I don’t let my son buy the processed, sodium & sugar laden lunches served at his school so I try to make his lunches exciting as well as healthy.
Once a week I make him my homemade macaroni and cheese made with all organic ingredients, olive oil, brown rice pasta and a gluten free sauce made with butternut squash and cauliflower. He loves this lunch the most every week! The other days I make him roasted organic chicken legs, healthy homemade Lunchable style packs or he makes his own sandwich. I shared the photo on my Instagram and Facebook photos as I was packing his lunch and I got a lot of requests for the recipe, so here it is!
This only takes about 10-15 minutes so I make this in the morning as we’re eating breakfast, pack it into his thermos that is pre-warmed with hot water and tuck it into his bag to give him a big warm hug as he eats his lunch. The leftovers just get warmed through for another lunch that week.
This does come together quick thanks to some things I make once in awhile to keep in the freezer for when I need them: butternut squash and cauliflower purees. I simply steam the heck out of the squash when I have some leftover from another recipe and I buy extra cauliflower just for this purpose. Pop into a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Pack into freezer containers or baggies and defrost in hot water as you need it. You can toss these purees into sauces, soups, stews and more as you wish for a boost of flavor (slightly sweet) and nutrition.
- 8 oz whole grain pasta (whole wheat or brown rice pasta are my favorites)
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 3 Tb flour (I use brown rice flour)
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup butternut squash/cauliflower puree (see description in post above about this)
- Kosher/sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I use organic sharp English cheddar)
- Get the pasta on to boil, follow directions and cook until al dente. Drain when finished. You can make your sauce while the pasta cooks.
- Heat a saucepan over medium heat, when hot add oil, flour and mustard, whisk together until you have a paste. Cook the flour out, whisking constantly about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in a bit of the milk and whisk until smooth. Then slowly whisk in the rest of the milk. Whisk in the squash/cauliflower mixture and seasonings. Bring the heat up to medium high and whisk until thick and bubbly. Turn off the heat and fold in the cheese. When the pasta is finished and drained fold into the sauce. Serve as-is or you can put it into the oven with or without bread crumbs for a yummy baked mac n' cheese. (That's a lot of whisking.) :)
- Add any additional vegetables you'd like! We like chopped broccoli and peas. :) You can also stir in drained canned tuna or leftover chopped chicken for a more substantial meal.
Cheers, may your day be delicious!
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