Like most kids, my two girls are mac n cheese fans. A great and easy way to up the nutrition on this meal is to add some vegetables. We find when it is mixed in with the cheese and pasta, eating their veggies becomes less of a chore! You can also add broccoli, carrots or even spinach instead of the peas. The recipe below is for a basic macaroni and cheese. If you are short on time, just grab your favorite boxed variety and add fresh or frozen peas at the last 2-3 minutes that you are boiling your pasta - and then fold them in to your boxed cheese sauce.
- 1 cup whole grain pasta of your choice
- 1 cup peas (sugar snap, little marvel, etc)
- 1/4 cup finely diced onion
- 1 tbsp all-purpose whole wheat flour (or white)
- 1 tsp butter
- Small dash of white pepper
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups cheese (Cheddar, American, Gruyere - whatever your family's taste buds prefer)
- Cook pasta in boiling water per box directions. (generally about 8-10 minutes) We like to add a little extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt to our water, but this is entirely up to you! At the last 2-3 minutes of boiling your pasta add your peas. (3 minutes for frozen and 1 to 1 1/2 minutes for fresh peas). Drain well.
- While your pasta is cooking, get started on your cheese sauce! In a medium saucepan cook the finely diced onion in butter till tender but not brown. Stir in flour and a dash of pepper. Add milk all at once and stir till slightly thickened and a bit bubbly. Add cheese or blend of cheeses your family enjoys most.
- Stir in pasta and peas into cheese sauce. Cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes or till heated through.
- Another option is to transfer pea mac to casserole dish and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes and bubbly. And if your children are a fan sprinkle with breadcrumbs and for the last few minutes turn the oven to broil and watch as your mac n cheese gets nice and crunchy on top!
- Throw in a cup of diced thickly sliced ham