Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lightened Ukrainian mac and cheese

Ukrainian mac and cheese: a rich and cheesy comfort food pasta dish -- with bacon! -- that's lightened, guilt-free and easy enough for a busy weeknight. 

Lightened Ukrainian mac and cheese

I'm not even going to get into, yet again, how much of a pasta addict I am. But I'm starting to wonder if I'm actually more of a comfort food addict -- and most of my favorite comfort foods are pasta dishes?

Either way, I've got an amazing double whammy for you today. Ukrainian mac and cheese, which is comfort food pasta that I'm completely cray cray about right now.

And there's bacon in it.

Yep, the food world may be scoffing at bacon, calling it "so over", but, for the true bacon fan, BACON WILL NEVER BE OVER. (Can I get an amen or a hellz yeah?!)

But never fear: This Ukranian mac and cheese is also a lightened recipe, so you don't have to feel guilty about digging into all the rich, cheesey goodness.

And speaking of cheesiness, the only cheese in this mac and cheese is cottage cheese, giving it less of an ooey-gooey cheesiness and more of a rich and creamy cheesiness.

Why Ukrainian? Well, the recipe I adapted it from calls for lokshyna, which are Ukrainian egg noodles. Given that I have no bloody idea where I'd find something like that, I simply used whole-wheat egg noodles but kept the Ukrainian nomenclature as a nod to its origins.

Booyah: We're getting all international over here, aren't we?

Lightened Ukrainian mac and cheese

Well, sort of.

This Ukrainian mac and cheese is a great weeknight dinner option, since you can cook the pasta and assemble the rest of the ingredients while the bacon bakes in the oven: talk about multi-tasking! And then the dish is off to the oven for a while, leaving you time to get other things done.

(Like packing more boxes for the upcoming move. Good gravy, WILL IT NEVER END? AND WHO DOES ALL THIS STUFF BELONG TO?)

I promise things will get back to normal around here in another week or so. Until then, who wants to come over and bring me a casserole dish full of Ukrainian mac and cheese so I can finally pack up the last of my kitchen? Leave a comment: The Ninj wants to know. (Really: I do.)

Lightened Ukrainian mac and cheese

Lightened Ukrainian Mac and Cheese

(adapted from Food and Wine)

6 - 8 ounces sliced bacon
8 ounces wide whole-wheat egg noodles
2 eggs
1 15-ounce container low-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup panko

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the bacon on a rack (I use my cookie cooling rack) on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked (don't turn off the oven). Once cooled, chop the bacon into pieces and reserve one tablespoon of the bacon fat.

While the bacon is baking, cook the noodles according to the package directions; drain. In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly, then add the bacon, noodles, cottage cheese, milk, salt and pepper, stirring to mix thoroughly. Add the mixture to a prepared 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle with panko. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden and crunchy.
-- print recipe --

1 comment:

  1. My other half is crazy over cottage cheese and eats it with everything. He (and I) would love this recipe. seems to be somewhat of a health food, right??? Great post. Ninj!