Skinny Mac and cheese & the love of my life

Most of you who follow this blog have met or at least have heard of Bruin. He is undoubtably the most amazing, sweet, adorable and loving boy in my life. And…he is my one year old Boston Terrier. I don’t talk about him too often on here, but – like food, he is a huge part of my life.

We recently moved from Charlotte (where I adopted him) to Naples once I graduated from college. And no surprise to me, he LOVES it here. He gets to spend so much time with his friends Rocco and Sydney (my parents’ Australian shepherds), and gets so much love from his Gigi (my mom) and his grandpa. I thought it would be nice to share this picture I recently took of him so you all can see what an adorable little guy he is.

Like I said above, Bruin is my main man. BUUUUUT, this mac and cheese is pretty dang special too. I keep this one close to my heart and love it almost as much as Bruin.

Ingredients

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
3/4 lb whole wheat penne
4 cups fresh spinach
2 cups fat free milk
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup low fat cheddar cheese
1 Tbl whole wheat flour
1 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl butter
1/2 onion, chopped
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

Boil water and cook pasta according to directions on the box. I tend to undercook it just slightly since it will cook for a little while longer in the oven.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a sauce pan, heat butter and oil together and add onion. Cook until onion begins to soften. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring the entire time, for about a minute. Slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil. At this point in should begin to thicken. Whisk in ricotta cheese, parmesam, and cheddar. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, spinach, and hot cheese sauce. Stir until combine and spinach has wilted.

Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray and pour in pasta. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is brown and cheese is bubbling.

Enjoy!!!

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Whole wheat lasagna rollatini

This is a really great “go to” meal for any of you who have really busy lives and don’t have too much time at night to make a really healthy and delicious meal.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are normally very busy days for me because I have class from 9:30 in the morning until 8:00 at night. On days like this, the last thing I want to do is be in the kitchen cooking dinner – all I really want to be doing is laying on the couch watching mindless reality TV. 😉 Today; however, I got a break in between my classes and came home and made this recipe. From start to finish it took me 30 minutes, and then when I got home from class, I just popped it in the oven and had dinner in no time.

The whole wheat noodles in the recipe really give it a hearty flavor, and you would never guess that there is cottage cheese in here instead of the traditional ricotta cheese. The addition of spinach is also a great way to sneak some greens into your diet.

Ingredients

1 box whole wheat lasagna
1 lb ground turkey
3 T olive oil
1 bag baby spinach
1 16 oz can of crushed tomatoes
16 oz cottage cheese (I used fat free, but any kind will work here, or you can just use ricotta cheese)
2 T fresh basil, chopped
1 egg
1 T italian seasoning
2 cups low fat mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt
pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil for you lasagna noodles (Make sure to undercook your lasagna noodles a little because we will be baking this and you don’t want them to overcook).

In a large skillet, heat 3 T olive oil over medium/high heat. Add ground turkey and cook until turkey is cooked all the way through, about 15 minutes. Once cooked, add in your bag of spinach and cook over low heat until the spinach has wilted. Season with salt and pepper and set aside and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, mix together cottage cheese, egg, basil, and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Once you turkey mixture has cooled, add it to the cottage cheese mixture and stir to combine.

Prepare your baking dish by spreading 1/2 of the crushed tomatoes and italian seasoning over the bottom of the pan.

To assemble, lay out one piece of lasagna at a time and add 1/4 cup of the filling over half of the noodle. Carefully roll it up and place into your baking dish. Repeat until you have used all of your lasagna noodles, or your baking dish is filled. Pour the remaining tomato sauce and cheese over top. Bake in the oven 45 minutes covered with aluminum foil. The last 5 minutes, remove foil and allow cheese to slightly brown. (This is a great make ahead dish. Once you finish assembling all of your rollatinis, just cover with foil and place in the fridge until ready to bake.)

I hope you enjoy this recipe! It is definitely a great healthy alternative to the extremely fattening original.