Mac & cheese, slightly healthified

mac & cheese with broccoli

This recipe is a blend of two instant pot mac & cheese recipes: one from Dad Cooks Dinner and one from this cookbook. It is a popular supper paired with steamed broccoli. Leftovers are also very popular in the next day’s lunch.


  • Instant pot



  • 454g (1 lb) macaroni
  • ~10g butter
  • 1/2 T yellow mustard
  • 1/2 T spicy, seedy mustard
  • 1/2 T kosher salt
  • several dashes hot sauce
  • 4 c water
  • 500g cauliflower (frozen works really well)


  • 50 mL skim milk powder + 200mL water, mixed together
  • ~150g grated cheese (cheddar, gruyère, parmesan are great together for this)


  • ~75g whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • chopped parsley and/or thyme


  • Combine all macaroni ingredients in Instant Pot with cauliflower on top. Cook at high pressure 4 minutes, natural release for 10 minutes, then quick release.
  • Mix in prepared milk (milk powder + water) and cheese.
  • Pour into prepared, lightly greased pan. Top with breadcrumbs and herbs.
  • Put in to bake at 350F while the rest of the meal finishes.
  • About 5-10 minutes before you want to serve it, if the top isn’t already brown, broil lightly for a couple of minutes to brown the top.
  • Let sit a few minutes to firm up before cutting and serving.


Makes 8 servings. (Although the 16-year-old eats 2 servings at a time, so perhaps this is actually 6-7 servings?)


Last time I made this, I used 86g cheddar, 52g gruyère and 12g parmesan. Divided into 8, each serving had: 331 calories, 44.9 g CHO, 3.1 g fibre, 14.3 g protein, 9 g fat. Even though the count isn’t that high, this meal does best for me with a protein & fat bolus.

I have tried freezing and baking this, and was not pleased with the results. It was ok, but it took a really long time and the texture was off.

We also tried this with whole wheat mac & cheese, and it just wasn’t as good. We eat whole wheat pasta routinely, but for this recipe, we use regular pasta. I could probably figure this out by playing with timing but I just don’t care enough. Pasta hits about the same whether it’s whole wheat or regular so, for the occasional times we make this, it doesn’t feel worth the effort to further healthify it.

If you don’t have an instant pot, you could probably just make this on the stovetop. I’m sure you could use an old school pressure cooker, too. (Side note: I spent a winter in my early twenties working as cook and first mate on a charter sailboat in the Bahamas, where I learned to appreciate and respect a pressure cooker. There’s nothing like the risk of blowing a hole through the side of the boat to focus your attention on the cooker pressurizing on the gimballed stove. I did not make mac & cheese, but I sure figured out thirty-seven different ways to cook and serve crawfish.)

Alsacienne whole wheat biscuits

biscuits straight out of the oven

This is what my family calls these biscuits, which made their way to our table as I riffed off of different biscuit versions and combined flavours to ultimately arrive at something deliciously similar to our favourite pizza (l’Alsacienne) from Boîte à pain. Apologies to the people of Alsace for liberties taken.


  • 1-1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t dried dill (or 1 T fresh dill, minced)
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 T baking powder
  • about 2-3 T minced or grated white onion (you can substitute a few chopped scallions, leeks, or other allium here, but white onion has the best flavour of all we’ve tried)
  • 50g cold butter (unsalted is best, but you can use salted and just dial back the salt)
  • about 100-150g total grated cheese (I recommend a mix of sharp cheddar, gruyère, and a bit of parmesan)
  • about 350-400g plain greek yogurt (about 1.5 c)


  • Whisk together dry ingredients.
  • Fold in onion (and fresh dill, if using.)
  • Cut in butter.
  • Mix in grated cheese, then yogurt until just combined. If too dry, add a bit more yogurt.
  • Use a spoon or cookie scoop and (clean) hands to form rough biscuits.
  • Bake on a large, parchment-lined baking sheet at 450F for about 9-10 minutes until lightly browned on top. Serve hot.


~16-21 fist-sized biscuits


Made with 150g cheese and 375g yogurt, this usually works out to about 17 biscuits, with each one having 120 calories, 11g CHO, 1.6g fibre, 6.4g protein, 5.8g fat. Exact nutrition will depend on your own choices of cheese and how much of each ingredient you actually put in.

These can be frozen, unbaked, and then baked from frozen. Add a few minutes to the baking time.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe in a book by Mark Bittman (I believe it was How To Cook Everything; pretty sure this is the same recipe) with inspiration from a cheese bun recipe by Smitten Kitchen (“Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns” in the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook) and good experiences with the Alsacienne pizza from Boîte à pain.