One Pot Mac & Cheese (with veggies!)
My kids are pretty good eaters, but sometimes we go through a rough patch when they only want cheese, pasta, and cookies. Sometimes it’s easier just to lean into it instead of constantly hound them about their eating, so I make this macaroni and cheese. It’s ridiculously easy – everything cooks in one pot. And when vegetables are cut up small like these are, my kids don’t really seem to care about eating them. I’ve made this with fresh bell pepper and broccoli, as well as frozen peas and carrots – it’s great either way. Just be sure the vegetables aren’t big enough to pick out.
You can probably use whatever cheese you have on hand, but I like this combination the best. Jack cheese melts so well but doesn’t add a ton of cheesy flavor, so the sharp cheddar, which doesn’t melt as smoothly, makes up for the mild flavor of the Jack. I always grate my own cheese – it just tastes better, but also pre-grated cheese is coated in cellulose (ie: wood pulp) to keep the pieces from sticking together. It’s not the worst thing ever, I guess, but I don’t find added wood pulp terribly appetizing, either.
If you like the cute serving spoon in the pictures, check out Oak and Embers on Etsy. Her stuff is seriously amazing and gorgeous.
2 c. elbow macaroni
2 c. milk (I use whole milk)
2 c. tiny chopped vegetables (You can use anything: frozen peas and carrots, or chop up fresh red bell pepper with tiny bits of broccoli).
1 c. grated jack cheese
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
- Pour the uncooked pasta in a large pot with your vegetables and add the milk. Bring to just shy of a boil. DO NOT let the milk boil. Weird things happen to milk and cheese when milk boils over.
- Stir the very hot milk and pasta, turn the heat off, and put a lid on the pot.*
- Let the pasta cook in the warm milk for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Be sure to return the lid to the pot when you stir.
- Add the cheese, and turn the heat to medium so that everything melts together.
*If you have a regular electric range, the residual heat will continue to cook the pasta. If you have a gas or induction range that cools quickly, you will need to leave the burner on the lowest possible setting.
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