This recipe is a new favorite in our household. I'm normally not a fan of hiding vegetables, but my little guy loves mac-n-cheese so much that when he has mac-n-cheese anything else on his plate will go untouched, even cookies! So I decided to take the plunge and throw everything into the sauce. But don't be fooled, just because you can't see them, doesn't mean you can't taste them, and they are yummy. When looking at other "hidden veggie" mac-n-cheese recipes I found they all had no seasoning, cooking for toddlers does not mean something has to be bland - they like flavor too - which I made ours with all the seasonings I love mixing in with my cheese sauces. I hope you enjoy it as much as Daxton does!
12 oz box *protein plus pasta
1 vegetable broth concentrate pouch
3/4 cups water
2 medium carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup frozen butternut squash
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 cup whole milk + 2 Tbs
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4oz cream cheese
*I love using protein plus pasta because I feel like it stands up better to thicker sauces. Feel free to use your favorite pasta.
**I use sodium free stock b/c you can always add salt to a dish, but you cannot remove it. Sodium free products allows me to control how much salt my family consumes.
***I used about 2/3s of the sauce on my pasta and saved the rest for cheesy veggies and chicken we had the next day. When mixing the pasta and the sauce a little at a time until it reaches the desired cheesy'ness.
Fun Mix-ins to complete your meal:
When I do mix-ins I usually make the sauce less thick so it's more of a casserole consistency.
Broccoli & Pre-cubed ham: Chop up and steam 1 head of broccoli. Heat up small package of cubed ham in skillet until caramelize. Mix in to pasta.
Rotisserie Chicken & Peas: Shred up 1/2 chicken and mix into pasta with 1 cup steamed peas.
Happy cooking! ~ Rachel Dreher & Daxton