Is there any child who doesn’t love a good mac ‘n’ cheese? Scratch that. Is there any person, period, who doesn’t love a good mac ‘n’ cheese? Whether it’s the traditional cheesy dish or even a new spin, there are so many unique ways to mix up this classic, delicious comfort food. K is a big fan of macaroni and cheese, so it’s an easy go-to meal for him and a simple way to add in some extra healthy veggies. It’s important to use a good cheese for this dish, and an old or sharp cheddar is best. I used Ivanhoe Old Sharpe cheese and it worked perfectly for this dish. It’s an award-winning artisan cheese, and you can tell. This healthy macaroni and cheese dish has spinach and mushrooms added, and K gobbled it up. Literally. A word was not spoken for an entire 5 minutes while he ate every bite on his plate. We’re currently in the picky 4-year-old stage, so this is huge, folks! If you’re looking for a healthy macaroni and cheese that’s a hit with both the adults and kids, this is it.
Tell me: what’s your favourite way to eat macaroni and cheese? How do you make it healthy for the kids?
Healthy Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach and Mushrooms
- 3 cups dry Macaroni
- 1/3 cup Butter
- 1/3 cup Flour
- 2 1/2 cups Milk of your choice (room temperature milk is preferred)
- 2 1/2 cups Cheese, shredded
- 1 small-medium Onion, diced
- 1 cup Mushrooms, sliced small or diced (I used diced Creminis)
- 1 cup Baby Spinach or chopped regular spinach
- 1/2 cup Bread Crumbs (Panko work best here)
- 1 tbsp Powdered Mustard
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 F and grease a 9 x 13 oven-safe casserole dish.
- Cook the macaroni according to package directions, until just al dente. Drain and set aside, tossing with a bit of olive oil so it doesn’t clump together.
- Make a roux with the butter and flour by heating the butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly for a few minutes until it’s bubbling well and starting to thicken. Slowly add the milk, whisking as you do. Add the powdered mustard and salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, for about 8-10 minutes.
- As the butter, flour, milk mixture thickens, heat 1 tbsp of oil in another saucepan or frying pan on medium heat.
- Add the onion and mushroom and cook for about 5 minutes. By this time, the sauce should also be thickened enough. Add the onion and mushroom mix to the sauce and stir in 2 cups of the shredded cheese. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.
- Fold the spinach into the sauce mix and stir well to combine.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well to coat evenly.
- Pour pasta mixture into the casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese evenly over top and then add the bread crumbs evenly on top of this.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the top is bubbling and slightly browned.
“Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Ambassador Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”