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Healthy Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach

  • LiveWell360 Staff
  • September 13, 2015

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 won’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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