Easy baked macaroni cheese little hands will love!
I can’t believe it’s time to pack lunches AGAIN! I’ve so enjoyed having lazy lunches this summer. My baggie free world is about to come to a screeching halt! I should invest in Glad brand stock because goodness knows I use ’em up.
This is the year the kids pack their own lunches. I’m going to stop being an enabler. I’m going to encourage their independence and help them build character one pb & j at a time! I know they can do. Actually, they prove this to me every single time I have to travel.
At first I was fooled by their helpless facade. If I were traveling, I’d stock pile the fridge with sandwiches, a variety of single serving veggies and fruits. Snacks would line the counter ready for the taking. No one had to think about a thing, they just had to grab and go. This worked until the trip where I forgot to pack lunches. I feared my babies would go to school hungry. What if they went to school without food? Would the school help out? Would their peers feel sorry for them and share the crusts off their sandwiches? Would I hear from the teachers?
None of that happened. Instead my kids pack their favorite sandwiches and even cut them diagonally. They packed peppers and tiny containers of strawberries. They lined up their own snacks and their own drinks and even packed dessert. Clearly, they’ve been capable for some time. They’ve also been lazy.
Ok ok, so I won’t really make them pack their own lunches every single day. At least I know they CAN do it. This year I’m going to add these easy baked macaroni and cheese cups to their lunch menu. They are fun to eat and perfectly portable. Kids love them because they are a cheesy two bite treat. I love them because these macaroni and cheese cups have cauliflower baked right in. Kids can’t even tell the difference. If my kids “accidentally” toss their peppers in the trash, at least I know they got a healthy serving of veggies in these fun macaroni muffins. I know with all this good stuff they’ll be able to make it through the day.
Then when the kiddies get home from school and finish their homework, I’ll hand them an apron and a spatula and tell them it’s time they learned how to make their own dinner! Ha! Just kidding (job security you know).
I’m proud to be partnering with the American Dairy Association Mideast and the Ohio Dairy Farmers to bring you this calcium rich, back to school lunch idea. Experts recommend 3 servings of low fat or fat-free dairy foods every day. Complex carbohydrates, such as low-fat or fat-free milk, fruit, vegetables and whole grains are essential to meeting the body’s need for energy. Energy kids need to power through the school day, extracurricular activities and sports. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is important to develop strong bones and muscles.
These easy baked macaroni and cheese cups come packed full of calcium from three types of cheese plus an added boost of protein from low-fat Greek yogurt. The nutritional benefits from the hidden cauliflower is just icing on the cake!
* I was compensated for this post, however as I cheese lover, all opinions are my own.*
SMALL BITES FOR SMALL HANDS
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Easy Baked Macaroni and Cheese Cups
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 cups milk
- 16 oz elbow macaroni
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- Cut cauliflower into florets. Place in a saucepan with two cups of milk or until cauliflower is covered. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
- Meanwhile prepare pasta according to package directions, drain.
- When cauliflower has cooked, drain liquid and place cauliflower in a food processor and blend until smooth. Return cauliflower to saucepan. Stir in yogurt, milk and cheeses and whisk until smooth. Combine pasta and cheese mixture until completely blended.
- Spray two muffin tins with non-stick spray. Scoop macaroni into each cup.
- In a small bowl combine panko and Parmesan. Sprinkle mixture over each muffin. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes or until golden.
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