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This quick hidden veggie mac and cheese comes together in only 5 minutes and gets its creaminess from veggies! The perfect toddler mac and cheese, this quick hidden veggie mac and cheese is healthier and way better than boxed! Made with frozen cauliflower rice and carrots, Barilla Ready Pasta, and a bit of cheddar cheese, this quick hidden veggie mac and cheese will become a staple in yours kids’ diets. Click here for a 10% off Cartwheel offer at Target!
I always knew I’d be one of those parents with the kids that eat raw kale and beg, absolutely beg me, for more curried butternut squash soup. It would go without question: I’d have French babies, merci to that semester abroad in Paris, and y’all would all be jealous.
I have proof, in fact. When we first introduced food to Leo, he ate only organic purées (after much, and I mean much, research to the benefits of and debate over purées first over baby-led weaning), fruits and veggies blitzed together with herbs and spices to broaden his palate. My acorn squash ginger baby food is still a favorite side dish of mine, and this mango mint baby food is just ridiculously perfect.
And then he became a toddler, and my home, the one that would never, ever be covered in Batman figurines, is covered in Batman figurines, and my child who would never, ever receive bribes in the form of snacks now receives bribes in the form of snacks, and the TV, which we all know is detrimental to toddler development if it’s not super boring and in 6 1/2-minute spurts max has screened Sing 18+ times this week already.
Let’s be real here! We all have lofty goals for our kids and our parenting. It goes a little something like this:
You: My child will only eat pastured coconuts and fermented cod liver oil. We will limit screentime, and I’ll homeschool her, inspired by Montessori principles, in my off time.
That said, I still try my best to integrate as many veggies and fruits into Leo’s diet as I possibly can, accepting that sneaking them in might be my M.O. for a while. This kid? He, like 98% of toddlers out there, would survive on carbs and cheese if he could. Mac and cheese? Often for three meals a day. Quesadilla was his first word in Spanish. And we realized just how many grilled cheese we make him when he played in a little toy kitchen the other day. He put a skillet on the play stove, put a piece of bread in, and grabbed his spatula. He flipped the bread over and pressed down on the top of the sandwich with the back of the spatula.
I was inspired to make this healthier quick hidden veggie mac and cheese when I realized how I could integrate the tricks we use on our paleo and dairy-free diet to make creamy sauces and cheesy flavors. Leo would still love the dish for the tender pasta and gooey cheese, but the addition of cauliflower and carrots make me feel that much better about what I make for my little. Paired with Barilla Ready Pasta, this quick hidden veggie mac and cheese comes together in mere minutes, far faster than the boxed stuff, and it gets it creaminess from real veggies. With a bit of cheese stirred in, it’ll definitely become a favorite in your home. Healthier and quicker means everything to a parent!
Oh, and can we talk about this Barilla Ready Pasta? There’s none of this watched-pot business involved, just tender, top-notch pasta ready in seconds. Perfect for kids who go from wildly running to gonna die from starvation in minutes.
On top of that, there’s a Cartwheel offer for 10% off Barilla Ready Pasta at Target right now (until 9/14/2017!), and I really think you should take me up on that. I mean, have I told you how intense of a Cartwheel fanatic I am?
I once got out of line in self-checkout to ask this young mom, buying hoards of Cat and Jack toddler clothes, if she had Cartwheel. There was a 25% off coupon, and I really needed her to use it! But she thought I was insane, of course… until she came over to me when I was scanning my throw pillows (Odds are, if I was at Target? I was buying throw pillows.) and asked to borrow my Cartwheel. She saved like $12 so, am I a Cartwheel hero? Well, you decide. I’ve Cartwheel-intervened with diapers before and frozen chicken nuggets, swooping in with a desperation to save money for strangers and rack up the “total saved” in my app. I’m
cool weird like that.
So head on over to the pasta aisle at your nearest Target and load up that Cartwheel. Dinnertime with the kids just got a whole lot easier.
- Place frozen cauliflower rice, carrots, and 2 tablespoons almond milk in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave 2 minutes or until hot, stirring after the first minute. Transfer to a blender, add garlic powder, and process until very smooth, adding more milk if necessary to thin. Add salt to taste then scrape out of blender. Sprinkle in cheese and stir until very smooth.
- Knead the bag of Barilla Ready Pasta Penne. Tear to vent and microwave 60 seconds. Pour pasta into bowl and toss to coat. Add more salt to taste and serve.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.