Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mac 'n' Cheese with Veggies


This quick recipe for macaroni and cheese is a lovely compromise between artery-clogging comfort food and healthy eats. I made it a few weeks ago, adding a cup of diced ham for extra flavor and protein, and it was a really delicious, healthy main dish. Paired with some whole wheat bread and fresh fruit, it was a very comforting, satisfying meal.

The original recipe, from Women Heart's All Heart Family Cookbook, did not call for the ham. I noticed, however, when I was making another recipe recently, that some ham steaks are very low in fat. I buy Bob Evans brand and there are only 2 grams of fat per (thick) slice, so the addition of two slices, diced, did not add much fat at all. It did add lots of flavor and texture, however. The recipe would also be very good without ham, for a meatless Friday.

The only other change I would make in the future has to do with the onion. Please tell me your kids balk at onion. Ugh. My kids (all but the youngest who eats almost anything) said they really liked this macaroni and cheese, but wished there wasn't so much onion. I did not think it was too much onion, but in the future, I will cut back to half an onion, and minced it finely. Also, if you have onion detectives, make sure the onion is very soft before adding the milk. The recipe as printed below is also adjusted for quantity, which originally served 4.

Mac 'n' Cheese with Veggies
serves 6

12 ounces shells or elbow pasta

3 c. mixed vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower florets, sliced carrots, chopped bell pepper (I used cauliflower, carrot coins, and red bell pepper)

2 c. fat-free or low-fat milk

3 T. cornstarch

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 medium onion, minced

1 1/2 cup (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese

1 c. diced ham (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the pasta according to package directions, adding the vegetables to the water during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Drain and place in a serving bowl.

Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, whisk together the milk and cornstarch. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until onion is soft (but not brown). Add the milk mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the Cheddar and cream cheese and ham (if using). Stir until melted. Pour over the pasta mixture and toss to coat well. Taste and salt and pepper as needed.

Printer version

Source: adapted from Women Heart's All Heart Family Cookbook


Deborah said...

What is it with kids and onion anyways? I refuse to let them get away with it. They eat onion rings for goodness sakes, but if they even see onions in anything else, game over. The joys! :)

This looks delish, I've bookmarked as I too am trying to cut down on fat around here and get some more wholemeals into our diet.

Sarah said...

Yeah, my kids don't like onion either. It's like they can sense they're in there, even if they're barely visible! But like Deborah said, they *love* onion rings. Go figure!

This looks great! A child's favorite made a bit healthy. Thanks!

P.S. Your overnight french toast was a HUGE hit a couple Fridays ago!!

Abby said...

I love onion, too, and while my wee one doesn't know what an onion is yet I have little doubt that he will, without fail, one day hate them!

Looks great. I love to add ham and broccoli to mac and cheese!

mel said...

Mine also, with the onion thing. Sigh. I've taken often to putting a palmful of minced dry onion in place of an actual onion in a recipe. No big onion chunks.

Shaun said...

My big onion trick is that I grate it, all the flavor but none of the crunch.

Kathy said...

Thank You for this healthy mac and cheese recipe! Can't wait to try it.

Anonymous said...

Mac 'N Cheese. (full stop) is the name of this sort of recipe. Nothing comes after it, especially "with Veggies". C'mon now! You are messing up a kids favorite food by including vegetables. Making them eat that is cruel and unusual punishment. Onions especially!