Thursday, April 4, 2013

Toddler Lunch: Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese


I only recently learnt how to make a white/cheese sauce. I know, I'm almost 30 and I had never made my own white sauce. I only learnt how when my ever resourceful husband taught me! Upon talking to my Mum this week I was informed that my Dad actually is not a big fan of white sauces. Hence, why we never really had them growing up, and why I never knew how to make them.  Phew, that makes me feel so much better about my lack of cooking ability!

The only thing I ever use my newly found white sauce skills for (and usually under the guided help of my resident expert white sauce maker) is good old Mac'n Cheese. I actually had never eaten Mac'n Cheese before I went to America. But, now it is something I love to make for Ezra's lunches, which I will of course eat as well! Or for a quick and easy no fuss family dinner. So if you are looking for an easy alternative to sandwiches for toddler/kids lunches, this is it!!

 I also like to add a huge amount of broccoli and cauliflower to our Mac'n Cheese, but if you have a fussy eater you can chop them really tiny, or hide some other veggies in the cheesy goodness! This makes a lot, so you have leftovers to freeze portions or to eat the next day.

Ok so the sauce is really easy, but you have to be on your game (i.e. not trying to facebook, tweet or load pictures on instagram at the same time) and keep stirring or you'll end up with a burnt gluggy sauce.

Ingredients:

3  heaping Tbsp Butter
3  Tbsp Plain Flour
2 cups Milk
1 1/2 cups Cheese (the more flavoursome the better, so you could mix a tasty cheese with parmesan to mix it up)
Sage (and any other spices you think will work, I should have put oregano in last time I made this)
Salt and Pepper to taste if desired.
Head of broccoli
Half a head of cauliflower
Macaroni

These amounts are just a good guess, we make it until it is the right consistency. You want the butter and flour mix to be thick and smooth.

Method:


Boil a large pot of water with a sprinkle of salt.
Add the chopped broccoli and cauliflower and macaroni noodles to the pot, and boil until the pasta is cooked.

Heat a medium sized pan and add the butter. Keep stirring until the butter melts.
Then add the flour, one Tbsp at a time until you get a nice smooth consistency, that is fairly thick
(you can always add more butter to even it out if you put in too much flour, just keep stirring so it doesn't burn)
Then you add your milk. Continue to stir. The mix should begin to thicken into a sauce/gravy like consistency.
Add your herbs and spices
Add your cheese, all the while still stirring until the sauce becomes nice and smooth.

Drain the veggie and noodle mix and then put back into the pot, or a large serving bowl.
Pour the sauce over the top and stir in.
Add more salt and pepper to your taste.



For more toddler lunch and dinner ideas, you might like these:

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons
Vegetable Muffins
Cheesy Cauliflower Soup



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Karen xx











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