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Veggie Mac N Cheese

I have kids. At some point, they hit a fussy-eating stage. Sometimes it lasts and sometimes it passes. I created this recipe when my oldest daughter started to get picky when eating vegetables. So I hid them in this creamy Mac N Cheese recipe! It's kind of a recipe where you can use whatever you have. I usually have a butternut squash in there (buttercup will do fine too), sweet potatoes and carrots. Sometimes I throw in some cauliflower too. With the aid of my trusty food processor, everything gets whazzed up and looks like cheese! This recipe makes a lot. I like to store in it small glass freezer dishes, so when I'm packing my daughters lunch, its the right size for her thermos. 
Makes 16 small lunches

Ingredients:

4 cups of cubed butternut squash

2 large carrots, medium chopped

*you can add in some peeled, cubed sweet potato or some chopped cauliflower

500 g of pasta (I use a fun pasta called Scoobi doo or cavatappi. When cooked, roughly 8 cups in total)

2 tbsp of butter

1 tbsp of olive oil

2 heaping tbsp of all purpose flour

1 1/4 cup of 2% milk, plus extra

6 oz of cream cheese, cut into small cubes (melts faster this way)

3 cups of shredded cheese (I use a mix, typically old cheddar & marble etc)

Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Step 1: Boil or steam the veg. I throw all the veggies in my biggest pot, bring to a boil and boil for 8-10 minutes. DON'T drain the water. Scoop out the veg when soft. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Step 2: With the reserved veggie water, bring to a boil again and add some salt. Cook the pasta according to its package until cooked. 

Step 3: Meanwhile, prepare the veggies and the cheese sauce.

Step 4: In a medium pot over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil. When hot, add the flour and whisk well. Heat 1 & 1/4 cups of  milk in the microwave until heated through (warm, not too hot). Continue to whisk the flour mixture for 1-2 minutes. When it's a nice golden colour, pour in the milk and whisk until your arm falls off. Just kidding. Whisk until smooth. You may want to lower the temperature a little to ensure your white sauce does not burn. Season with salt and pepper. 

Step 5: When the white sauce looks lovely and well combined, add the cream cheese. Mix until combined. Now add the rest of the cheese. Mix, mix, mix. 

Step 6: While the cheese sauce is cooking, puree the vegetables in a food processor. Careful to not over fill the processor. Whazz it until pretty much combined. If there are a few stubborn pieces in there, I add some extra milk to help it get going. When completely pureed, add the whole thing into your cheese sauce. Mix well. 

Step 7: Drain pasta. Get a huge casserole dish out or maybe 2. Divide the pasta into the dishes and then add the cheese sauce. Mix together well.
 
Step 8: Bake at 375F for 23-25 minutes. Divide into small portions if you're freezing them! 


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