5 Days of Light and Easy Weeknight Meals: Day 5

This recipe is another one from the Cooking Light book, but we made some alterations. The original recipe is just a regular macaroni and cheese dish, but we like to make ours with vegetables to make it more filling if we eat it as a meal. There are also a few things we will do differently next time and I will share those with you as we go!

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

First, we boiled a whole box (4 cups) of whole grain macaroni elbows. You could probably use just about any pasta you wanted, though. Next time, I think we will probably cut back to about 3 cups, because this almost seemed like too much.

Next, I put 3 Tbsp of flour, 1 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp of salt in with 2 1/4 cups of fat free milk. We set it on the stove and let it boil.


As that was cooking down, we had pre-cut some green, red, and yellow peppers, along with some onion and mushrooms, so we sprayed some olive oil spray on those in a skillet and cooked them just a little.


Once the flour and milk mixture was hot, we started to add 1/4 up of cream cheese by the teaspoon, stirring the whole time. We let it simmer for about two minutes, stirring frequently to be sure it didn’t burn on the bottom.


Then, we added 2 tsp of Worcester sauce, 2 tsp of Dijon mustard, and 1/2 tsp of minced garlic. Next time, we will probably only put in half the Dijon mustard, because it ended up tasting stronger than we thought it would. The last addition was 1 1/4 cup of light shredded Colby and Jack cheese, so we took the mixture off the heat and stirred in the cheese. The recipe called for cheddar, but you can use whatever you want to switch up the flavor. By this time, the pasta was done, so we drained it and added it to the cheese mixture.


And this is the reason for the addition of the peppers, onions, and mushrooms…it looks a little dull without something else in it!


We served it with steamed broccoli and bread and dipping oil, which my daughter is seriously obsessed with!


What we really liked about this recipe is that it was super easy and an interesting twist on a comfort food that everyone in our house loves. Again, the changes we would make are:

1. Add peppers, onions, and mushrooms (or whatever veggies you like). You could probably add chicken and this is something we will probably try in the future.

2. Use 3 cups of uncooked pasta rather than 4 so that the end result will be a little creamier.

3. Use only 1 tsp of Dijon mustard, as opposed to 2.

So there you have it! I’m sure I will be doing another similar series at some point, but I hope you enjoyed the first one.

Which of the five was your favorite and most likely to try?

Don’t miss any of the other recipes in this series!

Day 1: Chicken with Onions, Mushrooms, and Peppers

Day 2: Philly Turkey Sandwiches

Day 3: Turkey Mini Meatloaves

Day 4: Portabella Parmesan


  1. Roshni says:

    I actually do not care for the usual macaroni and cheese but your version definitely looks yummy and much healthier!

  2. Jenne says:

    Looks yummy! I normally don’t add any extras in. I need to try that sometime. Stove top mac and cheese is my son’s favorite.

    • Rachel says:

      If I’m making it for a side, I usually don’t, but if it’s meant to be the entrée, I feel like it needs a little more. We have done chicken and broccoli as well.

  3. Mmmm macaroni and cheese! Your version seems healthier with all the added veggies. 🙂

  4. I love making homemade mac and cheese but have yet to find one that my boys love more than the boxed version (sadly, I know). I made one stovetop version before and it just had milk, no cream cheese but I had to cut down or leave out the dijon flavor cause it was overpowering. I’m still trying though and found a mac and cheese with roasted veggies recipe that I’m going to try! Keep up the good work with your healthy eating! I love trying new recipes so thanks for sharing.

    • Rachel says:

      Yeah, the Dijon flavor in this one was a little much, which is why we will be cutting it back quite a bit the next time. And it is kind of sad how kids choose the boxed version over a homemade version of it!

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