I’m so excited to be doing a recipe blog post. It has been SO LONG.
Anyway, this weekend was complete and utter chaos. J and I (ok, it was mostly my doing) committed to WAY too many things this weekend. I find, when you have a little one, it really helps to get out and do things (especially when your little one is as busy as O is). This weekend though, we for sure bit off more than we could chew. A couple birthday parties, a Euchre tournament and dog sitting. Anyway, I was sitting in the kitchen with O Saturday morning thinking about all that we had to do and I thought “You know what, I should do something else. I should make some freezer meals for O”
Anyway, I’m super glad I did. While O was eating breakfast I did all the prep work (and cooked the pasta) and then made the cheese sauce while O was pulling on my pants and crying. He was fine, he was just pissed that I wouldn’t let him touch the stove.
Anyway, these lil mac n cheese cups are perfect for making ahead of time and either freezing or tossing them in the fridge for later. Plus, I snuck some veggies in and O was none the wiser. They’re not just for toddlers either. Jon and I had some because they were so good.
Easy Toddler Meals: Mac n’ Cheese Muffins
Original Recipe: Real Food Real Deals
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25-30 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
- 2 cups whole wheat macaroni noodles (I used Catelli Smart Vegetable Pasta)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour (use whole wheat if you want added nutrition)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup (or more) shredded cheese (I used Old Cheddar)
- 1 cup small uncooked broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup shredded zucchini (pat dry) or frozen peas
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin tins with butter OR with muffin liners (next time, I would use cupcake liners to make it easier to remove).
- Cook pasta according to the instructions on the package (you know…boil it). Leave a bit al dente as the pasta will absorb some moisture while it bakes.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter and slowly whisk in the flour. Fun Fact: This is called a “Roux” pronounced “Roo” – most cheese sauces start out with a roux.
- Turn temp to medium. Slowly add the milk while whisking (trying to avoid lumps). Stir for about 5 mins or until sauce is thickened (this is important!)
- Once sauce has thickened, add in MOST of the cheese. Also, use more than a cup. Cheese is awesome. Test your sauce to see if you need salt, pepper or more cheese.
- Add in the pasta, zucchini and broccoli and combine.
- Taste again and see if there is anything else you might want to add (i.e. cheese)
- Spoon mixture into muffin tins and top with more cheese (are you sensing a theme here?)
- Bake for 25-30 mins or until the tops are golden brown (or in my case, you need to get out of the house because your toddler is going stir crazy)
- Unless you’re serving right away, let it cool for a bit. I found it easier to remove them when they weren’t piping hot. It was still a mess though, so next time muffin liners for sure.
That’s it! Here are some more pretty pictures in case I haven’t convinced you yet how yummy these are!
Do you have any go-to toddler/make ahead meals? If so, leave the link/recipe in the comments!