Healthy Mac and Cheese for Summer

healthy mac and cheese

I’ve yet to meet a kid who doesn’t like mac and cheese. Even picky eaters seem to gobble it down, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to get more veggies into your kids.

I make different versions of mac and cheese depending on the season: butternut squash mac and cheese in the fall, mac and cheese with frozen peas or frozen spinach in the winter, and this summer squash mac and cheese in the summer. Yellow squash is a particularly great veggie in mac and cheese because when shredded, it kind of melts right into the cheese sauce and offers just a little more texture and flavor.

Enjoy!

healthy mac and cheese

Summer Squash Mac and Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups dry macaroni noodles, shells, or any other small pasta
  • 3 medium yellow squash (the ones that look like yellow zucchini), shredded
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Place shredded squash in a strainer over the sink and let sit for 15 min so that any excess water can drain.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Add butter, shredded squash and a pinch of salt to the pan and saute over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until squash has softened and released some of it's water. Add the flour and saute another minute.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low, pour in milk and stir regularly until milk is steaming and has thickened a little. Remove the pot from heat, add a small pinch of salt and stir in the cheese.
  5. Continue stirring until cheese has melted, then add the noodles back to the pot and stir gently until ingredients are well-incorporated.
  6. Serve hot.

healthy mac and cheese

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16 Responses to Healthy Mac and Cheese for Summer

  1. You obviously don’t have a picky eater to deal with. i made homemade mac & cheese for my granddaughters and they turned up their noses at it because it wasn’t what they are used to. Not only don’t they like my homemade dish, one won’t eat Trader Joe’s brand, one doesn’t like Kraft and both would rebel if there were anything except macaroni and cheese in the dish (even though one of them loves vegetables!).

    • Hi Grace. Clearly there are different levels of pickiness. Sounds like your grandkids pose a big challenge so perhaps small changes over time & including them in kitchen/shopping/cooking projects may help, if not right away then eventually. It’s probably also easier to make changes/rules when you’re the parent, since home is where kids generally develop their routine eating habits.

  2. Hi Amelia,
    I made this recipe last evening, using sweet potato instead of yellow squash. I added a few frozen peas, and it was delicious! Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. […] Summer Squash Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients: 2 cups dry macaroni noodles, shells, or any other small pasta (I bought quinoa noodles at the IV Co-op and they were delicious 3 medium yellow squash, shredded 2 Tbsp butter 1 Tbsp flour 2 cups whole milk 2 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese Salt to taste Directions: 1.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. 2.Add butter, shredded squash and a pinch of salt to the pan and sauté over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until squash has softened. Add the flour and sauté another minute. 3.Reduce heat to medium-low, pour in milk and stir regularly until milk is steaming and has thickened a little. Remove the pot from heat, add a small pinch of salt and stir in the cheese. 4.Continue stirring until cheese has melted, then add the noodles back to the pot and stir gently until ingredients are well-incorporated. 5.Serve hot. (Recipe from Eating Made Easy) […]

  4. I just made this and am dealing with a TON of water that came out of the squash. If I make this again I would add 2 tbsp of flour (1:1 fat: flour is proper roux ratio) and start with about half the milk.

    • Hi Kim, I’m sorry to hear about your experience! You can always add 1/4 tsp to the grated squash, toss it, then let it sit in a colander draining for 15 min or so. Squeeze the remaining water out of the squash before adding to the pot. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Can you recommend something other than whole milk? We typically only have almond milk in the house and I’d hate to buy a thing of whole milk for just 2 cups. Thanks!

    • I wouldn’t recommend making this with a dairy alternative, but you could use any type of cow’s milk (1%, 2% or whole). They do sell pints of milk in most stores, which is exactly 2 cups. If you wanted to try almond milk (unsweetened, unflavored) you certainly could, but I’m not sure how it would taste.

  6. Thank you for this recipe! We have SO much squash, I can’t find uses for all of it! My kids normally won’t eat yellow squash so I was on the search for a good “hiding” recipe. This fit perfectly! I just added a little ground mustard, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to give the sauce more taste, poured it all in a casserole dish, topped with Panko, parsley, and paprika. Both girls are gobbling it down right now! Even my picky kid just said “this Mac n cheese is good! Can I have more?” Well done!

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