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for grandparents & those who love them

Mac n' cheese

Why Not A Healthier Mac n’ Cheese


My kids always loved mac n’ cheese, but now, I make my own and slip in nutrients, like broccoli crowns, peas, green beans, artichokes, mushrooms, tomatoes, kale, or whatever I may have that’s fresh) and add chicken sausage or shrimp. Instead of fatty creams, I use cooked butternut squash or sweet potato (mashed or soups), and I occasionally use at least one low-fat cheese in placed of a whole-fat one. Here’s a simple recipe that you can tweak to suit your family’s tastes:

Makes 6 servings


  • 12 ounces gluten-free pasta rigatoni or shells [as an option, use whole-wheat or spinach pasta]
  • 1 cup almond milk [or 2% milk]
  • ½ cup of non-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cup grated fresh Parmesan
  • 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup cooked butternut squash or sweet potato, mashed [or soup]
  • 1 cup of chicken sausage or large shrimp, cut into chunky pieces [you can use chicken hot dogs, if you prefer]
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Monterey Jack cheese 

Optional spices:

  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1/2  tsp chili powder 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and then:

  • Boil pasta in salted water until slightly firm.
  • In a saucepan, combine milk, Parmesan, cheddar, mashed butternut squash (or sweet potato) over medium heat until melted and combined. Turn off the heat. Add salt, pepper, and other spices to taste.
  • Drain the pasta but do not rinse it. Add it to the cheese sauce (use a large bowl if necessary) and toss to coat the pasta. Taste again for spice levels.
  • Spray a shallow baking pan with cooking spray and pour in pasta. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Monterey jack cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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