Baked Veggie Mac and Cheese

Baked veggie mac and cheese is a family friendly way to enjoy veggies, protein, and classic cheesy goodness. Great for Meatless Monday! (via Semi-Vegetarian.com)I don’t know that I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t like mac and cheese, and it’s certainly one of my favorites! There is always a time and place for not-so-healthy mac and cheese in my book, but for the majority of the time I prefer to find healthier alternatives for my family. I set out to make a version that kept the classic cheesy taste but ramp up the health factor and came out with a winner!

This baked veggie mac and cheese recipe has a few shortcuts, like using frozen vegetables, and it can be served as a main dish as it has 20 grams of protein per serving from the peas, pureed beans, and whole wheat pasta. For the cheese, I highly recommend buying a block of cheese and shredding it versus buying pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is usually coated with an anti-caking agent which can sometimes make the cheese not melt as well. To save time, I usually just shred the cheese with the shredding attachment on my food processor (or you can just grate it on the large hole side of a box grater).

Nutrition stats aren’t too shabby! Based on one serving (recipe serves 10 people).

Baked_Veggie_Mac_and_Cheese_Nutrition
Our family loved this dish, and it makes a pretty big batch so there’s usually leftover for lunch the next day. Yum!
Baked Veggie Mac and Cheese via Semi-Vegetarian.com

Baked Veggie Mac and Cheese
Serves 10
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 8 oz block medium cheddar
  2. 2 cups milk
  3. 2 tablespoons butter
  4. 2 tablespoons flour
  5. 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (powdered kind)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  7. 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  8. 1 can great northern beans
  9. 12 oz bag frozen California vegetable medley (mix of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots)
  10. 1 cup frozen peas
  11. 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  12. 3 cups small whole wheat pasta (shells, elbows, etc.)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well
  3. While the pasta is cooking, thaw the frozen California vegetable medley in the microwave and chop finely
  4. Shred the cheese and puree the beans in a food processor (add a drizzle of water if the beans are not pureeing well) *
  5. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat
  6. Once melted, add the flour, whisk it in to the melted butter, and allow the flour to cook for 30 seconds to a minute
  7. Add the milk while whisking to break up and dissolve any bits of flour
  8. Add the dry mustard, paprika, and black pepper and whisk again
  9. As the milk mixture begins to foam and bubble (do not allow it to simmer or boil!), turn off the heat and whisk in the shredded cheddar and bean puree.
  10. Whisk or stir until smooth
  11. Add the cooked pasta, chopped vegetable medley, and frozen peas (no need to thaw) and mix very well
  12. Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish and top with Panko breadcrumbs
  13. Bake for 30 minutes and allow it to stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. * If you don't have a food processor available, mash the beans very well with a fork
Semi-Vegetarian http://www.semi-vegetarian.com/
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Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole

Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole 2

Are you ready for a simple family dinner? Mexican chicken and rice casserole is crazy easy, and it hardly dirties any dishes! All the ingredients are mixed right in the casserole dish so you’ll only have a cutting board and a few measuring spoons to clean up.  And by clean-up, I mean throw in the dishwasher!

After you combine all the ingredients be sure you put the foil on top very, very tightly! I like to sort of pinch it around the edge of the dish and slide my fingers along to seal the foil. Also, don’t peek while the casserole is cooking. If you pull back the foil you’ll let out steam which the rice needs to cook.

After the casserole is done cooking, stir the mixture very well before serving (it may look funny when you take the foil off). Serve with your favorite toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, or tortilla chips!

Want a meat-free version? Leave out the chicken and use low sodium vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. You can also add another can of drained and rinsed beans if you want to bulk it up more. Feel free to use what you like… more pintos, black beans, or kidney beans would work well.

Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole
  Nutrition facts for one serving:Mexican_Chicken_and_Rice_Casserole_Nutrition

Mexican Chicken and Rice Casserole
Serves 8
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 chicken breast, diced small
  2. 1 cup brown rice (uncooked)
  3. 10 oz can Rotel
  4. 1 can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
  5. 1 red bell pepper diced (optional)
  6. 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  7. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  10. 1/2 teaspoon cumin
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick spray
  2. Combine all ingredients in the greased casserole dish and mix well
  3. Cover very tightly with foil (pinch the foil at the edge of the pan and slide your fingers to create a seal)
  4. Bake for 90 minutes
  5. Remove foil and stir well before serving
Notes
  1. Serve with favorite toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and tortilla chips
Semi-Vegetarian http://www.semi-vegetarian.com/
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