Cottage Cheese Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli

Cottage cheese baked mac and cheese with broccoli. Recipe by Nes
This is a healthier — but every bit as delicious — spin on everyone’s favorite comfort food: mac and cheese! I love this recipe because you don’t need to make the sauce on the stove — you just mix up a few ingredients in a bowl, combine with pasta and veggies, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. It is SO easy, and has an awesome texture and flavor. I love sneaking cottage cheese into my cooking because it packs SO much protein. Seriously, have you checked the protein content of your cottage cheese lately? 1 cup of cottage cheese has 30g of protein!! (I use 4% cottage cheese. I believe the lower-fat versions may have slightly less). 30g!! That’s equivalent to 5 eggs or 1 cup of chicken! So I frequently try to substitute things like cream or cheese with good old protein-packed 4% cottage cheese. In addition, by adding in some nutritious green veggies to the dish, you totally won’t feel as guilty about going for seconds!

Cottage cheese baked mac and cheese with broccoli. Recipe by Nes
Cottage cheese baked mac and cheese with broccoli. Recipe by Nes
Cottage cheese baked mac and cheese with broccoli. Recipe by Nes
Cottage cheese baked mac and cheese with broccoli. Recipe by Nes
Cottage Cheese Baked Mac & Cheese with Broccoli [ Recipe by ]

1 lb pasta shells (You could substitute in whole wheat pasta for an even healthier dish)
1 lb broccoli, steamed (fresh or frozen)
2 cups 4% cottage cheese (Friendship is my favorite)
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus 3/4 cup for the topping
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 tbs dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt

Prepare pasta according to directions, cooking until al dente. Meanwhile, steam broccoli. When pasta and broccoli are done, drain well and mix together in a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13×9″ baking dish.

In smaller bowl, mix together the cottage cheese, 1 cup of the parmesan, milk, dijon mustard, and salt. Mix cream sauce into the pasta and veggies, and pour into the baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until cheese on top is starting to lightly brown.

Inspired by:

Cottage cheese baked mac and cheese with broccoli. Recipe by Nes
Cottage cheese baked mac and cheese with broccoli. Recipe by Nes



5 Ingredient Green Bean Casserole

I don’t know how you could possibly make an easier green bean casserole than this! And it is so delicious, you would never know it took about 15 minutes to put together. This is an awesome last-minute recipe, and unlike many traditional green bean casserole recipes, it does not require the use of a can of processed soup. It may not be exactly what you remember from your Thanksgiving table (this recipe does not include onions), it is so tasty, quick, and easy that you won’t mind (or at least, we don’t!) It is great for a last-minute dish, and because it uses frozen veggies, you can whip it up in a flash.

Plus, since it only requires 5 ingredients, it’s a cost effective dish that you and your family will love! This recipe feeds about 3-4 people, but you could easily double the recipe to feed more.


Easy 5 Ingredient Green Bean Casserole [ Recipe by ]

16 oz frozen green beans (I use Whole Foods Organic chopped green beans)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded Parmesan, plus 1/4 cup extra for the topping
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare frozen green beans according to directions on the package.

Butter a baking dish (a 13×9″ or 8×8″ will both work). In a large bowl, mix together green beans, softened cream cheese (if in a rush, you can pop cream cheese in the microwave for about 15 seconds), and 1 cup parmesan. Pour green bean mixture into baking dish.

In a bowl, mix together bread crumbs, melted butter, and 1/4 cup parmesan. Pour topping over green bean mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

This recipe makes about 3-4 servings. If you are serving more people, please double the recipe.

My toddler likes this dish a lot, but please remember to chop up the green beans into very small pieces if feeding this to a toddler.


Cauliflower Sauce Baked Mac and Cheese with Peas

Cauliflower sauce baked mac and cheese recipe
I love this recipe because it is the perfect example of a “hidden vegetable” — it uses a whole pound of cauliflower to make the cheese sauce — and yet, it blends right into the sauce. Even if my toddler picks out all the delicious peas, he still ends up getting some veggies because the sauce is so full of cauliflower! It’s easy to make, and makes a ton of food, so is great for a party, or if you’re looking to make something that provides lots of left overs for lunch the next day!

