MacNCheese Veggie Casserole

July 31, 2012 § 4 Comments

Wow, it’s been six months since I posted my last recipe.

Truth be told, I’m not doing a whole lot of cooking these days especially in the last couple of months. We’re experiencing oppressive humidity added with a record breaking dry spell, so far the hottest and driest July ever recorded for our area. Lawns are brown and crunch beneath your feet, flower beds and gardens need watering twice a day; still limp more often than not and fire bans are in place for miles and miles around. *UPDATE: No kidding, while I was writing this post it started to rain and even better, it still is and might be for some time. Yay!

Needless to say, inside a house without air conditioning, the last thing I want to do is stand over a hot stove or oven. Not only is it not fun, it is not practical because the heat of the oven or stove just increases the temperature inside the house. We’ve actually busted our budget at restaurants the last month just to be somewhere we can eat that has air conditioning.

Anywho, today Hubby sent me a text that he had a craving for pasta and even though we’re kinda sorta Paleoish (I can see you rolling your eyes Shady, stop it.), this recipe immediately came to mind. It’s always been a big hit and makes a great main or side dish. You can dress it up anyway you like or use any kind of pasta, veggies and cheese you have on hand.

I’ve been making this for years and it is no more time consuming or hassle than opening a box of mac and cheese. But the taste is miles apart and don’t get me started on how much better for you it is than all those chemicals.

MacNCheese Veggie Casserole

I cooked about 1 and 3/4 cup of macaroni until just before not quite done (it will cook in the sauce while in the oven later and I prefer my pasta firmer). Then it was rinsed and set aside. We’re only a family of three so use more if there are more mouths to feed.

The rest of the casserole is…

The Cheese Sauce

3 tblsp of butter
3 tblsp of flour
1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk (depending on your desired consistency)
1 cup grated medium cheddar (old or sharp is really good too)
1/3 cup of grated  Parmesan cheese (I know, I’m using processed, sue me.)
Salt and pepper to taste.

In the same pot that I cooked the macaroni, obvious by the hangers on in the pot, I melted the butter on medium low and whisked in the flour until I got a consistent rue, I then poured in some of the milk and continued to whisk until I got a nice paste.

I know it doesn’t look very appetizing but that’s the beginnings of a really nice basic sauce, assuming you ignore the floating macaroni. Whatever, this isn’t Hell’s Kitchen, it’s mine.  😛

Next, you add your grated cheddar and stir, being sure to add milk as it thickens. It will thicken nicely so don’t be tempted to add too much milk.

Turn the heat down to low and continue whisking, add the Parmesan and keep stirring until well incorporated. Turn heat off and add salt and pepper. Add rinsed and drained pasta and stir until well mixed.

Now, taste it!  Go on, you know you wanna…hehe.  Seriously, this stuff is amazing by itself but it’s even better when covered in a bed of fresh seasonal veggies which is then covered in a layer of bread crumbs (I said stop it Shady!) and even more cheese.

The Veggie Crumb Layer

1 sliced medium zucchini (even better if you can walk outside and grab it from your own garden)
Fresh blanched green beans
2/3 cup of bread crumbs
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

I layered a glass baking pan with the mac and cheese, added the green beans then laid out the zucchini slices on top. In a small bowl I mixed together the breadcrumbs, cheese, salt and pepper and sprinkled it on top. I threw it in a 300 F oven for about 20 minutes until the cheese bubbled, the breadcrumbs browned and the veggies softened.


§ 4 Responses to MacNCheese Veggie Casserole

  • shadyladypdx says:

    Mac n cheese is one of my all time favorites! While mine would only be gluten free, I just can’t consume gluten, this could be an awesome splurge!! Or I could make it with zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. OOH! That could be awesome, too!!

  • Sheri says:

    Spaghetti squash and cheese? Hmmmm. I’ve only ever had it with meat sauce…I may have to step out of the box and try that. The zucchini goes really well with the cheese sauce and I can see adding veggies like cauliflower, mushrooms, sweet red pepper and maybe even some bacon. Okay, I know what I’m making next week for casserole night. 😛

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