An American staple for kids and adults, Mac & Cheese, will always be a favorite around most dinner tables. Getting it to be healthy choice while tasting awesome really isn’t that hard. And adding a layer of healthful spinach will make your meal even more nutritious without wrinkling noses of your picky eaters.
Sneaking vegetables into macaroni and cheese is great way to introduce spinach to your child’s diet. And using whole-wheat pasta adds more flavor and extra fiber, a winning taste combination!
- 8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat elbow macaroni
- 2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
- 3 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs, (see Tip)
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 16-ounce or 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 3/4 cups low-fat milk, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
How to Prepare
- Place water in a pot and boil. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Use cooking spray to coat an 8-inch baking dish.
- Mix your oil, paprika and breadcrumbs in a bow. Drain spinach with a strainer.
- Heat 1 1/2 cups of milk in a large saucepan over medium to high heat until steaming. Whisk the remaining milk and flour in a small bowl until smooth. Then add this to the hot milk, remember to whisk constantly until the sauce thickens which should be about 2 to 3 minutes in total.
- Take off the heat and then stir in the cheddar cheese and let it all melt. Then you can stir in the cottage cheese, nutmeg and salt.
- Cook whole-wheat pasta for 4 minutes, or until it is not quite tender, as it will continue to cook during baking. Drain the pasta and then add to your cheese sauce and stir it all up. Pour in and spread just half the pasta cheese mixture in the baking dish. Then add the spinach on top of that portion. Then add the remaining cheese and pasta goodness. And don’t forget to add breadcrumb mixture to give it a crunchy topping.
- Bake the mac and cheese casserole until and golden brown for 25 to 30 minutes.
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