You might be familiar with Jessica Seinfeld’s ' Deceptively Delicious’ cookbook, but if not – it’s a goodie! The cookbook is designed for momma’s who have kiddos who just do not like to eat healthy food…it’s the sneak attack way of working in zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower and the like into a daily diet. Thankfully, Abi’s always been (well, knock on wood!) a great little eater, but it’s wise to think ahead! And, on our journey to eating more “real food” this book has been great over the past year or so, as we are able to break away from poor habits or unhealthy recipes and find some other, more nourishing alternatives.
Setting the scene – there are few things that I enjoy more than Josh Groban and Jim Brickman while cooking…thanks, Pandora.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni (or whatever type of noodle you prefer!)
- Nonstick cooking spray (blah, blah, blah…unfortunately, it really is helpful for this recipe, as I have tried it without, and regretted it)
- 1 TBL. EVOO
- 1 TBL. flour
- 1/2 cup milk (recipe calls for skim, I always use what is on hand…last night it was 2%)
- 1/2 cup butternut squash or cauliflower puree
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (yep, the whole bag – I tend to like colby jack, hubby prefers medium cheddar)
- 4 ounces (1/2 block) nonfat cream cheese (just telling you the recipe, I subscribe to a “go big or go home” attitude here – it’s the fattening version in our household)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. paprika
- 1/8 tsp. pepper (I replace this and the other two spices with seasoned salt, which any lover of the Pioneer Woman will have on hand!)
Prepping for baby #2’s food already? Nope, a whole cauliflower will make the 4x the serving size for this recipe, so I just freeze the rest in 1/2 cup portions.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the macaroni, and coo until al dente. Drain in colander.
- While macaroni is cooking, coat a large saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the oil, then the flour, and cook, stiffing constantly until the mixture resembles a thick paste but has not browned, 1-2 minutes. (I would hold off on this step until you’ve cooked your noodles and just use the same pan…all about minimizing dish washing time!)
- Add the milk and cook, stirring every now and then, until the mixture begins to thicken, 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable puree, cheddar, cream cheese, and seasonings (I actually add the seasonings at the very beginning of this step, after the addition of the milk – tastes better that way!) and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the macaroni and serve warm.