Funny story – a couple years ago, I picked up the Moosewood Lowfat Favorites cookbook. There was a recipe for macaroni and cheese that I really wanted to try, but it required a blender or food processor. At the time, I did not own either, but I always kept that recipe in the back of my head. Now, I have owned both those appliances for almost a year, but I just got around to making this now. I don’t really think you can ever have a guilt-free mac n cheese. I mean cheese and pasta just don’t really lend themselves to that. This version uses both lowfat cottage cheese and regular extra-sharp cheddar to achieve texture and flavor. You could certainly substitute something else for the cheddar if you like. I was still feeling guilty about eating all the calories though, so I as careful throughout the rest of the day, and ended up eating less than a full serving. Overall, it was very tasty and satisfied my “I haven’t had homemade mac n cheese in god-knows-how-long craving”. We had this with grilled, bbq spice-rubbed chicken and sauteed green beans with garlic. Here is the original recipe for 4. It’s listed at 471 calories per serving, but I used less breadcrumbs so mine was about 440 per serving. I cut the recipe in half and ate 1/3 of that, which made a great-sized side dish, for 290 calories.
1.5 cups 1% cottage cheese
1.5 cups skim milk or buttermilk
1 tsp dried or 1 tbsp prepared mustard
pinch of cayenne
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup grated onion
1 cup (4 oz) greated extra-sharp cheddar
1/2 lb uncooked elbow macaroni
2 tbsp grated parmesanor pecorino
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a 9 or 10″ square pan with a light coating of cooking spray.
In a blender, combine the cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt, and pepper and puree until smooth. In a large bowl, combine with the onions, cheddar, and uncooked macaroni. Stir well. Pour into baking pan. Combine grated pecorino with breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until topping is browned and center is firm.