BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Lightened Up Mac and Cheese

  • Prep Time 0:25
  • Cook Time 0:15
  • Estimated Cost $11.00

My friend Brooke, the Soapbox Therapist, came over for dinner tonight after an exhausting day, very much in need of some therapy of her own. Well, one of the ways I do therapy is with truly delicious, lovingly-prepared comfort food. More specifically, I make macaroni and cheese.

I’d been wanting to try making a lower-fat version of my best mac and cheese recipe (mostly so that I can eat it more often), and so tonight seemed the perfect opportunity. Healthy broccoli tucked in with penne pasta and a light-yet-rich-tasting mozzarella and Parmesan sauce, topped with more Parmesan and baked until brown and crispy on top—it soothes the belly and the soul. I served it with a fresh green salad and summer melon sorbet from BiRite. Who wouldn’t feel better after a meal like that?


  • 8 oz. penne, macaroni elbows or other small, tubular pasta $1 for 16 oz.
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Pantry
  • 1/2 white onion, very finely chopped $0.50
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced Pantry
  • 2 tbsp flour Pantry
  • 1 cup low-fat milk $1.50 for a pint
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (light mozzarella works well) $3.50 for 12 oz.
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling $3.50 for 10 oz.
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped $1
  • salt and pepper to taste Pantry

Recipe Serves 2-4


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cook pasta in salted boiling water, according to package directions.
  3. While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until very fragrant but not browned, 1-2 minutes. Lightly sprinkle flour over onions and garlic and stir well to make sure the flour and oil mix together.
  4. Slowly pour the milk into the flour-onion-garlic mixture, whisking constantly to break up the lumps. A thick, creamy sauce will form.
  5. Continue whisking as you add the mozzarella and Parmesan. If the mixture becomes too thick, add a bit more milk.
  6. Just before you drain the pasta, add the chopped broccoli and allow it to cook with the pasta for about 1 minute. Drain the pasta and broccoli and return to the pot.
  7. Use a rubber scraper to transfer the cheese sauce onto the cooked pasta. Stir well to evenly distribute sauce and broccoli throughout the pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir once more.
  8. Transfer pasta to an 8" baking dish or between 2-4 ovenproof bowls/ramekins. Top with a light sprinkling of Parmesan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly-browned.

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What They're Saying

Jamie, on Oct 5, 09:02 PM, wrote:

This looks delicious! I love mac & cheese, can’t wait to try this :)

Deborah newbrun, on Oct 5, 09:27 PM, wrote:

This sounds like such a winner, I must cook it corny 15 & 10 year old sons. Thanks so much!

Katrina, on Oct 6, 07:07 AM, wrote:

Mac & Cheese is one of my staples to a stressful life. To avoid the lumps, cook the onions and garlic in a different pan from the flour and oil. If all you have in the pan is warm oil and flour you will never have any lumps at all. They key is having a one to one ratio of flour to oil (or butter) Once those two ingredients are well mixed then add everything else. It adds extra pans, but you will never have to worry about lumpy sauce again. (Also try browned butter instead of olive oil one day, its incredible)

p.s. I love your blog <3

MissChefy, on Oct 12, 06:13 PM, wrote:

I love this recipe! I tried it tonight and documented my experience here

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