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.
|Name||Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese Cups|
|Prep Time||20 minutes|
|Cooking Time||25 minutes|
|Total Time||45 minutes|
|Yield||12 mac & cheese cups|
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.
Anything with cheese wins Lily’s vote!
And anything this delicious and healthy wins mine.
- 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
Estimated Nutrition Per Serving
- Calories: ~250 kcal
- Total Fat: ~12g
- Saturated Fat: ~7g
- Cholesterol: ~35mg
- Sodium: ~280mg
- Total Carbohydrates: ~25g
- Dietary Fiber: ~2g
- Total Sugars: ~2g
- Protein: ~10g
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.