*Mac and Veggies

Mac and cheese is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.  However, it is so HEAVY and I want the creamy, cheesy texture without all the calories.  This recipe is a great compromise.  Still with that great mac and cheese taste, but lots of fresh, yummy vegetables to balance it all out.

Here’s what you’ll need!

  • elbow macaroni – 1 lb
  • olive oil
  • onion, diced – 1
  • green bell pepper, diced – 1
  • mushrooms – 8 ounces
  • carrot, sliced – 2
  • broccoli – 1 head
  • flour – 2 tbsp
  • tomatoes, diced – 1 can
  • vegetable stock – 1/2 cup
  • heavy cream – 1/4 cup
  • parsley – 1/4 cup
  • cheddar cheese, grated – 1 cup
  • salt – to taste
  • pepper – to taste

Optional

  • ground beef, turkey or chicken – 1 lb

Tip:  The best thing about this recipe is that you can exchange any vegetable for ANY OTHER VEGETABLE.  This is a great “left-over” recipe…at the end of the week, get rid of any fresh veggies you have by chopping them up and throwing them into some mac and cheese!

Start a large pot of water boiling for the macaroni noodles.  While you are waiting for the water to boil:

Heat olive oil in dutch oven or large skillet.

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Cook for a minute and add the ground meat (optional).  Add the cumin.

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Cook until meat browns.  Add mushrooms and carrot.

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Cook for another minute and add broccoli.

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Cook all the veggies until broccoli starts to soften.

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The water for the noodles should begin to boil, so go ahead and add noodles and set a timer.

Add the flour and stir until distributed evenly.

Stir in the stock and add the can of diced tomatoes.  Cook until it thickens.

Turn the heat down and add the cream and cheddar cheese.

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Stir to melt cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

Tip:  For an added level of flavor, I recommend a few squirt of Cholulah!  My favorite hot sauce and it goes GREAT with cheesy dishes!  I love that it has a great kick to it without being too spicy!

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Come on…could this look any more delicious!

With all the veggies, this recipe should yield you 8 servings!  More than enough to enjoy this dish a couple of times throughout the week!

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