Hidden Veggie Mac and Cheese
The hidden vegetable trend-What do you think of it? My opinion has always been- I'm all for it! And not for the intention of "tricking the kids" but rather increasing the nutrients of our meals. Plus, if you get the added bonus of less complaints, why not?! We still try to add a side of veggies so the kids are used to seeing veggies on their plates at every meal, but if we can include them in the main dish, I totally think we should.
Our garden became taken over by some wild and massive summer squash recently. The only thing I really wanted to do was cook it down and puree it for "increasing the nutrients in our meals", AKA hiding some veggies! We love summer squash, sauteed or broiled with a bit of olive oil and Parmesan cheese, but when they grow jumbo size, dry out, and get those horrible huge seeds, roasting and sauteing just isn't as tasty.
After our summer squash gets preserved as frozen puree, we take it out to add to things like Macaroni and Cheese!
Step 1- Prepare the Squash
So, here are the basic steps I went through this weekend to do this:
|1) Get some summer squash- grow them or buy them!||2) Peel and chop. I left the seeds in for the smaller squash, but the big ones, with the HUGE seeds, I scooped them out. It doesn't matter if you don't!|
|3) Boil all chopped squash for about 20 minutes||4) Once boiled, drain the water- there will be enough water in the squash to puree smoothly.|
|5) PUREE in a high powered blender. I tried this with a hand mixer, but it just doesn't get as smooth. The blender got every single chunk, so it was completely smooth.||6) Disperse into two cup portions in quart size freezer bags. Lay flat first on a baking sheet, then you can stand them up for storage.|
Step 2- Make Your Macaroni Cheese Sauce
Once you have packages of frozen squash puree, defrost one at a time to include in your Macaroni and Cheese. For this recipe we followed these steps:
|1) Make your roux- 1 Tablespoon of butter, with 1 Tablespoon of flour (full recipe below)||2) Once thickened, add 1/2 cup milk, and stir till thickened again. Then add 1/2 cup of your summer squash puree and 1 Tablespoon of cream cheese.|
|3) Cook noodles according to package directions and drain. Add the noodles to your squash sauce and top with shredded cheese.||4) ENJOY!!|
Serve with slow roasted tomatoes!
Oh man, don't you love these!! We put some cherry tomatoes on a cookie sheet. Drizzled with olive oil, and baked at 250 for about 3 hours! YUMMY!
That's it!! What other dishes would you add summer squash puree to?
Need more Macaroni and Cheese recipes? We've also got:
Hidden Veggie Mac and Cheese
- 1 1/2 cups elbow noodles
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup summer squash puree
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Top with shredded cheddar cheese (1/4-1/2 cup)
Cook elbow noodles according to package directions and drain.
In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add 1 tablespoon of flour and mix until thick and bubbly (but not burned!). Add 1/2 cup of milk and stir till it begins to bubble again. Add 1/2 cup summer squash puree, and stir till fully smooth and mixed in. Add cream cheese and mix until smooth. Add salt.
Add the cooked macaroni to your thickened cheese sauce. Top with shredded cheddar or our favorite, Colby Jack!
(based on Deceptively Delicious Macaroni and Cheese 1)