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Zucchini Mac and Cheese - Easy mac and cheese recipe with shredded zucchini, brown rice elbow macaroni, almond milk and a bit of cheese. Creamy and healthy 15 minute comfort food. | ifoodreal.com

On Wednesday, I had a hard time getting off the couch to make this zucchini mac and cheese. But again there was nothing for dinner and I knew this 15 minute dinner had a big chance of being a winner. I love my job but at times I envy office workers typing 8 hours away on the computer. I cherish a few hours a day I get to work on laptop while sipping tea. Majority of my day is spent on feet – getting kids out the door, cooking, cleaning, driving kids to sports, running to grocery stores, feeding and putting kids to bed. And I know office people envy me back. When I get to my bed after taking shower the feeling of a horizontal position is almost orgasmic.

Zucchini Mac and Cheese - Easy mac and cheese recipe with shredded zucchini, brown rice elbow macaroni, almond milk and a bit of cheese. Creamy and healthy 15 minute comfort food. | ifoodreal.com

I am really looking forward to slowing down this summer. I need to. School is almost over and I decided to spend a meaningful summer with my children. I will be working but not as much. I need no schedule and no pressure to be anywhere life. Just for a bit. I really want to enjoy these few months of sunshine with kids before oldest one starts to hang out with his friends and youngest one stops thinking I am the belly button of the universe. Beach days, cold watermelon, trips to the library, lazy mornings. My summer bucket list is long. Just like everybody else’s. We all try to squeeze in a year worth of activities into 2 months. Except lucky California and Florida folks.

Zucchini Mac and Cheese - Easy mac and cheese recipe with shredded zucchini, brown rice elbow macaroni, almond milk and a bit of cheese. Creamy and healthy 15 minute comfort food. | ifoodreal.com Zucchini Mac and Cheese - Easy mac and cheese recipe with shredded zucchini, brown rice elbow macaroni, almond milk and a bit of cheese. Creamy and healthy 15 minute comfort food. | ifoodreal.com

I had this idea to mix finely grated zucchini with mac and cheese. I knew right away it either will be a big YAY or a sour face NAY. Deep down I knew chances of big YAY were quite high because it is mac and cheese. Hello?! I often make Annie’s for kids’ hot lunches. We do not eat deli meat and peanut butter at school is a problem. So, barely any sandwiches.

cheese-zucchini-mac-and-cheese-recipeZucchini Mac and Cheese - Easy mac and cheese recipe with shredded zucchini, brown rice elbow macaroni, almond milk and a bit of cheese. Creamy and healthy 15 minute comfort food. | ifoodreal.com

In Ukraine, we sprinkled shredded cheese on warm short egg noodles (the only kind of pasta we had). Pasta would become cheesy and that was our version of mac and cheese. My mom was a single mom so we never bought cheese except for special occasions. Bread, potatoes and eggs were necessities. My cousin would share sometimes his cheese. All groceries, cooking and budgets were done separately – my aunt and her family and then us and grandma. The only cost we split was the utilities. Sometimes I think of what we had and it blows my mind…More of what we didn’t have. That experience instilled in me everything I am today – budgeting, frugality and appreciation for simple things. As much as it is nice to be a kid I would never wanna go back to my childhood. Poverty and divorce suck… literally suck all joy of being a kid and you dream of growing up every single minute. So you can change your world. Children are so powerless.

Zucchini Mac and Cheese - Easy mac and cheese recipe with shredded zucchini, brown rice elbow macaroni, almond milk and a bit of cheese. Creamy and healthy 15 minute comfort food. | ifoodreal.com

Just like zucchini swimming in a cheesy sauce. No way boring plain zucchini will survive the creaminess and cheesiness. When the usual question “What’s for dinner?” rang in my ears around 2:30 PM (some days I hear it at breakfast) I announced “Mac and cheese”. As confidently as I could. Then gave a spoonful to try. Yep, big YAY. Zucchini are pretty tasteless so hiding them in mac and cheese should fly by. You know what didn’t fly by in my house though? Avocado mac and cheese. That I was told not to make ever again and I kinda see why.     zucchini mac and cheese

Zucchini Mac and Cheese - Easy mac and cheese recipe with shredded zucchini, brown rice elbow macaroni, almond milk and a bit of cheese. Creamy and healthy 15 minute comfort food. | ifoodreal.com

Zucchinis are mostly water so when you let them cook covered for 10 minutes the juices start flowing into the sauce while adding flavour. Making the most tender zucchini mac and cheese ever. And isn’t it pretty?! Although my 5 year old had his concerns that it is not “normal” macaroni and cheese aka not Annie’s. But since I do not cook separate meals he backed out after a first spoonful. I really liked zucchini in mac n cheese to add a vegetable boost and keep cheese to a minimum without sacrificing the flavour.

