As a parent of two young athletes, I’m always looking for kid-friendly, healthier alternatives for lunches and dinners. I tried this recipe last week, and it was a huge hit! My daughter said it was “her new favorite!” They never knew what was in it (shhh!), but they loved it! I love the extra serving of veggies in this dish, and the color is beautiful! The recipe below is modified from CookingLight.com. Added bonus for mom (or dad): It’s all cooked in one pot for easier cleanup!
Broccoli-Bacon Mac N’ Cheese (because everything’s better with a little bacon!)
3 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups Low Sodium chicken stock
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
10 ounces butternut squash, cooked and pureed*
10 ounces uncooked whole-grain pasta (elbow macaroni work well)
3 cups chopped broccoli florets, chopped (cauliflower or carrots work well too!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook for about 5 minutes until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan.
2. Remove all but 2 teaspoons bacon drippings from pan. Add garlic to pan, salute for 30 seconds.
3. Add chicken stock, milk and squash puree to pan; bring to a boil, stirring well.
4. Add pasta, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in broccoli or other vegetable, cover and cook 3 minutes or until pasta and vegetable are done and sauce is thickened.
5. Stir in salt, pepper and cheese. When cheese is melted, sprinkle bacon on top. Cover; let stand for 1 minute.
* You can substitute butternut squash for pureed cooked yams or unsweetened pumpkin. Enjoy! And let me know how you (and the kids!) like it!