Get ready to indulge! We took the classic comfort food, the ultimate toddler treat, the staple to every children’s menu and steakhouse side and elevated it to EMBODY Wellness status. This healified Mac N Cheese was gobbled up by both kids and parents – second helpings were heaped. The best part? It is so simple and easy to make, even your toddlers can lend a hand in the kitchen.
Our version of Mac N Cheese is creamy, crunchy, gooey and delicious. You won’t miss the hundreds of calories or tens of grams of fats we omitted. We swap in butternut squash and cauliflower, keeping that enticing yellow cheese color while adding in all the goodness of the vegetables! Encourage them to help chop, pour and puree. If your crew won’t taste dinner if they see the healthy additions, prep the butternut squash puree ahead of time so the ingredients remain a secret!
To make the cooking more fun, we gave our kids 1/4 cup measuring cups to scoop the cheese so they each could take several turns. Another tip: have the oven preheated and the pasta water boiling before you get your kids into the kitchen so everyone can stay active and engaged without having to wait and wait!
3 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash
1.5 cups low sodium or unsalted vegetable or chicken broth
1.5 cups whole milk
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1-2 cups frozen cauliflower
3tbsp plain greek yogurt
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 lb pasta (we used POW! lentil penne)
2 tbsp Ghee, butter or olive oil
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat your oven to 375. Grease a glass or ceramic baking dish. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Bring squash, broth, milk and garlic to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until the squash is tender. Add in the cauliflower with about 5 minutes left to go.
- Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the box/
- Allow squash mixture to cool a bit and then transfer to a blender and puree until smooth and creamy.
- Add in yogurt, salt and pepper and blend again.
- Measure shredded cheese into a large bowl, reserving about 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese.
- Pour the squash mixture over the cheese and stir to combine thoroughly.
- Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and fold to combine.
- Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish.
- Add the ghee, butter or oil to the (now empty) pasta pot over medium heat. Pour in the breadcrumbs and stir until toasted and browning. Turn off the heat and add in the reserve cheese.
- Top the pasta with the breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minuted until crispy and golden and bubbling.