This Spooky Mac and Cheese takes a basic boxed mac and cheese and doctors it up for a more nutritious meal that’s ALSO a fun and festive Halloween macaroni and cheese!
I may be a dietitian, but I’m also a mom whose kids love your classic boxed mac and cheese. This Spooky Mac and Cheese features my super easy twist on standard boxed mac and cheese that has my oldest declaring, “this isn’t very good — it’s AMAZING!”
There’s a couple easy ingredient swaps that add protein, nutrients, but keep the creamy cheesiness your kids know and love.
And best part? Using spinach gives a super fun green color, making this look like a spooky mac and cheese perfect for Halloween!
Why This Spooky Mac and Cheese Recipe is SO Good:
- It’s easy and made it under 15 minutes.
- Has nutritious swaps that add more protein and nutrients.
- Looks fun and can be given a Halloween twist.
- In the words of my most particular eater – it tastes amazing!
For a full ingredient list with quantities, please check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
- Boxed Mac and Cheese: Pick your favorite! You’ll need the noodles and the cheese packet.
- Cottage Cheese: When blended, cottage cheese becomes completely smooth. This makes a fantastic high-protein, creamy sauce base!
- Spinach: This vegetable adds nutrients, fiber, and a fun green color.
And if you’re going for the full spooky Halloween vibe, you’ll also need mozzarella pearls and black olives to make the “eyeballs.”
For complete instructions, please check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post!
- Boil noodles according to package directions.
- In a blender, combine spinach and cottage cheese and blend 1-2 minutes, or until smoothly combined.
- Add cheese packet and blend again.
- Drain noodles and add the sauce.
- Stir in the sauce and plate and serve.
- If you want spooky mac and cheese, use fresh mozzarella pearls and slices of black olives to create “eyeballs.”
- Don’t follow ingredients needed on the package! The only thing from the package that you need is the pasta and noodles. Do not add butter and milk, or the sauce will become too thin and milky. The blended cottage cheese is all you need for the base!
- To make the “eyeballs,” place one fresh mozzarella pearl into the green mac and cheese, then add on a slice of black olive.
Substitutions & Variations
- Add Herbs: when blending the sauce mixture, try blending in fresh herbs like basil or parsley for some fresh flavor.
- Skip the Greens: if your kids aren’t a fan of spinach or the green color, you can omit the spinach entirely and just use cottage cheese blended with the powdered cheese sauce.
- Swap the Mac & Cheese: this works with any type of boxed mac and cheese! If you prefer white mac and cheese, that’s totally fine, just know the color will be slightly different without the yellow cheese powder undertones.
Storage, Freezing, & Reheating
- Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to three days.
- While the mac and cheese can be frozen, I don’t recommend it. The noodles absorb too much liquid from the sauce, causing them to get mushy and the sauce to get dry.
- To reheat leftover mac and cheese, add a splash of milk and reheat in the microwave in 30 second intervals, or on the stove top over medium heat until warmed through.
Supplies You’ll Need
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Spooky Mac and Cheese
- 1 box mac and cheese
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 2 cups spinach
- 6 mozzarella pearls
- 2 black olives
- Boil water and cook noodles according to package directions (reserve the cheese packet, you need it later).
- While the noodles are boiling, blend cottage cheese and spinach 1-2 minutes, until smooth. Add cheese packet and blend again to combine.
- Drain noodles and return to pot (off the heat).
- Pour sauce over the noodles and stir to combine.
- Transfer to a serving dish. To make the spooky mac and cheese, place mozzarella pearls on top of the mac and cheese, and top each pearl with a black olive slice to create an "eyeball" effect.
- Serve immediately and enjoy.