University of Illinois Extension

Updated Mac + Cheese

3 T plain dry breadcrumbs
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp paprika
1 16-ounce or 10-ounce package frozen spinach
1 3/4 C 1% milk, divided
3 T all-purpose flour
2 C grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
1 C low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
8 ounces (2 C) whole-wheat elbow macaroni or penne

Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat an 8-inch square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

Mix breadcrumbs, oil and paprika in a small bowl. Cook spinach according to package directions. Drain and refresh under cold water; press out excess moisture.

Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming. Whisk remaining 1/4 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 spinach on top. Top with the remaining pasta; sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.

Bake the casserole until bubbly and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

Nutritional Information: Servings: 5, Amount/Serving: Calories 543, Total Fat 20g, Sat. Fat 11g, Cholesterol 60mg, Sodium 792mg, Total carbohydrates 48g, Sugars 6g, Dietary Fiber 10g, Protein 35g, Calcium 720mg, Vitamin D 40.8 IU.