Parents know how difficult it can be to get your kids to eat their veggies, but understand the importance of a balanced diet. Some nights you just don’t feel like the long stare-down battle your kid has with the broccoli on their plate, and you need a quick fix. To help – here is a hidden veggie mac ‘n’ cheese recipe that you and your kids will absolutely love!
This veg mac ‘n’ cheese is a popular family meal, and it might become a weekly dinner for your family – it is so delicious and super easy to make! Not only is it a quick-fix dinner, but it includes some nutritious vegetables that your kids will not even notice!
Hidden Veggie Mac ‘N’ Cheese Recipe
- 130g butternut, cut into chunks
- 250g penne
- 30g butter
- 25g flour
- 600ml milk
- 1 leek, finely sliced
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 180g mature cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 slice brown bread, processed into crumbs
- Heat the oven to 200°.
- Place the butternut chunks into a steamer and cook for around 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and then place the butternut into a food processor, and blend until smooth.
- Cook the penne pasta as per the package instructions.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and add in the finely sliced leeks. Allow to cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and cook for another minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk.
- Return the pan to the heat and allow it to come to the boil, stirring continuously.
- Allow it to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the peas and bring it back to a simmer.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pureed butternut squash, and add in the grated cheese, leaving some aside.
- Stir in the pasta to the sauce and place it all in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs over the pasta mix and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.
If you want to make life a little easier for yourself, you can double up the recipe and freeze half of the cooked mac ‘n’ cheese for a quick dinner during the week.
To do this, you need to allow the mac ‘n’ cheese to cool down completely to room temperature, and then place it into a freezer-safe plastic container that seals airtight. Label the container with the date of freezing, and place it in the freezer.
You can also freeze smaller portions to use as quick and healthy lunches for kids during the week!
Be sure to use the mac ‘n’ cheese within 2 months of freezing. While it will still be fine to eat after this, the quality will begin to decline.
When it is time to enjoy, leave the hidden veggie mac ‘n’ cheese to defrost in the fridge overnight, and then either heat it in the oven for 15 minutes until warm or in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each heating until it has warmed through.