Lightened Up Macaroni and Cheese

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Hood® . All writing, opinions, and photography are my own. 

It’s almost time for school to start here, and I’ve already started thinking about those busy weeknights and how I can make dinner prep easier and less stressful. Meal planning helped me a ton last year, and so did having some staple recipes to prepare when I’m short on time. These recipes include spaghetti and meatballs (vegetarian meatballs too!), stir-fries, entrée salads and of course macaroni and cheese! Macaroni and cheese is one of the boys’ favorite meals, and it had to be on the list. I decided to lighten up the traditional home-style macaroni and cheese recipe we usually use by using less butter and Hood® Simply Smart 1% milk. Scroll down to find the recipe!

Hood® Simply Smart Milk

Hood Simply Smart milk is ultra-filtered and has more protein (25% more) and calcium (20% more) than regular whole milk, along with less fat, cholesterol, and calories! It’s also a great source of Vitamin D. Interested in trying Simply Smart for yourself? Head to your nearest grocery store or stop by Hood’s table at the Boston Heart Walk on September 9, 2017 to taste the milk for yourself and pick up some premium swag items!

Hood SimplySmart

Hood Simply Smart 1% Milk

 Simply Smart Milk

A Lighter Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese is a staple in our family. Simply Smart 1% milk and less butter allowed me to lighten up our traditional recipe for fall! I used 25% less butter and replaced the whole milk with the Simply Smart 1% milk. The result is a macaroni and cheese that is just as tasty, but with less fat and calories.

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Mac and Cheese Ingredients

Macaroni and Cheese Close-up

You can use whatever combination of cheese you would like in this recipe. I chose sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack, but I’ve used Gruyère and smoked gouda too! For the breadcrumbs, I’ve chosen Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs, but you can use plain panko, traditional breadcrumbs or homemade ones if you prefer. Here’s our recipe:

Lightened Up Mac & Cheese

Lightened Up Mac & Cheese


  • 1 lb box of elbow macaroni
  • 8 oz. of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz. of shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 3 c. of Simply Smart 1% Milk
  • 6 tbsp of whole wheat flour
  • 6 tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 cup of Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Melt butter in a dutch oven and mix in whole wheat flour to form a paste.
  3. Slowly add milk and stir to combine and add pepper.
  4. While doing the above, boil water and prepare elbow macaroni.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil for two minutes.
  6. Reduce heat to low and stir in grated cheeses.
  7. Fold in elbow macaroni and top with bread crumbs.
  8. Bake in oven (uncovered) for 20 minutes.

Jessica Morrison

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