Don't Sleep On Healthy Options!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Courtesy of
Happy Sunday Divas and Gents! Today I want to share a new recipe with you all. No, it’s not a new martini recipe (tune in on Thursday for those). It’s actually a really tasty and healthy recipe for macaroni and cheese. What! Where did that come from? I know that’s what some of you may be asking. But there’s a really good explanation for discussing my inkling for domestication.

Last week, I posted 3 Steps to a Healthier Diva, which was my attempt to give tips on how professional and busy women can incorporate healthy options into their busy lifestyles. One of my tips involved pre-planning healthy meals at the beginning of the week, and executing throughout the week. Today, I planned to make baked macaroni and cheese using a recipe I found in the September 2011 issue of Cooking Light Magazine. FYI, Cooking Light always publishes easy-to-make low-fat and/or low-calorie meals that are delicious. Its recipes often serve as the inspiration for my weekly meals. Today was no different.

I was excited about this mac and cheese recipe because it promised to shed almost 550 calories per serving from the traditional mac and cheese recipe. How you ask? Instead of using butter, eggs, and full-fat milk, this recipe uses……butternut squash, skim milk, and non-fat Greek yogurt. I too was skeptical as to how this recipe would taste, but I was pleasantly surprised! The result was creamy, flavorful, and much healthier than the traditional option. I had a great meal without the guilt!

Cooking Light Magazine September 2011
The moral of the story is that you should never disregard healthier options. If I would have followed my first thought, I would have never attempted this recipe. I decided to step out on foodie faith and try something new…and I’m WINNING! In the spirit of sharing, check out Cooking Light’s Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese Recipe. Try it now, and thank me later!

- 3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 [1-pound] squash)
- 1 ¼ cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
- 1 ½ cups fat-free milk
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1 ¼ cups (5 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
- 1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
- ¼ cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
- 1 pound uncooked cavatappi (pasta)
- Cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère, pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until combined.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

5. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.

6. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

The Numbers (Because Professional Divas Love Numbers!)

The Classic Recipe
908 Calories Per Serving
963 Milligrams of Sodium
36 Grams of Saturated Fat

Cooking Light's Recipe 
390 Calories Per Serving
589 Milligrams of Sodium
6.1 Grams of Saturated Fat

Check out this recipe at Cooking Light Online -> Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese.

For other delicious recipes courtesy of Cooking Light, check them out at


Attorney2be said...

Love the receipes from Cooking Light. I have my own subscription. Thanks for the great martini recipes also. Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

I have to say I did hesitate a bit when reading the ingredients because I LOVE traditional mac & cheese. I mean LOVE!!
However, I kept reading. What I found most interesting were the numbers because I do like to know calories and so forth. I may give it a try because it is a healthier option and a diva who knows martinis might know good food too. ;)

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am definitely trying this recipe next week. I've started cooking on Sundays so that I have healthy leftovers for lunch the rest of the week. This is perfect, especially since I've been craving mac and cheese for some reason. Now, I don't have to feel so guilty about it. ;)

Shontae said...

That looks DELICIOUS!!!! Saving the recipe to my notepad so I can make it someday soon. I love new recipes!

LaShawn Wiltz said...

II really Have to try this! Especially since Pookah can't eat traditional Mac and cheese! Can't wait!

Jocelyn said...

Sound's yummy. I regularly pick up this magazine at the check out but have yet to take it home for purchase. Maybe I'll get it next time. I'm looking to start getting into my kitchen a little more after the first of the year.

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