Macaroni Cheese, with extra veg

Macaroni cheese is such a wonderfully versatile dish, and one on which everyone has their own take.  It seems to be universally liked as a comforting dish, that sooths the soul and warms the heart. Yet the basic recipe is so easy to add to, making endless variations possible and keeping it feeling fresh.

Many moons ago I remember eating the Kraft packets macaroni cheese, to which you added milk and butter. For some reason these stopped being stocked in the UK long ago and so I learned to make my own.  Now I prefer my mac and cheese homemade and have been baked in the oven, I love the added texture of the crunchy dried top.

I think that smoky bacon works particularly well with the dish, but for this particular adaptation I decided to keep things vegetarian and went for peas, leeks, mushrooms and tomatoes (my compulsion to get as many veg as possible into my partners’ diet getting the better of me again).  As I’m currently trying to keep things low fat I made my cheese sauce with just skim milk, corn flour and cheese, you don’t really miss the butter and full fat milk under all the other flavours.

After cooking the macaroni and sauce I added the peas, mushrooms and leeks (which I had steamed earlier, as I hate coming across some raw leek in a meal!) before transferring to a dish for baking in the oven.  I then sprinkled over my deseeded and chopped tomatoes and little more cheese before baking till a golden crust appeared.

The end result doesn’t quite have the sticky cheese substance of a traditional macaroni cheese, but I think it’s a great meal all the same, and it boxed up great for lunches!


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