Meatless Monday: Kicked-up crock pot mac and cheese

crock-pot-kicked-up-mac-and-cheese

 

Last semester, I started a tradition of prepping Wednesday night’s dinner alongside Tuesday night’s. I’d throw it all in the Crock Pot and turn it on in the morning before work. When I got home – voila! Dinner.

The problem is, there isn’t much choice from a vegetarian’s perspective when it comes to crock-potting and slow-cooking, which is a huge drag. It works really well for meaty dishes and not so much for us. However. I have come up with a few over the years, and while there have been some questionable results, most have been pretty sweet. So today I present to you recipe numero uno in my Crock Pot adventure: Paula Deen’s mac and cheese with a twist.

Now I love Miz Deen’s regular recipe (which I made here), but I can’t resist throwing in a few extra veg where I can. This one has fresh tomato, broccoli, zucchini and feta, but you could kick it up any way you like. I wouldn’t let it go much past the six-hour mark, as it does make a difference, unlike other recipes that can handle endless cooking. You don’t want too much stodgy stodge happening, so this one might not work for an all-day biz, but is certainly doable around lunchtime for dinner, which is what I did.

I’ve got a bunch of other vegetarian crock-pot winners up my sleeve, so stay tuned!

Kicked-up crock pot mac and cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (I used spirals)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 can Evaporated milk (The large one, 170ml or so )
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 small head of broccoli, broken up small (stems diced too - they're good!)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 50g feta

Directions

Step 1
Boil the macaroni for 7 minutes.
Step 2
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the cheese and stir to melt.
Step 3
Add evaporated milk, whole milk, sour cream, mustard, and beaten egg.
Step 4
Put veggies and cooked pasta in the crock pot. Add cheese and milk and egg mixture and stir.
Step 5
Stir through the feta, broken into chunks, and the pepper.
Step 6
Cook on low heat up to 6 hours.

  • Elizabeth@thebackyardlemontree

    I must say I haven’t had much luck with crock pot cooking, it always seems to lack depth of flavor. Deb Perelman swears by cooking pulses in the crock pot without pre-soaking, which seems like a great idea but I’ve given my crock pot away on permanent loan to my sister so I haven’t been able to try it yet.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh I agree, it can be bland as hell! This recipe is quite salty, owing to the cheeeeeeese so it’s not so bad. But I have had many a flavourless fail in a crock pot. I’ve also never cooked beans in it as I am a bit nervous they’ll never soften in time. Even with pre-soaking! I’ve got a lot to learn :)

  • Lizzie B

    I don’t own a crockpot as I’ve been trying to limit the number of appliances in my kitchen! My parents have one though and are eating more meat free meals these days, so I shall have to send them your way to check out some of the recipes!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      HA I did the same thing, but the crock pot was one of the only things I kept! I once had no stove/oven for a year, and lived on a microwave, electric frying pan and crock pot. I learned to fall in love with it :)

      • Lizzie B

        We don’t even have a microwave at the moment! Ours short circuited almost a year ago and we haven’t gotten around to replacing it yet. I couldn’t live without my food processor and blender though!

        • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

          Ha I think my blender would be the first thing to go! I’ve grown quite attached to the food processor, though

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  • http://www.fatmumslim.com.au/ Chantelle : Fat Mum Slim

    Yum. I’d try that. x

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I’m still jealous of your thermomix version.

  • MotherDownUnder

    Sour cream is the secret to making EVERYTHING delicious!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Testify!

  • http://claireyhewitt.blogspot.com/ ClaireyHewitt

    This looks bees knees. Adding to the list for next week.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      It’s pretty good! Paula Deen rarely disappoints… in the recipe category anyway!

  • Jane @ Hesitant Housewife

    I am so excited about some vegie recipes for the slow cooker!!! Bring them on!! xx

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I AGREE!

  • cookerandalooker

    My last mac and cheese was a thermochef experiment and an epic fail! The kids love mac and cheese – I’m sure they’ll prefer your version to mine. I’ll let you know how it goes. :)

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    This looks nice,i might give it a go I have had mixed reactions to some of the meals I have made in the slowcooker ,some people like this texture and some don’t ,the best successes I have had is soup.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh I agree, soup is amazing in the slow cooker.

  • http://www.greekvegetarian.blogspot.com/ Lisa @ Greek Vegetarian

    You could stodge this right up and I’d still eat it! Yum, looks delicious :)

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Hah I did, it sat there a bit long and was still delicious even though the pasta was falling to bits!

  • kell70

    Do you think it would work without the egg. We have 2 with anaphylaxis in our house. :(

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh yes, it’s fine without! Egg just adds a little richness and flavour, but isn’t necessary.

      • kell70

        Thank you. :)

  • Steph @ Lipstick & Cake

    oh my goodness, that looks so so delicious! The perfect winter warmer.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I promise it tastes better than it looks!

  • diane balch

    I wish I could think of the title of the cookbook, but there is a good vegetarian crockpot book that focuses on ethic bean dishes which do well in the crockpot.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh ethnic bean dishes would be awesome. So would some lentil curries.

  • http://Carlyfindlay.blogspot.com/ Carly Findlay

    Yes please! If I don’t have carnation milk in the pantry can I use the equivalent amount of normal milk? I so want to make this but I don’t wasn’t to leave the house!
    I’m also gonna add bacon to mine.
    Loving getting lost in your blog this afternoon. You’re awesome!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I meant to ask – how did the normal milk go? I was worried it might split, which is why they used carnation. I was too scared to try it myself!

  • http://Carlyfindlay.blogspot.com/ Carly Findlay

    Oh and re vego slow cooker recipes – I made an amazing baked bean recipe from Dony boil the sauce. – you can omit the pancetta. Or use that facon?? This was so amazing – great with mash. http://www.dontboilthesauce.com/2013_05_01_archive.html

    I also cook spag Bol in the slow cooker – roast tomatoes, capsicum and onion with garlic and olive oil, chop up a heap of Veges (even greens, ESP stalks) and then chick them with mince, Tin of tomato and salt, pepper and herbs in the pot. You could omit mince and use lentils or beans – it’s so good!