Replace the fat, sneak in cottage cheese

I’ve always been a fan of cottage cheese, in fact, I had a bowl for breakfast topped with a few canned peach slices. It’s also really good sprinkled with a little salt and pepper and eaten with toasted rye bread. Unfortunately, lots of people don’t care for the flavor, or texture, of the creamy protein-packed curds…or so they think.

Here’s the deal. Cottage cheese is often substituted for ricotta in casseroles, which everyone loves. It can also replace some of the fat in baked goods with tender, moist results.

Use cottage cheese smoothed in the food processor to make sauces creamy; no need for artery-clogging heavy cream. Stirring a little cottage cheese into your scrambled egg mixture and omelets makes them extra fluffy and delicious. Give it a try. I swear nobody will know.

Skinny Alfredo

1 cup milk (use skim for low-fat)

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1 T. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder, or more to taste

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Dried basil, to taste

Dried oregano, to taste

Hot cooked pasta (fettucine, penne, etc.)

Directions: In food processor or blender combine all ingredients except basil, oregano and pasta. Blend until smooth.

Pour mixture into small saucepan and add basil and oregano. Cook over medium-low heat till heated through and smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired. Continue to cook on very low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooked pasta right before serving and allow to soak for a few minutes. If desired add spinach, other veggies, cooked chicken or shrimp and serve. Serves 4.

Cottage Cheese Cornbread

1 cup yellow cornmeal

3/4 cup whole-wheat or all-purpose flour

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 heaping cup cottage cheese

3/4 cup milk

2 medium eggs, whisked

2 T. honey

2 T. butter, melted

Directions: Grease an 8×8-inch baking dish. Combine the first 5 ingredients in large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the next 5 ingredients together till well combined. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. The batter will look very wet. Pour the batter into prepared baking dish.

Bake in preheated 400-degree oven 25 to 30 minutes or till edges are golden brown and a knife comes out clean. Serve with a drizzle of honey and extra butter. Store in refrigerator or freeze. Serves 9.

Baked Omelet

8 large eggs

1 1/2 cups frozen diced potatoes O’Brien

1 cup cottage cheese

1 cup chopped fresh spinach

6 slices cooked bacon, chopped

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Directions: Grease a 6-cup baking dish. In large bowl whisk eggs till blended; stir in all remaining ingredients, except the Cheddar cheese. Pour mixture into the dish and top with Cheddar cheese.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 45 to 50 minutes or till puffed and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 6.