Last week my daughter Erica babysat my sister’s kids. My sister left a box of macaroni and cheese for Erica to make for her kids. As Erica was making it, she said to me, “Mom! You’ve got to come see this! Look at how orange this macaroni is!“
Laughing about the incident, I texted my sister about Erica’s discovery. My sister writes back, “Haven’t you ever made REAL macaroni and cheese before?” And so we had the debate about which macaroni and cheese was the REAL macaroni and cheese!
I maintain that REAL macaroni and cheese is simply, macaroni noodles with REAL cheese- rather than macaroni with cheese in a powdered form with artificial yellow dye added to it. The thing is, I don’t understand the need to purchase a box of macaroni and cheese, when our version takes exactly the same amount of time to prepare! I can imagine the discussion around the product development. “Do you really think someone is going to buy a product where all we do is measure out the noodles for them, and then include something that tastes like cheese?” Well guess what! People do. lol.
So, if we could compare boxed macaroni with ‘real macaroni’.
We consider that it takes the same amount of time to make either, because all we do instead of pour in the packet of fake cheese, we shred real cheese at that step. Really, it doesn’t take any more time to do the latter, and we have been making it that way for as long as my kids can remember. Although we haven’t perfected the video making, I filmed Erica putting together both macaroni dishes. Then, TJ was our tester, and he preferred the real macaroni over the fake macaroni.
Then, to go a step further and make it more healthy, we add veggies!
The yellow color in cheddar cheeses is made from Annatto (a natural color extracted from plants). I do believe, even if you haven’t decided to remove artificial dye’s from your kids diet, a very important reason to avoid the packaged variety is in the sodium! Excess sodium is very damaging to fragile arteries, and including all the sodium you need for two days in one meal is not necessary!
- 8 ounce macaroni pasta, dry
- 4 cup broccoli, florets
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs, seasoned
- 2 tablespoon butter, unsalted
- 2 ounce cheddar cheese
- 1 regular Laughing Cow cheese wedge
- 2 tablespoon milk
- 4 medium peach
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Cook noodles according to package directions.
- While pasta cooks, cut broccoli into smaller florets and place in a baking dish. Toss with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and bread crumbs. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Drain pasta and return to warm pot. Add butter, cheeses, and milk; stir until melted and well combined.
- Serve macaroni with broccoli and sliced peaches on the side.
So, check out our amateur video below and then try it yourself for lunch today!
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie