Low-Fat, High-Flavor Mac and Cheese
By Lacey LaBonte, MS, RD, CDN, CNSC
Clinical Nutrition, The Weight Loss Center 
Recipe Inspired by Michelle Obama’s White House Holiday Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese, this
version of the classic dish has half the calories and less than a quarter of the fat of traditional
mac and cheese! Plus, it has a full serving of vegetables and is a good source of fiber.
Yield – 6 servings
Total Time – About 45 minutes
- 1 pound penne pasta (preferably whole wheat)
- 1 cup skim (nonfat) milk
- 1/2 pound (1 block) reduced fat cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
a) Preheat oven to 350°. Boil salted water and cook the pasta until al dente.
b) Fill a pot with a tight-fitting lid 2-3 inches full with water. Place a steamer tray in the pot and add cauliflower. Replace lid and steam cauliflower until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender along with a few tablespoons of the steaming liquid. Puree the cauliflower, adding more steaming liquid to thin the puree as necessary.
c) In a medium size casserole dish, combine the pasta and hot cauliflower puree. Stir well. Add the milk, both cheeses, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
d) Place the dish in the oven for about 20 minutes until the top is crispy and the sauce is bubbling. Allow the dish to cool 5-10 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
Nutritional Information Per Serving: 404 calories, 6 grams fat, 22 grams of protein, 63 grams carbohydrates and 5 grams of fiber; compare to traditional macaroni and cheese: 815 calories, 40 grams fat, 31 grams protein, 81 grams carbohydrate and 3 grams fiber.
Note: Using whole wheat pasta will increase the fiber content to 10 grams per serving!
Unless otherwise indicated, the following recipes were created by Clinical Nutritionist Karen Congro, RD, CDN
Fall Harvest Roast Vegetables
This dish not only tastes great – it has a wonderful aroma and lots of antioxidants, vitamin C and beta-carotene.
- 1 cup small broccoli florets
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1 cup sweet potato cut into 1” cubes
- 1 large red or orange pepper cut into I” squares
- ½ cup zucchini sliced into ½” rounds
- 1 cup rutabaga or turnip cut into 1” cubes
- 1 cup diced Vidalia onion
- 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 7-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon Mrs Dash seasoning
- 3 cloves finely chopped garlic
- Light sprinkle of black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425. Combine vegetables in a large heavy roasting pan.
2. Combine vinegar and oil and Mrs Dash and garlic and wisk together. Pour over vegetables and stir to coat. Pour in chicken broth and add thyme
3. Roast vegetables for 35-45 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and
Sprinkle with black pepper. This is excellent served over barley.
Yield: 6 servings
Three-Cheese Sandwich with Caramelized Onions - Recipe created with Laurie of Laurie’s Food Rave
Comfort food at its finest -- and a yummy way to get your calcium! The onions contain diallyl sulfide which helps to prevent cancer and flavonoids such as quercetin which protects against blood clots and heart disease. The added tomato is a great way to sneak in some vitamin C, lutein to help prevent cataracts and lycopene which helps prevent cancer
For caramelized onions:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 onion thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Place a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the oil and onion and pepper stir occasionally until onion starts to brown. Add vinegar and continue cooking until onion deepens in color.
- 2 slices rye bread
- 1 teaspoon of Smart Balance Light Butter
- 1 slice of light gouda cheese
- 2 thin slices of 50%reduced fat cheddar cheese (such as Cabot)
- 2 thin slices of lowfat mozzarella
- 2 very thin slices of tomato
Spread the light butter on one side of each slice of bread and place 1 bread slice buttered side down in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the onions on top of the bread, and then layer with the cheddar first, than one slice of mozzarella next the tomato, and then the gouda and last the second slice of mozzarella. Place the second bread slice on top. Cook, pressing the sandwich lightly with the spatula until the bread is golden. Flip the sandwich and cook until cheese melts and bread is golden.
The following recipes are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Spinach Salad with Pears, Goat Cheese and Almonds
- 4 cups of packed fresh baby spinach, stemmed
- ½ cup thinly sliced red onions
- 2 firm but ripe pears (unpeeled) quartered, cored and cut into long thin slices
- 1/3 cup light goat cheese
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup sliced almonds-lightly toasted (spread almonds in a large pan heat on medium-high heat for 1 minute or until they become lightly golden in color -remove immediately)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
- dash of freshly ground pepper
Dressing: In a small jar with a fitted lid, combine all dressing ingredients and shake until well-blended.
