I was one of those people who had all kinds of ideas about what kind of parent I was going to be before I had kids. And then I had kids, and had a rude awakening – realizing just how hard parenting can sometimes be. Before I had kids, I always said that I wouldn’t be one of those parents that snuck veggies into their kids’ food – my kids would learn to love veggies and eat them with every meal. But the harsh reality is that a lot of kids just don’t like vegetables. And no matter how much you tell them that they have to eat their veggies, sometimes it’s just hard. So in order to get in those healthy nutrients, I have discovered that it really is a good idea to mix those veggies right into some of their favorite meals. My kids still get vegetables with every meal, trying to teach them to love vegetables they way they are, but I do love that I can sneak even more into their favorite foods!
One food that both of my kids love is macaroni and cheese. I have tried many varieties of mac and cheese that have vegetables pureed and mixed in, but I think that this is my favorite. I love the combination of carrots and cauliflower, and I love the orange color that the carrots give the dish. And your kids will probably not even notice that they are getting in their veggies!
You’ll start off by making the vegetable puree. In a bowl, mix together the carrots, cauliflower, olive oil and salt and pepper. Dump onto a baking sheet.
Roast the vegetables in a hot oven until they are soft and browned, stirring at least once.
Place the vegetables into a food processor and process. They won’t be completely smooth, but process them until they are broken down.
Stream in 1/2 cup of water and continue to process until the puree is smoother and comes together. Set aside.
Start a large pot of water to boil, and once boiling, cook your pasta. When al dente, drain the pasta and return to the pot. In a large skillet, melt the butter and cook the onions and garlic until softened.
Sprinkle in the flour and cook for a minute or two.
Whisk in the milk and cook until it is thickened and bubbly.
Stir in the cheese until it is melted. I used a white extra-sharp cheddar, but a yellow extra-sharp will work as well.
Whisk in the vegetable puree.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta. Stir to combine.
Divide the mac and cheese among individual serving dishes, or pour it all into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Top it with some more cheese, and place under the broiler just until the cheese melts. Enjoy!