This is a guest post by Katy Farber. Katy Farber is an author, teacher and blogger. She writes the blog Non-Toxic Kids, which features green parenting news, environment issue reporting, opportunities for activism, and book, music, and eco-friendly product reviews. You can find more tips for safer, greener, and healthier eating in her newest book, Eat Non-Toxic: a manual for busy parents, that was just released and is available now at Non-Toxic Kids.
And kids should really only eat the homemade kind. Conventional Kraft and other mainstream brands are packed with artificial food coloring, questionable cheese sources from factory farms, and other ingredients I can't pronounce, but I know can't be good.
Even the FDA was considering putting warning labels on foods that contain artificial food colorings. Why? Because children who eat food containing these dyes often see a marked improvement in behavior once they stop eating it. What parent couldn't use better behavior in their kids?
So, it's not too hard to whip together homemade mac n cheese, and even to sneak some quality, local and organic veggies in there too.
I don't like recipes. They are so confining! What if I don't have that particular ingredient? I like to freelance. Here's how to freelance homemade mac n cheese (stacked with veggies). Keep in mind, these are just suggestions, you do what comes naturally.
Boil some water, and add a little salt. Add the noodles. Par boil.
Steam up some local squash, or cook it in the oven for about an hour until it's very soft. Scoop it out and mash it up. You can also saute some veggies like onions and garlic to add if you like.
In a saucepan, add a couple cups of milk, some spices (I like a dash of paprika), salt and pepper, a little butter, and put it on low heat. After its a bit warm, stir in some flour, just a palm full. Stir until blended.
Add a few good handfuls of cheese and keep on low heat. Cheddar and Parmesan work well.
Take your mashed squash and blend it with the cheese sauce throughly. Viola! It's invisible vegetables.
Next, mix your noodles and sauce in an oven safe dish. I like to mix in little pieces of spinach at this stage too, a cup or so. Stir completely. Cover with bread crumbs (or crumbled crackers) and a little dash of olive oil. Bake until crispy and bubbly.
Homemade cheesy veggie goodness. Does it get any better than that??