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  • Writer's pictureEmma Tierson

Very Veggie Mac n Cheese || Meal Prep Edition

Some weeks you just want to eat comfort food, but your body says otherwise. Well, with this vegetable-packed mac n cheese, you can eat guilt-free! This recipe takes the same amount of time as boxed mac n cheese, but you get a heck of a lot more nutrition. And penny-pinchers can rejoice as this only costs $1.45 per meal! So, let's get meal prepping!

Very Veggie Mac n Cheese

After going a couple of weeks eating nothing but salad and a probiotic yogurt for lunch, I was highly unmotivated to eat. Do you ever feel like that? I was daydreaming of cheesy pasta meals but with one look at my growing gut, I had self guilt-tripped myself into a third and fourth week of salads. Begrudgingly I would eat them...until I broke and ate fast food for an entire week undoing all of my progress. Ever been there? No?! Well, you little liar, I probably don't have to tell you that it freaking sucks. That's why I decided that on the sixth week of attempting to lose weight through better nutrition, I had this breakthrough. I could eat my veggies and my pasta too! I just had to stuff enough vegetables in the meal to make it actually worth eating the carbs and cheesy cholesterol that went with it. Now I know that for some people, eating this much cheese wouldn't be beneficial to their diet, and it likely isn't all that beneficial to me either, but it is darn good and I cannot give it up just yet.




Ingredients for this recipe are simple and easy to come by. If I had bought everything at Aldi, it would have cost even less! I'm a big fan of Campanella pasta and to my knowledge, Aldi does not yet have cauliflower puree (which yes...I could have made from scratch for cheaper but really who in this world has time for that?!?!), so I would count my extra trip to Wegmans as a success. I mean just look at how adorable these cauliflower puree dollops are?!?!!



Making this dish is super simple. Boil your pasta in salted water according to the time on the package. Microwave the cauliflower puree and mix it together. Throw all the other vegetables into a pan on the stovetop and heat it up!

Sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and frozen spinach

When the vegetables are done, they will look like a dreamy, vegetable sauce.


Cooked vegetables

So what's next? Combine everything together, the cheese, drained pasta, cauliflower puree, and vegetable sauce. Mix it up well, reserve some cheese if you want the top to look exceptionally cheesy. Put that good good into a baking dish and throw it into the oven on 350 until bubbly (20-30 minutes).







 

Very Veggie Mac n Cheese || Meal Prep Edition



Ingredients/Prices

Cheddar $1.69 x2 Chopped Spinach $0.99

Plum Tomatoes $1.59

Garlic $0.89**

Sliced Mushrooms $1.89

Cauliflower Puree $3.99

Campanelle $1.79


Price Breakdown

TOTAL PRICE

=$14.52 (pre-tax)

PER PERSON

$14.52/2 people = $7.26/week

PER MEAL

$7.26/5 days = $1.45/meal!!!



Directions

Boil the pasta in a pot of salted water according to the time on the package.

While the pasta is boiling, microwave the cauliflower puree according to the directions on the package. Stir the cauliflower puree when it has been heated through and then set aside. Put the remaining vegetables in a large pan on medium heat. Cook them until the frozen vegetables are heated through, stirring occasionally. Pre-heat the oven for 350 degrees. Shred the cheese while waiting for the vegetables to come up to temperature. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it in a strainer. In either a large bowl combine all the ingredients well, leaving a handful of cheese for later use. Put all ingredients into a greased baking dish, top with the handful of cheese, and bake until bubbly (about 20-30 minutes).


For meal prepping, after the mac n cheese comes out of the oven leave it out to cool for about an hour before separating it into individual meals. By leaving it to cool, the cheese will thicken and make it easier to portion.


**I used half a bulb of garlic in the recipe (I LOVE GARLIC), all the other ingredients were completely used up, which is why I did not include amounts.





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