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Mac & Cheese Healthy or Decadent – your choice !

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Mac & Cheese Healthy, Decadent, and delicious recipes to follow!

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Mac & Cheese, its become a tradition in America being served alongside barbecue grilled foods, family celebrations, and even just a simple comforting family supper.

It can be as cheap as you want it, as healthy, or as decadent as you desire.

Mac& Cheese is viewed as comfort food. For many of us, it was a part of our childhood. Many people avoid major components of the dish due to allergies and personal preferences but somehow they can create a gluten-free or vegan similar dish. It’s that important to many people.

The dish can be as healthy or as decadent as you want it to be. We have adapted and sourced several Mac & Cheese recipes that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Firstly just a quick fun fact.

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In 2010 American Chef John Folse set a Guinness World record for the world’s largest Mac & Cheese dish. It weighed 2469 pounds. The cast-iron kettle that was cooked weighed 1902 lbs!

Healthy tips to make a lower calorie Mac and Cheese

Mac & Cheese is typically high in calories being made with pasta, cheese, cream, and butter. There are many healthy swaps available to still produce that special comfort dish.

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Healthy Ingredients swaps

Use High Fiber Pasta made from beans or chickpeas instead of plain macaroni. You can also use gluten-free pasta particularly if you are prone to allergies.                                  

Use cauliflower or broccoli instead of plain macaroni to reduce the carb content. A mix of both is tasty.

Add vegetables to your dish to increase not only the fiber but nutritional content. ( This will of course reduce the calories per serving )

Reduce the amount of cheese used and add herbs or spices to flavor the dish.

Substitute Neufchatel cheese for cream cheese. This will still allow for the creaminess but will result in fewer calories

To increase the protein content and make the dish more filling add sliced lean chicken breasts or even tuna.

Of course, keep the servings small to approx. 250 grams per serving. However, it’s ok once in a while to just enjoy it all!


Mac and Cheese for the Healthy

Gluten-Free Baked Yogurt Mac and Cheese. ( Serves 10 people)

Gluten Free Mac & Cheese


8 oz Gluten-free pasta preferably elbow type

2 Tablespoons of Tapioca Flour

½ teaspoon each of Onion Powder/Garlic powder/sea salt and ground black pepper.

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 cup of milk 2 %

1 cup plain Greek Yogurt

2 cups grated/shredded Cheddar cheese

For the topping:-

2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan

½ cup grated cheddar cheese

¼ cup Almond Flour

½ teaspoon garlic salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a casserole dish

Cook your pasta as indicated on the box label

Drain the pasta rinse in cold water and then set aside.

Measure the dry ingredients into a small bowl.

In a medium saucepan melt over low heat.

Add the dry ingredients and whisk for 30 seconds until it forms a paste.

Add the milk and whisk until the ingredients are combined and smooth

Add the yogurt and continue whisking.

Over medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken …Note do NOT boil.

Turn down the heat to low and add the Cheese.

Once combined, add the cheese sauce to the pasta making sure all of the pasta is evenly coated.

Mix the topping ingredients then sprinkle over the mixture.

Bake in the prepared oven for 15- 20 minutes until the cheese on top has melted and is slightly browned.

Serve warm!

Mac and Cheese – simple but never ordinary!

Macaroni & Cheese – Easy recipe

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This is a recipe for a very simple, easy, and quick Macaroni Cheese dish

Note: A lot of people don’t add the onion but I have found that it helps the overall flavor … you can omit it if you want )


· 1 (8 ounces) box elbow macaroni

· ¼ cup butter

· ¼ cup all-purpose flour

· ½ teaspoon salt and pepper

· 2 cups of milk

· 2 cups of grated /shredded Cheese

· 1, medium onion finely chopped and lightly fried till translucent


· In a large pot bring to the boil the recommended salty water

· Cook the macaroni in boiling water. Stir occasionally.

· Macaroni is cooked when cooked through but still slightly firm to the bite. Approx 8 mins.

· Drain and rinse in cold water.

· In a saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. ( approx. 4 mins) 

· Slowly add the milk into the pan, continuously stirring or whisking until the mixture is smooth and slightly bubbling. The milk mustn’t boil.

· Add the cheese and stir until melted.


· At this point, if you want to add extra flavor add in some of the following :

· Bacon bits

· Sliced Jalapenos

· Shredded chicken or Pork

· Tinned tuna

· Diced tomato


Decadent and Rich Mac & Cheese for special occasions!

Mac and Cheese with Bacon strips and Caramelized Onions ( Serves 4)

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  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3, medium onions, sliced
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 8, strips of bacon
  • 8 oz box of elbow pasta
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup white Cheddar cheese grated fresh
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere, grated fresh
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Optional flavor:- add a Pinch of Paprika and cayenne pepper.


The first step is to make the Caramelized Onions

  1. Heat one tablespoon olive oil on high heat in a large frypan. Cook the sliced onions on high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. The onions should start to brown, but not burn.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium and cook onions for a further ten minutes. Continue to stir so that onions won’t burn. Add a pinch of salt.
  4. Stirring frequently, so the onions don’t burn, continue to cook on low heat.
  5. Remove from the stove.
  6. Sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar and use it to deglaze the pan with the onions in.
  7. Set aside

Mac and Cheese:

  1. Cook the bacon Bake in an oven at 350 F until crispy. Drain with a paper towel and chop into small pieces.
  2. Cook elbow macaroni per box instructions. Rinse under cold water and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, add the heavy cream, milk, cheddar, Gruyere, and salt. Cook on medium heat, stirring until the cheeses are blended.
  4. At this point, if you choose, add the Cayenne Pepper and Parika.
  5. Add the macaroni to the creamy sauce, make sure well coated.
  6. Add caramelized onions and chopped bacon to the creamy macaroni.
  7. Serve warm garnished with finely chopped scallions for color.

Have a look at a further recipe blog on this site for HomeBaked Mac and Cheese Click on the link


Beer Infused Mac & Cheese

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  • 250 grams smoked streaky bacon rashers, chopped
  • 4, crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme chopped.
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 375 mls of Lager Beer
  • 320g macaroni
  • 750ml milk
  • 40g plain flour
  • 150g shredded/ grated cheddar
  • Parsley finely chopped to garnish


Preheat your oven grill to high.

In a large cold ovenproof pan add the bacon and cook over medium heat until crisp.

Drain the fat reserving 2 Tablespoons in a pan.

Add the garlic thyme and mustard. Cook stirring for a minute until fragrant.

Add the beer to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high allowing it to simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the cooked pasta, milk, and 330 ml of water.

Add the flour and stir through. Try to make sure that no lumps form.

Cook stirring occasionally for a further 8 minutes.

Stir in half the cheese.

Top with the remaining cheese and grill on high for 4 minutes until browned and bubbling.

Sprinkle with the parsley garnish before serving.


Keep a lookout for a further post with ideas on how to serve your mac and cheese as party appetizers!

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About the Author:

Hi, I am a writer based outside Cape Town in South Africa. I come from a Barbecue obsessed family. With the great weather we have in Cape Town ( most of the year) we enjoy Cooking Outside in our Backyard as often as possible. South African's love to "Braai" anything! The trick to continuing to enjoy Barbecuing is loving the old favorites but experimenting with new foods and methods often.

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