For Salad: Place onions in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand for 30 minutes. This crisps the onion and removes the raw taste. Drain well and pat onions dry. Toss cranberries with 1 tablespoon of dressing to soften and set aside for 20 minutes.
Place spinach leaves, onions and pears in a large bowl or platter. Scatter the cranberries and almonds and 1/4 teaspoon pieces of goat cheese around the top. Drizzle dressing on salad and serve immediately.
Chicken-Apple Sausage Harvest Soup
- 1 package apple-chicken sausage (“Al Fresco” is one of several brands available in most larger supermarkets).
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ bunch fresh kale chopped,
- 2 cans cannellini beans
- 1 cup sliced red potatoes
- 3 leeks chopped
- 1 cup carrots sliced
- 1 large green pepper chopped
- 1 cup zucchini or yellow squash thinly sliced
- 40-50 oz. low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon tarragon
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- Dash of ground pepper
- ¼ cup shredded or shaved parmesan cheese
Saute sliced sausages for 1 minute in 1 tablespoon olive oil until lightly browned in large soup pot over medium heat. Drain and rinse beans and add to sausage along with other ingredients (except parmesean cheese). Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 1 hour. Add cheese and serve along with a salad and a whole wheat roll.
Here are Some Foods That Help Reduce the Risk of Prostate Cancer
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. In a study conducted at Harvard, men who consumed a diet rich in tomatoes reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 35%. The lycopene in tomatoes is easier to absorb when cooked. Other good sources of lycopene are watermelon and grapefruit.
Pomegranate Juice. The antioxidants in this fruit are currently being studied for their potential as powerful cancer fighters. If you are taking blood pressure, cholesterol or blood thinning medicines, consult your doctor or pharmacist before consuming this juice because pomegranate may interfere with these medications.
Brazil Nuts, This nut is high in selenium, a mineral that helps prevent several types of cancer. Stanford University research found a direct connection between selenium and prostate cancer. You need to eat only 1-2 per day.
Cruciferous Vegetables. These vegetables contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol, which the body converts into DIM, a substance that prevents the growth of prostate cancer cells. According to research, men who consume 3 or more portions per week of cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli reduce the chance of developing rostate cancer by 41%.
Omega-3 Fish. Research studies have shown that men who consume 2 or more servings of fatty fish weekly experience a 63% reduced risk of getting aggressive prostate cancer. Omega-3 fish include salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and tuna.
Green Tea – Studies have shown anti-cancer, metabolism and weight loss benefits in drinking 2-3 cups of green tea per day.
Family Favorite Oven-fried Chicken
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp “Mrs Dash” salt substitute
1/4 tsp garlic
2 eggs (or egg substitute)
1/4 low-fat milkfresh-squeezed orange juice3-4 drops Tabasco (or hot pepper sauce)-optional
2-3 cups Total Whole Wheat or Uncle Sam’s Cereal Crushed
¼ tsp paprika
4 Chicken pieces
Butter-flavored cooking spray
1. Heat Oven to 375 degrees. Place a shallow pan in the oven until it is heated and then remove.
2. Mix flour, Mrs. Dash, and garlic in a bowl. Mix the eggs and milk and Tabasco sauce in another bowl. Place the Total in a third bowl.
3. Skin chicken pieces. Dip chicken into the flour, then the egg mixture and then the cereal. Sprinkle on paprika
4. Spray each piece with cooking spray and place on the pre-heated pan (Pre-heating the pan will help to keep the bottom of the chicken pieces from becoming soggy).
5. Place chicken in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and spray each piece again and place back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.
Makes four servings Nutrition info: each piece: 264 calories, 29 grams protein, 23 grams carbs, 5 grams fat
Sugar-free Watermelon and Pomegrante Ice Pops
4 ½ cups watermelon
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup pomegranate juice
¾ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
Blend all juices in blender and pour into popsicle molds or small paper cups. Freeze for 2-3 hours.
