Macaroni and Cheese

Cover recipe- Weight Watchers Cookbook Magazine:  Cream of the Crop, Macaroni & Cheese: Copyright 1999

If you were ever on the Weight Watchers diet program back around the year 2000 or so, you might remember these magazine cookbooks. They were only available at the meetings, and they were quite pricey- I think I remember paying $10 per cookbook. Unlike the Weight Watchers magazine that is currently published, these magazine cookbooks do not contain articles or fitness tips of any kind- they simply contain recipes. And lots of good ones, I might add! I have a handful of these cookbook magazines and, believe me, they are treasured sources for lighter recipe ideas. This particular one, Cream of the Crop, focuses on 146 Recipes for Simple Dinner Solutions, Top-Rated Desserts, Favorite Breads/Soups/Salads and Satisfying Snacks. You can still locate these cookbooks from sellers on Amazon. Unfortunately, you can’t pick them up for $10 anymore. They’re a treasure that are a bit hard to find.

Since Macaroni and Cheese is one of those meals that is usually forbidden while in the midst of dieting, I’ve always had this “lighter version” recipe on my list of things to try. Full fat mac n cheese is always decadent and delicious. A lightened version that still satisfies that craving for something decadent and delicious is certainly welcome. The photo on the cover displays a spoonful of rich and creamy coated pasta with a sprinkle of crispy, golden breadcrumbs. Read my notes below to find out how this recipe turned out.

Print Print Recipe

Macaroni and Cheese

Yield: 6 servings (serving size 1 cup)

Prep Time: 15 min + chill time

Cook Time: 50 min


4 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounced uncooked), cooked without salt or fat
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup 1% low-fat cottage cheese
3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup skim milk
2 Tbsp. grated fresh onion
1 1/2 tsp. reduced-calorie stick margarine, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
cooking spray
1/4 cup fresh or dry breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. reduced-calorie stick margarine, melted
1/4 tsp. paprika


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Combine first 10 ingredients; stir well.  Spoon into a shallow 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray.
3.  Combine breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp. margarine, and paprika; stir well.  Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over casserole.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes.  Uncover casserole; bake an additional 5 minutes or until breadcrumbs are lightly browned.


*I cooked my pasta very al dente, leaving room for it to cook a little more in the cheese sauce when baked in the oven.
*I used fat-free cottage cheese in place of 1%.
*When this recipe was originally printed way back in 1999, I think they still sold light stick margarine.  I'm not sure you can locate that anymore, so I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light instead.
*Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) were my breadcrumbs of choice.
*My recipe didn't quite turn out like the photo in the magazine.  The cottage cheese stayed a bit chunky, even after it was baked.  Making it again, I'd definitely give the cottage cheese a whir in the food processor before using in the recipe.  That would give it a smooth texture that will more easily mix into the sauce.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 cup
Calories per serving: 356
Fat per serving: 11.2g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">724g
Fiber per serving: 1.2g
Protein per serving: 24.9g
Cholesterol per serving: 63mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 37.5g

WW POINTS per serving:
Points Plus Program: 9 Old Points Program: 8

The results:

I thought this recipe was very good (husband said that he wouldn’t have known it was a light recipe if I hadn’t told him).   I did think it needed a bit more flavor.  Maybe add some hot sauce and/or dijon mustard into the sauce just to give it a little more “kick.”  That won’t add any points to the recipe either.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Certainly!  It’s an excellent recipe to enjoy while being on Weight Watchers.  And it feels indulgent, even though it’s light.  I can understand why it’s one of WW’s Cream of the Crop recipes.

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

4 Responses to “Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. 1

    Sandra Simmons — October 19, 2010 @ 10:06 am

    Bless you.

  2. 2

    Cynthia — October 27, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

    Gosh that is tempting.

  3. 3

    Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie — October 27, 2010 @ 10:56 pm

    Sometimes it’s a good thing they stop manufacturing certain foods and other foods catch on. One thing you might want to consider giving a try that’s fairly new in this country: greek yogurt. It’s so silky and creamy it’s like sour cream. But you can get it in fat-free, low fat and full fat versions. Even the full fat version is much less than actual sour cream. Just might make a great substitute for the cottage cheese and that way you don’t have to clean those pesky food processor blades and everything later.

    • Lori Lange replied: — October 27th, 2010 @ 11:45 pm

      Thanks- I rather like that idea!

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