Skinny Easy Mac

Here's the Dish

I have distinct memories of eating macaroni and cheese from a box as a kid. My mom would only let us have it every so often, (she fed us pretty healthy most of the time, but would allow for occasional exceptions), and when she did, I remember thinking it was a real treat! It’s amazing how I now look at that same little blue box in horror thinking about the chemicals and preservatives that are in that little ‘cheese’ packet. They didn’t have Easy Mac around when I was a kid, but I can imagine that it would of been one of my favorite snacks. I have taken all the of the simplicity¬†of this novel concept, and turned it into a much healthier and satisfying dish!


The estimated total time to make this recipe is 10-15 minutes.


Combine  the pasta noodles, water, and salt in a large microwave safe bowl (i used a 4 cup pyrex glass measuring cup). Microwave for 6 minutes total, taking the bowl out and stirring every 2 minutes. (Water should be almost completely absorbed at this point, and pasta al dente).


Add 2 tbs of the cheddar cheese, the milk, and cottage cheese, (and pepper and mustard powder if desired.) Stir, and microwave another 2 minutes, or until cheese and cottage cheese are melted. Stir once more after removing from microwave, add the additional 1 tbs cheddar, and stir until everything is combined. Enjoy!


1/3 cup (dry)High fiber elbow macaroni noodles (I used Rozoni Smart Taste macaroni noodles)
1/2 cupWater
Pinch Salt
1/8 cupAlmond milk
1/8 cupLow fat cottage cheese
3 tbsLowfat (or 2%) shredded cheddar cheese (I used Cabot sharp light cheddar)
Optional: Pinch of pepper and mustard powder to taste

Katie's Tip!

Because there is no stove-top cooking required, this is a fun and safe dish for kids to make!

Nutrition Breakdown

1 Serving
190 Calories
5 g Fat
26.5 g Carbohydrate
3 g Fiber
1.4 g Sugar
13 g Protein
5 WWP+*

*Weight Watchers Points per serving


Christine said:

Can you taste the cottage cheese? I’m not really a fan. Definitely intrigued by this recipe though!

September 24th, 2012 — 1:41pm  |  Reply

Dashing Dish said:

not at all :)

September 24th, 2012 — 4:19pm  | 

Christine said:

(not sure if my comment posted the first time, sorry if this is a duplicate!)

Can you taste the cottage cheese? I’m not really a fan. Definitely intrigued by this recipe though!

September 24th, 2012 — 1:44pm  |  Reply

Gretchen Schawe said:

I’m going to try this for my daughter’s after school snack today!

September 24th, 2012 — 2:21pm  |  Reply

Angela said:

This is the third of your fabulous recipes my husband and I have tried since finding your site last week, and we have LOVED all of them!! Thank you so much for creating such delicious, easy to follow, healthy recipes! I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it!!

September 24th, 2012 — 8:34pm  |  Reply

Katie said:

I just discovered your site AND started following you on Twitter! I love love love to experiment in the kitchen and stumbled upon your site when I was browsing different techniques for white chicken chili.

I have a 2 year old son who would eat mac-n-cheese 7 nights a week if I let him (I don’t…). But since he does eat it a litte more often than he should I decided to amp up the nutrition by mixing pureed butternut squash and cauliflower into the cheese sauce. The vegetables are undetectable and although there’s still plenty of cheese, I’ve convinced myself that at least there’s a little more balance now… It freezes well in individual containers for a quick, microwavable side dish during the week.

I can’t wait to read more of your recipes!

September 25th, 2012 — 12:02pm  |  Reply

Sarie Whitson said:

Sounds delicious! Just wondering if the almond milk truly makes the recipe or if regular milk would be ok?

September 25th, 2012 — 3:37pm  |  Reply

Dashing Dish said:

no difference, just a few more calories! :)

September 25th, 2012 — 4:25pm  | 

Rebekah said:

I just made this for dinner tonight…and OMG it was so great! Love love love everything I’ve made off your site, but this is my favorite!!

