Making homemade food portable and easy to grab for when “On The Go” can be difficult. As much as I want to always provide healthy options for Eliana, it is sometimes easier to just run through a drive through while we are out and about. These Mac and Cheese bites are awesome because they are cooked in mini muffin tins and are therefore the perfect individual sized portions for little hands and easy to pack for a day when we may need to eat lunch on the run. I am not saying that we will never run through a McDonald’s, but I try to limit those excursions as much as possible and make them more of a special occasion event.
I found the recipe in a cookbook written by Kim Laidlaw titled: Baby and Toddler On The Go: Fresh Homemade Foods To Take Out and About
Kim provides several recipes for easily transportable and fun recipes for toddlers. The recipe I am providing below is one of my variations on the Mac and Cheese Bites. The cookbook contains several others, however they can all be changed to include your household’s favorite foods. We had leftover cooked chicken from an earlier meal this week and some spinach in the fridge so our mac and cheese bites are more or less “Clean Out The Fridge Bites”.
Mac and Cheese Bites With Spinach and Chicken (or any other “Mix-Ins”)
Makes about 24 mini muffin sized bites
1/2 Cup Whole Grain Pasta (we used mini macaroni)
1 T butter
1 T flour
1/2 Cup Milk (we used 2%)
1 Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 T Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup “Mix-Ins”(We used Spinach and Shredded Cooked Chicken)
2 Eggs (beaten)
Preheat Oven to 375 degrees F. Cook 1 cup of whole grain pasta to box directions. Strain and set aside.
Melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour and stir constantly. As soon as a paste is formed add milk. Continue to stir until the milk is fully incorporated. Add the grated cheeses. Stir until cheese has melted. Stir in “mix-ins” (for us it was spinach and cooked chicken). Remove from heat and stir in the 2 eggs. Spoon mixture into mini muffin tins. The recipe in cookbook says to cook for about 10 minutes. I had my oven on convection mode and it took about 18 minutes for the edges to be golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
Eat Some Now and Freeze Some For Later:
Put some of the mac and cheese bites aside or in the refrigerator to eat in the next day or two. Freeze the rest: I used the same cookie sheet technique that I use for freezing cookie dough balls. Thaw the frozen mac and cheese bites a day before you plan to pack them by placing them in the refrigerator.
Making Everyday Recipes More Exciting For Toddlers:
If you feel like you are in a rut on making creative foods for your toddler I recommend reading Kim Laidlaw’s Baby and Toddler On The Go cookbook. It has re-lit a fire under me to continue with homemade foods for Eliana. I love cooking and trying new recipes, but sometimes I need inspiration on making fun foods for toddlers in different ways. Toddlers love getting foods that are mini sized even when not on the go. She provides loads of ideas on how to make food enticing by changing the size and look to make it exciting to a toddler’s eyes. Here is an image from inside her book that is selling on Amazon: