Cook’s Corner — Secretly cooking with cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is one of those foods that you either like or you don’t. My family loved the creamy white blob, but my husband’s family couldn’t tolerate it. I didn’t know that. So, as a very young newlywed, my first dinner dish was a disaster. 

Read on...

One of the first dinners that I prepared as a new bride was all the rage. It was called “California Casserole.” Everyone I knew loved it and so did my husband. The first time I prepared the dish, he scarfed it down and asked me about the ingredients. 

I innocently recited the ground beef, noodles, tomato sauce, etc. 

Everything was fine until I said, “cottage cheese and sour cream.” Well, you would have thought I had declared WWIII. Turns out his father was a very picky eater and despised most things dairy.  

Cottage cheese and sour cream were banned from the Kaiser table and now ours. Chuck and his brothers had grown up hating food that they had never tasted. 

Well, after I dried my tears, I towed the line for a while and removed them from my menu list. That severely crimped my style. So, slowly but surely, I found ways to incorporate the banned foods into our diet.  

I just didn’t tell Chuck what he was eating! Now, he even happily eats cottage cheese on fruit and a sour cream onion dip suits him fine.

Cottage cheese is one of the most versatile things in my frig. I buy the 2 percent low fat carton that has fewer carbs (1 percent) but 13 grams of protein. It still tastes rich and creamy and is great in casseroles, scones, pancakes, waffles, a filling for crepes or eaten alone. 

The California Casserole is now very popular and I have previously printed it so I won’t repeat myself. Recently I was hungry for macaroni and cheese and came upon the following recipe. I think it’s one of the best mac and cheese dishes ever. 

Give it a try. The scones recipe calls for cutting them like biscuits. I prefer the usual pie sliced way. 

It’s your choice. Enjoy!

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

(Serves 6)

• 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

• 6 tablespoons butter divided

• 1/4 cup flour

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon sugar

• 2 cups milk

• 8 ounces of Velveeta cheese, cubed

• 1-1/3 cups cottage cheese

• 2/3 cup sour cream

• 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces) divided

• 1-1/2 cups soft bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain the macaroni and place it in a greased 9x13 baking pan.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the flour, salt and sugar, then stir until smooth. 

Gradually add in the milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Reduce the heat to low. 

Stir in the Velveeta cheese until melted. 

Stir in cottage cheese, sour cream and 1 cup cheddar cheese until melted.

Pour the cheese mixture over macaroni. Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar cheese.

Melt remaining butter and toss with bread crumbs; sprinkle over top the casserole.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Savory Scallion and Cheese Scones

(Makes 8-19 scones)

• 1 cup cottage cheese

• 4 tablespoons milk, plus more for brushing on top

• 2½ cups all-purpose flour

• 1 tablespoon baking powder

• ¾ teaspoon salt

• ⅛ teaspoon black pepper

• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced

• 3 scallions (or green onions) thinly sliced; about ½ cup 

Preheat oven to 450F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Puree the cottage cheese and milk together until smooth in a blender or food processor; set aside. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.

Cut in the butter with a fork or using two butter knives until it looks like coarse meal. Add the scallions and stir in the cottage cheese puree. (The dough should come together, but not be too wet; if the dough is still too crumbly, you can add milk a little at a time until it comes together.)

Shape the dough into a ball, then flatten it into a disk; wrap it in plastic wrap and chill 10 minutes in the freezer.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll or press the dough out to a circle about 7 to 8 inches in diameter and ¾ inch thick. 

Use a floured 2½ inch round cookie cutter to stamp out the scones, then gather up the dough scraps and repeat as necessary (you should get about 8 to 10 scones).

Transfer the scones to the prepared baking sheet, lightly brush the tops with a little milk, and bake until puffed and light golden brown on top and bottom, about 14 to 16 minutes. Serve warm with butter. 

Contact Betty Kaiser’s Cook’s Corner at 942-1317 or email her at [email protected]