Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Veggies

A quick and healthier version of creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese with the addition of roasted veggies!  Perfect for a “meatless-Monday” meal or served as a side dish alongside your choice of meat.  No butter or pounds of cheese needed in this version and it’s nothing short of amazing!   

stovetop macaroni with roasted veggies

Macaroni and cheese is no doubt a quintessential American comfort food.  Show up at any potluck, regardless the time of year, and there’s bound to a macaroni and cheese casserole!  Am I right??

Back in high school my BF and I would split a box after school while watching Saved by the Bell…at least 3 times a week.  We prepared it so many times we started getting creative with the method of adding the cheese, milk and butter.  hahaha. We were undoubtedly aficionado’s of boxed mac n cheese!

healthy stovetop macaroni

This roasted veggie stovetop macaroni and cheese version is nothing short of amazing and certainly not from a box!  My former high school self might not have been so excited to try this “grown-up” version, but let me tell you…I’d totally be missing out!!  My kids even agree.

You’ll start by dicing a zucchini, squash, red pepper, and about a 1/4 of a red onion.  Give them a toss in some olive oil and roast at 425 for about 20 minutes or until the veggies start to get lightly browned.  MAKE EXTRA!!!  This medley is so addicting you’ll be glad you have some for another dish (see below for a double duty dinner plan).   

roasted veggies

Besides the sweet caramelized roasted veggies, #YUM, what I really really love about this stovetop macaroni and cheese is it’s WAAY lighter than it’s traditional versions that are loaded with real butter, cream and mounds of cheese.

The secret to keeping this light with no compromise in flavor is Creamy Swiss Garlic and Herb Laughing Cow Cheese.  Our local grocery had these on sale for less than $2 and I stocked up big time!!  When I got to the checkout the sweet kid bagging my groceries exclaimed “SOMEBODY likes cheese,” as he held up my big stack drawing attention from everyone around! There was no applause, but I felt like waving my hand high the air with a big smile and a gentle nod as if to say…OH, yaaa…that’s ME!!

laughing cow cheese

The flavors in these cheese wedges are subtle but not lacking by any means.  If you’re not a fan of sliced swiss cheese, this is NOT the same. In fact, the first item on the ingredient list is cheddar!  Hysterical, but roll with it.  When paired with the medley of sweet roasted veggies it’s a match made in creamy macaroni dish heaven.

The sauce comes together with 6 creamy wedges which pack only 35 calories and 1.5g fat each!  Each people!  In comparison the same amount of sharp cheddar cheese packs 100 calories and 9g fat!  Don’t get me wrong, those cheddar facts came straight from my fridge…all cheese is glorious, but guilt-free cheesy less fat macaroni is glorious x10.

stovetop macaroni and cheese with roasted veggies

We devoured ours alongside some grilled pork chops for a fabulous healthy dinner, but it would also be perfect for a “Meatless Monday” meal, if that’s your thing.

Those extra veggies I ordered you to make, could be used in a variety of ways for a time saving Double-Duty dinner:

-quesadillas with leftover roasted veggies + black beans and monterey or pepper jack cheese!  Of course you could add some grilled chicken or steak which would be delicious.
-Briner anyone? Serve up omelets with leftover roasted veggies + some rye toast and dinner briner is served!

Until then, enjoy a big hearty bowl…
laughing cow macaroni and cheese

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese with Roasted Veggies

Ingredients

  • Enough for 4-6 servings. *Double veggies for leftovers (and include a sweet potato on the side for a Double-Duty Dinner side choice!)
  • 1/2 lb. (or approximately 2 1/2 cups) cavatappi noodles (gemilli or small shells would be great substitutes)
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 6 wedges The Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss Garlic & Herb
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • dash of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Spray a large sheet pan with non-stick spray
  3. To prepare zucchini and squash slice each in half lengthwise, then again so you have 4 long strips of each. Dice each one into equal pieces and set aside in a large bowl.
  4. Dice red pepper and onion to approximate size of zucchini and squash, place in bowl.
  5. Toss veggies with a bit of olive oil to coat then arrange in a single layer on sheet pan. Roast for about 20 minutes tossing halfway through, or until veggies are softened and starting to brown on one side.
  6. When veggies are halfway through cooking prepare noodles according to directions.
  7. In a small saucepan add 6 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese over medium heat. Using a spoon or flat bottom whisk, gently stir until cheese starts to melt. It will clump together for a little while, but will soon start to become creamy.
  8. Remove from heat for just a moment and add the minced garlic. Return to heat and stir continually for 30 seconds.
  9. Slowly pour in milk a little at a time while continually whisking.
  10. Add grated parmesan cheese and whisk to incorporate.
  11. Allow cheese sauce to cook over low-medium heat until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  12. Drain pasta and add to a large casserole dish.
  13. Gently stir in roasted veggies
  14. Top with cheese sauce and stir to combine!
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