cheese

Cottage Mac n' Cheese

Mac n' cheese is one of my favorite childhood foods. And adulthood foods. I mean I don't really have to sell anyone on mac n' cheese - I think a universal consensus exists that buttery and cheesy warm noodles are delicious. BUT, knowing how unhealthy traditional mac n' cheese actually is, makes it fall on my forbidden foods list. I'm talking like, top 5.

The silver lining is that as a dietitian, one of my favorite pastimes is experimenting with food and creating innovative, healthy ways to enjoy the otherwise unhealthy foods many of us grew up with.

Here, I used chickpea pasta instead of traditional elbows made from refined white flour. Chickpea noodles are loaded with fiber and protein, while white noodles have little, if any. I also added muuna 2% plain cottage cheese for extra protein, flavor, and creaminess. This recipe calls for zero butter or artificial flavorings. In other words, this dish has lots of fiber and protein, and you can confidently prepare it without feeling an ounce of guilt! 

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Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 1 box elbow Chickpea pasta (I used Banza)
  • Β½ cup 2% plain Muuna cottage cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (note: set aside ~ΒΌ cup to sprinkle on top before baking)
  • ΒΌ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Β½ teaspoon salt

*Note: for those of you who like it extra cheesy, feel free to double the sharp cheddar to 2 cups total. 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cook chickpea pasta according to instructions on box. Once cooked, be sure water is completely drained.
  3. While cooked pasta is still hot, add cheddar, parmesan, Muuna cottage cheese, garlic powder, and salt, and mix ingredients together until they appear uniform. Remember to set aside ~ΒΌ cup cheese to sprinkle on top before baking.
  4. Transfer pasta and cheese mixture to baking pan. You may sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top. Bake for ~10 minutes, or until cheese appears melted.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Eggplant Pizza (part II)

Summer is right around the corner, which means it's time to stop talking about putting an end to pizza Fridays (fine, late night pizza too...) and actually do something about it! Now this is where eggplant pizza really comes in handy. It provides the same cheesy deliciousness as pizza - sans the white bread, guilt, or typical massive stomach ache that follows.  

While we've provided eggplant pizza recipes in the past, this one is mildly tweaked in effort to offer fewer steps. We know - the nicer the weather, the less time you want to spend in the kitchen. You're welcome. 

Ingredients (serves ~4):

  • 1 large eggplant
  • tomato sauce of choice (we like Trader Joe's Traditional Marinara Sauce)
  • mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • spices: salt, garlic powder, basil, red chili flakes (or other spices of choice) 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Slice eggplant into 1" thick discs. In separate shallow bowl, combine olive oil and a pinch of salt and garlic powder. Dip each eggplant disc into bowl, and then lay on baking sheet. Bake discs for 20 minutes.
  3. Momentarily remove eggplant sheet from oven and top eggplant discs with about 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce, and sprinkle mozzarella cheese, chili flakes, and basil (or other spices) atop each disc. Allow to bake for another ~5 minutes, or until cheese is melted to your desired consistency. 

Breadless Pizza Bowl

Inspired by eating a TON of cauliflower pizza on Monday night, thanks to our girl @officialcauligirl, we created yet another healthy spin on the classic cheesy slice. We love this recipe because it's super simple (if you can read this, you can make it) and delicious. It combines the flavors of garlic, basil, juicy tomatoes, and melted cheese into a bowl that won't leave you feeling guilty or thinking about your next trip to the gym. Make this for a snack, side dish, or appetizer. 

Ingredients (serves 1): 

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes or San Marzano tomatoes, halved 
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • fresh or dried basil to taste (we use ~1/2 teaspoon dried)

Directions: 

  1. Add olive oil and tomatoes to pan on medium heat. Allow to saute for about 8 minutes before adding the garlic powder and basil. Continue to saute for total of 10-12 minutes. Move around with spatula to prevent burning.
  2. Once sauteed, move hot contents to bowl and add Parmesan cheese. Allow to melt for about 2 minutes. 
  3. Enjoy! May add additional garlic powder or basil if desired.