Mac and Cheese with Sneaky Sweet Potato {Freezer Meal}



Mac and Cheese with Sneaky Sweet Potato is delicious, lighter than most mac recipes, and a great way to get more vegetables in your diet.Note: I posted this recipe a few years ago. But, I made it recently for our family and finally snagged some photos and tweaked the recipe a little. My kids still love it!

I’m not sure Mac and Cheese can ever be categorized as “healthy.” But, since my kids love it so much, I’ve attempted several better versions–than Kraft or the decadent homemade version that is. I made one for lunch today that was quite good. What isn’t when you add enough cheese?!? Our whole family votes for this one again. Of course, I like it because it’s yet another way to get vegetables into my crew.Mac and Cheese with Sneaky Sweet Potato is delicious, lighter than most mac recipes, and a great way to get more vegetables in your diet.

If you’d like to try an even faster version of Mac and Cheese, give this one a try. It’s creamy and delicious.

Mac and Cheese with Sneaky Sweet Potato is delicious, lighter than most mac recipes, and a great way to get more vegetables in your diet.

 

Mac and Cheese with Sneaky Sweet Potato
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A healthier mac & cheese recipe with hidden veggies that your whole family will love!
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pounds (16 oz) whole wheat elbow macaroni (or any other kind of pasta)
  • 1 medium sweet potatoes, microwaved or baked until soft (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • ¾ cup reserved pasta water
  • ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3-4 cups grated cheese (I use colby-jack)
  • ¾ cup whole wheat bread crumbs (Panko crumbs work well)
  • 2 teaspoons avocado or olive oil
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray (or two 8x8 and freeze one for later).
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until tender but still a bit firm. Reserve ¾ cup of pasta water. Drain pasta in strainer/colander and set aside. Toss with a little olive oil to keep from sticking.
  3. Meanwhile, place the sweet potato flesh (orange part), milk, pasta water, yogurt, salt and pepper into a blender and blend until smooth (this hides the vegs from keen eyes!).
  4. Then pour the milk mixture into the same pot you cooked the pasta in. Stir frequently over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture is almost simmering. Turn to low and slowly whisk in the cheese a little bit at a time. Stir until mostly melted and smooth. Cooking Note: The cheese sauce will seem runny/soupy but it thickens up in the oven.
  5. Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.
  6. Combine bread crumbs, olive oil, and dried parsley in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.
Notes
Freezer Meal Instructions:
Follow instructions through step #6, but do not bake the Mac and Cheese. Tightly wrap the casserole in a freezer-safe dish. When ready to eat, thaw in the fridge overnight or use the defrost setting on the microwave. Bake as directed.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: Makes: 8-10 servings (one 9x13 casserole)




Comments

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  3. Krystal says

    To freeze this, do I simply freeze it without the breadcrumbs before baking it?

    • Rachel says

      Great question. I freeze them with the breadcrumbs on top, but if you’re worried about them getting soggy you could wait on the breadcrumbs.

  4. Kayla says

    Just made this tonight and tasted great! I even got approval from my picky boyfriend. For some reason though the breadcrumbs don’t taste all that great. I’m not sure if I didn’t mix correctly or I don’t have what the recipe actually calls for. Would it be possible to just make up to the sauce, mix it in, and serve? Or does baking let the sauce cook in better?

    • Rachel says

      Hi Kayla,

      Thanks for the feedback. I haven’t made this recipe for a while, so I need to go back and test it again. But, my gut shot is that you could certainly serve it hot off the stove and skip the breadcrumbs and baking step. My new favorite is the 5 Ingredient Mac and Cheese. You might give that one a go…it’s easier and also healthier than regular ole mac. http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2013/11/5-ingredient-mac-cheese-recipe/

  5. Leah says

    Making this tonight. Calls for 2 small sweet potatoes. Instruction says to add sweet potatoe flesh?? Do you also include the meat of the sweet potatoe?

    • Rachel says

      Gosh, so sorry for the confusion. Flesh is the meat or the orange part. Do not add the skin, if that’s what you were thinking. Yuck. 🙂 I will update the recipe to be more clear. Thanks for reading!

  6. Melanie says

    When you freeze this, do you thaw and bake, or bake from frozen for a longer period of time?

    • Rachel says

      You can do either. If you bake from frozen, you will need to cover with foil for the first portion and then give it about 20 minutes at the end to brown on top. It may take up 45-60 minutes if frozen.

  7. Amy says

    Do you think I can use plain Greek yogurt? That is all we ever have. Thanks! Sounds delicious

    • Rachel says

      Absolutely! I sub plain Greek yogurt in this recipe and others all the time. Thanks for the suggestion for others!

  8. Tara says

    My boyfriend allergic to gluten. Would this recipe work with gluten free penne noodles? I can’t seem to find and elbow noodles. I am also wondering if I can add hamburger or ground turkey?

    • Rachel says

      Sorry, Tara, I don’t have a lot of experience with GF noodles. My guess is that they would be fine, though. And penne sounds yummy! I’m sure the added meat would be good too, if you season it up and brown it before you put it in. Good idea for the men in our lives. 🙂

  9. Terri S says

    Just made this for my daughter and her husband who are expecting a baby in 2.5 weeks. I been stocking the freezer for them with ready made meals. Looks delicious!

    • Polly says

      Great! Hope everyone likes it.

  10. Erika says

    Looks great, would the cooking time change if I put it in two 8×8 pans?

    • Rachel says

      Nope, I think it would pretty much be the same.

  11. Morgan says

    Hi – I am new to freezer cooking and just have one question – when freezing – you say to tightly wrap it. Do you freeze it then pull it out, wrap it tight with like a plastic wrap and put it back in the freezer? Or do you just wrap it up tight, they way it will stay, before the freezing process?

    • Rachel says

      Hi Morgan! I just wrap up the meal tightly and then stick it in the freezer until I’m ready to thaw it. Does that answer your question? Glad you made it to our site. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  12. Christine says

    Could I sub sour cream in place of the Greek yogurt?

    • Rachel says

      Yes, for sure you could sub sour cream in.

  13. trish says

    Do you have the nutritional information ie: calories, fat etc?

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