Baked Mac & Cheese



First post of 2010! Happy New Year everyone. This is the year Michael and I get married. Just over 5 months. I can't believe it's coming so soon! We've been super slack about taking photos of our food lately as well posting over the holidays, so sorry about that. Trying to get back into the routine.

This is a great, healthy mac & cheese recipe. Perfect for all this ridiculously cold weather we've been having lately. I went to Dominican Republic for the holidays with my family and really hated coming back to this sub-freezing weather in NC. Anyways, the spinach is a great addition to a traditional mac & cheese - especially to add some extra vitamins. We modified the recipe from Eating Well. One tip I'd say is make sure you cook the noodles long enough b/c we got inpatient and they were a tad chewy - still good though. We served it with some peas and a spicy chicken sausage for that extra protein :) Serves 4.



Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 3/4 cups low-fat milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat elbow macaroni

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. Mix breadcrumbs, oil and paprika in a small bowl. Place spinach in a fine-mesh strainer and press out excess moisture.
  3. Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming. Whisk remaining 1/4 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Bake the casserole until bubbly and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

30 comments:

preventionrd said...

Sounds delicious! That Cordon Bleu looks wonderful, as well...and much fancier than my version! ;)

♥peachkins♥ said...

Happy new Year to you guys! This is a healthy mac and cheese. I love the addition of Spinach.

Megan said...

I just made mac and cheese last night. It was definitely not a healthy version like this though... it was more of a use up all the leftover cheese in the fridge dish. Ha ha. This one looks delicious!

Sharon said...

I'm a sucker for mac 'n cheese and I love how this one includes veggies too!

Leslie said...

Yum Yum Yummy...gotta love a healthier mac and cheese

Conor @ HoldtheBeef said...

The spinach makes this look much more appealing to me than a traditional man & cheese. Might give it a miss for a little while though... we're "enjoying" high 30s temps right now (over 95 F).

Donna-FFW said...

Happy New Year to you guys!! What gorgeous photo, a beautiful family!

Fantastic dish, sounds delicious, so comforting for the cold weather here in NJ at the moment.MMM, good!

Gloria said...

This look absolutely delicious!! dears Have a wonderful year!! I love the pictures, gloria

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I like the idea of the spinach in the mac and cheese. How clever. As cold as it's been in NC, I would want to be on the beach even though the surf looks up there too. We're in Ft. Myers this morning with frost and 34 degrees. Guess it's better than the 15 degrees at home in the mountains.
Sam

grace said...

the countdown is on! try to contain your excitement--save a little for the big day. :)
meanwhile, what an awesome mac & cheese recipe. sneaking spinach in there is a lovely idea, and the crumbly topping is awesome!

A Year on the Grill said...

Gongrats on the upcoming wedding...

But really, after seeing those shorts he is wearing, wardroom control should be in the prenup

Rose said...

Love the mac & cheese!!!! Ahhhh the DR nice place! Happy New Year to you both :D

Juliana said...

Happy New Year! Nice pictures and what a contract between the snow and the tropical island :-) It seems that you had a better weather than what we encounter in DR. Like the way you have your mac and cheese, with spinach..

Roseiro.Pedro said...

I am not a big fan of mac + cheese, but thats because i've never tried a homemade one. I will hve to try this recipe.
Btw, great choice on Pank Breadcrumbs. they are the best.

The Duo Dishes said...

Happy New Year to you both! We both love a mac & cheese, but it's not so great for the waist. Thanks for another option.

Mary said...

Happy New Year guys. I hope 2010 brings you health, happiness and prosperity. Your pictures and your recipe are just wonderful.

Barbara said...

Love your photos! Oh for some warm weather- and I live in Florida!
Great mac and cheese recipe too...nice to add some healthy ingredients.

Chef E said...

I was never fond of back mac n cheese, but wit the spinach adding moisture I can see it would change my mind! Looks great!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Yay you guys are getting married in 5 months!! I want to see wedding pictures and wedding FOOD pictures. :)

I didn't know there was such a thing as healthy mac & cheese. Did you really enjoy this? It looks pretty darn good.

So the contrast in pictures made me laugh. If I had my choice I would be in the bottom picture. The snowy one reminds me too much of here. Brrrr.

Laura

Elra said...

Wonderful photo of you and your family. Your mac and cheese sound delicious!

My Little Space said...

This is something I can't resist! Love the cheesy smell... I'm sure my kids would crazy for this. haha.... Btw, do you mean you guys are getting married soon? Any how! CONGRATULATIONS! You're perfect couples. Very much looking forward to your plans! hehe....

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

I was on vacation there a few years ago, and it was glorious! So jealous you got to go somewhere warm!

Thanks for posting this recipe. I make mac and cheese at least a few times a month, and NEVER would have thought of the addition of cottage cheese. I don't like it plain, but I bet all melty in the mac and cheese, its totally deluxe!

sophia said...

That looks so incredibly luscious and decadent, you would have had me fooled it was healthy! Wow! I love it! And I loved that family photo...what a family of gorgeous people!

Velva said...

Baked mac n'cheese the ultimate American comfort food. Love it. This is perfect to warm the body and satisfy the soul during what is becoming a crazy Winter.

Congratulation on your upcoming nuptials.

Liz said...

I feel the pain of coming back from a tropical place to the middle of winter. I am also cooking up a storm of comfort food to cope! Happy New Year.

Ana said...

Oh!!! una mezcla deliciosa!!! I like!!!

Un saludo!!!

Teanna said...

So funny, I had never heard of eating well until about 10 minutes ago and now I see another great recipe from that mag! Gorgeous job! Congratulations on getting married!

Olga said...

although I'm not a huge fan of wholewheat pasta, this looks amazingly good! such a comfort food meal.

notjustmedical said...

Oh my god, I love mac and cheese. Unfortunately the mac and cheese in England is not the greatest in the world, I even resorted to bringing back some bright yellow EasyMac from the US!!

Looks delicious.

S
http://notjustmedical.wordpress.com

Kerstin said...

Mmm, I love how your lightened up mac&cheese is packed with spinach - yum!

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