Healthy Kale Mac and (Cottage) Cheese

Kale Mac n Cheese

It’s a pretty well known fact that I like food. (Probably because I spend a lot of time blogging about pizza and cake and burgers and…)

But all this food love can take it’s toll (especially as I cancelled my gym membership way back in March…)

I’m not fat, by any accounts. But I’ve packed on 10 pounds and it shows. And I’m not feeling so good about it. With this in mind, I’ve been trying to think up warm and healthy dinners that are both easy, fast and filling. So when Florette offered to let me try a bag of their delicious new baby kale, I knew I had to try and make something with it.

(I also had to learn how to pronounce it. Because Twitter says that kah-lee (which is what I’ve always called it) was wrong. Oops.)

I’ve come up with a recipe for Kale Mac’n’Cheese that packs a healthy mix of carbs, protein and deliciousness. It’s super quick and easy to make, and my buddy Zoe and I both went back for seconds without feeling guilty.

The trick in lowering the calories and upping the protein is in the “cheese sauce”. In fact, it’s not “proper” cheese sauce at all, but a whole 300g tub of Sainsbury’s Be Good natural cottage cheese.

Mixed with a bag of beautifully garlicky stir-fried kale, some whole-wheat penne pasta and topped with sliced baby tomatoes and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, it makes a perfect healthy Autumn supper.

Now, I love cottage cheese. I’ll eat it out of the tub with a spoon, like a yoghurt. But I know some people don’t like the texture of it. Don’t worry, Zoe hates it too. But she loved this!

Baking it in the oven for 10 minutes (like a normal pasta bake), melts it down slightly and gives it a smoother consistency. No lumps to worry about, delicious and it packs a heck of a lot more protein than regular cheese sauce!

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HEALTHY KALE MAC’N’COTTAGE CHEESE

INGREDIENTS

250g whole-wheat pasta (we had penne but use anything you fancy!)
300g low-fat plain cottage cheese (approx one tub)
1 garlic clove
60g Florette’s Baby Kale (one bag)
300g cherry tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
Grated parmesan
Salt + Pepper

METHOD

1. Turn your oven on to about 180 degrees (Celsius + fan assisted). Put a pan of water on to heat. Salt it well and when it’s at boiling point, tip your pasta in and cook until it’s just tender.

2. Drizzle the oil into a large shallow frying pan. Crush your garlic into it and empty the entire bag of kale in. Stir HARD until it’s just wilted. Don’t let the garlic burn!

3. Once your pasta is cooked, drain it, then tip it into your kale and garlic pan. Give it all a stir so that the pasta can soak up some of the garlicky kale juices, then spoon your cottage cheese on top.

4. Stir it all together, then tip it into a deep, oven-proof dish. (I used a lasagne dish which worked perfectly.)

5. Slice your cherry tomatoes in half and layer over the top of the cheesy pasta, then sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.

6. Pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbly.

7. Serve and EAT (this my favourite part!)

NOTES

Baby kale is very similar to baby spinach. It’s full of vitamins, antioxidants, iron and calcium and wilts in heat. It literally takes about 2 minutes to cook so if it’s done but your pasta isn’t yet, just turn the heat off and leave it. You’re gonna bake it all in the oven anyway so doesn’t really matter if it goes cold.

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It was delicious! Super cheesy, very garlicky and the kale and tomatoes complemented it perfectly.

Let me know if any of you make this, I’d love to know what you think of it!

I had such a lovely weekend with Zoe. We went to uni together but I haven’t seen her for two years so it was lovely to catch up properly. We had a fab two days, went shopping on Saturday (Primark haaaaul) and then out for a delicious dinner followed by some crazy drinks with Gary and his friends.

It was a brilliant night but I learnt two very important things: 1) I shouldn’t do vodka shots and 2) I shouldn’t do vodka shots.

We cured our Sunday hangovers with full English breakfasts and showers, then delivered Zoe to the train station. The rest of yesterday was spent watching Harry Potter with my housemate, editing blog photos and then heading back to Gary’s for a yummy roast dinner.

All in all, a great weekend! What did you all get up to? :)

MORE HEALTHY DINNER RECIPES:

Quick Thai Noodle Salad

Sunshine Pasta Salad

Bramley Apple and Bacon Frittata

*This post was written in collaboration with Florette.