"Since every kid I know seems to love mac and cheese, I wondered how I could bring some verdant color to this classic dish," says Catherine McCord, founder of the popular kid-friendly recipe site Weelicious. She adds, "Offering kids greens takes some creativity. This mac and cheese is not only super creamy and cheesy, it's packed with nutritious veggies like spinach, broccoli and sweet peas which only add to the heavenly nature of this traditional, kid-friendly recipe. See, it's easy being green!"
Easy-Peasy Mac 'n' Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni (you can also use campanelle, cavatappi or shells)
3 cups whole milk
1 cups packed fresh spinach
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups grated white cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 cup peas
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Cook pasta in salted water for about 3 minutes less than package directions call for, until al dente. Reserve half a cup of the pasta water and strain.
3. While the pasta is cooking, place the milk and spinach in a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.
4. In a large pot melt the butter and then add the flour, whisking continuously over low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes to make a roux. Slowly whisk in the milk mixture and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until sauce is gently bubbling and starting to thicken.
6. Add reserved pasta water and cheese and whisk until melted. Stir in the pasta, salt, broccoli and peas.
7. Transfer to a greased 13″ x 9″ baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and the pasta is set.