Kid-Friendly Turkey Mac-and-Cheese Bake
This may just be the perfect weeknight family dinner. Our crowd-pleasing version of this comfort classic is lower in fat than traditional recipes and loaded with lean protein. Trust us, you’ll crave this as much as the little tikes do.
- Cooking spray
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 pound 93 percent lean ground turkey
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 pound medium pasta shells
- 1 cup 2 percent cottage cheese (30 percent less sodium)
- 1 1/2 cups skim milk
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat to cook the pasta.
Meanwhile, coat a large nonstick pan with cooking spray. Warm over medium-high heat and add chopped onions. Stirring occasionally, cook until onions are softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the ground turkey, along with the salt, thyme, and oregano; combine together and use a spatula to break the ground turkey into small pieces. Cook until turkey is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, cooking for 1 minute. Then, stir in tomato paste and cook for another minute. Finally, mix in crushed tomatoes and remove from heat.
Meanwhile, add pasta to the boiling water. Cook for the amount of time package directions indicate for al dente. Drain in a colander; return pasta to the pot. Stir in the reserved ground turkey mixture into the pasta.
In a food processor, add cottage cheese, milk, and flour. Process about 1 minute to combine. Stir cottage cheese mixture into the pasta, along with the cheddar cheese. Mix until combined.
Prepare 6 ovenproof ramekins or a 9-by-13-inch baking dish by coating with cooking spray. Transfer mac and cheese into the ramekins or baking dish. Cook in oven until just slightly browned on top, 15 to 20 minutes for the ramekins or 25 to 30 minutes for the baking dish.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with Parmesan, and let cool for a few minutes. Serve.