Meal Idea for Picky Eaters: Hidden Veggie Mac and Cheese

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As children learn to read, write, and spell, it’s important for them to nourish their bodies with vegetables to keep them going.  Although it can be tough to get picky eaters to eat their veggies, our friends at Super Healthy Kids have found a way around that with this healthy meal idea for picky eaters!

Meal idea for picky eaters: Hidden Veggie Mac and Cheese

The hidden vegetable trend-What do you think of it? My opinion has always been- I’m all for it!  And not for the intention of “tricking the kids” but rather increasing the nutrients of our meals.  Plus, if you get the added bonus of less complaints, why not?!  We still try to add a side of veggies so the kids are used to seeing veggies on their plates at every meal, but if we can include them in the main dish, I totally think we should.

Our garden became taken over by some wild and massive summer squash recently.  The only thing I really wanted to do was cook it down and puree it for “increasing the nutrients in our meals”, AKA hiding some veggies!  We love summer squash, sauteed or broiled with a bit of olive oil and Parmesan cheese, but when they grow jumbo size, dry out, and get those horrible huge seeds, roasting and sauteing just isn’t as tasty.

After our summer squash gets preserved as frozen puree, we take it out to add to things like Macaroni and Cheese!

Step 1- Prepare the Squash

So, here are the basic steps I went through this weekend to do this:

1)      Get some summer squash- grow them or buy them!

2) Peel and chop.  I left the seeds in for the smaller squash, but the big ones, with the HUGE seeds, I scooped them out.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t!

3) Boil all chopped squash for about 20 minutes

4) Once boiled, drain the water- there will be enough water in the squash to puree smoothly.

5) PUREE in a high powered blender.  I tried this with a hand mixer, but it just doesn’t get as smooth.  The blender got every single chunk, so it was completely smooth.

6) Disperse into two cup portions in quart size freezer bags.  Lay flat first on a baking sheet, then you can stand them up for storage.

Step 2- Make Your Macaroni Cheese Sauce

Once you have packages of frozen squash puree, defrost one at a time to include in your Macaroni and Cheese.  For this recipe we followed these steps:

1. Make your roux- 1 Tablespoon of butter, with 1 Tablespoon of flour (full recipe below)

2. Once thickened, add 1/2 cup milk, and stir till thickened again.  Then add 1/2 cup of your summer squash puree and 1 Tablespoon of cream cheese.

3. Cook noodles according to package directions and drain. Add the noodles to your squash sauce and top with shredded cheese.

4. ENJOY!

Serve with slow roasted tomatoes!

Oh man, don’t you love these!!  We put some cherry tomatoes on a cookie sheet.  Drizzled with olive oil, and baked at 250 for about 3 hours! YUMMY!

Also check out  the Roasted Vegetable Cheesy Quinoa Mac and other great meal ideas for kids, here.

After your children have finished this tasty meal, keep this little secret in your parenting toolbox. Chances are they didn’t even realize that they were eating veggies!

A great way to help your children learn about nutrition is to learn to read nutritional information.   Much like hiding veggies in a tasty meal idea for kids, Reading Kingdom “hides” the learning inside game-based lessons. Sign up for a free 30 day trial of Reading Kingdom and see why we’re considered a game changer in children’s literacy. Lingo and company will see you soon!