“It has definitely been more than once where I accidentally forgot to give Ella or Noah that last spoonful of mac & cheese in the pot. Admittedly it is a weakness I just can’t resist!! There is just something so comforting and nostalgic for me about Macaroni & Cheese. It must stem back to the younger days when my Mom made it homemade for Kelli & I, (my sis) every weekend with good ole’ Velveeta; HELLOOOOOO 80′s!!! Stepping away from the processed cheeses, this recipe is much healthier with fat-free half & half, green veggies and here is the real kicker…Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese!” It’s heavy on the ingredients, but most of them you should have OR they will be simple to find in the supermarket.”
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese (Cottage cheese has a very similar texture to ricotta; when melted you will never know the difference.)
- 1/4 cup fat-free or low-fat half & half
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (Don’t pass up the Grey Poupon for this one; it is perfect.)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg ground or freshly grated
- 2 cups whole-grain pasta (Elbows or shells are best because they hold the cheese sauce in the holes.)
- 1 cup broccoli florets chopped
- 1 cup zucchini diced
- 1-2 tablespoon olive-oil (Depending upon the size of your pan.)
- 3 shallots finely chopped (Shallots are a petite onions that are slightly mild and sweet; you should find them at most supermarkets.)
- 1 garlic clove minced or 1 teaspoon crushed
- 4 plum tomatoes sliced
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs OR 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1 cup Gruyere shredded
*If you want a lighter flavor, substitute a mild cheddar, swiss, munster, or any other cheese that temps you.
*Veggies can always be substituted…peppers, peas, and cauliflower are great alternatives.
1.) Preheat oven to 350 Degrees and spray a 9×9 oven-safe baking dish.
2.) In a large dutch oven, cook pasta according to directions, in well-salted water. Drain and reserve.
3.) Place dutch oven back on heat, and heat oil. Sauté shallots, broccoli, garlic & zucchini until they become tender.
4.) Add veggies along with first 6 ingredients to the pasta pot and stir.
5.) Combine yogurt, nutmeg, cottage cheese, dijon mustard, half & half and add egg to bowl.
6.) Pour into pasta and vegetable mixture and add 1/2 cup each of your two cheeses. Reserve the rest for topping.
7.) Mix everything together and spread evenly into the baking dish.
8.) Sprinkle breadcrumbs and remaining cheese all over the top; arrange tomatoes slices all over top.
9.) Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; broil uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or until the top is browned.