Sunday, September 22, 2013

Veggie baked Mac-n-Cheese

I've been on the hunt for a good veggie filled "Healthier" homemade mac-n-cheese recipe, and I finally found one that I really like.  I switched up the recipe a little bit and added in different veggies, then I BAKED it to give it that yummy crispy casserole crust.

  • 8 ounces shell noodles, (2 cups)
  • 1 half cauliflower finely chopped (you can use broccoli too)
  • 3 cups baby spinach or baby kale chopped
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk (divided; set 1/4 c milk aside)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
  • 1/4 cup Panko Bread crumbs
  • Optional: 1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (to give it some kick!) 
Preheat oven to 350.  Boil up the shell noodles as directed.

In a separate pan, saute cauliflower and fresh garlic in a little bit of olive oil.  Once the cauliflower is soft, add in the spinach and saute til it wilts.

In a small bowl, mix flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, then whisk in 1/4 cup milk, mix well and set aside.

In a pot, slowly simmer 1.5 cups of milk on medium heat.  Once it starts to boil whisk in the flour/milk mixture and stir for 2-3 minutes or until milk mixture has thickened up.  Add in cheese and Dijon mustard.  Once cheese is melted, add in cauliflower mixture and add in shell noodles.  Mix well.

Pour mixture into a 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle Panko bread crumbs on top.  Bake in the oven for 10 min. then broil it for 3-5 min. or until the bread crumbs are golden brown. 
Take it out, let it cool for 7-10 minutes.  Serve it up and ENJOY!
*recipe courtesy of "The Picky Eater Blog"

**For lower fat - substitute whole milk for 1% or non-fat and use low fat cheese

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