MKH’s Try-It-You’ll-Like-It Macaroni and Cheese

1 1/2 cups 1% cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups skim milk or buttermilk
1 pkg. frozen winter squash, defrosted (optional, but makes it creamier and more rich)
1 tsp dried mustard or 1 T. prepared mustard
pinch of cayenne
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (key ingredient)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped onions
6-8 oz. grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 lb. uncooked elbow macaroni (I use whole wheat spiral pasta)
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese (yes, I use the processed kind)
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I just run whole wheat bread through my little food processor and have been known to use toasted wheat germ)

Preheat oven to 375. Prep a 9- or 10- inch square baking pan with a light coating of cooking spray or oil.
In a blender, combine the onion, cottage cheese, milk, winter squash, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper and puree until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the puree with the uncooked noodles. Pour the mixture in to the baking pan. Combine the Parmesan and the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top.
Bake for about 45 minute, or one hour if using whole wheat, until the topping is brown and the center is firm. I like to serve this with steamed broccoli or a green salad.

(Modified from a Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites Cookbook recipe.)

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