The only way to up the mac and cheese game? EVERYTHING BAGELS. Today we’re making sneaky zucchini mac and cheese with everything bagel chip crumbs.
I can’t lie, my excitement is through the roof over this recipe.
There’s just something about mac and cheese that never gets old no matter how old you are. It’s a true classic that everyone can love. But you know what? I think it may just be a million times better with the addition of these everything bagel chips. I mean sure, the zucchini is great and all, it’s nice to incorporate a veggie into this cheesy bowl of carbs (so no guilt, right…right…), but let’s be real.
No one is jumping up and down over the zucchini. Nope, we’re jumping up and down with excitement about the everything bagel chips…or at least I am anyway.
When I was thinking up recipes for the month of August, I had a few things I wanted to keep in mind. One, I knew I wanted some of the recipes to center on easy, back to school (or just back to reality), dinners for families. Two, I knew I wanted to use up all the great summer produce hitting farm stands and grocery stores, therefore every recipe needed to use at least one summer produce item. And three? I wanted a few recipes that also screamed comfort food…I mean you’ve probably heard by now how difficult back to school was for me!
This mac and cheese happens to fit all three of those requirements.
Perfect for an easy weeknight dinner (hello to just ONE pot). Loaded to the brim with shredded zucchini…but trust me, no one will even know it’s there (thus the word sneaky in the title). The ultimate comfort food (hello to pasta, cheese, and everything bagels, aka comfort food at it’s finest). And most importantly…everyone will love it!
Now do you see why I am so excited?!
Side Note: another reason for this mac and cheese recipe? My younger brother, Red was home last week for the first time in months. Red’s a picky eater, but loves all things mac and cheese…and bagels, so I combined the two and snuck in some zucchini and the kid went back for seconds. Seconds people! This NEVER happens. Red’s also not a big eater, so I had to give myself a pat on the back for this recipe.
Okay. Here is how this recipe works. I took the base recipe from my all time favorite mac and cheese recipe (that’s in my cookbook). It’s the easiest, bestest mac and cheese. You make the sauce and the cook the pasta all in the same pot. It might not seem like a ground breaking idea, but when you’re doing a million dishes a day, saving yourself even just one helps.
For this recipe, I used a combo of sharp cheddar and havarti cheese, giving us a super creamy sauce. I tossed in a good amount of shredded zucchini and seasoned it up with a little garlic powder and cayenne (use as little or as much as you like). I wanted to keep it simple because mac and cheese is best that way. I also wanted all the kids to be able to eat this mac. If you’re worried about the specs of green throwing your kids off, tell them it’s basil or another herb they might tolerate. This works for my brothers, hopefully it works for your kids too…
And then, the really good part.
The everything bagel chips. Ahhhh, these are so good. I mean, crunchy homemade bagel chips on top of mac and cheese? Do I even need to go on? All I think I need to say is that this is possibly the world’s most perfect combo and you need it in your life.
OH and yes, you can totally scoop the mac and cheese up with bagel chips too…which might be a great idea for game day eats? Yes, football season is just around the corner!
Sneaky Zucchini Mac and Cheese with Everything Bagel Chip Crumbs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 everything bagels thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 pound short cut pasta
- 2 medium zucchini, grated
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Havarti cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- kosher salt + pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss together the bagel pieces, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking until the bagels are golden and crisp. Remove from the oven.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook/bubble for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk, 2 cups water and the pasta. Raise the heat up to medium-high and bring the mixture to a low boil, stir frequently until the pasta is al dente, about 15 minutes, adding in 1/4 cup more water as needed until the pasta is al dente. It is important to stir the sauce often to insure the pasta is being evenly cooked.
3. Once the pasta is al dente, stir in the zucchini, all of the cheeses, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese is fully melted and coats the pasta, about 5-10 minutes.
4. Divide the mac and cheese among bowls and top (generously) with crushed bagel chips. ENJOY!
Also, yes that is a giant bowl of mac and cheese. <–it’s the only way.