Who doesn’t like macaroni and cheese? Seriously, I don’t think anyone can honestly say that they don’t love this classic, cheesy comfort food. Maybe there are reasons you can’t eat it because of diet, but you can’t tell me that you don’t like it. You just can’t. If you are trying to stay on the straight and narrow with your diet, trying to lose some weight, or paying attention to your macronutrient intake (protein, carbs, and fat), then macaroni and cheese is probably not on your daily. But that’s all about to change.
I set out on a mission to make a healthier, protein-packed baked macaroni and cheese, so I could enjoy one of my favorite foods without all the guilt. And oh, did I make it.
I know you may be wondering about the cottage cheese, but trust me when I say that you will not even know it’s there. I am not a fan of the texture of cottage cheese, but I love using it to increase the amount of protein in things like smoothies and pancakes. Just yesterday I saw a post on The Healthy Aperture blog about 14 Sneaky Cottage Cheese Recipes and I was so excited because I had this mac n’ cheese in mind and knew it would be another perfectly sneaky recipe.
One serving of this macaroni and cheese has 22 grams of protein and only 10 grams of fat! Now, that’s what I call a healthy comfort food.
I went on a search for whole wheat pasta, but, alas, I couldn’t find it. If you went with whole wheat pasta then this would bring the dish to mega healthy status. When I found the shells at the store though I knew they would be perfect because they always soak up the sauce or cheese the best. I’m so glad I bought two bags of the pasta because I am definitely making this again when this batch is done. I’m really into casserole type dishes since they are a great food prep option that you can get multiple meals out of.
What’s your favorite way to eat macaroni and cheese?
- 6 cups (400 g) uncooked pasta shells
- 1 cup low-fat or non-fat, small curd cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup low-fat manchego cheese, grated or shredded
- 1/2 cup full-fat manchego cheese, grated or shredded
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup full-fat manchego cheese, shredded or grated, for sprinkling on top
- Optional: parsley to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large casserole/baking dish using cooking spray.
- In a large pot of boiling water cook pasta until al dente. Drain and return to pot.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl add cottage cheese, cheeses, milk, mustard, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Add the cottage cheese mixture to the pot with pasta and stir to coat evenly.
- Pour into greased baking dish and press the mixture evenly into the dish.
- Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese on top.
- Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the top is brown.
- Let sit for at least five minutes before serving.
- Optional: garnish with parsley
*Note about nutritional information: This is information based on the cheeses and cottage cheese (reduced fat) that I used, so it is just a guideline that may change based on the specific ingredients you use.