Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
You know the problem with being a food blogger? Or say a cooking enthusiast? I will tell you. The family members of such a person can't recognize a special dish from a regular one. Or they take it for granted. Or they get tough to please. Or.... I dunno. May be its my family. Asking for Gulab jamuns (its been so long..), Shahi Paneer (just feel like it all of a sudden, Dinner is 20 minutes away, so you have time don't you?), an apple pie (hey, there's some apple on the counter, so why don't you), Angel Food cake (need a protein kick today!) comes very naturally to them and that too on a regular week day. You get the idea, don't you? Sigh!
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
So, when they ask me to make something special, what do I do? Nothing seems "special enough". But given that it comes with the package of trying out a variety of dishes to my heart's content, I realize I am in a good place indeed. Touch-wood!. So once when such a situation arose on a weekday, I tried this version of Macaroni and cheese. Given that they absolutely love Baked Macaroni and Cheese, I knew this one would go through their taste test. It did and how!
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
I especially love the addition of greek yogurt and vegetables. Though this one uses only bell peppers (duh!), you can add in others as well. The crunchy topping is optional, but oh my; what that crunchy top does to the gooey pasta is to be eaten to believe. You can also add in your own seasoning instead of Cajun mix. Easy to customize and not much of an effort either. More importantly, given how seeing them eat with such gusto puts a smile on my face -its worth every single minute. We, cooking enthusiast can at times be such emotional and passionate wrecks...Sigh! :)
References

Adapted from Eating Good 4 Life's recipe

Basic Information
Prep Time: Under 30 min
Cook Time: 30 min to 1 hour
Serves: 4 person
Yield: Makes enough for 4 - 5 people plus might have leftovers
Ingredients
    For the Pepper Pasta
  • 16 ounce Whole Wheat Elbow Pasta
  • 1/2 large Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 large Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 large Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Large Scallion/Green Onions, chopped
  • 2-3 Garlic cloves, chopped
    For the Sauce
  • 3/4 cup Greek Yogurt, see Tips
  • 3/4 cup Milk, see Tips
  • 8 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated, see Tips
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated, see Tips
  • 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning, or see Tips
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt, or to taste
    For Crunchy Topping, see Tips
  • 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried Basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried Oregano
Tips
1. Greek Yogurt: I use fat free Greek Yogurt.

2. Milk: I have used Raw Whole Milk. Use the one you have on hand.

3. Cheddar Cheese: I have used Vegetarian Raw Milk Sharp Cheddar. Please refer: Is Cheese Vegetarian?

4. Parmesan Cheese: I have used Vegetarian Parmesan Cheese. Please refer: Is Parmesan Cheese Vegetarian?

5. Cajun Seasoning: I have used store bought Cajun seasoning in this recipe. But Food.com and AllRecipes.com have recipes if you want to make some at home. If this seasoning is not your thing, you can totally add your own seasoning mix like any Mac and Cheese recipe of your liking.