September 25th, 2012 — 11:36pm  |  Reply

Jamie said:

Can’t wait to try this! If I wanted to make this for a family and not put one bowl in the microwave at a time, what would be my best option?

September 26th, 2012 — 1:29pm  |  Reply

Dashing Dish said:

not sure if it would work more than 1 at a time

September 26th, 2012 — 2:29pm  | 

Food For Thought said:

I LOVE making my own mac and cheese! This looks scrumptious!

September 27th, 2012 — 3:11pm  |  Reply

michelle kim said:

oOoh I’m intrigued! I definitely had some Easy Mac growing up (though to my mom’s displeasure. She had it in case of emergency and we would just eat it all the time, haha). This one sounds great!

September 27th, 2012 — 8:47pm  |  Reply

aimee said:

omg :) sounds so yummy so excited to try ! Thanks Katie for this amazing recipe!

September 27th, 2012 — 10:30pm  |  Reply

bethany said:

Do you think the lowfat cottage cheese is essential (vs nonfat)? My sauce didn’t really come together to “coat” the noodles, but I realized I was using nonfat when your recipe says lowfat.

Thanks! Love your site!

September 29th, 2012 — 8:49am  |  Reply

Dashing Dish said:

It would help to have a thicker c. cheese … Did u microwave it after adding the cheese?

September 29th, 2012 — 10:14am  | 

Erin said:

Has anyone tried rice pasta? Did it still work?

September 29th, 2012 — 2:11pm  |  Reply

Erin said:

I used rice pasta- turned out good. But the sauce was really thin, which liquid should I reduce to make it thicker? Water @ the beginning (a little bit was left) or the milk? Thanks!

September 29th, 2012 — 11:55pm  | 

Dashing Dish said:

The water should have been completely gone… Next time drain if water is still left

September 30th, 2012 — 5:57am  | 

Nina said:

What is considered a serving size?

September 29th, 2012 — 5:05pm  |  Reply

Dashing Dish said:


September 29th, 2012 — 5:20pm  | 

Sara said:

Just made this and it turned out great! I used fat free cottage cheese and 1% milk. I also microwaved the pasta for 5 minutes instead of 6. Thanks for always creating such wonderful, healthy recipes :)

October 4th, 2012 — 1:59pm  |  Reply

Brittany Render said:

I made this last night and it was SO delicious! I was skeptical with the cottage cheese but in the end you truly couldn’t taste it and the dish was very tasty! Can’t wait to make it again!

October 4th, 2012 — 2:05pm  |  Reply

Mandy Nicoletta said:

Another great recipe….most happy about the portion control!!!

October 7th, 2012 — 2:45pm  |  Reply

Monica said:

This was sooo good! I cooked the noodles on the stove, so I could make four servings of this for the hubby and leftovers for lunch. I have to say this mac and cheese was even BETTER for leftovers. Something about the cottage cheese and chedder mixed together and tasted like real & high fat mac and cheese! I knew better though! A serving of this plus some roasted green beans was a perfect meal!

October 9th, 2012 — 12:34pm  |  Reply

Lisa McFarlane said:

I just made this for my 3 year old son. He loved it and so did I!!!

October 11th, 2012 — 4:43pm  |  Reply

Angela Albertson said:

I was craving something warm and cheesy for dinner, so I decided to give this a try. It was delicious and the serving size was just right – no leftovers for me to overindulge! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your web site. Everything has been a hit so far. Thanks for all you do!

October 14th, 2012 — 6:34pm  |  Reply

Cindy said:

What is a serving size? 1 cup??

October 28th, 2012 — 5:08pm  |  Reply

Danelle said:

Do you use sweetened or unsweetended almond milk in your recipes?

