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Makeover Sloppy Joe Mac and Cheese

Decreasing the butter and replacing the half-and-half with milk helped cut a whopping 658 calories and more than half the fat from this casserole. Even though the cholesterol was reduced by 75% and the sodium by 40%, it offers all the heart-warming comfort of the original. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
  • Total Time
    Prep: 1 hour Bake: 30 min.
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 envelope sloppy joe mix
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups 2% milk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 ounces reduced-fat process cheese (Velveeta), cubed
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided


  • Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook the turkey, celery and carrot over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water and sloppy joe mix. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Drain macaroni; set aside. In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, mustard, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat. Stir in the process cheese until melted. Add macaroni and 1 cup cheddar cheese; mix well.
  • Spread two-thirds of the macaroni mixture in a 13x9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread turkey mixture to within 2 in. of edges. Spoon remaining macaroni mixture around edges of pan. Cover and bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese; cover and let stand until cheese is melted.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 390 calories, 14g fat (7g saturated fat), 55mg cholesterol, 923mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 3g fiber), 23g protein.
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  • ladylaura
    Sep 25, 2015

    This is a family favorite that I make often. The meat sauce part freezes well, so I usually make a 5 times batch of the meat sauce, then serve 1 and freeze 4. The days when I make it by thawing the meat sauce, it is super easy.

  • Joscy
    May 3, 2013

    Since I have insulin dep. diabetes, this dish sounds like it may work well for my needs. Thank You for sharing.

  • CMChapman
    Jan 17, 2013

    I just made this tonight and it was SO good. I had to make some adjustments for my diet, since I have to eat gluten-free. I substituted rice for the pasta and beans for the meat. I will definitely make this again. My family loved it!!

  • niagaracat
    Jan 10, 2013

    Makes lots. I added a full pound of meat.

  • hlillis
    Apr 29, 2012

    My family really enjoyed this dish. It was very rich. The next time I make it I'll add more meat & less cheese.

  • thewife06
    Mar 19, 2012

    It's missign something that I can't put my finger on, but yummy none the less! Perfect comfort food. The recipe is very large, so I split it into two 9X9 dishes. One for dinner tonight, one in the freezer for a night when I don't want to cook. :)My husband says: Perfect comfort food!

  • SaraJoy
    Sep 21, 2011

    This recipe was okay but I don't feel it's worth all the prep. and clean up. It is a good diet "comfort food" but it's nothing special.

  • Nellstrum
    Jul 12, 2011

    I used beef instead, and halved the amount of mac, milk,and cheddar, just because there is only two of us. the rest of the recipe I kept the same. I'm making this my new mac and cheese. Sooooo much flavour. As suggested in the magazine I will also try replacing the sloppy joe mix with taco seasoning. Dorothy I thank you.

  • mom23kids
    Oct 26, 2009

    I used ground chicken instead of Turkey and also 1% milk. Most delicious

  • akglmu
    May 27, 2009

    Made this without carrots because I didn't have any and used fat free milk. It turned out AMAZING! Great flavor and I agree that it is very creamy and filling. Definitely a recipe for that I will be making again and again!