A Little Cuisine... My Favorite Mac and Cheese

I know you all have your favorite mac and cheese recipe, but this one is on regular rotation at my house.  No joke we have it about once a week or more.  My kids devour it and then ask for more.  It is creamy and really so so good.  It takes 20 minutes.  And the best part?  They are getting SWEET POTATOES, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, CAULIFLOWER, AND BROCCOLI with this mac & cheese (or at least one of those).  How you ask?  Well, allow me to tell you!

photo:  blackcatkitchen

The recipe is Jessica Seinfeld's Recipe from her "Deceptively Delicious" Cookbook.  The premise of this cookbook is to put pureed vegetables in kid-friendly dishes (that is the "deceptive" part).  Because I am often short on time, I usually have a few cans of pureed sweet potatoes or butternut squash on hand, so that is a quick and easy addition.  Her recipe calls for butternut squash, but I use either or both as they are both delicious and both great for you.  There are usually about 3-4 servings of puree in each can, so I just put the unused servings in snack sized ziplocks in the freezer for the next time I make this dish (which is likely to be soon with our family).  If you prefer to puree the veggies yourself, the recipe below also contains links with pureeing instructions should you want them.  After I have added the sweet potatoes and/or butternut squash, if I have time/energy/cauliflower on hand, I will also steam and puree cauliflower for this dish.  You can put as many of these purees in the dish as you want, it always tastes great and the overall taste is unaffected.

In addition to the "deceptive" pureed veggies, I like my kids to also eat a VISIBLE vegetable, so they know this is what we do in our family, so I will also put steamed broccoli on the side.  This doesn't work for my pickier eater so I finely chop it up (quickly using the kitchen shears) so that the broccoli is all mixed in the delicious cheesy sauce.  He is always chomping at the bit to eat the mac and cheese, so I tell him he can either eat it with the broccoli in it, or not eat it at all. So far we are 100% for broccoli consumption! Yum!

Seriously, even though it is just macaroni and cheese, knowing my kids are eating up to FOUR GREAT VEGGIES makes me feel so virtuous!  We love this recipe.  I hope you do too.  Enjoy!

I have pasted it below with a couple of my additions in all caps.

Jessica Seinfeld's Creamy Macaroni & Cheese (with butternut squash AND/OR SWEET POTATO and cauliflower)
Servings: Serves 4


Macaroni and Cheese 1 (with Butternut Squash AND/OR SWEET POTATO AND Cauliflower)
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni (I LIKE 2 CUPS MACARONI BETTER)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup nonfat skim milk
  • 1/2 cup butternut or SWEET POTATO OR cauliflower puree
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces) (USE MILD OR MEDIUM CHEDDAR, NOT SHARP)
  • 4 ounces (almost 1/4 cup) reduced-fat or nonfat cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander.

While the macaroni is cooking, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture resembles a thick paste but has not browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the milk and cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vegetable puree, Cheddar, cream cheese and seasonings and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the macaroni and serve warm WITH BROCCOLI!!!

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