Mouth-watering Mac and Cheese (with hidden veggies)

Mouth-watering Mac and Cheese (with hidden veggies)

I’m so excited about this recipe! You may remember a recipe I shared with you all a couple years back. It contained remnants of the “yucky” dinner that my kids couldn’t even stomach. Sneakily, I added the baked butternut squash and a few other ingredients, resulting in some “magic chocolate muffins.” They had no clue they were eating butternut squash.

Magic chocolate muffin recipe here!

I still may tweak the above recipe, since I’m not a professional chef, and rather a lover of baking and making food.

For this recipe, I combined leftover mac and cheese and a few other ingredients to make a mouth-watering combo! In a saucepan I made a homemade Alfredo sauce, using real Parmesan cheese, then I pureed the baked butternut squash. Lastly, I drizzled the new sauce over the leftover mac and cheese.

Do you see any bits of butternut squash in the mac and cheese? I don’t. And my kids clearly didn’t! #momwin

Ingredients:

  • boxed mac and cheese, pre-made/8 oz. elbow mac, cooked
  • 1 cup baked butternut squash (baked only with oil and salt)
  • about 2 oz. grated from wedge of Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBS. butter
  • 4 TBS. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Recipe:

  1. Prepare your mac and cheese or butternut squash.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk cheese and flour until it becomes pasty. Next, whisk the milk in. Season to taste.
  3. Once sauce thickens, add the baked butternut squash right to the saucepan. Puree using an immersion blender.
  4. Pour over (warmed) elbow mac or mac and cheese. Stir in well.
  5. Depending on your crowd, you may want to pop this into a casserole dish and warm on 300 degree for about 10 minutes (covered). Or for a quick heat, pop in the microwave for 3-4 minutes on high.

I’m almost certain that the Parmesan cheese played a big role! Up until now I hadn’t played much with it because of cost, but now I see how often I’ve been able to use it in other dishes. Goodbye to cans of Parmesan (for now)!

When I took my first bite of this magical creation, I’m pretty sure I fell in love. It has such a creamy, rich taste, none of which tastes like hidden vegetables. It will literally make your mouth water!

Feel free to add other various cheeses to your cheese sauce! And Enjoy!

PIN ME!

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup (Made With Stock)

Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup (Made With Stock)

Here in Ohio, the overcast and rain has my family craving chicken noodle soup. (I told you I’ve got soup on the mind lately.) Chicken noodle soup is one of most nostalgic comfort-foods! For me, this bowlful of warm goodness is reminiscent of my Grandma’s recipe! (Stock is key!)

If you want to make a crowd-pleaser that’ll also make scrumptious leftovers the next day, then this one for you! I promise, the leftovers will go quickly!

I make this also over the stove, but you can also easily add the ingredients to a crock-pot for a quick and easy weeknight dinner! It takes about 15 minutes of prep and about 1 hour of simmering.

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Onion, minced
  • 1/2 Cup Celery stalk with leaves, minced
  • 3 TSP. Minced Garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 3 TBS. Butter
  • (2) 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 1 LB. Boneless chicken, raw
  • 2 Large Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8 oz. Wide Egg Noodles

( P.S. I’ve been adding lemon zest to my chicken soups since I was a kid. Believe me, it adds a whole new level of freshness that you won’t want to leave out! )

Recipe:

  1. In a large soup pot, add olive oil. Saute minced; onion, celery, and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
  2. Add in butter, chicken stock, and chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  3. Once chicken is cooked, cube it up and add it back to soup pot.
  4. In a separate, smaller pot, boil water for the noodles. (This ensures that your broth doesn’t become starchy.) Cook the noodles for 4-5 minutes so they don’t swell too much, once added to the soup.
  5. Add chopped carrots until tender, about 12 minutes.
  6. SERVE!
Don’t you just want to dive right into this bowl with a big spoon?
Serve with a rustic bread, muffin, or crackers!

What’s your favorite soup?

Drop a link in the comments if you have a soup recipe of your own!

Beef and Vegetable Soup (With Secret Ingredient)

Beef and Vegetable Soup (With Secret Ingredient)

Boy, it’s been a while since I posted a recipe! I am I the only one who tends to make whatever is easier for my family on a weeknight? After everyone gets home from work and school, who wants to spend 2 hours cooking a gourmet meal? And then clean up that mess?

I’m still a huge fan of nutritional food. I even let my boys raid the produce aisle in order to encourage them to eat healthy. (Read 10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy.) Healthy to me is focusing on whole foods, definitely using more produce, and less; fat, starch and salt. I was thinking of making more soups, different salads to try, and maybe even some meatless meals just to change things up. But dinner still has to be pretty easy to make and still delicious!

Last summer I made a large pot of vegetable soup that my three boys absolutely loved. It was delicious mostly because it had a lot of fresh garden veggies in it; tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, onion, sweet corn, green beans… So I wanted to try a couple more soups!

First and foremost, the key to a good soup is the broth. I have a couple favorite methods. You can use up saved meat drippings from roasts and things. Stock works brilliantly also! I think those work the best because they use a real meat based flavor with a little bit of animal fat. Bouillon cubes are my least favorite because the broth tastes artificial and too salty. Recently I found another favorite broth alternative- onion soup mix! This can be bought in a box with 2 packets used to make french onion dip or soup. But using it as a broth base is incredible!

Prep and Cooking Time:

20 minutes of prep, about 1 hour of total cooking time

The thing I love about soup is you just add the ingredients, set at a medium to low heat, and can walk away. You could also make this the night before, store in a crock pot in the fridge, and set for a low heat before heading to work!

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 TBS Olive oil to fry with
  • 1 LBS of diced red meat (I used venison here)
  • Salt to season meat
  • 2 Packets (2 oz. each) onion soup mix
  • 8 Cups of water
  • 2 Cups of diced potatoes
  • 1 Cup of diced carrots
  • 1 Red bell pepper (optional)
  • ground pepper to taste
  • a couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce!

Recipe:

  1. Heat olive oil in big soup pot till warm. Add diced red meat, season with salt, and brown.
  2. Add both packets of onion mix and water to pot. Let simmer.
  3. Add veggies, pepper, and Worcestershire. Cook till veggies are tender.
  4. And serve!

The secret ingredient definitely adds a depth of flavor with the onion mix! Rarely have I used onion mix to cook with before, but I will be doing it more now!

We typically have these ingredients on hand, but I also like how easy this is to make for dinner. Plus my family devoured this particular beef and vegetable soup! What’s your favorite soup?