16 Jan Healthy Baked Mac & Cheese!
My kiddos LOVED this!!! Enjoy! xo Jen
Healthy Mac & Cheese
3 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon paprika
1 16-ounce or 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
1¾ cups skim milk, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose wheat flour
2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (I only used 1 cup to cut back on fat)
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat elbow macaroni, or penne
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat an 8-inch-square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.
Mix breadcrumbs, oil and paprika in a small bowl. Place spinach in a fine-mesh strainer and press out excess moisture.
Heat 1½ cups milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming. Whisk remaining ¼ cup milk and flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Cheddar until melted. Stir in cottage cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Cook pasta for 4 minutes, or until not quite tender. (It will continue to cook during baking.) Drain and add to the cheese sauce; mix well. Spread half the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish. Spoon the spinach on top. Top with the remaining pasta; sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.
Bake the casserole until bubbly and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.