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 Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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:
24carrotlife

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

neshikot-green-bean-casserole-004
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.

neshikot-green-bean-casserole-001
neshikot-green-bean-casserole-002
neshikot-green-bean-casserole-003

Easy 5 Ingredient Green Bean Casserole [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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.

Notes:
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.

neshikot-green-bean-casserole-005

Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Bread Crumbs and Parmesan. R
This recipe for garlic roasted cherry tomatoes just couldn’t be easier, and will make your entire house smell incredible as it bakes! It makes a wonderful side dish, although I sometimes just eat a big whole of it for dinner! If you remove the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, you could easily use these as a delicious mix in for pasta.

Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Bread Crumbs and Parmesan. R
Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Bread Crumbs and Parmesan. R
Garlic, basil, olive oil and salt mixture.
Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Bread Crumbs and Parmesan. R
Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Bread Crumbs and Parmesan. R
Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Bread Crumbs and Parmesan. R
Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Bread Crumbs and Parmesan. R
Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Bread Crumbs and Parmesan. R

Garlic and Parmesan Roasted Cherry Tomatoes [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
20 oz cherry tomatoes, washed and sliced
2 tablespoons garlic olive oil (regular olive oil will work as well)
4 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chopped basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Wash and slice cherry tomatoes and place into large mixing bowl. In a separate, small bowl, mix together the garlic, basil, garlic olive oil, and salt. Toss mixture with tomatoes. Mix in bread crumbs and parmesan and toss well.

Pour tomato mixture onto baking sheet, in a single layer.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, removing from the oven once around the 20 minute mark to move the tomatoes around a bit, and rotate the baking sheet. Keep checking tomatoes frequently at the end to make sure none of them are burning. Remove and serve!

Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Bread Crumbs and Parmesan. R

30 Minute Dinner: Garlic Spaghetti and Broccoli

neshikot-garlic-spaghetti-and-broccoli-010
When I only have 30 minutes to come up with dinner, this is one of my favorite recipes. The sautéed garlic sauce will make your house smell amazing while you are cooking it, and the broccoli bumps up the healthy factor to this pasta dish. I purposely make this with 8oz of pasta and 16oz of broccoli — it’s one third pasta and two thirds vegetables, meaning that my family is getting in lots of broccoli’s power packed nutrients (fiber, vitamin C, and iron, to name a few). If you want to make it a healthier, switch up the spaghetti for whole wheat spaghetti or quinoa pasta!

Also, I use the term “30 Minute Dinner” conservatively — I am an incredibly slow cook. I cooked this in 30 minutes, but there’s a decent chance you could get it done in 20 — give it a try and let me know!

neshikot-garlic-spaghetti-and-broccoli-002
neshikot-garlic-spaghetti-and-broccoli-004
neshikot-garlic-spaghetti-and-broccoli-005

30 Minute Dinner: Garlic Spaghetti and Broccoli [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
8 oz spaghetti
1/4 cup garlic olive oil
4 teaspoons grated garlic (Dorot is a great option when you are in a hurry)
1 cup grated parmesan
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 package organic frozen broccoli (16 oz)

Directions:
Cook pasta according to instructions. While pasta is cooking, steam broccoli according to instructions.

When pasta is finished, drain and set aside. In the same pot, add the garlic olive oil and turn the heat back on to medium. Then add in the garlic and cook for a few minutes, until garlic starts to sizzle and look slightly golden, but don’t let it turn brown. Turn off heat, and pour the cooked pasta back into the pot, mixing the garlic and oil mixture in with the pasta.

Transfer pasta to a large bowl, and immediately mix in 3/4 of the parmesan and the lemon juice. Then, mix in the broccoli, and the rest of the parmesan. Toss well and serve!

neshikot-garlic-spaghetti-and-broccoli-007
neshikot-garlic-spaghetti-and-broccoli-008
neshikot-garlic-spaghetti-and-broccoli-012
neshikot-garlic-spaghetti-and-broccoli-013

Butternut Squash, Onion and Cranberry Bake

neshikot-butternut-squash-casserole-006
This roasted butternut squash dish is one of my go-to dinners, because 1) It’s delicious. It’s one of those dishes that makes eating your veggies seem like a treat, rather than a task. 2) It smells AMAZING while it’s baking. I love to prepare it while my son is napping, and then when he wakes up, we play in the living room while taking big, deep breaths as the smells of roasting squash and onions fill the room, and 3) It has relatively few ingredients, so it’s easy to whip up, as long as I have a butternut squash lying around. And 4) I’m a fall girl. All year long, I dream of the sunsets and golden leaves in September, October and November, and making this dish always reminds me of autumn.

