April 17, 2014

Very Veggie Mac & Cheese

 

Veggie Mac 'n CheeseDo your kids love macaroni and cheese? Or maybe even you? Its one of those comfort foods that just hits the spot sometimes. Yet unless you play with the recipe a bit, its not really one of those foods you should be eating all the time. In fact, its really easy to over do it on the fat, sodium, and calories when you grab a box or even make your own recipe.

To make macaroni and cheese a little more health-friendly, we thought it would be fun to veggie- up our mac and cheese! Afterall, its still National Nutrition Month and we’re still looking for ways to get our plate in shape before the month of March comes to an end.

By adding more veggies to our recipe, we were able to cut out over 100 calories per serving and over half the sodium when compared to a well-known commercially available homestyle variety. Plus, the veggies add in extra nutrient power you and your family will love!

The Recipe: Very Veggie Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed
1 3/4 c 2% milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, sharp
1/2 cup of a pureed winter squash
2 cups whole wheat macaroni, or penne
1/3 c Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
pepper, to taste
salt, to taste

Directions:

1. In a medium sized stock pot, boil your water for the noodles. While its heating up, preheat your oven to 450 degrees and spray an 8″ baking pan with cooking spray.
2. Place your spinach in a fine-mesh strainer and press out the water. Set aside.
3.  Heat the milk and squash puree in a large saucepan until steaming. Stir constantly until the sauce begins to simmer and thickens.
4. Remove your sauce from the heat and add in your cheese. Once the cheese has melted, stir in the Greek yogurt. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
5.  Once your water has reached a boil, add your pasta and cook for approximately 4 minutes. You want to make sure its not cooked all the way through.
6. Drain the water from the pasta and add the cheese sauce. Mix well.
7. Spread half the pasta/sauce mix in the baking dish and then spread the spinach evenly on top.  Top with the remaining pasta.
8. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and top with Parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts:
this recipe makes 6 servings
serving size: ~1 cup 

Calories: 279 calories
Total Fat: 15.1  grams
Saturated Fat: 9.6 grams
Total Carbohydrates: 20.4 grams
Carb Choices: ~1
Fiber: 2.9 grams
Total Protein:  17.2 grams
Cholesterol: 42.3 milligrams
Sodium:  376.5 milligrams

And the greatest thing about this recipe is that you can eat for dinner and then pack up any leftovers and pack for lunch the next day. We like to pack ours in an ECOLunchbox Solo Cube. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you have a microwave at school or work that you can use to heat it up for your ooey gooey delight.

The Girl Behind the Plate,
~Kati

Disclaimer/Disclosure: The picture in this post does feature an ECOLunchbox Solo Cube, a product we carry in our boutique and that we were asked to highlight along with this recipe. We did not receive monetary incentive for this post, but we do have a working relationship with the ECOLunchbox team. We just thought you should know. For more information on our disclaimer and disclosure policies, please visit our legal page

About Kati Mora, MS, RD

Kati is a registered dietitian with a background in general nutrition and weight management. As the co-owner of Around the Plate, Kati is excited to bring you relevant nutrition information that get's you excited about living healthy and eating happy. Kati graduated with her BS in Dietetics from Central Michigan University in 2006 and then obtained her Master's in Dietetics from Central in 2010. Kati is the proud mama of two little plates, Eli and Ben, who keep her busy and smiling... most of the time. You may also recognize Kati from her work as the Kellogg's FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate and as a contributing author for Diets In Review.

Comments

  1. This looks like a seriously delicious recipe! I love adding veggies to my pasta dishes.

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