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Vegatable mac & cheese

What veggies do you put in your and do you roast or steam them. I'm trying to get my grands off McDonalds and thought this was a good way to start getting some veggies in thier system.

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  1. i dont add veggies...veggies are usually on the side..but i suppose u could add any veggie u like.
    i usually add meat...cubed or chopped chicken..turkey...ham..
    and for my 3yo sometimes chopped hot dogs...

    1. I think peas could be a good place to start as well as chopped tomatoes. Some kids also like broccoli or cauliflower and it would be interesting to see what they think of a handful of spinach just tossed in at the end. For the veggies that might need cooking, you could just throw them in with the pasta for however long would be needed.

      1. Try the deceptively delicious recipes I think they puree butternut squash and mix it in with the cheese sauce. I’ve never made it myself so I have no idea of how good it is or if your grandkids need their veggies hidden or not.


        2 Replies
        1. re: adido

          I've added the butternut squash in my mac and cheese. It's amazing.

          1. re: gator28

            I tried butternut squash in the mac & cheese for my picky 4 year old son. My 6 year old daughter and I thought it tasted good. My son, however, is like the FBI...he would not eat it. I guess because the texture was a little different.

            I do make a lot of other foods, though, and mix pureed vegetables in. I take a handful each of frozen broccoli and carrots, steam them, puree in food processor. They go into pasta with red sauce, turkey chili, meatloaf to name a few. Works like a charm.

            And yes, I know a lot of people don't agree with this tactic, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

          1. re: chowser

            yes--what i was going to recommend. delicious.

            roasting veggies always tastes better, IMO. we used to have mac and cheese from the blue box as a kid with frozen peas and carrots mixed in. i used to try and pick around the veggies, but would eventually give in and eat it by the heaping spoonful.

            i like breaking cauliflower into tiny florets and sauteeing or roasting them with some garlic, then adding that to my mac now. or do the same with broccoli, peas, string beans, spinach, kale, bell peppers, potatoes, tomatoes (slow roasted tomatoes+cheese+pasta=magic).

            good luck with this!

          2. how about just vegetables in a cheese sauce - cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, potatoes work well without the macaroni.

            1. and hopefully the GKs arent eating just McD's..................

              2 Replies
              1. re: srsone

                Thier not my natural grandkids, my son is dating thier mother. And yes all they ate was Mcd's. I would ask if they liked basic stuff and the mother had no idea. How do you now know if you kids likes rice or string beans or meatloaf......sad

                1. re: Just Plain Craig

                  Serve food and don't ask if they like it., just say it's some thing your own kids loved.

              2. Tonight I made mac-n-cauliflower-n-white beans-n-cheese. I cut the cauliflower into small florets and blanched it first.

                I add beans a lot because I'm not a big meat eater and like the protein.

                1. Mac & cheese with cooked chopped spinach mixed in is really good.

                  I must ask- what's the benefit of getting kids off McD's if you're just going to cut up hot dogs into their mac & cheese?

                  1. I've done it with mushrooms in (mushrooms were cooked prior to mixing in with the cheese sauce). I've also done it with spinach and it came out quite good. I wilted the spinach in the pan and mixed it in with the cheese sauce as well. Just make sure to squeeze out any excess juice after wilting the spinach, unless you want the dish to be green.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: mavtheswine

                      I'm sure those versions taste wonderful but mushrooms and spinach are pretty much Kryptonite to kids raised on McDonald's.

                      1. re: MplsM ary

                        Time for a new paradigm, in that case.
                        I'm also in disagreement that kids won't necessarily like something that adults won't think they'll like. Adults presume a LOT, when it comes to kids' food choices.

                        1. re: EWSflash

                          I'm assuming that what the OP typed is true and that these kids were raised on McDonald's, where the vegetables and mushrooms are scarce. That's not to say she shouldn't try serving them vegetables. Rather she should go for more mainstream, kids like 'em veggies, which spinach and mushrooms are not.

                          Personally, I've always like vegetables. Trees (broccoli), albino trees (cauliflower), spinach, artichokes, all good since I was a wee child. Mushrooms? I'm still learning to like mushrooms.

                          1. re: MplsM ary

                            I agree. I have a 6 year old daughter who eats everything, and I mean everything, and even she won't eat spinach or mushrooms. She has tried spinach and mushrooms, but she definitely did not like them. Cooked carrots, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, peas....yes. Raw cucumbers, grape tomatoes are another option to put on the side.

                    2. Not exactly mac & cheese, but we make a dish called cheesy spinach noodles. Basically layer egg noodles, shredded cheddar, and creamed spinach (or just steamed spinach w/a little butter). Or if we are in a hurry just add the cheese and spinach to a pot of cooked noodles and stir it.

                      I will steam broccoli and add it to mac & cheese.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: viperlush

                        Sounds delightful- l'll have to try it.

                      2. I highly recommend that you don't refer to it as "mac and cheese". Speaking as a former crazy-picky eater, I had "ideas" about certain foods and couldn't deal with change. For example, as a TEENAGER I cried on one of my birthdays because my dad put red pepper in the lasagna. It RUINED it for me. Lasagna had always been smooth and almost mushy, and suddenly my birthday meal had harder-textured chunks. It was the worst birthday ever!

                        Sooo... give it a new, fun name. Make pasta with tomatoes, roasted peppers (no hard, crunchy pepper chunks... or else), diced spinach and some little pieces of pepperoni, and you've got PIZZA PASTA! RAINBOW RAVIOLI (in broth, with peas and carrots)! FUN FETTUCCINE (with zucchini ribbons too)! SUMMERTIME SPAGHETTI (make it from spaghetti squash)! Just don't try to change their beloved "mac and cheese".

                          1. i almost always put broccoli or peas into my mac and cheese. the peas i just microwave until they are room temp and then mix them in at the end (the mac will heat em up the rest of the way). for the broccoli, i boil it first for about 3 minutes then mix it in at the end. i call my creations broccaroni or mac and peas.

                            1 Reply
                            1. Around here the mixing vege with pasta wouldn't fly with my younger two but the oldest likes macaroni a few ways:

                              - pasta salad with steamed vege and diced chicken
                              - baked mac made with marinara (easy to hide some good vege in a tomato sauce) topped with melted mozza/cheddar
                              - traditional stovetop mac & cheese
                              - Stovetop mac & cheese mixed with marinara (kind of resembles a rose sauce)
                              -Stovetop mac with black bean chili(either layered in a bowl or side by side)

                              I tried adding a bit of pumpkin puree to cheese sauce once. Got busted by my middle child who was 5 at the time. I don't recommend it unless you use an old cheddar to mask the flavor, even then there'll be a noticeable difference in texture.

                              1. this is really sad. i would start the kids off with a sweet potato on the side, mixed with butter and maple syrup. it's a veg and a dessert! i take it they won't like bitter right away.