I told you in this post, that I am working on improving my kids’ lunches. That meant it was time to say goodbye to my old friend, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.
She saw me through many late nights and busy days in college. I remember one day in particular. I had worked all day at a Jr. High, ran to an elementary school during my lunch break, and coached volleyball after school. It was dinner time and since I had skipped lunch, I was starving. I had just enough time before my evening college classes to run home and make a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, but I didn’t have enough time to sit down and eat it. So I hopped in the car with my bowl and began my hour long commute to campus. As I was eating while driving, a pepper flake hit me the wrong way and I HAD to sneeze — right then — before I was finished chewing. I tried to cover my mouth with my hand, but let’s just say my steering wheel and dash were covered with half chewed bits of macaroni and cheese. Not my finest moment, but what do you do when a sneeze comes on and you are on the freeway? The experience was gross but not enough to severe ties. Our friendship continued for several years.
My kids and I continued to eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese until sometime last year when I finally decided to transition over to Annie’s Macaroni. Sure it is still in a box, but at least it has organic pasta and it had way less chemicals and ingredients in it. My kids were okay with that and I was too. It actually tastes pretty dang good and I can find it on sale for $1 a box. Not as cheap as other macaronis but $1 ain’t too bad for a meal.
But as I learned a little more about real food, I wanted to move away from the box and the few extra ingredients. And I wanted to make improvements to Lunch #2. (Improvements to lunch #1 back here.)
So now, on busy days, I just boil some whole wheat elbows and toss them in butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Add a little salt and pepper and we are good to go.
I throw a few peas in every week and the kids pick them out every week, but at least I try.
I added a cauliflower puree once to add a little more nutrients and barely got away with it. It was touch and go the whole lunch. I haven’t tried it since.
I keep a jar of elbow noodles right by the stove and freshly grated parmesan in the fridge so this meal whips up in no time at all.
I have also tried this macaroni recipe which I make whenever I have cream on hand. It takes a comparable amount of time as the box and just about the same amount of ingredients. I use whatever cheese I have that day, but our favorites are parmesan and sharp white cheddar.
And it is super yummy!
I can’t exactly call either version “Healty Macaroni and Cheese” because that would be an oxymornon, but I can call them “Real Macaroni and Cheese.”
I still keep some Annie’s on hand for those times when I just need a box or when I have a babysitter over, etc. But all my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is gone from the food storage shelves.
Good bye old friend.
(Lunch #3 is in the evolution phase.)