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! 🙂
Add a boost of nutrition to your mac and cheese by adding sweet potato, you won't regret it 🙂
- 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
- 13 oz. elbow macaroni noodles whole wheat or GF if preferred
- 1/2 cup white onion diced
- 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 3 Tbsp. EVOO
- 4 Tbsp. All-Purpose flour
- 2 cups Fat Free Milk or whatever percent milk you have on hand is OK
- 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!