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Recipe? What recipe? When preparing dinner I rarely use a recipe, that’s not to say though that I don’t toil for hours digging and surfing through recipes. Most of the dishes I prepare stem from two, three or even more recipes that I have “congealed” into my own version. This recipe is no different. Actually, it is derived from about 1/2 a dozen recipes all strewn across my counter. Two from a magazine, two from MyRecipes.com and a blog recipe or two all aligned and dotted with cheese and crumbs as I shuffled through them. The final result probably only included one or two ingredients from each individual recipe too.

Over time as I have worked my “hodgepodge” of recipes and ingredients, I have learned to actually write down how much and what exactly I am adding to a dish. Which is always nice when the kids ask me to “make that stuff you made last month”… Thankfully, I did so for this recipe, as each of the kids came back for more. One of them actually came back for both seconds and thirds. Later, (the night I made this) I sat down to work on the nutritional stats I was equally pleased. This dish lightened the load on calories yet fulfilled a decent carb and protein count to boot. I served it with a slice of Pillsbury’s “Simply” Rustic French Bread.

This dish is also great chilled too. There was about a serving left which I refrigerated and sent with my husband for lunch the next day. I have posted the nutritional breakdown at the end of the recipe which I compiled through “My Fitness Pal“.com.

BLT Mac-n-Cheese

Ingredients

  • 8 Ounces Penne Rigate
  • 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese (1% milk)
  • 5 slices pre-cooked bacon*
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 4 wedges Laughing Cow Light Creamy Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese (2% milk)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • ½ tsp each salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 cup raw baby spinach
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs (28g)
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta as directed on box, drain and set aside. (I salted my water too)

Meanwhile, in a deep saucepan, sauté bacon and onion with a few tablespoons of water over medium heat until onion is soft and begins to caramelize, about 3 minutes. In a blender, combine cottage cheese and Laughing Cow wedges and blend until creamy. Stir cheese mixture, cheddar cheese, milk and seasonings into the saucepan with onion and bacon and cook over low heat, stirring frequently until cheese has melted. Add spinach and cook until leaves are wilted, stirring occasionally (about 2 mintues) Remove from heat and stir in noodles and diced tomato. Pour into lightly sprayed 9 x 13” pan and sprinkle Panko and parmesan cheese over top. Place in warm oven until top is browned, about 5 minutes. Serve warm or chilled. Serves 6

*I used Butterball Fully Cooked Turkey Bacon

My final thoughts on this recipe are: It was very easy to prepare and easy to add a different protein to, or mix and match pastas etc. When I searched for “like” recipes, there were a bunch of choices – it’s a good baseline for other entrée’s and it is a much better choice for you than most prepared cheesy pasta dishes. It scores a “10″ in my book.

Per Serving: Based on 6 Servings (Approx 205 grams each, or 1 generous cup)

Calories: 329, Total Fat: 9g , Carbs: 40g, Sugars: 4g, Protein: 21g, Fiber: 2g

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