My toddler LOVES mac ‘n cheese (as do your kids, I am sure). We try to feed her healthy, unprocessed meals whenever possible, but packaged mac ‘n cheese was our most common exception. On those days when we’re in a hurry and I want to avoid a lunchtime standoff, I pull out something that is quick to prepare and will meet with the least resistance from my opinionated little eater. That “quick and easy” option used to be a cup of dry noodles that only required adding water, microwaving for 3 1/2 minutes, adding powdered cheese, stirring, and VIOLA! Lunch was ready. Only problem was, it wasn’t the best thing I could be feeding my growing, developing child. It had preservatives, added coloring, and was highly processed.
One day I thought about it for a little while, got out a few simple ingredients, and came up with an easy cheesy FREEZER alternative to the packaged stuff. And my toddler loved it!
If you set aside 30 minutes or so, you can make enough single-serving mac ‘n cheese to last for many MANY “emergency” lunches. And would you believe that once they’re frozen, they are even easier to heat up than the dry version?
Here are the benefits of making your own Easy Freezy Mac ‘n Cheesy:
- You can decide what to put in there- whole wheat or fiber-added noodles are great!
- It costs much less than the individual cups from the store
- They heat up in less than 2 minutes
- You can heat up a portion as big or as little as you’d like
Are you ready to learn how to make these cheesy little wonders?
Here’s what you need:
3 c Milk, divided
2 c Sharp Cheddar, shredded
3 T Flour
1/2 t Onion powder
1 t Salt
1 package Elbow Macaroni (whole wheat or fiber added is fine)
Combine flour and 1 c milk in a saucepan and stir with a whisk. Stir in remaining milk, onion powder, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Simmer on low 2 minutes until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in cheese until completely melted and smooth.
Line 2 baking dishes or shallow, wide containers with parchment paper. Both of these will need to fit in your freezer until they are frozen solid. After that, the contents can be transferred to freezer bags. If you don’t have that much room in your freezer, you can make the cheese and noodles on different days.
Pour cheese sauce into one parchment-lined baking dish/container. Ideally it should be about 1/2 inch thick for easy breaking. Allow to cool to room temp. Place in your freezer for several hours until frozen solid.
Prepare macaroni noodles according to package directions. Drain.
Spread out noodles into a parchment lined baking dish/container. Cool to room temperature. Place container in freezer for several hours until frozen solid.
Remove cheese sauce from freezer. Break into pieces with your hands, about 2″-3″ in size. Transfer to a freezer bag and label for easy storage.
Remove noodles from freezer. Break into pieces with your hands, about 3″. Transfer noodle chunks and loose noodles to a freezer bag and label it.
To heat up Mac ‘n Cheese, put desired amount of cheese in a bowl and then noodles on top. Heat in 30 second increments until warm.
Stir, and enjoy!
My toddler loved this so much, she gobbled it up in 2 minutes flat, then held her bowl up sideways and said “all done”!
With a little advance planning, you can have a quick, homemade meal ready anytime for your picky eater! Take this recipe and run with it. Imagine what other quick single-serving meals you could do.