If you have a kid (or adult?) who is “allergic” to vegetables, you may want to try this tasty dish which is very popular with my husband and toddler. I also use the exact same sauce with spaghetti to make spaghetti carbonara so you can also do that if you prefer. My policy is to try to present both hidden and visible vegetables in meals. The hidden part is so that they unknowingly get a healthy hit and you are not feeling pressure to hold them down and force a stalk of broccoli down their throats, and the visible part is so that they eventually learn vegetables aren’t going anywhere and can actually be an enjoyable part of every meal.
In this dish the hidden part is a whole head of cauliflower cooked and pureed (I blended it with some of the milk to ensure smoothness) into the white sauce and the visible part is yummy corn. I swear you can’t even detect the cauliflower (if you have a very good blender!). There are also finely choped sauteed onions which I find give it some extra flavour – to me that’s kind of hidden too. Miss A does not seem to notice it in this dish but maybe if you have a kid who strongly dislikes onions it might be a different story.
For meat there is chopped chicken (I generally use thigh as it’s more flavoursome than breast) and bacon sauteed with the onion. For the white sauce you would stir butter and flour together first over a low heat until it forms an almost dough-like texture (the roux) then slowly add milk. I do around 1 tablespoon butter to 1 tablespoon flour to 1 cup milk – how much to multiply that by depends on how much you want to make (I tend to make more sauce for a carbonara, less for mac and cheese). I also throw in a good couple of handfuls of cheese (we use shredded cheddar) into the sauce at the end. For mac and cheese once I’ve mixed everything together with the macaroni, I add more cheese on top to bake in the oven. I find that with the cheese and bacon, you don’t need to add extra salt.
I apologise that I am the kind of cook who just keeps throwing things together until it works so it’s pretty much impossible to give you an exact recipe and I often do things the wrong way too (to me the outcome is all that matters!). So for things like how to make a good roux and what different kinds of cheeses you can use in mac and cheese, please consult Mr Google. My hope is just that you get some inspiration out of this on how to be sneak some extra vegetables into your kids and partner if you need to do it without them noticing. Good luck!
You may also be interested in my ways of incorporating spinach into daily meals.