macaroni & cheese with broccoli

January 13, 2011  |  Main Course
Frozen Broccoli
Along with the floods in Australia, the anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and the snow the North East got slammed with, some bad news awaited me in my in-box yesterday morning. An unexpected email from our winter CSA, Pete’s Greens, read “This morning a fire broke out at the farm just after Pete and Tim had loaded the Good Eats delivery truck… at 4:20 AM, Pete looked out the window and saw that the barn was burning and called the fire department. The barn is a total loss, taking with it our storage crops, our vegetable washing and processing equipment, and all of our storage spaces.” Oooof! A punch to the gut! For updated information visit their website.

All of this bad news/ extreme weather has got me thinking about the importance of a well stocked pantry and freezer. All winter, Pete’s has been hooking us up with frozen goodies like frozen corn and peppers, tomato puree and squash puree. We even got some strawberries in yesterday’s share. For those of us who are committed to eating healthfully, frozen produce is super helpful. By the end of the week, or if you’re snowed in with an empty produce bin, having frozen vegetables handy can mean the difference between a healthy home-cooked meal and fat-laden take-out. And don’t worry about the nutrition end of it. Did you know that frozen vegetables can actually be more nutritious than fresh? This happens in some cases because they are picked and frozen at the peak of their nutrition.

Macaroni & Cheese with Broccoli in a Fluted White Dish
Here is my cheesy, ooey, gooey Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli. It is comforting (and healthy) for a mid-week supper. Honestly my family loves it so much they request it for special occasions too, like for their birthday dinners. I even made it one year for Valentine’s Day baked in a heart-shaped baking dish. With it’s creamy cheesiness, I don’t even think they know how healthy it is. I love that it requires no planning because the ingredients are always on hand. I usually use a 10-ounce box of frozen chopped broccoli, but a large crown of chopped fresh works well to if you happen to have it. I’ve also made it with edamame, which my kids will gobble up like jellybeans. Try it with whatever vegetable your family will eat.

macaroni & cheese with broccoli

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 -ounces whole-wheat macaroni, about 3 cups, uncooked
  • 1 large broccoli crown, chopped (about 4 cups) or 1 10-ounce box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
  • 2 1/2 cups milk, preferably non-fat, divided
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
  • Crumb topping
  • 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see ingredient note*)
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. When water boils cook macaroni 4 minutes less than package instructions. Add the raw fresh broccoli if using (the frozen broccoli goes in later if you are using that.) Continue cooking for 2 minutes longer until the pasta is slightly undercooked (the broccoli should be bright green and crisp tender.) Drain thoroughly and return to the pot.
  3. Meanwhile prepare cheese sauce. Heat 2 cups milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often until steaming hot. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup cold milk, flour, Dijon, 3/4 teaspoon salt and white pepper in a medium bowl until completely smooth. Whisk the flour mixture into the steaming milk and bring to a simmer whisking often until smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. If using the frozen thawed broccoli stir it into the cheese sauce.
  4. Stir the cheese sauce into the pasta. Transfer the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Stir together breadcrumbs, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic powder in a small bowl. Drizzle in olive oil and stir until completely combined. Sprinkle the crumbs over the pasta and transfer to the oven. Bake until the pasta is bubbling and the topping is golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/macaroni-and-cheese-with-broccoli/

 

Jaclyn's Breadcrumbs
Ingredient note* Jaclyn’s Breadcrumbs, lame packaging, excellent breadcrumbs. These don’t say that they are whole-wheat on the front of the package, but if you look at the ingredient list, you’ll see that they are. I love them because they are fine- textured, have no trans fats and are not overly wheaty.

 


4 Comments


  1. LOVE this! I’ve been looking for a great casserole recipe! Bookmarked!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  2. I made this tonight for my husband and myself. It was delicious! I could see this going over well with kids because the broccoli isn’t at all obtrusive (in fact, I might add more next time). Thanks for the great recipe! I plan on making this often!

  3. Mmmmm looks fantastic! I will have to add some broccoli the next time I make mac and cheese!

  4. Mac & cheese is one of my ultimate comfort foods, and this looks delicious. Thanks, nice blog :)

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