Food Friday: Skinny Pot Pie and Skinny Mac-n-Cheese

Before I get on with today’s exciting post I have a little bit of housekeeping to take care of. (You can file this under the category of NOT THAT YOU ASKED AND WHY, EXACTLY, DO I THINK YOU CARE?)

I think I unfairly represented the number of page views I get, and since so many of you seemed amazed at my hits, I wanted to clarify that. That total I mentioned was the number of times my delurking entry had been viewed over at least two days, not my actual daily page views. Which, of course, means that some of you came back more than once looking for me to, for the love of God, post something else besides a photo of Henry with a shiner. But you got counted in that group of nearly 900 page views. So that’s that.

Now onto the real reason you came here—skinny mac.



It’s January.

You’re trying to eat better. But it’s cold. And dark. And no WAY is a light meal going to satisfy you tonight.


I hear you.

Who says you can’t have both?

Try these recipes from Cooking Light magazine for chicken pot pie and homemade macaroni and cheese. No, these aren’t exactly mom’s pot pie and mac-n-cheese, but the modifications are well worth it to bring these dishes into the category of healthy eating. And, it means you can even have seconds, guilt free.

Now THAT’S comfort.


Chicken and Root Vegetable Pot Pie

The vegetables are what add flavor and fiber to this recipe, so add them all if you want to reap the nutritional benefits of this recipe.

3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup (1/2-inch) cubed peeled baking potato
1 cup (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato
1 cup (1/2-inch) cubed peeled celeriac (celery root) (Makes it super creamy, don’t skip this one.)
1 cup (1/2-inch-thick) slices parsnip
1 (10-ounce) package frozen pearl onions (I just chop a regular onion—I don’t like the pearly ones. Too much like eyeballs.)
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 3 ounces), divided
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, thawed

Preheat oven to 400°. Bring broth to a boil in a large Dutch oven. Add peas and next 5 ingredients (through onions) to pan; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 6 minutes. Add chicken; cook for 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken and vegetables from broth with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl.Increase heat to medium. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Place all but 1 tablespoon flour in a medium bowl; gradually add milk to bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broth; cook for 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in chicken mixture, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon flour on a work surface; roll dough into a 13 x 9-inch rectangle. Place dough over chicken mixture, pressing to seal at edges of dish. Cut small slits into dough to allow steam to escape; coat dough lightly with cooking spray. Place dish on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 16 minutes or until pastry is browned and filling is bubbly.
Yields eight servings, and because I am helpful, here is the nutritional info, including Weight Watchers info, on this puppy.
Don’t expect THAT every week. That’s just to make up for you having to find parsnips and celery root at the grocery store.
Calories: 388; Fat: 13 g; Protein: 21.9 g; Fiber 4.4 g; Weight Watchers points: 8

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Mustard, garlic and Worcestershire sauce add some zip to this comfy favorite. Try this with any short pasta, such as fusilli, farfalle or cavatappi or experiment with different cheeses.

4 cups uncooked medium elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/4 cups fat-free milk
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.While pasta cooks, place flour, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan. Add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Drop cream cheese by teaspoonfuls into milk mixture; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes or until thick and cream cheese melts, stirring occasionally.
Stir in mustard, Worcestershire, and garlic; simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Combine pasta and cheese sauce in a large bowl; toss well.
Yields six servings.
Calories 252; Fat: 8.2 g; Protein 14.5 g; Fiber 1.1g, Weight Watchers points: 6 (per 1 1/2 cup serving)
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Anna Sawin

Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.


  1. mywoodenrobot on January 18, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Ohh that looks so good…and I don’t even like healthy food that tries to take the place of good rich, fatty food.

  2. JenBun on January 18, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    OK, Anna, can I run away with you???

    EVERYONE has been talking about Mac&Cheese today (and just lately), so this is definitely needed and MUCH appreciated! In fact, I just had to run over to KLC and update her…

    THANK YOU!!!

  3. Stacy on January 18, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Ah, page views….I see!

    So, as you know I usually post a food thing on Fridays, but didn’t get to it this week since work is sucking my brain cells dry. I was going to post a mac and cheese recipe, in which, you gain about 5 pounds just by reading the recipe. Yours is MUCH healthier. I will post it next week…you are forewarned. 😉

  4. B. on January 18, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Add a little cream and cheese to these recipies and, YUM!

  5. La on January 18, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Ooh, that just looks absolutely divine!

  6. christine on January 18, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    i love the recipes you find. and how did you know i was thinking “chicken pot pie sounds good for tonight”? now i have a grocery list! if only i could get mo to eat parsnip and pearl onions…

  7. Maggie on January 18, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    I am now STARVING. Seriously – how yummy does that look?!

  8. danamccauley on January 18, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    Not to take away from the splendor that is your low fat mac and cheese but for an ultra cheesy indulgent version, pop my by blog. I posted my signature Mac and Cheese recipe there on Wednesday.

  9. christinator on January 18, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Oooh, I like the idea of mustard in the mac&cheese. That’d be a nice tangy touch.

  10. Mellissa on January 19, 2008 at 1:20 am


  11. erin on January 19, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    i love cooking light recipes! they are soooo good (and you feel a little better about yourself after indulging).

  12. Stephanie on January 20, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Oooh, will definitely have to try the Skinny Mac & Cheese. Instead, I just ate Kraft Mac & Cheese Deluxe from the box. Not so healthy.

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Anna Sawin is a Connecticut-based portrait, wedding, and editorial photographer. She lives in the shoreline town of Stonington with her family and has discovered the perfect cupcake. Just ask, she is willing to share her secret.