April 2016 – Theme
Limpin’ Along for Lunch
Ever get in a lunch rut? Need new ideas for packing your kids’ or your own lunch? Are packable noontime options dwindling? Surely you’ve met the ‘What shall I pack for lunch?” question head-on with creative ideas. Please share your healthy lunch recipe – so we can swap it into our own rotation.
Recipe Redux blog posts always seem to sneak up on me! I love this theme because so often times with work and busy schedules it is easy to fall into a routine of the same lunch or opting for fast food. I made this sweet potato mac and cheese bake for comfort food but also felt healthy at the same time. 🙂 This bake is perfect for packing for lunch the next day with some chicken or other protein source. I love that the sweet potato is a hidden veggie – perfect for fooling picky eaters! In fact my co-worker even said she was going to take some of it home to her husband and not tell him it has sweet potato in it. (haha!). I used a 4 cheese blend I found at the grocery store – however you can use 6oz. of whatever cheese you would like. (Sharp white cheddar would be my next recommendation mmmmm).
I am currently at the California Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Annual Conference & Expo – so if any of you are here, let’s meet up! 🙂
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 13 oz. elbow macaroni noodles (whole wheat or GF if preferred)
- 1/2 large white onion, diced
- 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 3 Tbsp. EVOO
- 4 Tbsp. AP flour
- 2 cups Fat Free Milk
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. red pepper chili flakes
- 6 oz. four cheese blend (or sharp white cheddar)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bring a medium pot of water to boil and add in the sweet potato that has been peeled and cubed up. Boil sweet potato for 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Drain sweet potatoes and then mash well. You should have ~2-2.5 cups of sweet potato.
- Next cook the elbow noodles according to the package.
- While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pan with onion and garlic. Cook for about 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 30 seconds and then slowly pour and whisk in the milk and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and continue to whisk. Mixture should begin to thicken after 3-5 minutes. Place heat to low and mix in the mustard, salt, pepper, red pepper chili flakes, cheese and sweet potato. Stir well and then remove from heat.
- Add in the noodles and mix in well. Taste and adjust any seasonings you may want extra. Pour in a oven safe casserole dish and top with panko crumb/Parmesan cheese mixture. Place in oven, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, or until it gets bubbly.
- Serve warm and enjoy!