Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Jazz Up That Box of Mac and Cheese

Who are we kidding, no amount of perfect crock pot recipes or thirty minute meals is going to save us from the "ohcrapIhavetomakedinner" moments.  The hubs-is-working-late, baby-is-fussy, I-need-to-go-grocery-shopping moments.

Enter the blue box.  The cheesiest.  The one and only.

By itself, made with milk and butter, it can hardly be called nutritious.  (What's in that glorious yellow powder, anyway?)  BUT with a little creativity, you can feel quite a bit better about your kids scarfing the stuff down.  I downed quite a bit of this last batch myself.  You know it comes in whole-grain now!  HOLLA!

The secret is mix-ins, my friends.  You can add just about anything to this wonderful cheesy concoction, and the kids will still love it.  I have another post on homemade baby food that touches on this, but I wanted to highlight some of my favorite ways to healthify that favorite of all easy foods.  Enjoy.

Can of chicken and steam-in-bag broccoli.

Can of tuna and frozen or canned peas (boiled with pasta).

Pureed sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, applesauce, broccoli, squash, or pumpkin instead of the dairy.

Yes, I said PUMPKIN MAC AND CHEESE.  Need I say more?

Leftover chicken, pureed veggie, and extra cheddar, fresh grated on top. 

Ground beef and green beans or chopped tomatoes


While the water is boiling, I get out the other ingredients and steam them in the bag they come in, then give them a rough chop.  When the pasta is done, it alllllll gets stirred in there with the yellowy goodness.

My kids add extra parmesan cheese at the table, right from the green can, on top of all varieties.  While Pumpkin Parmesan Macaroni may not sound good to you, your children will beg to differ.

As one-pot balanced meals go, it's the quickest and yummiest, not to mention cheap.  :) :)

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