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Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese

What You'll Need:

* 3 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs
* 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
* 2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
* 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* Freshly ground pepper, to taste
* 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow macaroni

Instructions:

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Then coat an 8-inch square dish with cooking spray. Empty thawed spinach into a colander and remove excess water.

In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs, oil, and paprika. Set aside and begin heating 1 1/2 cups of milk over medium heat in a large heavy pan. Heat this until steaming, but don’t let it boil or scorch. Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl with the flour until smooth. Add this to the hot milk, whisking all the while until the mixture thickens - about two to three minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the cheddar, stirring until it is melted. Stir in the cottage cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta and cook it until it’s not quite tender. Drain the noodles and then add them to the cheese mixture, ensuring the cheese covers all the noodles. Layer half the pasta in the bottom of the baking dish followed by spinach. Add the remaining pasta and then sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until it is golden brown or about 25 to 30 minutes.

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