Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese Cups {Toddler Approved}

sweet potato mac 6

Mac & cheese falls under the “I make it for my kid, but I secretly also love it” category. You know, the category that includes pizza, chicken fingers, burgers, etc.

John and I joke that we make a lot of kid food; and we started doing so well before Lily started eating solids. A lot of classic kid food is basic comfort food that is easy to make and easier to eat. It also tends to be fatty, salty, and devoid of any vegetables, but it’s a cinch to make healthier homemade versions of your kid’s (and your) favorites foods.

sweet potato mac

The sweet potato puree gives this mac & cheese a deep orange hue reminiscent of the boxed variety; so if your kiddo is used to the latter, these mac & cheese cups are likely to appeal to him/her.

Another aspect of this mac & cheese that will draw kids’ attention is the cute individual serving muffin shape. The cups are crisp around the edges and soft inside. The moisture from the sweet potato puree renders the cups rather delicate, so be careful when removing them from the muffin tin.

lil mac & cheese 2

Anything with cheese wins Lily’s vote!

lil mac & cheese

And anything this delicious and healthy wins mine.

sweet potato mac

 

Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese Cups {Toddler Approved}

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes total

Keywords: bake entree main cheese pasta sweet potatoes

Ingredients (serves 14)

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 cups whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 1% milk, preferably organic
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • salt & black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place sweet potato on baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until soft. Let cool, cut open, scrape out flesh, and mash well. Measure out 1 cup and set aside. Reserve any remaining sweet potato flesh for another use. Lower oven temperature to 375°F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook elbows according to package directions; drain and set aside.

While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the flour, and whisk for 1 minute.

Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly. Whisk until the milk thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Add in the mustard, shredded cheese, and 1 cup mashed sweet potato flesh. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in macaroni.

Lightly grease 2 muffin tins. Evenly divide the mac & cheese between 14 cups. Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown around the edges. Let cool to room temperature before carefully removing from the muffin tin and serving to your toddler.

You may freeze completely cooled cups by wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap and placing in a freezer safe ziploc bag.

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Chocolate Chip, Coconut, & Almond Flour Cookies {Paleo}

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I’ve made Gina’s Chocolate Chunk {Paleo} Cookies many times; John, Lily, and I all absolutely love them. They’re easy to make, call for healthy ingredients, and taste fabulous. I rarely make a recipe more than once, so the fact that the cookies have become a staple in our house tells you just how awesome they are!

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I tossed a couple handfuls of shredded coconut into the dough on a whim the last time I made a batch, and it was a great addition to an already delicious cookie.

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The flavor profile is the same as Almond Joy candy bars, but the ingredients are so much cleaner. I adore the chocolate-almond-coconut combination, and each flavor is discernible in these cookies.

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The cookies are soft & chewy with just a hint of crispiness around the edges; the perfect cookie texture, in my opinion.

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Because there are no eggs in the cookies, you can sneak as many swipes of the uncooked dough as you want. Safe bowl licking for the win (<- I guess the cool kids would write FTW).

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I could eat about a dozen of these.

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Chocolate Chip, Coconut, & Almond Flour Cookies {Paleo}

by Lauren Zembron (slightly adapted from Running To The Kitchen)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free vegan almonds coconut chocolate

Ingredients (8 large cookies)

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour (available via Oh Nuts)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp melted coconut oil (make sure to melt before measuring)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, and baking soda. Whisk, making sure to break up an clumps of flour.

In a small bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, honey, almond extract, and water.

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a rubber spatula or spoon until combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips and shredded coconut.

Scoop out 1/4 cup portions and place on prepared cookie sheet. Using the back of a spoon or your fingers, gently press down on the scoops of cookie dough so they form discs.

Bake for 12 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly golden brown around the edges. Cookies will be very soft.

Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a baking rack to cool completely.

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