Do you remember when you were little and your mom used to cut up hot dogs and put them in your mac and cheese? Wasn’t that the best?! These days you don’t want to do that unless you’ve found a healthy brand of hot dogs and if you did, could you please let me know!
This recipe took a couple tries before I got it right because I wanted some super flavors and I finally got it! This is a great way to use up your leftover ham if that was on your menu yesterday for Easter.
I used quinoa pasta and skim milk in this healthy version but whole milk and whole wheat pasta is good too. You’re only using 1/3 cup of milk so the calories are minimal. Adding smoked paprika and a little cayenne makes this dish delicious along with the savory taste of roasted vegetables.
I’m such a big fan of pasta and have loads of Spring pasta dishes that I can’t wait to dig into. There’s lots of ways to ensure your dish is healthy and the arrival of fresh, local veggies has my head spinning with new possibilities this season.
Kids love color so they’re going to dig into this dish with enthusiasm. Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand and leave out the ones that the kids object to. Are there any kids who really like mushrooms?! The roasted garlic is what makes this dish special for me. What’s your favorite veggie that you can’t live without?
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1 small onion, cut into chunks
- 1/2 red pepper, diced
- 1/2 orange or yellow pepper, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 small head broccoli florets
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced thickly
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces (1.5 cups) of quinoa macaroni or whole wheat
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1 1/2 cups of skim milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch of cayenne
- 1.5 tablespoons of corn starch
- 1.5 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- 1.5 cups of cooked ham, diced
- Preheat oven to 400 F. In large bowl combine garlic, onion, peppers and carrots. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Line baking sheet with foil and spread garlic, onion, peppers and carrots out evenly. Roast for 20 minutes, remove from oven. Add oil, salt and pepper to broccoli and mushrooms and add to tray. Continue roasting for an additional 15 minutes. Remove.
- Meanwhile, cook your pasta, drain and return to pot, adding a tablespoon of butter, stir to coat.
- In a small bowl combine [b]a half cup[/b] of the milk, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne and corn starch and whisk well.
- Warm the remaining cup of milk over medium heat. When you just start to see bits of steam rising from the warming milk, whisk in the milk and corn starch mixture. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3 to 4 minutes. (Don’t stop whisking during this process)
- Reduce heat to low and add small amounts of cheese at a time, whisking to a creamy consistency.
- Add half of the cheese sauce to pasta and mix carefully, add remaining sauce and stir to coat. Add roasted vegetables and ham, mixing well. Serve immediately.
I strongly recommend against buying cheese that is pre- grated. I know it’s a time saver but did you know that they use cellulose to keep the cheese from clumping up? What is cellulose you ask? Powdered wood pulp! Yep, that’s what’s in your cheese package. Blech!