I know, I know, you can still see the veg, but to a two year old it just looks like macaroni cheese and I’m going to get vegetables into him any way I can.
We were recently in Miami and he requested macaroni cheese several times, so I decided to use it to my advantage while it’s flavour of the week and trick the fussy toddler into eating his veg.
This freezes really well too, so I always double the recipe and split it into two trays; one for now and one for the freezer, except don’t cook the freezer portion in the oven. It keeps for a couple of months and is super handy when the cupboards are bare. Just take it out of the freezer in the morning of the day you want to use it and follow the same oven instructions as below.
Hidden Veg Mac & Cheese
- 60g butter
- 40g wholemeal flour (60g if using white four)
- 600ml milk
- 110g cream cheese
- 5 cheese slices
- 180g of grated cheddar
- 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- salt & pepper to taste
- 200g fresh or frozen broccoli florets
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 plum tomato, chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 450g dried pasta such as macaroni
- 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
- Put the pasta into a large pan with boiling salted water and cook to the instructions on the packet. Also pop the broccoli into a pan of boiling water and cook for around 6 minutes. Drain both when done.
- Meanwhile, Melt the butter in a pan on a low heat, whisk in the flour, then gradually add a small amount of milk, whisking thoroughly and vigorously each time, until all combined to create a smooth sauce called a roux. Don’t worry if it isn’t thick at this point, this will happen gradually as the sauce cooks and we add the cheese
- Tear the cheese slices to help them melt better , and stir into the roux. Once melted add the cream cheese and stir, then the grated cheese. Continue to stir at a low heat so the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the mustard, paprika, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, stirring after each addition. The sauce should be lovely and thick by now. Remove from the heat.
- Heat your oven to 180C/350F. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and saute the onions and peppers for a few minutes until just softened.
- Stir your cheese sauce into the pasta with, the sauteed veggies, broccoli and tomato. Stir it well and transfer into a oven proof dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs have turned just golden brown.
Serve with a side salad or garlic bread