Hidden Vegetable Mac and Cheese
- 2 lbs (908 g) boneless skinless chicken breast
- 12 oz (340 g) macaroni noodles gluten free if needed
- 1 lb (454 g) frozen cauliflower
- 3 medium (300 g) carrots
- 1 tbsp (15 g) oil
- 8 oz (227 g) cheddar cheese block is best
- 2 cups (480 g) pasta water
- 1½ cups (360 g) 2% milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- any other seasoning you like is optional
For the Vegetables
- Wash and cut your carrots into smaller pieces so that they roast quicker.
- On a lightly oiled sheet pan, place the carrots and frozen cauliflower. Drizzle over 1 tbsp of oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Roast at 425°F (218°C) for 20-25 minutes, flipping half way through.
For the Chicken
- Trim the excess fat and skin from the chicken and either cut or pound the chicken so that is even in thickness throughout. I shoot for about ½" in thickness.
- Season both sides lightly with salt and pepper and place onto a sheet pan. Place into the oven at 425°F for 15 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165°F.
- Once the chicken has finished, allow it to rest for 10 minutes before cutting it into a very small dice.
For the Macaroni
- Cook the macaroni according to the packaging. Shoot for just past al dente on the doneness. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water for your cheese sauce. Be sure not to use too much water in your pot. Too much water will dilute the starchy pasta water that we will use to thicken the sauce later.
- Once cooked, rinse and store in cold water to stop the cooking process until you are ready to use later.
For the Cheese Sauce
- NOTE: If you wanted to add a bit of mustard powder, paprika, or another spice you could certainly do that. I like to personally keep it to salt and pepper but you should make it how you like it. Using a blend of different cheese can also add layers of flavor if you don't mind buying a few blocks of cheese.
- Shred your block of cheese using a box grater or food processor.
- Once the vegetables have finished roasting, place them into a blender with 2 cups of pasta water, 1½ cups of milk, and about ⅘ of all of the cheese you just shredded. Blend on high speed for 30-60s or until smooth.
For the Mac & Cheese
- In a 13"x9" baking dish, pour about half of the cheese sauce into the bottom.
- Drain the water away from your macaroni and dump the noodles into the pan.
- Add in the chopped chicken and pour the remaining cheese sauce over the top.
- Stir to evenly distribute the cheese sauce and give it a taste test. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste. Mix again if necessary.
- Top the dish with the remaining shredded cheese and place back into the oven at 425°F for 10 minutes to brown the cheese and thicken the sauce. For the last two minutes, I like to turn the oven to broil to help the cheese brown.
- This recipe makes 6 servings. Cut the dish into 6 equal portions and place into each meal prep container. Top with chopped parsley for a garnish if you wish.
The information in the following table are estimates for the total nutrition of the recipe, as written. If you follow the recipe listed above, as written, you can use these tables to determine the nutrition information if you wanted to split the recipe, as written, into more or less servings than what is originally listed. If you update the number of servings in the “Servings” field of the recipe above, the information in these tables are no longer accurate as you have updated the ingredients.