Recipes developed by Karen Congro, RD, CDN
Pumpkin-Cranberry Oatbran Muffins Yield: 9-10 Delicious, healthy Muffins
Pumpkins contain carotenoids, which are great for not only the immmune system but also for heart health, cancer prevention and skin and eye health.
Cranberries are anti-bacterial and full of antioxidents helping to prevent plaque from clinging to teeth and gums.
Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc for a healthy immune system and brain health. In one study, middle-school children given the RDA of zinc daily for 10 weeks had better memories and scored higher on tests than those that did not consume the RDA for zinc.
Oat bran is a wholegrain with a high soluable fiber content that aids regularity and helps prevent elevated cholesterol levels which is condition being seen more commonly in children during the last 15 years.
1-1/2 cups oat bran
1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 egg whites
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup 1% milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites, pumpkin, milk, vanilla and oil until well blended. Stir into dry ingredients and then gently stir in pumpkin seeds and cranberries just until moistened.
Coat muffin cups with cooking spray and fill half full. Bake at 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Can be eaten warm.
Peanut-Honey Crunchies Yield: 3 dozen irresistable cookies
Peanut butter is a great souces of protein, iron and antioxidents. Honey, unlike most other sweeteners, contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. A study of kids with colds showed less coughing and better sleep when they were given honey. Total is a great cereal for kids who are "picky eaters" because it supplies 100% of the RDA of most vitamins and minerals including calcium, which is essential to bone development and which many children are lacking.
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 cups Total cereal
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts or almonds
3/4 cup natural peanut (or almond) butter
Bring sugar and honey to boil in a saucepan. Add peanut or almond butter and vanilla, then mix until smooth. Remove from stove and quickly stir-in cereal flakes. Drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper or foil. Wrap each separately in plastic and pop a couple into your childs lunch box.
Pink 'n Pretty Dessert Mountain Serves 6
Nutritional information: The strawberries is this dessert are rich in vitamin C and fiber. Stawberries also contain potassium needed for fluid balance. Prenatal women should note that strawberries are a great source of folate, which can help protect babies from birth defects. Almonds contain fiber and antioxidants that help to lower cholesterol, and flavonoids which are compounds that can reduce inflamation.
A daily intake of a handful of almonds is linked with lower weight in women.
Pistachios contain lutein, an antioxidant that helps prevent LDL ("bad" cholesterol) from oxidation, which can lead to the development of plaque in the arteries.
sugar-free angel food cake cut into 2" cubes
sugar free lowfat ice cream in strawberrry
2 packages of sugar-free jello (strawberry-kiwi and 1 cherry)
1 pint of strawberries sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped pistascios
Cook jello as per package directions and place in an 8-inch plastic or glass container and refrigerate until firm. Cut into 2" cubes.
Aerosol light whipped cream. In this dessert the ingredients are piled up to resemble a mountain.
Place 8 cubes of angel food cake in 2 rows (4 cubes plus four cubes lined up side by side) in a large glass bowl or glass baking dish. Place four scoops of ice cream on top of cake cubes and place 1/3 cup sliced strawberries on top of the ice cream.
Next, take 4 cubes of each jello flavor and place on top of the strawberries. Place 6 cubes of cake on top of jello and place 3 scoops of ice cream on top of cake and 1/4 cup of strawberries on top of the ice cream. Place 3 cubes each of the jello flavors on top of the strawberries. Proceed with the next layer using 4 cake cubes, 2 scoops of ice cream and 1/8 cup strawberries.
The final layer will have 3 cake cubes, 1 scoop of ice cream, about 5 slices of strawberry and 2 cubes of jello. Top with a small spray of whippped cream and sprinkle the mountain with the sliced almonds and chopped pistachios. Place on whole strawberry on top of the whipped cream.
Outrageously Healthy Portobello Mushroom Sandwich Serves 4
This recipe is the perfect stand-in for hamburger. Enjoy a rich "meaty" taste that's low in fat and cholesterol. Research has shown that mushrooms promote a healthy immune system and interefere with excess of a harmful form of estrogen known to promote cancer and fibroids in women.
