This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organics. The opinions and text are all mine. #SmartMeals #HorizonOrganic
An Easy Cheesy White Cheddar and Broccoli Mac and Cheese Shells Casserole that uses smart ingredients for a family favorite meal everyone feels good about.
My kids eat well. In fact, I get a lot of comments about how lucky they are. And I agree to a point, I mean, they do have to eat a lot of meals cold so I can photograph them first. But if you were to ask my kids about it, you might be surprised to learn that sometimes they feel a little deprived.
What?! How is this possible? Well, when your mom makes dinner almost every night, you don’t get to have mac and cheese, and nuggets, and other “kid favorites” all that often.
And I am totally okay with that. However, those are classics, and traditional favorites for a reason. A good mac and cheese, for example, is comfort food at its best. Plus it is easy enough to make that even on the busiest of nights, it will grace the family table. I wanted to transform this family favorite with smarter ingredients.
I didn’t want to eliminate the ease, so I started with a boxed Classic Mac. The Classic Mac Pasta Shells and White Cheddar Cheese from Horizon. Just like a typical box of mac and cheese it comes with the pasta and the cheese packet, but in this case they are organic. Remember, I wanted smarter ingredients.
I then enhanced things by adding a green vegetable, and topped it with some stuffing mix to give it some texture and crunch. Making this “kid” meal into something the whole family could enjoy.
It has just enough creamy, cheesiness to feel like comfort food, but not so much that you worry about your health. And the addition of the broccoli is a great way to increase vegetable intake and enhance flavor. Even my picky eater ate this without (too much) complaint.
And I certainly wasn’t complaining about how quick and easy it was. My biggest tricks to getting this right are:
- Pour the hot water you cooked your noodles in over the top of the broccoli to get it started cooking, that way you get dinner on the table faster, and your broccoli is perfectly tender, but still crispy.
- Make sure it is as creamy as you like. If you find after you stir the pasta and broccoli into the sauce that it is not as creamy as you want, add a little more milk and cheese. However creamy it is when it goes into the casserole dish, is how it will be when you scoop it out. I like mine a little on the dry side to prevent messes (Recipe is to my preference), but if you want it creamier, be sure to add in more milk and cheese.
Let’s get to the recipe:
Easy White Cheddar 'n Broccoli Mac and Cheese Shells Casserole
- 2 boxes Horizon Classic Mac Pasta Shells and White Cheddar Cheese
- 3/4 cup Horizon milk For creamier version, use 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 Tbs Horizon butter split
- 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
- 1 1/2-2 cups boxed stuffing mix
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray an 8x8 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil on the stove top over high heat.
- Once water is boiling, add pasta shells from the two boxes, and boil 10-12 minutes, set cheese packets aside
- Meanwhile, chop broccoli florets into small, bite sized, pieces, and place in a colander, in your sink,
- Melt 2 Tbs of butter, and stir the melted butter, stuffing mix, and parmesan cheese together. Set aside.
- When pasta shells are done cooking, pour the pasta shells and water over the broccoli in the colander. The hot water will par-cook the broccoli so it cooks faster in the casserole.
- In the same pot you cooked the noodles in, add the remaining 2 Tbs butter, and the 3/4 cup of milk, as well as the two cheese packets, and stir well. The pot should be hot enough to melt the butter, but if it is not, put over medium heat and stir until butter is melted, and everything is well mixed.
- Dump shells and broccoli into the pot, and stir, coating everything well. Add in the mozzarella cheese, and stir.
- Dump into prepared casserole dish.
- Top with stuffing mixture, and spread evenly across the top of the casserole.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until top is crunchy and golden brown.
- Serve immediately.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organics. The opinions and text are all mine.
Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.