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.