Tired of your run of the mill mac and cheese? Try this loaded mac and cheese recipe for size. I hope your family will enjoy this comfort meal for picky eaters! Plus, homemade is always great right?
Mac n Cheese can be so plain. While traditional macaroni and cheese has it’s time and place, I love to add some healthier ingredients! We all know how loved mac and cheese is for many families, that’s why we created one with a little more nutrients like this. There are many mac and cheese additions, but I feel like keeping it cheesy as opposed to adding blended vegetables to the sauce makes it taste more authentic. If you have a very picky eater, yes, you can puree in some vegetables if desired.
Why You’ll Love This Macaroni Pasta Recipe
- Protein Rich The cheese provides some protein need for your growing child.
- Versitile – I used peas, but you can add mixed frozen vegetables if needed.
How to make Loaded Mac and Cheese
Start by melting butter over medium-high heat in a large sauce pan, then sauté onions and ground meat. Depending if you like the ground meat chunkier or more subtle, this is the time to either break the meat apart or keep them more whole.
Add in peas, salt and pepper, garlic powder, paprika. Continue to cook until meat is thoroughly done. The meat should be fully cooked at this time.
Next, lets make our cheese sauce. Iin a separate bowl add milk, broth and cornstarch, then stir into the meat- pea mixture. Corn starch helps thicken the sauce.
Next, you’ll want to stir in the tomato sauce into the milk mixture.
Next toss in the uncooked pasta and raise to high heat cooking the pasta for 10-12 minutes, or until al dente.
Finally, once the noodles are al dente, reduce the heat to medium heat and add the jack cheese and simmer until ready to serve. The simmering will thicken the cheese sauce. Tip: You can also use monterey jack cheese or cheddar cheese.
Garnish with a little extra paprika and chopped parsley. Remove from heat and serve in a small bowl as a side dish or main for each of those kiddos!
- Vegetable options: Thawed mixed/garden vegetables, grated carrots.
- Healthier pastas: you can use protein rich pasta or vegetable enriched pasta
- Cutting Fat – I don’t normally cut fat in foods my boys eat, if you are wanting to, just use 2% milk and lowfat cheese.
- Want Creamier? – Try adding a little sour cream. You may also add flour to thicken the sauce if desired.
- Want Cheesier? – Place the mac and cheese in a casserole dish and add some bread crumbs and cheese on top and preheat oven and broil.
- Can you freeze these?
- This recipe is best fresh. It can however, be frozen for up to 6 months in an airtight zip bag. Reheat stovetop or microwave.
- How long will it keep in the fridge?
- You can happily keep them in the fridge for 3 days. Either reheat it in pan or microwave it for a few seconds
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Loaded Mac and Cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup onion diced
- 1 lb ground turkey or beef
- ¾ cup frozen peas
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups milk
- 1 ½ cup beef broth
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 8 ounce box chickpea elbow pasta or any elbow macaroni
- 1 ½ cup cheddar cheese
- Parsley & smoked paprika optional for garnish
- Start by melting butter over medium-high heat in a large sauce pan, then sauté onions and ground meat.
- Add in peas, salt, garlic powder, paprika and pepper. Continue to cook until meat is thoroughly done.
- In a separate bowl combine the milk, broth and cornstarch, then stir into the meat- pea mixture. Stir in the tomato sauce after.
- Next toss in the uncooked pasta and raise to high heat cooking the pasta for 10-12 minutes, or until al dente.
- Once the noodles are al dente, reduce the heat and add the cheese and simmer until ready to serve. Garnish with a little extra paprika and chopped parsley.
- *Can be frozen for up to 6 months in an airtight zip bag. Reheat stovetop or microwave.