Friday, July 29, 2011

Crock Pot Sneaky Mac

Do you have kids (or others in the household) who don't like to eat things that are "good for them"?  Unfortunately I do.  In an effort to get some good stuff into my kids, I have to get a bit sneaky at times.  Usually it backfires and they can detect a difference in the food, but this mac and cheese recipe works every time.  
Enter the chickpea a.k.a the garbanzo bean:


Certainly not every kid's favorite, but definitely full of good stuff! 

Here is what you need to make my incredibly quick and easy mac and cheese recipe:

 ~2 cups shredded NY sharp cheddar cheese
~1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted - I have forgotten the butter before and it turns out just fine, with less fat!
~1 can (12.5 oz I think) evaporated milk- I use fat free
~1 cup of pureed chick peas- You could use a can of chick peas and puree them, but I prefer to buy dried chick peas and then puree the whole bag, separate them and freeze them in one cup portions.  You may also want to start with only 1/2 a cup in your recipe so the kids won't notice and gradually add more each time.  It is good to get any of the loose skins from the peas out before pureeing.
~16 oz box of macaroni, cooked and drained- any shape will do.  I've been using whole wheat pasta, although the kids do grumble about that.  They still eat it though.
~1/2-1tsp. salt depending on your taste preference
~1/2 tsp. black pepper
~1 cup milk- I use skim, any will do.  I usually just poor in the milk to the top of the macaroni without measuring it.

The following pictures do not do the smell or flavor of this dish justice.  Hopefully the joy on the children's faces in the last picture will win you over.

Spray your crock pot with non stick cooking spray before adding your ingredients!!

Add the cheese, butter, evaporated milk, salt, pepper and chick peas to the crock pot while you cook your macaroni.

Don't worry, the chick peas will disappear into the sauce as the mac and cheese cooks.

Add in the macaroni and milk.

Stir everything together and cook for approximately 1.5 hours on high or 3-4 hours on low.  Keep an eye on it to be sure it isn't burning on the edges.  Personally I like the crispy, burnt bits, but my kids hate it.

And here it is!  Yum, yum, yummy!

Don't their "cheesy" smiles say it all??  I used to make this recipe without the chick peas.  The kids like it more when I put the chick peas in.  It adds some really great flavor.  Just recently I let them in on my little sneaky secret.  They are still eating it and have agreed that "healthy" doesn't have to mean icky.