Salsa-spiked mac 'n' cheese



15 min


6 to 8 servings

* PLUS Cooking time: 10 minutes, Baking Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni pasta
  • 3 cups milk , either skim or 1 or 2 percent
  • 1/2 250-g pkg light cream cheese
  • 2 cups grated old cheddar , orange-coloured
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 to 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper , optional
  • 1 cup tomato salsa
  • 4 green onions , thinly sliced
  • 1 cup buttered bread crumbs , optional (see tip, below)


  • Cook macaroni in boiling water following package directions for minimum cooking time, about 7 minutes. Drain, then rinse with cold running water. Drain well and place in an ungreased baking dish, big enough to hold at least 8 cups (2 L).
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F (180C). Pour milk into a large saucepan and place over medium heat until milk’s steaming hot. Do not boil. Cut cream cheese into 1/2-inch (1-cm) chunks and grate cheddar. In a small bowl, stir grated cheddar with flour.
  • As soon as milk is hot, stir in cream cheese cubes until melted. Continuing to stir, gradually sprinkle in cheddar-flour mixture, then Parmesan, mustard, salt, paprika and cayenne. Stirring frequently, cook until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth, from 3 to 4 more minutes.
  • Pour sauce over hot cooked macaroni. Stir in until macaroni is coated. Fold in salsa and onions just until evenly distributed. Smooth top. Cover and bake in centre of 350F (180C) oven until hot and bubbly, from 30 to 35 minutes. For extra crunch, uncover and sprinkle with bread crumbs for last 10 minutes of baking time.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 329,
  • Protein
  • 16.3 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 35.2 g,
  • Fat
  • 13.7 g,
  • Fibre
  • 2.3 g,
  • Sodium
  • 612 mg.

We’ve stirred salsa into our famous, creamy lower-fat macaroni and cheese for a dinner the kids, and former kids, will truly appreciate.

Chatelaine tip

For buttered crumbs, whirl 2 to 3 slices of bread or 1 bagel in a food processor until crumbs form. Add 1 tablespoon (15 mL) melted butter and whirl until crumbs are coated.