Cottage Cheese Is Your Secret Ingredient For A High-Protein Mac And Cheese

bowl of mac and cheese
bowl of mac and cheese - sasazawa/Shutterstock

Cottage cheese has long been known as a fantastic breakfast, mid-day snack, or versatile ingredient in many dishes. For breakfast, it pairs nicely with fruit, as the tart flavor works well with sweet and juicy bites of berries or peaches. But it's also used in savory dishes, like lasagna. Additionally, it's considered nutritious, having a high amount of protein, calcium, and sometimes probiotics. In just half a cup of cottage cheese, there are 14 grams of protein. So wouldn't it be great to eat a hearty bowl of mac and cheese and know you're boosting your protein intake for the day? It's possible: Just try including cottage cheese in your next mac recipe.

Adding cottage cheese to your mac and cheese makes a lot of sense. Cottage cheese is already creamy, thick, and, well -- a cheese. With cottage cheese in your mac n cheese sauce, you could skip adding heavy cream while still getting the indulgent flavor and texture of this comfort food classic.

Read more: 14 Liquids To Add To Scrambled Eggs (And What They Do)

Making Your Creamiest Mac And Cheese Yet

creamy spoonful of mac and cheese
creamy spoonful of mac and cheese - ezellhphotography/Shutterstock

Cottage cheese is made by adding live cultures to milk, and when the solids separate from the whey, it creates that soft and chunky curdled consistency. Even though it has that texture, it's no problem to add cottage cheese to mac and cheese sauce. You simply blend in the cottage cheese with other ingredients like milk, cornstarch, seasonings, and cheddar cheese, and the lumps smooth out to create a perfectly creamy sauce. Using your blender is the key to getting the creamiest mac sauce possible. The cornstarch helps to thicken the sauce.

Pour your blended cheese mixture into a saucepan on the stove to heat up and thicken. One of the important points to remember when making mac and cheese, no matter what cheese you're using, is to not overheat your cheese sauce. Keep things at low to medium heat, enough to thicken the sauce. Otherwise, you could be left with a grainy sauce if it splits. (If the sauce does break, you can try fixing it with this trick.) Feel free to season your sauce as you like (definitely salt and pepper, and perhaps paprika or chili powder for a hint of smokiness), when it tastes right, toss it with the cooked macaroni, and then you're ready to serve your cottage cheese mac and cheese.

Cottage Cheese Is More Versatile Than You Think

cottage cheese in a bowl
cottage cheese in a bowl - Elenaleonova/Getty Images

Now that you've amped up the protein in your mac and cheese sauce, try one of the multitudes of ways to use cottage cheese in other recipes. You can start by elevating your breakfast with a thick and fluffy pancake batter made with cottage cheese. Just swap out the usual buttermilk and you have a protein-packed alternative for this breakfast favorite (no bacon needed).

And don't overlook cottage cheese for your other pasta dishes either. Add it to any sauce, even a tomato-based pasta sauce, to achieve the same creamy texture (just remember the blender trick). Try blending cottage cheese on its own, until it's smooth, and swapping it in place of cream cheese in your favorite dip. It can even replace the mayo in your egg salad. This may change up the usual taste of the recipes you're used to, so just be prepared to adjust other ingredients accordingly to balance it all out.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.