Wednesday, 17 October 2012

"Mac and Cheese" with Vegetables for the Whole Family

My son isn't well.  He's got chicken pox bless him and he's feeling grotty.  So what do I do?  I make spotty pasta with peas in it!  Poor thing.  I hope he didn't think Mummy was taking the mickey.  My thought was comforting food.

Ok, so this isn't macaroni.  I didn't have any, and I didn't have any penne to even make it look like macaroni.  But to be fair, I hate macaroni and my husband has a pathological hatred for mac and cheese.  It's a textural thing I think.  Generally I'm not a fan because it has no real nutritional value and I hate those 'healthy' mac and cheese recipes with sliced tomatoes.  Yuk.

So this isn't Mac and Cheese but it does have pasta, it does have cheese but I've changed it.  Ok, it's more of a pasta bake really but it's not a tomatoey pasta bake so it is different.

Self justification over...

Mac and Cheese with Vegetables, aka Cheesy Pasta Bake - serves 1 adult and 1 toddler


60g of pasta shapes of your choice (macaroni would of course be traditional!)
100g Broccoli cut into small florets
250ml Semi skimmed or full fat milk
75g Extra Mature or Vintage Cheddar (Sharp Cheddar) or a mix of cheddar and parmesan
1 tbsp Cornflour (cornstarch)
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
60g Frozen Peas


If baking immediately, preheat the oven to 200oC / 400F.

Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than pack instructions (I cooked mine for 8 minutes, the pack said 10 minutes.)  3 minutes before the end of cooking, add the broccoli.

While you're cooking the pasta, heat the milk in a microwave until boiling.  Mix the cornflour with some cold water to make a paste and add to the milk.  Stir and if it's not thickened, pop it back into the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute keeping an eye on it as it can boil over.

Once cooked, drain the pasta and broccoli and refresh under a cold water tap to stop the cooking.

Whisk half of the cheese and the mustard into the sauce.  Mix the sauce with the pasta, broccoli and peas then put the remaining cheese on top.  Either put in the fridge until you're ready to cook or cook in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted, everything is bubbling and it's starting to brown.

Despite my son being off his food, he still liked this (once he would give it a go he ate most of it).  Which considering he was refusing breakfast this morning is no mean feat.  I also thought it was tasty, the mustard gave it a little edge and a bit more flavour to keep it interesting for adults but by using dijon rather than English mustard it wasn't blow your head off spicy.

Hmm, tasty...

I've linked up this lovely comforting autumnal dish to seasonal inspiration at crumbs and chaos.

I've linked this up to Meatless Monday:

Update:  I am an eejit!  I suppose it was bound to happen someday but as you can see from the post, the inspiration for this was a mac & cheese not as some of you may have thought (from the UK anyway) a well known brand of toddler ready meals.  Just as a quick note, all similarity was completely accidental, having tasted both (in a professional capacity) they are very different, and they have a much better name for their product than I did anyway!!!!  Sorry Little Dish!


  1. Hope your little one is starting to feel better. Good comfort food recipe. Have a great week!

    1. Last night he slept through which was the first time since Tuesday and he seems more his normal, cheeky self today and the normal huge appetite is back, he's just a bit spotty! I think he's on the mend.

  2. Thanks for the lovely links into Food on Friday. Hope you are having a good week.


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