Hello, hello! Happy Thursday everyone! I feel like this week is just flying by, probably because I’ve been super busy at work and haven’t had time to breathe, which at least makes the day pass by quicker. Go figure.
But anyway, I have a very delicious recipe to share with you all today so let’s get to it!
I made this recipe (last week? two weeks ago? I’m losing my memory…) after I made an impulse decision to pick up some fat free cottage cheese at Trader Joe’s. I thought I remembered seeing cottage cheese in a bunch of recipes that I wanted to make, so I picked some up. Then it sat in my fridge. For days.
Of course I couldn’t remember a single recipe that I wanted to use it in, and I remembered that I really don’t like the consistency of cottage cheese by itself. Fantastic. Eventually the cottage cheese got to the point where it was about to expire, so I got desperate and started Googling recipe ideas and BOOM! Skinny Mac & Cheese was born.
Oooh yeah, let’s talk about that mac and cheese.
I based my creation off of this recipe from My Recipes (what exactly is My Recipes anyway? It always comes up in my Google results and I’m like hmm ok, I’ll try this out, but I never actually stay around on the website. Do you submit your own recipes? Does it aggregate recipes from other sites? Does anyone understand the mystery of such a website? Me neither. Moving on).
I made a few changes to the original recipe to make it a little healthier, and the result was delicious! Here’s how it came together.
Step number one was to preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Then I added about 3 cups of whole wheat pasta to the water (I used penne), tossed in a good sprinkle of salt, and got the pasta cooking.
While the pasta was doing it’s thing, I got the rest of the “mac” together (yes, I just said that).
Here comes my favorite part: I transformed the cottage cheese from gross, lumpy goop (ew- sorry) to a smooth decadent cheese. How? I put it in the food processor (a blender would work too)!
Lumps be-gone! I just dumped 12 oz. (about 3/4 of this container) into the food processor, gave it a quick whirl, and then I was left with a smooth and dreamy cheese! It reminded me a bit of cream cheese and I may have dunked my finger in the bowl to taste the cottage cheese, just to double check that it was ok, obviously 😉
Important: If you take nothing else away from this post, you should at least remember that if you are freaked out by cottage cheese like I
am was, try putting it into a blender or food processor to change its consistency. For me this was life changing!
K. Now. Once I had my smooth cottage cheese, I added it to a bowl along with 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (make sure it’s sharp or extra sharp for the best flavor), 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.You could sprinkle some garlic salt and/or red pepper flakes in there too if the mood strikes you 🙂
As soon as the broccoli was bright green and slightly tender (please don’t over-boil broccoli; it’s disgusting) I drained the pasta and the broccoli and added it to the cheese mixture. Then I sprayed a casserole dish with nonstick spray, and transferred the noodley cheesy mixture into the pan.
To get the top a little more browned, you can turn the oven up to broil and cook the mac and cheese for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Be careful it doesn’t burn!
Yummm. Between the whole wheat pasta and the fat free cottage cheese (which replaces any butter, milk, cream cheese, or sour cream that other recipes might have) this recipe was a healthy treat. It doesn’t hurt that there was some broccoli in there either ;).
Served with a side salad and maybe a piece of grilled chicken (which could also be added right into the mac and cheese when you stir in the pasta) you’d have a delicious meal and plenty of leftovers! Win!
- 3 cups (12 ounces) uncooked whole wheat penne (or whatever pasta you like)
- 2 cups of broccoli florets, chopped
- 12-ounces of fat free cottage cheese
- ½ cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used reduced fat)
- ½ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Cooking spray
- 3 tbsp. panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp. parsley (I used dried)
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, until almost al dente. When pasta has a minute or two left, add in broccoli. Cook until broccoli is bright green and tender and pasta is al dente. Drain; set aside.
- Place cottage cheese in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
- Combine cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper into a large bowl.
- Stir in the pasta and broccoli.
- Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
- Combine remaining ¼ cup Parmesan, panko, and parsley in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture.
- Bake at 375° for 5 minutes.
- Preheat broiler (do not remove dish from the oven).
- Broil pasta 1 minute or until top browns.
I hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I did!
Question of the day: Do you have any weird food aversions? Are you a texture freak, like I am?