Thursday, April 25, 2013

Veggie Mac

Do you remember the days when it was like pulling teeth for your mom to get you to eat vegetables? If she was smart, she would have traveled through time to the future where this cheesy, veggie, mac and cheese existed, and we would have eaten our broccoli with big fat cheesy smiles on our faces! I added a little kick to the cheese sauce with cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes, and thank the food gods that I cut the recipe in half when testing it out, or else I would have eaten the entire casserole dish clean. The added bonus? There is absolutely NO butter, and reduced fat cheese, so you can rest easy knowing you aren't going to schedule an extra gym sesh after eating this for dinner.

Veggie Mac
Serves 8


  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped into pieces
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini squash, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 10 baby carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups whole wheat rotini pasta (elbow macaroni would work just fine)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 cups reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Layer a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Spread out the vegetables on the foil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 20 minutes until roasted and softened.

Meanwhile, boil noodles according to box directions. Drain and set aside. 

In a large skillet, preheat oil over medium heat, and add garlic, cooking for 30 seconds. Whisk in flour and let cook for 1 minute, continually whisking. As you continue to whisk, very slowly add the milk, stirring as the mixture thickens. Add in the cayenne and red pepper flakes. Once it has thickened a bit, remove from heat and add the cheese. Stir the mixture until cheese has completely melted into the sauce.

Add the noodles, roasted veggies, and cheese sauce toegther. Pour into a baking dish, coated with cooking spray and top with panko breadcrumbs. Broil in your oven at 500 degrees for 3-4 minutes until the panko has browned and the pasta has heated through.

Serve warm.

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