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

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18 Responses to “Weight Watchers Take Out Tonight: Nachos Supreme”

  1. 1

    Michelle — November 2, 2009 @ 7:23 am

    Nachos are our favorite snack food. I like this healthier version.

  2. 2

    noble pig — November 2, 2009 @ 8:29 am

    I would love a few of these right now, they turned out beautiful!

  3. 3

    Barbara — November 2, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

    Your photo is so good I could almost reach out and grab that nacho right off the computer!

  4. 4

    meghan — November 2, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

    Oh! I have to make these!
    Thanx for the review.

  5. 5

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — November 2, 2009 @ 3:39 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! Love that it’s a healthy and tasty recipe… and I think your picture is amazing!

  6. 6

    Katie — November 2, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

    Fantastic photo! I’m realizing how hard it is to photograph food and have become much more appreciative of great food photos! Well done.

  7. 7

    BethieofVA — November 2, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

    Oh, how delicious do those look? I would love some right now. They look BETTER than the cover’s.

  8. 8

    lk (healthy delicious) — November 2, 2009 @ 3:50 pm

    I love this recipe! I actually really like that whole cookbook. I make the filling all the time and pout it over light tortilla chips to make a taco bake. It’s one of my husbands favorite dinners, and it really pretty healthy!

  9. 9

    Wendy — November 2, 2009 @ 3:57 pm

    Ooh…I have this cookbook. The look great!

  10. 10

    LilSis — November 2, 2009 @ 7:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing that recipe! Mexican Food is one of my family’s favorites and I’m always trying to watch the fat and calories so I’m really glad to see a healthier nacho version. And that is one amazing photo!

  11. 11

    Aggie — November 3, 2009 @ 5:57 pm

    Oh this is a good one! I love nachos and this is a great way to enjoy them! Will keep this in mind for next time!!

  12. 12

    Dana Zia — November 3, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

    I do love the WW recipes! They must spend a lot of time developing them for maximum flavor. I have copied this recipe and will make it. I might order the cookbook too! My favorite cookbook of theirs is “Dining for two”. Every recipe I have tried out of there is delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  13. 13

    nina — November 4, 2009 @ 5:32 am

    Nothing about these bites will make me feel I am on some diet program. They look absolutely stunning!!!!

  14. 14

    Sues — November 4, 2009 @ 8:11 pm

    Yours look wayy better than on the cover :) And great to know a good weight watchers nacho recipe!

  15. 15

    Stacey Snacks — November 4, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

    These are in a Weight Watchers book????
    I love nachos and your photos are terrific.

  16. 16

    Bethany — November 7, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

    I am totally making those this weekend.

  17. 17

    Lisa — November 8, 2009 @ 10:27 am

    I love healthy spinoffs!

  18. 18

    Justeen paige — February 2, 2014 @ 9:54 pm

    This recipe is delicious! I do recommend one small change, and that is to not use your broiler. I found that using an oven heated at 425 to crisp the tortillas (5 minutes) and to melt the cheese worked perfectly. I found that broiling the tortillas made it so that I had to keep too much of a close eye on them because they burn very easily. If this doesn’t bother you, then the broiler will work perfectly fine for you.

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