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Deluxe Mac & Cheese

Deluxe Mac & Cheese

We’ve tried a lot of mac and cheese, and this is our favorite, hands down. The secret is a base of creamy cottage cheese for the sauce. Good enough for company!

serves 6 to 8

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups thinly sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 3 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 16-ounce carton lowfat cottage cheese
  • 4 cups cooked penne (about 1/2 pound uncooked)
  • 11/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast meat (We use rotisserie.)
  • 1-11/2 cups (8 to 12 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup nonfat or any milk
  • 1 103/4-ounce can condensed reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, garlic and bell pepper; saute 4 minutes or until tender. Add spinach, oregano, and black pepper; saute just until spinach starts to wilt.

Process cottage cheese in a food processor until very smooth. (You may also use the cottage cheese as-is. Cheese sauce will not be as smooth, but the dish will still be delicious! )

In a large bowl, combine spinach mixture, cottage cheese, pasta, chicken, 3/4 to 1 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, milk and soup.

Spoon mixture into a greased 8 x 11-inch or 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar and Parmesan. Bake at for 25 minutes, or until nicely browned and bubbly. You may also use 8-ounce individual ramekins and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with a crisp green salad.


There are 4 comments

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I am wondering about the conversion numbers in recipe referring to the cheeses. As far as I know, one up (1 c) equals 8 oz. (ounces). Shouldn't the (cheese) ounce values be doubled? thanks

You are so right! I will correct the ounces. Thanks for catching that!

Cheese is best weighed, then shredded or grated.............8 oz of water in a measuring cup is supposedly the only true volume measurement that weighs 8 oz. That is part of the problem with transforming a Professional recipe into a 'home' recipe! Chefs seldom measure, they eventually just get used to 'eye-balling'.

So now I am confused. Please just tell me the measurements (e.g., 3 cups of cheddar?) of the cheeses in the recipe. Thank you.