I have 3 Mac and Cheese Monsters in my house!
My boys would likely live off of this simple pasta dish if I would let them! Perhaps you can relate. And since I do tend to make it once per week as an easy supper or for their lunches, I like to add a little variety with the addition of veggies, beans, and legumes. This add nutrient density of extra antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, while giving variety in flavour too to help keep their taste buds interested in different tastes.
This past December I had pumpkin puree on hand after making pumpkin pies. I used it to make Pumpkin Mac and Cheese and it was the biggest hit! Wes asked me to make it again this week and I thought I would also share it here as your family might enjoy it too. Adding pumpkin adds several nutrients including beta carotene. Beta carotene is an antioxidant and can also be converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is important for optimal eye site, bone growth, and cellular health.
And not only is this recipe delicious and packed with nutrition, it is a REALLY easy to make which, in my opinion, is so helpful in the crazy rush of life! Here it is!
2 cups dry pasta (I like to use chickpea, lentil, or quinoa pasta, but whole grain or white pasta will work too!)
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (regular or dairy free)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup white beans
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2-1 tsp. cinnamon (depending on your preference for this flavour)
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie seasoning (optional)
- Make pasta as per package directions, drain water, and set aside.
- In a blender, combine pumpkin, white beans, maple syrup, and spices.
- Stir this pumpkin mixture into the pasta, and then stir in the cheese.
- Pour everything into a casserole dish, add an extra sprinkle of cheese, and bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes, until the cheese is melted and all is heated through.