November 4th, 2012 — 8:20pm  |  Reply

Dashing Dish said:


November 5th, 2012 — 9:07am  | 

Risa Avila said:

I just made this tonight and it was deelish! Thank you for the recipe :-)

November 7th, 2012 — 11:33pm  |  Reply

Chelsi Owens said:

I just tried this and it was delish! (: can’t wait to make it again.

December 4th, 2012 — 8:05am  |  Reply

Christine said:

Just tried this. I had to add more water since my microwave runs hot. I also didn’t have any cottage cheese so I omitted it. Should have added more milk to make up for the lack of cottage cheese, it really wasn’t “saucy” at all. All of that said though, it was amazing!

December 4th, 2012 — 3:25pm  |  Reply

gingergirl said:

this recipe looks phenomenal, will LOVE to give it a try! one thing: can i make this using an oven? will the cooking times and liquid ratio change? thanks!

February 12th, 2013 — 11:36pm  |  Reply

Dashing Dish said:

cook the pasta first on a stovetop then add everything after cooking.

February 13th, 2013 — 12:00pm  | 

Yasmine Gonzalez said:

This dish is sooo yummy and so easy! Its become my number 1 go to after work when im too tired to cook something. Like after trying any of the recipes you post I am in awe! You are a blessing to all of us trying to change our life style and eating habits.

February 16th, 2013 — 6:14am  |  Reply

lisa wade said:

i have never in my life even thought of making pasta in the microwave. i made this. it looks great. gonna eat it for dinner tonight at work.

February 21st, 2013 — 12:33pm  |  Reply

Megan said:

This recipe looks delicious, and I’m planning to make it for Easter. How much should I make for five people?

March 29th, 2013 — 10:54pm  |  Reply

Anna Essig said:

Being from the South, I LOVE mac n cheese – this recipe was soooo good! It will be a regular in my house I just know it. I have really enjoyed trying LOTS of your recipes (especially the muffin ones which I make a batch each week). I think you’re amazing at what you do and love that you share your faith with others! I pray many blessings upon you and your husband! Best, Anna

April 17th, 2013 — 3:44pm  |  Reply

Michaela Quinn said:

so good! love the portion control with this recipe

July 13th, 2013 — 10:17pm  |  Reply

Alexandra Boncek said:

Is there any alternatives that can be used in place of the cottage cheese?

August 3rd, 2013 — 11:18pm  |  Reply

Jocelyn said:

How many serving does this make and how big is a serving?

September 14th, 2013 — 9:11pm  |  Reply

Lizzie said:

I’m a college student who really misses mac and cheese and is intensely craves healthier food after a constant campus diet (very fattening and unhealthy but you’re often stuck with it) and I seriously could cry I’m so happy I found this. I was excited alone seeing it was healthy and only that low of calories and then I saw that it was microwavable and couldn’t believe my eyes! Perfect for a dorm lifestyle… especially since I was sad I would have to wait until I came home to try this (but now I don’t!)

Thank you!

November 16th, 2014 — 9:32pm  |  Reply

Erin said:

I tried this recipe, and both times the recipe seemed to “stick together”; the cottage cheese, after warming, stuck together in a blob and it really just seemed like noodles with a cheesy pile on the side! What do you think I’m doing wrong?

January 16th, 2015 — 8:20pm  |  Reply

Tammy wickizer said:

I just made this and I would suggest storing the cottage cheese and cheddar and milk very well before putting it back in the microwave. Maybe stirring half way through would help too.

January 29th, 2015 — 3:48pm  | 

Tammy wickizer said:

My son is home sick from school today. His favorite is Mac & cheese. I usually buy the Amy’s brand in the freezer section. This is so much better! He loved it. I used buttermilk in place of almond milk and it was awesome. Thank you for pleasing my picky carb loading chemical loving teenager.

January 29th, 2015 — 3:43pm  |  Reply

Tammy wickizer said:

And it doubles in the microwave beautifully. I used my Pyrex measuring cup holds 8 cups. The only difference is double the time.

January 29th, 2015 — 3:46pm  | 

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