Friday, March 4, 2011

Pizza Macaroni and Cheese

I have a two-and-a-half-year-old and, like most kids his age, he has some very definite ideas about what he wants for dinner. Also like most kids his age, usually what he wants is macaroni and cheese, pizza, or chicken nuggets. But unfortunately for Andrew, I don’t cook these things all the time, and the rule in our house is you eat what’s put in front of you -- or you don’t eat. Some nights this is easier than others, but Mommy is stubborn, too, and Mommy almost always wins. :)

I created this pizza macaroni and cheese specifically with Andrew in mind, because it combines two of his favorite foods in a made-from-scratch, balanced dish. I snuck in lots of veggies -- mushrooms, green peppers, tomatoes and onions -- so it would taste like a supreme pizza. We all really enjoyed this, and thought that the finished dish really did hit all the same notes as a big slice of pizza. It was definitely easy to get Andrew to eat his dinner the night I made this, and since I’m all about making things easier on myself, I’ll be making this one a lot.

Pizza Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound mini penne pasta
1 green pepper, sliced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/4 cups mini pepperoni slices, divided
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
3 cups shredded pizza-blend cheese, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons pizza or Italian seasoning

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to directions on box; drain.

3. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a large skillet. Add green pepper, mushrooms, and red onion to skillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until vegetables are softened. Add garlic; cook and stir for 30 secons. Stir in tomatoes and 1 cup pepperoni slices; remove from heat and set aside.

4. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir constantly for 3 seconds. Stir in milk; heat to boiling and cook until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pizza seasoning. Reduce heat and stir in 2 cups of cheese until melted.

5. Stir cheese sauce and vegetables into pasta. Pour into a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and remaining 1/4 cup pepperoni. Sprinkle with additional pizza seasoning, if desired.

6. Cook under broiler until cheese is bubbly and pepperoni is slightly crisp. Serve.



Rachel said...

What a great idea!!! I'm like kids eat what we eat--I don't start making "special food" for everyone. They even know that mommy's rule is that you try everything once and then if you honestly don't care for it, you don't have to eat it! (99.9% of the time, they love what they try!)I think it's important to encourage your children to try a wide variety of foods when they're little. I wish my mother-in-law had done that with my husband, instead of making the same 2-3 things for certainly made things rather challenging when we started dating! Can't wait to try this dish--I have a feeling that my husband and I will enjoy it just as much as the kids and it sounds like a great way to sneak in some extra veggies!

Britni Watkins said...

This sounds right up my {almost} 3 year old's ally! We love mac n cheese, too. We will definitely give it a try :)

Tammy said...

awesome, thanks for sharing! I love homemade mac n cheese, it's the only way I will eat it. hey, I have a new food blog that sounds like the same interests you have, come check me out,

Ann said...

Whoa - this has me drooling at my desk.

Patty said...

One of the few things I make that Nick asks for regularly is what I call "pizza casserole", which is pretty much exactly what you have here. Very yummy, though Nick likes his with spicy Italian sausage.

Tricia said...

Wow this is great for all the pizza lovers out there!

Katy said...

this looks fantastic!recommended for pizza lovers out there!

Sherry G said...

I made this tonight and loved it! Thanks for sharing!

Jackie said...


What brand of pizza-blend cheese did you use in this recipe.

Allison said...

Made this tonight and it was really yummy! Next time we might try it with some sausage, too :)

Trish Roberts said...

I made this tonight and my 7 yr old helped me with it. We have to say, This is very delicious and very fun to make! Thank You so much for sharing this recipe. I have been recommending your blog post to all my friends lol.