Saturday, June 18, 2011

Comfort Food Makeover

Not gonna lie,
every once and a while at work I will get the tiniest craving for all that
mac & cheese, dino-nuggets, and pizza bites
that my kiddos get to stuff their faces with each day.
Who didn't love that kind of stuff when they were little?
But let's be real, it's defiantly not healthy for you.
Too much sodium, too little fiber, too processed, ect.
(oh the life of a nutritional science major...)
However, with a few tweaks, lots of recipes can be altered to be a good source of nutrition for your body.
And still delicious, of course!
Here's one of my favorites:

Healthy Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach

2 c. whole wheat pasta 
(elbows, spirals, shells, or anything you have on hand)
3 T. whole wheat breadcrumbs
(make your own by toasting some bread and then giving it a good pulse in the food processor)
1/2 t. paprika
1 t. olive oil
2 heaping handfuls of fresh spinach, finely chopped
1 1/2 c. and 1/4 c. skim milk, divided
3 T. flour
1 c. sharp cheddar cheese
1 c. part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
1 c. fat-free cottage cheese
1/2 T. oregano
1/2 T. basil
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  
Grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
Bring a small saucepan of water to boil.  Add the pasta and cook for about 5 minuets.  Pasta should not be quite tender yet.  Drain and set aside.
In small bowl, mix paprika, breadcrumbs, and olive oil.  Set aside.
In saucepan, heat 1 and 1/2 cups of milk over low heat until steamy, but not boiling.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of milk and the flour until smooth.  Add this to the hot milk and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly.  The mixture should thicken after about 3 minuets.  Remove from heat.
Stir in the cheeses, cottage cheese, oregano, basil, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
In the bottom of the casserol dish, spoon out half of the pasta/cheese mixture and spread evenly.
Add with the spinach, coating evenly.
Top with the other half of the pasta and cheese.
Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
Bake for 20-30 minuets, or until the cheese is bubbly and the top is beginning to brown.

Happy Blue Box Makeover!  Oh Happy Life!

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