Little Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese

Our family tried out this recipe from Organic Baby and Toddler Cookbook by Lizzie Vann, and it was a hit. Originally I’d anticipated having my 2-year-old help out with the cooking, but because of all the stove-top cooking required, outside of chopping and sprinkling cheeses, this recipe doesn’t lend itself to a lot of toddler assistance. Despite his lack of involvement, my son still enjoyed this healthier twist on mac and cheese with hidden veggies, and so did we!

1 1/4 cup milk
1 bay leaf
1 cup small macaroni or pasta shapes
2 tbs butter (*we used less)
1/4 cup cornstarch or plain flour
1/3 cup hard cheese such as cheddar, grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup button mushrooms, finely chopped (*we used more and they stay hidden well!)
1/3 cup frozen peas (*can also take more of these… can always use more veggies!)
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp finely chopped fresh herbs such as basil, sage, or chives

Preheat oven to 400F

Heat the milk in a pan with the bay leaf. Bring to simmering point, then remove from the heat, and set aside to cool.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package and drain well.

In a separate pan, gently heat the butter. Add the flour and stir, using a wooden spoon or hand whisk, until well combined and smooth. Remove the bay leaf from the milk, then gradually add the milk to the pan, stirring continuously.

Stir the sauce over a medium heat until it begins to thicken. Simmer for 3 minutes, then stir in half the cheese, all the macaroni, and the onion, mushrooms, peas, garlic, and herbs.

Spoon into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, and bake for 20 minutes, until the top is bubbling and golden.

Makes: 4 child-sized servings (*we doubled the recipe and it was more than enough for our family of three to have dinner for two nights)

Preparation: 20 minutes + 20 minutes cooking time

Nutritional Value: Good source of calcium and vitamin C

My husband and I added a little salt and pepper to our servings, and we completed the dinner with sweet potato sticks. This will definitely be a recipe we use again, and it’s going into my son’s lunch tomorrow!

3 thoughts on “Little Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Heather

    Made this dish tonight and it turned out awesome. We used broccoli instead of mushrooms and peas. I also used 2 cups of pasta instead of 1. It was fast and easy, plus it’s something your child can cook with you.

    1. OK, let’s see. Doctor Who is an alien that travels togruhh time, fixing things that get screwed up kinda like Tim Taylor of Tool Time , cept the Doctor knows what he’s doing. He travels around in a police call box (think British phone booth, but with no windows), almost always has a companion (primarily female, rarely male, for a while a robot dog (which I have a homebuilt copy of)), and has been played by .. gimme a sec 11 actors in 10 incarnations (but it’s the same character) and has traded cheap Saturday-morning cardboard sets for funky CGI graphics. Oh, and he has an array of alien foes, including 6-foot tall salt-shakers called Daleks that have tried to run the universe, but couldn’t go up stairs until recently.There. Does that get it across pretty good, Lenore?

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