This post is from contributing writer Mary Voogt of Just Take A Bite.
Sometimes I wish there was an easy button for dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook! But with three little kids, home schooling, activities and work it’s hard to squeeze it in some days. Sound familiar?
But I have a little secret I want to share with you…kids love easy meals! Really. If you take your time and prepare an elaborate feast they’ll probably turn up their noses. Keep it simple with grilled cheese and tomato soup and you’ve got a happy bunch.
Picky Eating Solved
I am very well versed in picky eating (more than I wish!…you can learn more here. Yet I’ve raised three little foodies that now jump for joy at the sight of cabbage and Brussels sprouts. They get giddy about salmon and sardines! My toddler even eats plain gelatinous broth off the spoon and cries when I take meat bones away from her because she likes to chew on them.
Yet even with their broad palates my kids love simple meals like chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese (they love this dairy free version!). I am more than happy to oblige…but in a healthy way. (My kids have never had either of these that comes from a box. And I’m guessing they wouldn’t like them if they did since my kids know what real food tastes like.)
And remember that easy button I mentioned? It does exist…it’s called the Instant Pot.
Nutritious and Delicious Recipe
This gluten free Instant Pot mac & cheese meets all of my requirements:
- gluten free
- nourishing (the most important!)
After the Instant Pot builds pressure the mac & cheese is ready in literally five minutes. Talk about fast food! So when your kids are “starving” and need food “right now” you can actually deliver.
- 2 cups brown rice noodles
- ¼ cup chicken or turkey broth
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup cooked pumpkin or winter squash
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 2 cups grated cheese (any variety you like, mozzarella works well for melting)
- 1 tsp. unrefined sea salt
- 1 tsp. organic cane sugar (optional - makes it taste more like boxed mac & cheese)
- Combine the noodles, broth and water in the Instant Pot. Set it to manual for 3 minutes.
- After the 3 minutes is up do a quick release of the pressure.
- Add the remaining ingredients and cook on the sautee setting until the cheese is melted, 2 - 3 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving dish and let sit for 2 - 3 minutes to thicken before serving.
Kid and Mom Approved Dinner
When I first tried making mac & cheese in the Instant Pot I was worried about the texture of the noodles. We are gluten free, and I wasn’t sure how gluten free noodles would hold up. To my great delight they cooked perfectly! No mushy noodles.
But for me the best part of this kid-friendly meal is not the ease or even the taste. The best part is the nutrition factor. I’m a huge fan of making every bite count (or at least most of them…nobody is perfect). So I was thrilled to be able to add both broth and vegetables to our mac & cheese…without anyone noticing! My kids can’t get enough of this stuff.
Are you just transitioning off a Standard American Diet? Guess what? The pumpkin makes this look just like the mac & cheese that comes from a box! Switching to this more nourishing variety is a simple baby step that your kids won’t even notice.
This gluten free Instant Pot mac & cheese works perfectly for an easy lunch (it even tastes great cold packed in a school lunch!) or for a busy week night supper.
It is also a big money saver using simple staple ingredients and no meat (check out this post if you’re looking for more ways to cut back on meat).
The next time your kids are begging for a quick, delicious meal whip up a nutritious batch of macaroni and cheese. And let the Instant Pot do all the work!