Adding Veggies to Macaroni & Cheese

I have a confession.

I wanted to eat Macaroni and Cheese for dinner tonight. That’s it, just Mac and Cheese. I didn’t want any little green veggies filling up the plate, I just wanted some old fashioned comfort food…from a box (I’ve never made homemade Mac & Cheese, that just seems too dangerous). I wanted to eat a dinner of boxed Kraft Mac and Cheese.

This is not a fact I’m proud of…

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese Cups_1

However, I am proud of these, because I have three veggies shoved in those little suckers!

I decided that I could justify eating Macaroni and Cheese if I found a way to add some veggies. I also thought it would be a good time to try making Mac and Cheese cups, since that would help with portion control.

  Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese Cups_4

As my base I used the Kraft Home-style 4 cheese blend kit. It comes with everything to make the Macaroni and Cheese. While the pasta was cooking, I steamed some broccoli and spinach, then chopped it into small pieces. I set this aside to add later. After the pasta was cooked, I mixed the cheese with some butter and milk, then I added 1/2 cup of Pumpkin puree.

Yes, I said pumpkin.

After the pumpkin was incorporated into the cheese, I folded in the pasta, spinach, and broccoli. Using an ice cream scoop I spooned the pasta mix into a greased muffin pan, and topped each cup with a little shredded cheddar and the breadcrumb mix from the Kraft kit. Baked at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese Cups_5

Verdict: They were pretty darn good. I’m honestly not a fan of the Kraft Home-style kits, but this turned out pretty well. There was a slight pumpkin flavor, but not too strong, and the Spinach/Broccoli were so finely chopped that I didn’t taste them. There were also filling, I only ate 2 (which is unusual for me and Mac & Cheese).

I won’t lie to myself and say it was healthy simply because I incorporated some veggies; however, it has potential. I think next time I’ll try a homemade Macaroni recipe to lighten the overall calories, then I’m thinking butternut squash instead of pumpkin. Oh the possibilities…

 

What are your favorite Mac & Cheese mix-ins? I have a few other ideas floating around my head…like white cheddar and pesto…

 

*Funny Fact – That’s arugula on the plate in the first picture and without thinking I too a huge bite. It was like a mouthful of pepper weeds, just awful. I meant to mix it with some spinach and totally forgot. Oh well, it looked good in the picture at least.

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