Veggie Loaded Macaroni and Cheese

Veggie loaded mac and cheese
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Who doesn’t love a good bowl of mac and cheese? No one I know (or want to know, ha). Of course, macaroni and cheese is not exactly health food – shocking news I know. But this version of homemade mac and cheese incorporates three veggies so you can feel a little better about eating it and serving it to your family.

The original recipe just called for broccoli but I wanted to up the veggie quota a little more so I added in mushrooms and scallions. Feel free to use whatever veggies your family prefers (or whatever you have in your fridge). If you just used broccoli, this quick weeknight meal gets even easier since everything will cook in just one pot. The combination of cheese and broccoli is so delicious and really makes eating broccoli so much more bearable. Additionally, if you are gluten free, you can easily make this with gluten free pasta!

Most times mac and cheese turns that orangey/yellow color by using that color cheese, but there’s just something about orange cheese that I don’t love. So I used Cabot Vermont sharp white cheddar but my final product still has an orange color. My secret is the addition of ground mustard and smoked paprika. Not only do those spices impart a wonderful flavor, but they help make the macaroni and cheese look more “traditional”. Experiment with different cheeses and spices to your liking!

Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli and Mushrooms

Adapted from Gluten Free with LB

Ingredients:

  • 4 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 16-ounce box elbow macaroni
  • Olive oil, for sautéing
  • 16 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon mushroom bouillon, optional
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. In a large pot set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the cornstarch and whisk constantly for about 1 minute. While whisking, slowly add in the milk until a thick paste forms.
  2. Add in the chicken stock ½ cup at a time, whisking between additions. Stir in the salt, pepper, garlic powder, ground mustard and smoked paprika.
  3. Bring to a boil then add in the broccoli and macaroni. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. While this simmers, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium to medium high heat. Add in the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms have released all their liquid. Stir in the mushroom bouillon (if you’re not using this, just season with salt and pepper) then add in the scallions and sauté for another minute.
  5. Remove the lid from the pasta and add in the cheese and mushrooms. Stir together and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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