Saturday, January 19, 2013

Recipe: Healthy Baby Mac

My 13-month-old kiddo - though she started out a great eater and would gobble up anything - is no longer a fan of most foods. Meals are starting to stress me out because the variety is really limited and I'm shocked how fast she will push aside a favorite that she used to eat every meal (like bananas...what??). I thought a healthy twist on macaroni and cheese would include all things she loves (or at least did) right now and maybe give us another option to plain pieces of pasta.

This recipe is both toddler (and baby, depending on your child's eating skills) and grown-up friendly. I actually made two simultaneous batches of this, substituting the whole milk ingredients for skim ingredients. Us parents don't need all the extra fat, so this can be made pretty decent for your waistline versus the classic recipe. 

Though these are the ingredients I used, some of the organic items might not be available in your area, and you can always mix it up to work for you with the types of cheeses and pasta.

Healthy Baby Mac


1/2 lb of organic whole wheat macaroni
1 1/2 cups of cubed organic butternut squash
3/4 cup of organic fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup of organic whole milk
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 Tablespoon of plain organic whole greek yogurt (this took FOREVER to find - most are low fat)
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 cup of shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup of shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Sprinkle a coating of the breadcrumbs in each muffin spot.
  2. Cook the macaroni as suggested by the box directions. Mine said to add macaroni to boiling water, cook for 5-7 minutes, then drain.
  3. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, add the squash, chicken broth, milk and garlic together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the squash is very tender.
  4. Pour your squash mixture into a blender and pulse until smooth. Add the yogurt and pepper and pulse a little more.
  5. Pour blended mixture into a large mixing bowl, and fold in both cheeses until melted and mixed thoroughly. Then fold in the pasta and make sure all ingredients are mixed well.
  6. Spoon pasta mixture into the muffin tin. Sprinkle any remaining breadcrumbs across the top of the macaroni mixture in each cup.
  7. Bake macaroni for 15 minutes. If you want the browning on top, turn on the broiler for another 3 minutes.
  8. Serve once cooled. If you want to freeze for later meals, pop the muffin tin into the freezer for a bit to "lock" these into cup shapes, then pop out and drop into a Ziploc freezer bag.
I'll be honest, my husband was a little confused by the butternut squash taste in the grown-up (lower-fat) version of this recipe - he's used to what I call "crap in a box" and was expecting the faux cheddar that is typically mixed with the macaroni. I am NOT a mac & cheese fan (I know, I'm weird), but THIS recipe was delicious.

No comments:

Post a Comment