Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just A Little Tipsy: Sneaking vitamins into your Mac & Cheese

I happen to love Jessica Seinfeld's book Deceptively Delicious.  Siena loves her vegetables most of the time but when the end of the week rolls around, our vitamin checklist is looking naked and she is in a mood, I am so not above slipping some extra veggie purees in the spaghetti sauce.

Anyhow, one of my favorites of hers is the Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash (the recipe is actually featured on her site and the homemade cheese sauce is easy and quick to make).  But you know how some nights easy and quick just isn't enough?  The nights when you can just about muster the strength to open a box?  Yeah, those happen to me too.  A lot.

So here's my tipsy: Stock up on a few cartons of butternut squash soup (sans sugar is best in my opinion) and in lieu of milk, mix it into your kiddo's mac and cheese.  Siena absolutely LOVES this and has never noticed the difference.  It's a win-win.  She gobbles it up like a treat and I get to inwardly smirk with the knowledge that she is scarfing down a healthy dose of Vitamin A (the one I find most difficult to check off the checklist each week).

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Andrea B said...

Jessica, thanks for the great idea! I made daniels mac and cheese as usual (butter, flour, milk, cheddar) but when I added the pasta I also poured in some tjs boxed butternut squash soup. Healthier AND it improved the flavor and made it super creamy! I make Daniel butternut squash risotto with peas that he loves - but I know this mac n cheese genius never would have occurred to me. Great easy tip, thanks again :)

Andrea B said...

Jessica, here is the recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto. This was the recipe I used to make for Daniel when he was first starting out in the world of solids and meals. I have since made it many times the traditional, old fashioned way but he prefers this recipe! That's fine with me because it is a fraction of the work! :)

Butternut Squash Risotto (adapted slightly from Anabel Karmel's "Healthy Baby Meal Planner")

1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup arborio rice (you can also use regular white or brown rice here)
2 cups boiling water or broth
heaping 3/4 cup butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I use diced tomatoes from a can with a little of the juice to approximate 3 tomatoes)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
handful frozen peas

Saute onion in half of the butter until softened.
Stir in the rice until well coated.
Pour over the boiling water or broth, cover and cook for 8 minutes over high heat.
Stir in butternut squash, reduce heat and cook covered for about 12 minutes until water has been absorbed.
Add liquid/cook until absorbed as needed until the rice is tender.
Melt remaining butter in small saucepan and add tomatoes. Saute 2-3 minutes.
Stir in cheese until melted and add to cooked rice.
Throw in frozen peas and stir. Season to taste.

**NOTE: This recipe can be adapted/added to and made healthier in so many ways!! Enjoy.

Jessica DeMink-Carthew said...

Mahalo so much Andrea! This looks delicious. I am totally going to try this as soon as possible. Will let you know how it goes!

Jessica DeMink-Carthew said...

And the verdict is...this butternut squash risotto recipe is AMAZING. So yummy. A definite new favorite to add to the rotation! (Made it again tonight.) Thanks so much for sharing. :)

Jessica DeMink-Carthew said...

PS I stirred in a little fresh chopped sage before adding the tomatoes and used swiss cheese and it was TASTY. Anybody else do something different?

andrea b said...

Ahhh, I just saw these comments now (harried mommy much?). I am so glad that you like the recipe! I really love the idea of using Swiss cheese...I am definitely trying that next time :) I also have a recipe for broccoli-carrot Mac n' Cheese that is so simple I can make in my sleep...which I think I do half of the time - lol. We call it Monster Mac because of the colors. Daniel is obsessed with it. Who am I to argue with that? :)
Let me know if you'd like that one as well and I can email it to you. Hope all is well...I need to go catch up on your blog now!

Jessica DeMink-Carthew said...

Yes please to the broccoli-carrot Mac n' Cheese! Maybe I should create a shared page where we can all share recipes?