After recently making note of the sodium content in boxed macaroni and cheese (and not just Kraft), I decided to attempt making my own. I say attempt not because I thought I couldn’t do it but because I thought Grace wouldn’t eat it. She has turned up her nose before at white cheddar macaroni or the shell variety. It’s original yellow mac for her or nothing.

I wanted to start with something as simple and quick as possible and then work my way up to a more involved preparation if need be. I think we came pretty close on the first try.

I started with this recipe, which is just macaroni, butter and cheddar cheese. It looked a little sticky rather than creamy and was a bit bland so I added a bit more butter and two Tablespoons of vanilla yogurt, which gave it just a bit of tang. I put the bowls on the table, called the kids over and held my breath. (I made sure Grace didn’t see me preparing it so she wouldn’t know it was something different.)

She first looked at it kind of funny and I thought she would notice that the elbows were fatter and shorter and the cheese less yellow than usual. But she didn’t. She took one bite, made a mad face and pushed it away. Shoot! Then she said “needs more milk.” So I added a little milk to her bowl and nuked it a bit. She ate a few bites and said it still needed more milk. She asked if it was leftover macaroni (which neither she or I like because it’s dry). I told her no and she said OK and ate some more once I added more milk.

When she said she didn’t want any more, I asked if she liked it and … she … said … YES!

So, here’s the recipe I’m going with next time:

8 oz. macaroni, cooked and drained.
3 Tbsp. butter
1 C. cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. vanilla yogurt
1/4 C. milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Once they are used to that, I might get bold and add some pureed squash or sweet potatoes instead of the yogurt to boost the nutrition and the yellow color.

Not only is this way just as easy as the box kind, it has waaaaaay less sodium, no artificial colors and no unpronounceable ingredients. (Annie’s, whose nutritional panel is pictured above, gets props for at least having no artificial colors or unpronounceable ingredients. They do offer a low-sodium variety as well, but it’s not as low as making it yourself.)

For more kid-friendly recipes, visit the My Cup 2 Yours link-up.

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