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
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
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!