Baked Veggie Mac and Cheese

I’m back! I decided for the month of June to try to work myself into insanity and was almost successful; 7 day work weeks are no fun. But now, my other job is overstaffed so I have a random three day weekend from Monday to Wednesday. This means I’m back in the kitchen again!

Today I was looking for something more healthy than just plain pasta that wouldn’t require a trip to the grocery store. This led to the original recipe I pulled this from being bastardized into a “clean out the fridge” type of casserole. However, it was so delicious that I would make it again with actual trips to the grocery store to get the ingredients.

Baked Veggie Mac & Cheese

(Inspired and guided by How Sweet Eats)

Serves 4-5 with moderate serving sizes

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked pasta (I used shells; we have an abundance of them)

1 tomato, diced

1/2 zucchini, chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1/3 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup parmesan, divided

1 cup bread crumbs

olive oil, two drizzles worth

salt & pepper to taste

Note: feel free to change up what vegetables you’re using and types of cheeses. This recipe can be easily adapted for seasonality. Use earthy squash in the fall and winter and lighter flavors for spring and summer.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400˚.

Cook pasta to just before al dente (take a minute or two off the recommended cooking time).

While pasta is cooking, chop veggies to be just a bit smaller than the pasta you’re using. Combine all veggies into a bowl and toss together with salt and pepper, creating somewhat of a salad.

Drain pasta and set aside. If needed, shred the cheddar cheese. In a large bowl, toss together the hot pasta and cheddar, mozzarella and half the parmesan cheese.

When the cheeses are mostly melted, stir in the chopped vegetable medley.

Coat the bottom of a 9×9 pan with olive oil and a light sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Pour in the pasta and veggie mixture, spreading it evenly across the pan. Top off your mac and cheese with remaining breadcrumbs and parmesan. Drizzle a light coating of olive oil across the top.

Bake mac and cheese for 12-15 minutes or until topping is browned. Best served immediately.

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