When it comes to food, macaroni and cheese might be my ultimate weakness (next to french fries, of course). Many people that are trying to lose weight try to cut carbs (a food fad) and reduce their cheese and dairy intake, which makes macaroni and cheese a big no-no. Personally, I know I cannot live without macaroni and cheese in my life and I needed to find some way to keep it around.
When I first moved out of my parents’ house, I was so excited to begin my adventures in my very own kitchen. I started by looking through a few cookbooks that my mom passed down to me. I found a favorite immediately- The Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook. The title grabbed my attention instantly and I fell even more in love when I realized almost every single recipe had a picture to match, along with nutritional information. At the time, I was really into calorie counting so this was a huge help!
As I perused the pages, I saw a recipe for macaroni and cheese that I could not wait to try. It was listed as a side dish, but I knew that it could easily be changed to be a full meal. The Creamy Macaroni ‘n’ Cheese recipe seemed to be very different from other macaroni and cheeses I’ve made in the past. I was so excited to find a lightened version until I realized what the secret ingredient was: cottage cheese.
Cottage cheese was something I had always found to be disgusting. Why, you ask? I have no idea. Maybe it was the way it looked, how wet it was, or the fact that you eat it with a spoon. Something about this cheese just completely grossed me out since I was young and I had always refused to eat it.
As my 30-year-old self, I can tell you that younger “Chef” Orky was a fool because cottage cheese is not only super tasty, but it’s also quite nutritious.
Cottage cheese is jam-packed with protein. In fact, in just one cup of 1% cottage cheese, there are 28 grams of protein! About 80% of that is a special kind of protein called casein. Casein is popular among gym buffs because it is a slowly absorbed protein that helps to build up your muscles after working out. High-protein foods also help keep you from feeling hungry, which makes cottage cheese an excellent food to add to your diet if you’re trying to lose weight.
This recipe is not only super easy to make, but it makes a ton of food for one serving. The end result is a creamy, soul-warming goodness that you will understand once you’ve tried it. I make this as my go-to “I need some comfort” meal. This recipe serves four if it’s the main meal, or 8 if it’s a side dish. I’ve also gotten pretty wild and made a few varieties by adding jalapenos, adding center-cut bacon or chicken breast, and by adding a variety of vegetables into it. I think my favorite version was the one with the bacon crumbled on top. I also plan to try adding some buffalo sauce to my next batch.
Here's what you'll need to make this recipe at home: Kitchen equipment
Below is my version of the original recipe with some minor modifications:
Creamy Mac ‘n’ Cheese:
- Pot for boiling pasta
- Microwave-safe dish for microwaving onions
- Food processor
- Medium size mixing bowl
- Measuring cups/spoons
- 1 1/2 quart baking dish
- 2 cups dry whole grain medium shells pasta
- 1/2 cup onions (I used frozen chopped to make it easier!)
- 1 3/4 cup 1% cottage cheese
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (2% milk)
- 1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Cook 2 cups of pasta according to the directions on the box
- Dice the onion and put it in a microwave-safe container and heat for 1-2 minutes (closer to 2 minutes if it’s frozen)
- Drain the onion and put into the mixing bowl
- In a food processor, blend the cottage cheese, evaporated milk, parsley, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper (it should look creamy and smooth)
- Add one cup of the shredded cheddar to the bowl and mix until blended
- Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray and fill the baking dish with the pasta mixture
- Cover it with the remaining 3/4 cup of shredded cheese and bake for 25 minutes, uncovered
You can also check out the original recipe here (Courtesy of Taste of Home).
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© Copyright Whatismyhealth, January 22nd, 2017