Cottage Cheese- good news/bad news

When I was in high school  a ball of cottage cheese  on a ring of canned pineapple was the ultimate diet meal.  Former President Nixon made headlines when  he shared that his favorite lunch was cottege cheese topped with ketchup. For years these slightly sour milk curds were  the ultimate symbol of weight control.  Over the years, cottage cheese has fallen out of favor — a loss for easy  healthy meal plans. 

Cottage cheese is made  from the separation of solids and liquid in milk.  The whey is poured off and the cuds are rinsed, but not pressed into true cheese.  ( and yes, this  is where the nursery rhyme “curds and whey” came from). Cottage cheese is a wonderful source of  protein and vitamin B12.  One half cup of full fat ( 4%)  cottage cheese delivers  14 grams of protein  and just 3 grams of crbs for a cost of only 100 calories.   However because the  mineral- rich whey  is poured off during  production, cottage cheese is pretty low in calcium.   Your half cup serving has just 70 grams of calcium while the same amount of yogurt has 250 grams of the  bone building mineral.  And for reasons I really  don’t understand, cottage cheese is heavily salted– that half cup serving clocks in at 500 mg of sodium.

Cottage cheese can be used in recipes that call for ricotta and is much more affordable.  My favorite brunch features cottage cheese pancakes topped with yogurt for  additionall calcium.

Cottage Cheese Pancakes ( adapted from Martha Stewart )

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon Splenda, 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese, 2/3 cup milk, 2 egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract, Pam cooking spray,  2 teaspoons corn oil, 1 cup yogurt, raspberries or strawberries 

Directions:

Mix together flour, Splenda, baking powder and baking soda.  Stir in cottage cheese, milk, egg whites  and vanilla.   Spray a flat grill pan with Pam and sprinkle with a few drops of corn oil.  Heat pan and drop on   spoonfuls of cottage cheese  mixture.  Cook until small bubbles form on the surface and the bottom is lightly brown.  Turn panckaes and cook until the center is firm about 1-3 minutes.    

Serve topped with a dollop of fat-free Greek yogurt and a few fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries.

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