neshikot-butternut-squash-casserole-001
Start by washing, peeling, and chopping your butternut squash and onions. This is the most time consuming part of the recipe — once the chopping is done, assembling the dish is a breeze. I generally chop off the top and bottom of the squash, peel the sides with a vegetable peeler, remove the seeds, and then chop. However, I’ve heard some people will first microwave the squash (with some holes poked through) for a couple minutes, which should help make the peeling easier. I might try this next time!neshikot-butternut-squash-casserole-002
Mmmmm…. butternut squash… onions… parmesan cheese… I can smell it already!neshikot-butternut-squash-casserole-003
neshikot-butternut-squash-casserole-004

Roasted Butternut Squash and Onions [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash
1 small onion
1/4 cup garlic olive oil
1/2 cup bread crumbs plus some extra for topping
2 teaspoons garlic powder
5 oz shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional, not pictured)

Directions:
Wash and peel butternut squash. I do this by chopping off the top and bottom and peeling the sides with a vegetable peeler. Then, remove all of the seeds and stringy inside material. Then, chop squash into similar sized pieces (roughly 1-2″ cubes). Chop your onion into medium sized pieces.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the butternut squash, onion, and dried cranberries (if using cranberries). Then, add in the garlic olive oil, garlic powder, bread crumbs, and shredded parmesan.

Oil a 13×9″ baking dish with some of the garlic olive oil. Pour squash mixture into the baking dish, top lightly with some extra breadcrumbs, and bake at 425 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, making sure to check regularly at the end to make sure it isn’t burning. Rotate dish one time (roughly the 20 minute mark) to ensure the dish is cooked evenly.

Inspired by:
Too Hot Tamale

neshikot-butternut-squash-casserole-005

Asparagus Garlic-Lemon Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas

Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
My theory on pasta is — if you are going to eat it, might as well mix in lots of veggies and healthy add-ons! I’ve had a bag of frozen asparagus in my freezer for awhile, and I’ve been looking for a way to use it. Then I happened to see this Asparagus Pasta Salad from Just a Taste and the bow-tie pasta looked oh-so-delicious with the bright green asparagus! I wanted to add some protein to the pasta, and use a different sauce, and I ended up with this recipe, which we will be making again and again! Asparagus Garlic-Lemon Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas.

Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Draining, rinsing, and drying the chickpeas.

Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Look at these healthy little beans, packed with protein!
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Juicy cherry tomatoes, which give the dish the perfect amount of sweetness.Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Garlic-Lemon Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
1 lb Farfalle pasta
2 boxes of precooked Chickpeas (I use Whole Foods organic chick peas, 13 oz each)
1 bag of frozen asparagus (I use Whole Foods organic frozen asparagus, 12 oz bag)
1 container cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup garlic olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons lemon juice
A few tablespoons shredded parmesan (optional)
For the roasted chickpeas:
1.5 teaspoons garlic olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
A dash of garlic salt

Directions:
Drain the chickpeas and rinse well. Transfer chickpeas to a large plate, covered in paper towels. Use another paper towel to blot the chickpeas dry. You may need to do this many times, in order to get them dry. During this process, the peels of the chickpeas will start to come off. You can either remove them (which I do) or you can leave them on (which my Mom does!). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, toss the chickpeas with garlic olive oil, garlic powder, and a dash of garlic salt. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and lay the chickpeas on the sheet in one layer. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. You can continue baking longer, if you would prefer them to be crunchier.

Cook pasta according to the directions. While pasta is cooking, rinse the cherry tomatoes and slice in half. Cook the frozen asparagus according to the directions, and chop each stalk into 3 even pieces.

When pasta is done, drain and pour into a large bowl. While pasta is still hot, mix in the garlic olive oil, lemon juice and grated parmesan cheese, making sure all of the pasta has been coated. Then, mix in the roasted chickpeas, the cherry tomatoes, and the apparatus. Top with a few tablespoons of shredded parmesan cheese.

Inspired by:
Just a Taste and Chop Suey/AllRecipes

Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas
Asparagus Pasta with Tomatoes and Roasted Chickpeas

Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries

Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
I feel like one of the only people on earth who doesn’t like fries. Everyone seems to love fries and ketchup, but they have truly never appealed to me. Until now! I had never heard of carrot fries, until I passed by a giant bag of delicious, bright orange organic carrots at the grocery, and had so many extra that I had to find something to do with them! I couldn’t be happier that carrot fries are now part of the regular rotation in our house! They are sweet and salty all at the same time. They are nutritious, and make the whole house smell amazing as they bake! Even my toddler loves them, which is a huge bonus for me.

Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Chopping the carrots into 4″ sticks.Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Lining the carrots on a cookie sheet, ready to go in the oven.
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Ready to eat!
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Garlic Parmesan Baked Carrot Fries [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
6 carrots (medium to large)
2 teaspoons garlic olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and peel carrots. Chop them in half lengthwise, and then into 4″ sticks (I got roughly 8-12 sticks out of each carrot), making sure they are roughly the same size. Place carrots into a bowl and toss with olive oil, garlic powder, and garlic salt.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and place carrot sticks on the paper, making sure there is no overlap. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then remove from oven. Flip each carrot over (be careful, they will be hot). Rotate cookie sheet, so they carrots that were originally baking in the front are now baking in the back. Bake for another 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure they are not burning.

Sprinkle fries with grated parmesan as soon as they are removed from the oven. Or, don’t use the parmesan, and these make a delicious vegan snack!

Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries
Garlic Parmesan Carrot Fries

One Pot Mac + Cheese + Peas

neshikot-one-pot-mac-and-cheese-peas-009I love this dish because it is: easy, fast, and only requires one pot (unless you make your peas on the stove, like me! Then you will use 1 pot for the mac and cheese and 1 pot for the peas). It is a healthier, much more “real” alternative to everyone’s favorite mac-and-cheese-in-a-box (although I still use my Annie’s Bunnies in a pinch every now and then!) Rather than eating powdered cheese sauce from a box, this is made with organic sharp white cheddar, whole milk, and protein-packed peas. And the best part? It doesn’t take any more time than cooking up a box of processed mac and cheese.

neshikot-one-pot-mac-and-cheese-peas-001
The big difference between this easy peasy dish (get it?) and regular mac and cheese is that the pasta is cooked in whole milk, rather than water. That way, you skip time on draining the pasta, making the sauce in another pan, and then mixing it all together. You’ll first rinse the pasta, then into the pot, mix together: the pasta, the milk, and salt. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and stir the mix and pasta mixture together until the pasta soaks up the milk and looks (and smells!) all delicious and creamy. (See recipe below for more specific directions on how to cook the pasta).

neshikot-one-pot-mac-and-cheese-peas-003
neshikot-one-pot-mac-and-cheese-peas-004
neshikot-one-pot-mac-and-cheese-peas-006

Easy Peasy One Pot Mac + Cheese + Peas [ Recipe by Neshikot.com ]

Ingredients:
2 cups macaroni elbow pasta
2 1/4 cups whole milk, plus more to add during cooking
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar (will work with many types of shredded cheese)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1 bag of frozen peas (I used Whole Foods Organic Frozen Peas)

Directions:
Rinse pasta in a strainer for about 30 seconds.

In a large pot, mix together: the pasta, the whole milk, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. When the milk starts to boil, lower the heat a bit, and continue cooking the pasta for another 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through and has soaked up most of the milk, leaving just a creamy sauce on the noodles. (See photo above for reference). If the pasta is not done cooking, and the milk has mostly evaporated and it seems like it might start to burn, pour in extra milk while it is cooking (roughly a couple tablespoons each time). Make sure to continue stirring pasta the entire time. It takes me about 10 minutes, and a couple splashes of extra milk, until my pasta is perfect.

When pasta is cooked, remove from heat, pour into a large bowl and immediately stir in cheeses. If the sauce feels too thick, add in some whole milk, a tablespoon or two at a time, to thin the sauce. Place a plate or lid over the bowl to keep it warm, and let it sit for around 10 minutes to help the pasta and milk sauce soak up all of the cheese.

Cook peas according to directions. I prefer to heat them up on the stove in a separate pot, but if you prefer the microwave, that will save on dishes, and will make this a “true” One Pot mac and cheese.

Mix peas in with pasta, sprinkle with some extra parmesan if desired, and serve!

Notes:
It’s very important to continue stirring the pasta while it is cooking, and not to leave the pot unattended.

I kept this recipe on the simple side, because I frequently make this for my toddler! However, it is a great base to add your own touches — I think it would be excellent with some nutmeg, garlic powder, and you could come up with so many more combinations and flavors to make it your own.

Inspired by:
WhiteOnRiceCouple and HeavenlyHomemakers

neshikot-one-pot-mac-and-cheese-peas-005
neshikot-one-pot-mac-and-cheese-peas-008
neshikot-one-pot-mac-and-cheese-peas-007