– Ben Martens

Baked Mac and Cheese

I tried making baked mac and cheese a few weeks ago and it turned out gross. I found a new recipe that was supposed to be healthier. We changed it a bit by using broccoli and tomatoes instead of spinach and it was fantastic! I’ve included that change in the recipe. You’re supposed to do a bread crumb topping, but I read that can get mushy if you refrigerate leftovers so I topped with some extra cheese instead.


  • 6 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs, (see Tip)
  • 2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 package of frozen broccoli thawed
  • 1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3 1/2 cups low-fat milk, divided
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces (4 cups) whole-wheat elbow macaroni, or penne


  • Put a large pot of water on to boil. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Mix breadcrumbs, oil and paprika in a small bowl.
  • Heat 3 cups milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming. Whisk remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to the hot milk and cook, 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.
  • Cook pasta for 4 minutes, or until not quite tender. (It will continue to cook during baking.) Drain and add to the cheese sauce; mix well. Spread half the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish. Spoon the broccoli and tomatoes on top. Top with the remaining pasta; sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Bake the casserole until bubbly and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.