Cauliflower sauce baked mac and cheese recipe
Mashing the cauliflower, which acts as the base for the sauce.
Cauliflower sauce baked mac and cheese recipe
Cauliflower sauce baked mac and cheese recipe
Cauliflower sauce baked mac and cheese recipe
Cauliflower sauce baked mac and cheese recipe
Cauliflower sauce baked mac and cheese recipe

Cauliflower Sauce Baked Mac and Cheese with Peas [ Recipe by ]

16 oz frozen cauliflower (I use Whole Foods Organic)
1 bag frozen peas
1 lb gemelli pasta (or any pasta you prefer)
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup whole milk yogurt
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil

Cook cauliflower according to directions on package. I cook mine about a minute longer, to make sure they are easier to mash. Drain and place into a large mixing bowl.

Start cooking pasta according to directions on the box, to al dente. Also start cooking the peas according to the directions on the package.

While pasta and peas are cooking, mash the cauliflower well using a fork or potato masher. Mash until it resembles the mixture above — it does not need to be a perfect puree, but should be mashed enough that you no longer recognize any florets. Mix in the sharp cheddar cheese, yogurt, minced garlic, and salt. When pasta and peas are cooked, add them into the mixture and mix well.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 13×9″ baking dish. Pour pasta mixture into dish.

In a separate bowl, mix together the bread crumbs and grated parmesan. Pour this mixture over the pasta using spoonfuls.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, rotating once during the baking time to ensure even cooking. Check occasionally to make sure topping does not burn.

Cauliflower sauce baked mac and cheese recipe
Cauliflower sauce baked mac and cheese recipe

Quick & Easy Chunky Vegetable Tomato Basil Soup with Cannellini Beans

This is my go-to healthy, hearty, quick & easy soup — it fits all my requirements: super simple, very little preparation, healthy and full of nutrients, and a delicious, filling meal for my family. A soup like this traditionally has potatoes — however, I substitute in cannellini beans, which is a great source of iron, folate, and protein. The only vegetables that need chopping in this soup are the onion and carrots — the rest of the veggies are frozen, which means that you can make a healthy, filling, totally scrumptious soup in about 45 minutes, with very little washing, peeling, and chopping. I also love this soup because you make it without a blender. This means fewer dishes to clean, which makes this busy Mama very happy!

Another thing that speeds up this dish — Dorot frozen chopped garlic and basil! You can buy them from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, and they make this dish even speedier. You just pop them out, a teaspoon at a time, and they add so much to the soup.

Chop your onion and carrots and drain and rinse your cannellini beans — that’s all you need to prepare for this healthy and hearty soup!


Quick and Easy Chunky Vegetable Tomato Basil Soup with Cannellini Beans [ Recipe by ]

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
4 teaspoons chopped garlic
4 carrots, washed, peeled and chopped into 1/4″ slices
4 cups (32oz) low sodium vegetable broth
1 jar (25 oz) marinara sauce
1 bag mixed veggies with no salt/seasoning added (I use Whole Foods organic green beans, peas, carrots, and corn)
2 teaspoons chopped basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box or can of pre-cooked Cannellini beans
Grated parmesan (optional)

Wash, peel and chop carrots and onion.

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the onions and sauté them for about 5 minutes. While they are cooking, continue stirring occasionally, and drain and rinse the cannellini beans well.

Add your garlic to the pot and sauté for another 2 minutes. Then, add in the chopped carrots, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, and beans. Simmer for about 20 minutes, continuing to stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the bag of frozen veggies directly into the soup, as well as the basil and salt. Simmer for about 15 more minutes.

Allow soup to cool for a few minutes and serve! Top each bowl with a couple tablespoons of grated parmesan if desired. Or, leave it off for a delicious and hearty vegan soup.

I use Dorot frozen garlic and basil cubes for this recipe, which speeds up the cooking process quite a bit for me.

You could add in lots of different vegetables to this dish! However, I think it works best if you make sure to use at least the onions, garlic, chopped carrots, and corn. The corn gives it a great sweet taste and balances out the heartiness of the soup. But, that’s just my personal opinion — if you find a great combination, please let me know in the comments!

I included this recipe in my “Toddler Approved” section because my son LOVES this soup — however, if you are going to serve this to your toddler, please make sure to chop the larger pieces of veggies into smaller pieces. The carrots and green beans especially may need finer chopping for the little ones.