Have you ever made zucchini mac and cheese? Do your kids like zucchini?

Zucchini Mac and Cheese - Easy mac and cheese recipe with shredded zucchini, brown rice elbow macaroni, almond milk and a bit of cheese. Creamy and healthy 15 minute comfort food. | ifoodreal.com

Zucchini Mac and Cheese

Zucchini Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 lb zucchini (2 cups packed), shredded & not squeezed
  • 4 oz (1 cup packed) cheddar or marble cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked (I used brown rice)
  • 3 tbsp butter, salted
  • 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp milk of choice (I used almond milk)
  • 3/4 tsp himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Cook pasta as per package instructions undercooking by a few minutes. You want pasta firm. I used brown rice pasta which cooks super fast. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the meanwhile, preheat dutch oven or a skillet on medium heat and melt butter. Add flour slowly while whisking continuously. Add milk while whisking. Bring to a boil until a bit thickened and bubbly.
  3. Add zucchini, stir well, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add salt and garlic powder and stir.
  4. Add cheese and stir until it is melted. Add cooked pasta and mix well. Turn off heat. Adjust thickness with extra milk if necessary and salt to taste. Mac and cheese thickens a bit with time.
  5. Storage Instructions: Refrigerate in a glass airtight container for up to 2-3 days.
http://ifoodreal.com/zucchini-mac-and-cheese/

Nutritional Info

Servings Per Recipe: 6

Amount Per Serving = 1 cup:
Calories: 298.6
Total Fat: 13.9 g
Cholesterol: 35.5 mg
Sodium: 508.9 mg
Total Carbs: 35.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.1 g
Protein: 7.9 g
WW Points+: 8

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16 Comments

  1. Olga G

    Your posts always bring out the LOL moments! It’s really the simple things in life that are most enjoyable 🙂 Sometimes I think it takes a lot more effort to take the time and slow down especially when one has kids. Enjoy ever moment with your family this summer!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Thank you, Olya! You too! I DEFINITELY struggle with being able to relax and slow down. I am working on it! My husband and mom and MIL are the same.

      Reply
  2. Laura

    Thanks for the recipe. Now i know what I can use the free zucchini for instead of bars, and cakes that require a lot of sugar.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hm, I politely disagree. I definitely didn’t have your experience. Either you used different ingredients or healthified classics are not for you. Some people just need a real deal no matter what.
      You don’t have to be scared to leave your real name and email if you didn’t like a recipe. I don’t bite or send nasty emails.:)

      Reply
  3. Melissa

    I made this last week and it was delicious, I wholeheartedly disagree with the person who chooses to remain nameless. Thanks once again Olena.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Thanks Melissa for letting me know. I wonder if that person overcooked zucchini so they released too much water. Also could have overcooked cheese so it separated into curd and water. Idk.

      Reply
  4. Laura

    HO Olena;
    I totally disagree too. This was a very good recipe even though we used rotini vegetable pasta instead of macaroni. It made it more colorful that way.

    Reply
  5. Court

    Made with penne tonight. Unfortunately, the 17-month old and 4 year old wouldn’t touch it, but my spouse & I thought it was delicious!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Court. Yeah, I hear ya. My 10 year old ate it but not a 5 year old. We loved it but the kids not really. Oh well, I still make it for us. Thank you for your feedback.

      Reply
  6. Cindy

    I have been looking for new approach at cooking, trying to ditch the commercial stuff and go organic. I have been looking all over for good recipes, & you have so many great ones! I’m excited to try a lot of these out!!!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Cindy. There you go! Go for it and you will never look back. My goal this year is to make my blog more discoverable on the net. All the best!!! Let me know what you try.

      Reply

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