Mealtime Monday: Mac & Cheese, Secret Veggie Style
When our oldest son was still tiny, we made the horrible mistake of listening to everyone’s advice on what to feed him. “He won’t eat what you cook; you have to make him ____.” “Buy him the Gerber/whatever brand toddler foods.” “He won’t like spicy/sour/whatever style foods, and you’ll probably upset his stomach.” This, along with some sensory issues due to being on the spectrum, resulted in a VERY picky eater for YEARS. We have since learned our lesson and now all three of our boys eat basically anything that you put in front of them. During those first years of parenting, though, I was desperate to get some vegetables into k1, and so, I snuck them in.
Someone gifted me a copy of Jessica Seinfeld’s “Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food”. It’s basically a cookbook full of ways to sneak veggie purees into all different manner of foods. It gives you directions on how to make the purees yourself, but I was always too busy (read: lazy) for all that jazz, so I would just buy organic baby food and dump it in. Works like a charm!
One of my favorites has to be a mix of two different macaroni and cheese recipes; it’s homemade, full of calcium, protein and other vitamins, and your kids will never know the difference! Plus, once they eat it, they won’t care!
*1.5 c. elbow macaroni
*nonstick cooking spray
*1 tbsp olive oil
*1c. skim milk
*1/2 c. butternut squash puree
*1.5 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
*4 oz. cream cheese
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1/8 tsp. paprika
*1/8 tsp. pepper
*1/8 tsp. garlic
*1/2 c. (cooked) chickpeas (or other white beans), pureed
1. 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.
2. While the macaroni is cooking, combine the milk and beans in a food processor and process until pureed. Coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and set it over medium heat. Add the bean mixture to the pan and cook, stirring until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Add the vegetable puree, cheddar, cream cheese, and seasonings, stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the macaroni and serve warm.