grandchildren, get them involved in learning how to create some basic meals.

Mac and Cheese Goes On A Diet 

Here’s a recipe for lightened up macaroni and cheese from Fitness Magazine to get you started:


Nonstick cooking spray
4 ounces whole wheat macaroni
1/2 cup onion-garlic puree (see “Rocco’s Secret Weapon,” below)  (I love this!)
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar
1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Mist an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set it aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook according to package directions, drain.
  3. Meanwhile, bring onion-garlic puree, mustard, and cayenne to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Whisk in cheddar until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in yogurt.
  4. In a medium bowl, toss the macaroni with the cheese sauce. Season with salt to taste. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle panko over the top. Top with Parmesan.
  5. Bake until Parmesan is melted and macaroni is hot throughout, about 10 minutes.

Rocco’s Secret Weapon: Bechamel sauce (a mixture of milk, butter, and flour) plays a starring role in traditional mac and cheese recipes. DiSpirito uses this aromatic blend of onion and garlic to build flavor and texture without fat (makes 1 cup).

Step 1 – Combine 1 large Vidalia onion, 9 garlic cloves (roughly chopped), and 1/2 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Step 2 – Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high 10 minutes.
Step 3 – Pour the mixture into a blender; blend until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. (Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 72 hours.)

Nutrition facts per serving (about 2/3 cup): 237 calories, 17g protein, 31g carbohydrate, 7g fat (4g saturated), 3g fiber

Makes: 4 servings

Check out makeover recipes for a Hamburger Helper, Scalloped Potatoes, Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, and Hamburger Buddy.

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