Healthy Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach

Healthy macaroni and cheese recipe, made with sharp cheddar cheese, whole wheat noodles, and spinach.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 10 oz bag of frozen spinach
  • 1-3/4 cups skim milk, divided
  • 3 tbsp wheat flour
  • 2 cups (6 oz) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup fat free cottage cheese
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cups (8 oz) whole-wheat elbow macaroni or penne

Directions

Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Mix breadcrumbs, olive oil, and paprika in a small bowl until crumbs are evenly coated with the oil. Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain and refresh under cold water; press out excess moisture. I microwave mine, and then wring it out in a towel. Heat 1-1/2 cups milk in a large 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, 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, and spinach. Cook pasta for 4 minutes, or until not quite tender. (It will continue to cook during baking.) Drain and add to the cheese/spinach sauce; mix well. Pour mixture into glass baking dish. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture evenly over top. Bake the casserole until bubbly and golden, 20 minutes. Let sit a few minutes before serving so cheese has time to set up and wonโ€™t run all over the place when you cut into it. Tip Prepare through Step 4. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, if necessary, then bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

Nutrition Information

(4 servings = per serving) Calories: 418 Fat: 7 g (3 g sat) Carbs: 55 g Fiber: 10 g Protein: 35 g
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