Tuesday Timesaver: Homemade Mac ‘n’ Cheese in 1 Minute

Eating_Macaroni2Best for Babies 10+ Months

OK, you do have to do a bit of work in advance but I’m not kidding: You can have multiple servings of homemade mac ‘n’ cheese in less time than it takes to make it from a box. The key is to make a batch ahead and freeze it in single-serving portions.  When you’re ready to serve it pop a serving in the microwave, heat for 45 seconds to one minute (depending on how big the serving size is), and boom! Rich and creamy mac is ready for your babe’s dinner. Sure, you’ll spend a bit of time upfront but you save way more time night to night by making it ahead. This trick is one of my fave timesavers for busy nights and mac ‘n’ cheese freezes really well, so it’s a no-brainer. I serve the cheesy pasta with cooked and dice veggies and fruits and some yogurt and Mason has a well-rounded dinner in minutes. Sometimes I even chop up veggies into tiny pieces and hide them in the pasta. If your babe isn’t quite in the finger food stage, you can also mash up the pasta and cheese sauce or even puree it. Here’s our mac ‘n’ cheese recipe (that’s Mason flashing a mouthful of it, above). Try it out and let us know what you think, or share your fave mac ‘n’ cheese recipe with us.

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Elbow macaroni noodles
1/3 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup milk*

 

Directions

1. Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool slightly. Set aside.

2. Prepare cheese sauce; we like the basic one from Annabel Karmel’s Top 100 Baby Purees: Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour to make a smooth paste, and cook for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the milk, bring to a boil, and cook for a few minutes over low heat until thickened and smooth. Stir in the grated cheese until melted. (Recipe makes 8 ounces of sauce.)

3. Toss pasta with cheese sauce. Freeze extras in single-serving portions for up to three months.


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  1. by Tamay2010

    On July 12, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I make a similar version that my son loves! I use some shredded mild cheddar and some parm cheese together. I usually keep the sauce and noodles separate as I find the cheese sauce works nicely w/ other things such as veggies. Glad to hear it freezes well.

  2. by Keelie

    On July 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Great job! I do this with all kinds of goodies from fresh summer fruit and veggies (so my 16 month old Penelope can enjoy it all year) as well as meals like split pea soup, potatoes au gratin, pasta marinara, Mac n cheese etc…I freeze Pete t portions in plastic wrap lined muffin pans, freeze then and transfer them to freezer bags. Then if my hubby and I eat something that I think isn’t healthy enough or might make her tummy sick we can pop out her fruit, veggies and entree from the freezer for a healthy dinner!
    Totally worth the prep time!

  3. by amanda

    On July 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    hi there i just made this recipie tonight and it was awesome!!!!! my son went wild over it!!!!!! i liked it too
    i asked him “yucky or MMMMMM???” he went “MMMMMMMMMMM” lol had he not just eaten an apple i think he would have finished his plate.
    thank you for this wonderful recepie!!! so easy and only a few ingredients

  4. by Heather Morgan Shott

    On July 12, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    You just made my night, Amanda! I’m thrilled that both you and your son enjoyed the recipe. What a cute story–love it. Thank you so much for sharing and for reading High Chair Times:)

  5. by Heather Morgan Shott

    On July 12, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    And great ideas, Keelie and Tamay2010. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. by Tiffany

    On July 13, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I love this idea and I’ll definitely have to try it for my 1yo (and her daddy, I’m sure)! Thank you for sharing :)

  7. by Kelly Hartman

    On July 13, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Long time Heather – since Trinity! I love Mac n’ Cheese for my kids, but I use cottage cheese that I blend with some milk and mix in with the cheddar cheese to up the protein factor. And they still love it. Sometimes I put grilled onions on top for myself:)

  8. by Heather Morgan Shott

    On July 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Kelly: So great to hear from you! Cottage cheese…what a brilliant idea. And I love the grilled onion twist. Sounds super tasty:)

  9. by MINIMALSTYLE

    On July 14, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Great idea!
    I love these blog

  10. by Lily

    On July 15, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Love the cottage cheese and veggie add-in ideas! Great stuff. And since my husband has the taste-buds of a 12-year-old, I know he’ll want this for dinner, too. (He might notice the veggies, though…)

  11. by Megan

    On August 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I made this and my kids loved it! I also make a sauce similar to this that tastes exactly like spaghetti o’s sauce and my kids love it. it is 1 tbsp butter and 1tbsp flour 1/2 cup milk about a handful of shredded cheddar and 2/3 of a 14oz jar of ragu tomato sauce. melt butter add flour to make a paste, slowly add milk stir till just boils and starts to thicken then add cheese stir till melted turn off heat then add tomato sauce stir to combine serve with your favorite pasta shape.

  12. by Heather Morgan Shott

    On August 7, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Megan: Wonderful! Thank you for letting me know. Your tomato sauce idea sounds yummy. Many thanks for sharing!