6. For the Crunchy Top: Depending on the size of your baking pan and taste preference, you might need to double the recipe. Also the herb seasoning mix is my favorite and you can add any herbs of your choosing. Instead of Extra Virgin Coconut oil that I use, you can add Butter instead.
Method
1
Chop the peppers finely. I have used large peppers and all the three together amounted to 2 cups.
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
2
In a skillet add 2 tsp coconut oil (or olive oil/butter) and place the peppers.
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
3
Cook them until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Switch off heat and set aside.
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
4
Prepare the pasta according to package instructions. Under cook the pasta for a couple of minutes as it will cook further in the oven.
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
5
  While that's cooking , place the sauce ingredients in a food processor
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
6
and pulse until well combined.
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
7
Preheat your oven to 375F.  Transfer the cooked pasta  to a baking dish.
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
8
Add the veggies followed by the sauce.
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
9
Mix all the ingredients until the pasta is well covered with the sauce.
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
10
Cover the dish with foil paper
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
11
Bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes. While its baking, mix the ingredients for crunchy top in a bowl. Set aside.
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
12
Remove the Pasta from the oven.
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
13
and sprinkle the topping until it covers the top completely. Depending upon the size of the pan and your taste, you might need double the recipe. Extra crunchy is always good no?
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
14
Now broil this on high for 2 minutes or until golden.
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
15
Be very careful here since even a minute of distraction can burn the whole thing.  Once reddish golden, remove and enjoy immediately.
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
Enjoy it as it is or serve it with Ketchup. No points for guessing that I enjoyed my mac and cheese drizzled with Sriracha :) Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 4 person
  • Yields: Makes enough for 4 - 5 people plus might have leftovers
Ingredients
    For the Pepper Pasta
  • 16 ounce Whole Wheat Elbow Pasta
  • 1/2 large Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 large Yellow Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 large Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Large Scallion/Green Onions, chopped
  • 2-3 Garlic cloves, chopped
    For the Sauce
  • 3/4 cup Greek Yogurt, see Tips
  • 3/4 cup Milk, see Tips
  • 8 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated, see Tips
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated, see Tips
  • 1 tsp Cajun Seasoning, or see Tips
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt, or to taste
    For Crunchy Topping, see Tips
  • 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried Basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried Oregano
Tips
1. Greek Yogurt: I use fat free Greek Yogurt.

2. Milk: I have used Raw Whole Milk. Use the one you have on hand.

3. Cheddar Cheese: I have used Vegetarian Raw Milk Sharp Cheddar. Please refer: Is Cheese Vegetarian?

4. Parmesan Cheese: I have used Vegetarian Parmesan Cheese. Please refer: Is Parmesan Cheese Vegetarian?

5. Cajun Seasoning: I have used store bought Cajun seasoning in this recipe. But Food.com and AllRecipes.com have recipes if you want to make some at home. If this seasoning is not your thing, you can totally add your own seasoning mix like any Mac and Cheese recipe of your liking.

6. For the Crunchy Top: Depending on the size of your baking pan and taste preference, you might need to double the recipe. Also the herb seasoning mix is my favorite and you can add any herbs of your choosing. Instead of Extra Virgin Coconut oil that I use, you can add Butter instead.
Method
1. Chop the peppers finely. I have used large peppers and all the three together amounted to 2 cups.
2. In a skillet add 2 tsp coconut oil (or olive oil/butter) and place the peppers.
3. Cook them until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Switch off heat and set aside.
4. Prepare the pasta according to package instructions. Under cook the pasta for a couple of minutes as it will cook further in the oven.
5.   While that's cooking , place the sauce ingredients in a food processor
6. and pulse until well combined.
7. Preheat your oven to 375F.  Transfer the cooked pasta  to a baking dish.
8. Add the veggies followed by the sauce.
9. Mix all the ingredients until the pasta is well covered with the sauce.
10. Cover the dish with foil paper
11. Bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes. While its baking, mix the ingredients for crunchy top in a bowl. Set aside.
12. Remove the Pasta from the oven.
13. and sprinkle the topping until it covers the top completely. Depending upon the size of the pan and your taste, you might need double the recipe. Extra crunchy is always good no?
14. Now broil this on high for 2 minutes or until golden.
15. Be very careful here since even a minute of distraction can burn the whole thing.  Once reddish golden, remove and enjoy immediately.
Enjoy it as it is or serve it with Ketchup. No points for guessing that I enjoyed my mac and cheese drizzled with Sriracha :) Pepper Mac and Cheese |  Kid friendly recipes | Easy  Kids lunches

Recipe Reference

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4 Comments

By farheen on Sep 12, 2014

Hey...is there any substitute for Greek yogurt? Or can we use plain curd instead ?

Yes, just thicken it up a bit and use --DK

By atul on Mar 20, 2014

great

By vanamala on Mar 12, 2014

Lovely recipe

By Kira - HealthAble Old Soul on Mar 8, 2014

I love the idea of adding bell peppers! They have such an interesting flavor!