Healthy Mac ‘n Cheese?

Like I said, my food photos leave much to be desired.  This mac ‘n cheese was tasty even though it doesn’t look it from this picture.

I signed up for Eating Well’s email newsletter and occasionally find recipes that appeal to both Chris and me. This was one of those recipes. I’ve never used cottage cheese in mac ‘n cheese before so I was curious as to how it would turn out. Chris gave it a thumbs up. He said it’s almost as good as the stuff in the blue box. 😛 I’ll admit it was a little bit creamier than the baked mac ‘n cheese I usually make. Baked mac ‘n cheese is hard to make really creamy unless you use something like Velveeta (I avoid processed cheese at all costs). I think next time I make this, I’ll put the bread crumb topping on the last 5-10 minutes to avoid the naked edges.

Here’s the recipe as I made it. I linked to the original recipe. It probably wasn’t as healthy since I didn’t use 1% milk or low fat cheddar.  We were also out of frozen spinach so I suppose this technically isn’t “updated” mac ‘n cheese. Oh well.

    3 T bread crumbs
    drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
    few dashes of paprika
    1 1/2 c + 1/4 c milk
    3 T flour
    2 1/2 c sharp cheddar  [I added a little more cheese than the original recipe]
    1 c low fat cottage cheese
    dash of nutmeg  [it adds an interesting flavor- in a good way]
    salt & pepper to taste
    8 oz elbow macaroni  [about 2 cups]
    1.  Combine the bread crumbs with the paprika and olive oil.  Set aside.
    2.  Cook the macaroni for about 4-5 mins.  (You don’t want it to be cooked completely because it will continue to cook in the oven.)  Drain.
    3.  Heat the 1 1/2 c of milk in a large saucepan over medium heat until it starts to steam.  Combine the 1/4 c of milk with the flour and whisk until smooth.  Add to the heated milk and cook for about 2-3 mins or until the sauce has thickened.
    4.  As you whisk, add the cheddar and stir until the cheese has melted.  Add the cottage cheese, nutmeg, salt & pepper and macaroni.
    5.  Pour into a square baking dish and sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture.  Bake @ 450 F for 20-25 mins or until bubbly.
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