dinner: mac and cheese

I'm always on a lookout for ways to add extra protein to a recipe (we get plenty of protein, it's just better for me so I eat less). This mac and cheese recipe has been evolving since we got married.
The secret is cottage cheese. I know, that sounds crazy but cottage cheese is low calorie and realllly high in protein. Even though we both hate it, when mixed into mac and cheese you can't even tell it's cottage cheese and it's sooo good.

*I ran out of spinach so it's pictured without
**This is pictured with regular italian breadcrumbs. Usually I use panko.

  • 6 tablespoons panko bread crumbs (or any other type)
  • 1 16-ounce or 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed, and excess water pressed out
  • 3 cups low-fat milk, divided
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1lb pasta, cooked until firm

Preheat oven to 450°F.
  1. Heat 2 1/2 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.
  2. Spread half the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish. Spoon the spinach on top. Top with the remaining pasta; sprinkle with the breadcrumb (you can add a little oil and paprika to the breadcrumbs if you want).
  3. Bake the until bubbly and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Yum!

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