4 portobello mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp chopped basil
1 tsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped oregano
sprinkle of black pepper olive-oil flavored cooking spray
4 thin slices provolone cheese
4 tablespoons of light mayonaise mixed with 1/2 teasoon garlic powder and 4 drops of hot sauce
4 whole wheat sandwich buns
16 baby spinach leaves
Wipe off mushrooms with wet paper towel (do not submerge in water). Cut off stems and gently press with the back of a large knife to flatten. Chop the garlic cloves into thin slivers and place some in the gills (underside) of mushrooms.
Mix next seven ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Place mushrooms in bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for aproximately 1 hour.
Spray a grill pan with olive-oil flavored cooking spray and place mushrooms in the plan and cook on medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Flip mushrooms and cook for aproximately 5 minutes on other side or until tender.
Spread a small amount of mayonaise mixture on bottom side of each bun. Place provolone slice on top side of bun and add 4 spinach leaves. Place mushroom on bun and close sandwich.
Karen's Cherry-Almond Granola Bars Yields 16 Bars
1 bar = 120 calories, 3 grams fat (0.5) saturated, 0 mg cholesterol, 25 carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber and 2 grams protein.
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1.2 cup almond (or natural peanut butter)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teasopoon vanilla extract
1.2 teasooon almond extract
4 cups Uncle Sam's regular Flax cereal or Total cereal
1.3 cup sliced almonds
1.2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
Spray cooking spray on 9"x9" pan.
Measure out Uncle Sam cereal into a bowl.
Heat sugar and honey just until boiling in a 3-quart saucepan on medium heat, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and stir in the almond or peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extrasts until smooth.
Stir in cereal almonds and dried cherries until evenly coated.
Press firmly in pan and let stand for 1 hour or until set.
Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.
Store loosely covered at room temperature.
Southwest-style Pinto Bean & Turkey Burgers
16 oz package lean ground turkey
1 16 oz can pinto (or black beans) drained and rinsed. Pat dry with paper towel
2/3 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon low-sodium worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 large onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
1/2 teasooon oregano
1/4 teasooon black pepper
Olive oil-flavored cooking spray
Mash beans slightly so that they are flattened a bit and mix with turkey.
Add bread crumbs and egg.
Mix in worcestershire and soy sauce, add onion, garlic, oregano and black pepper.
Mix into 15 small burgers or 8-9 larger burgers, Note: the smaller burgers will be less likely to crumble.
Cook in pan sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat aproximately 6-10 minutes depending on size of burgers.
Serving suggestion: Place each burger on a whole-grain bun and spread with tomato salsa. Add 1 slice of low-fat Monterey Jack cheese, thin slices of tomato, lettuce, red onion and avocado.
Bethsaida Hernandez New Wave Omega-3 Salmon Salad
1 large chopped romaine lettuce head
1 large red onion thinly sliced
1 cucumber sliced in chunks
1 large tomato chopped into square pieces
1 red pepper chopped into small pieces
1 can Alaskan salmon (chop up any chunks)
½ teaspoon (or to taste) Mrs. Dash (try Fiesta Lime)
2-3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ lemon (squeezed)
2-4 tablespoons apple cider or pomegranate vinegar (or to taste)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1. Combine the first six ingredients.
2. Mix together the next six ingredients to make the salad dressing.
3. Combine dressing with the lettuce mixture, toss and serve.
2 tablespoon almond butter
2 teaspoon sugar-free chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon flaxseed powder
6 ounce almond milk
1. Put all ingredients in the blender.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Makes one serving.
Karen’s Frutastic Fizz
4-5 crushed ice cubes
1 cup ginger ale
1 cup strawberries
½ cup pineapple or banana
1/3 cup powdered non-fat milk
1-3 teaspoon strawberry jam
1. Put all ingredients in the blender on high speed.
2. Blend for one minute or until foamy.
3. Makes four 8 ounce servings.
*Recipe can be made using diet (sugar free) soda and jam.
**For your own unique taste sensation substitute any of the following: apple juice, grape juice,
mango, peach, pear, tangerine, persimmon, apricots, watermelon, cranberry juice, fruit cocktail,
honeydew, cantelope, lime, lemon, guava, star fruit, plums, kiwi, and/or banana