This Quick and Easy Stovetop Mac & Cheese for Toddlers and Kids is a lunch favorite in our house! Ditch your store-bought blue box with the orange mystery powder for this real-ingredient homemade version! It's just as fast as tearing open a packet of powder, made with plain yogurt and real cheese and ready in just 8 minutes!
Real Ingredients vs. Processed
Macaroni & Cheese is a kid favorite comfort food, and as the name implies, it isn't complicated! Somehow we let this easy-to-make basic food turn into a highly processed store-bought staple in our pantries. We can do better for our kids!
This is the simplest version of stovetop mac & cheese ever! It's all in one pot, no cooking a separate sauce, this is simply mac and cheese with yogurt and real shredded cheese! Only 3 ingredients and it's just as fast as the store-bought version, so you'll never want to buy a box of mac & cheese again!
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This simple healthy mac and cheese for kids eliminates all those mystery ingredients found in boxed mac from your kid's diet! This is better for them, plus it tastes so good mom loves to eat some too!
- Macaroni Pasta - I love the small elbow macaroni, but you could use any short pasta such as rotini, bowtie, small shells or any corkscrew shape.
- Plain Yogurt - This is really the secret ingredient! Plain yogurt is how we make the cheese sauce for mac and cheese without flour or milk. This is a no-cook sauce, you just add it to the hot macaroni and it mixes right in, melting the cheese and creating the sauce in seconds! Plus it adds protein and healthy fats!
- Cheese - I usually use regular cheddar cheese, but white cheddar, Colby, really any shreddable melty cheese will work. I do recommend shredding your own over the bags of pre-shredded cheese. It's better quality and melts easier into the mac and cheese.
This one pot toddler mac and cheese really is just as easy as tearing open a packet of orange powder!
Step 1 - Bring a pot of water to boil and add a good pinch of salt, about ½ teaspoon. Boil the pasta about 7 to 8 minutes. Check the time on the instructions. Add an optional veggie to the boiling water in the last 3 minutes of cooking if your kids are willing (like frozen peas, corn or diced broccoli).
Step 2 - Drain pasta and return it to the hot pot. Stir in the yogurt and shredded cheese. The hot pasta will melt the cheese, quickly forming the sauce. Serve!
- Storage - Store leftover mac and cheese with yogurt sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave, adding a bit of milk or more yogurt if it becomes dry.
- Adding Veggies - If your kids are willing, adding a veggie boosts the nutrition in this simple recipe and is really very easy to incorporate. Just add a handful of frozen peas or minced broccoli to the boiling pasta during the last 3 minutes of cooking. It will finish cooking and can be drained together.
The ingredients amounts don't need to be exact! Once you start making this recipe for your kids, you will be able to make it super quick and easy! Just estimate half a box of pasta, a big scoop of yogurt and a good handful of shredded cheese!
We like Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Plain Yogurt, it's a staple in our kitchen. Why plain yogurt? It is so much more versatile and healthier than flavored yogurt. Buying plain yogurt and flavoring it yourself is much better for you and for kids than the added-sugar pink flavors. For breakfast, add a little honey and top it with your own berries and Granola. We also use it to top Oatmeal and add a scoop to Smoothies. Read the label on your strawberry flavored yogurt, does it even contain strawberries? Then how is it pink?
Plain yogurt is also a great substitute for sour cream. We add a scoop to top Loaded Baked Potatoes, Chili, and tacos. It's also an ingredient in Waffles and Protein Pancakes and makes Quick Veggie Dip and Hummus extra creamy.
I'm a believer that whole milk dairy is better than low-fat or fat-free. It is less processed, more natural, and when they take the fat out of products they usually add sugar or something worse to make up for the loss in taste. Give it a try and see if it doesn't become a staple ingredient in your kitchen!
Yes! Since this cheese sauce is made without flour, you would simply need to substitute a gluten free pasta.
This protein mac and cheese is a great blank canvas for adding additional ingredients to make if more of a balanced meal. You can add veggies by adding frozen peas or minced broccoli to the boiling pasta during the last 3 minutes of cooking. You can also add cooked bacon, chicken or chopped deli ham to the finished macaroni & cheese for even more added protein. Double the recipe and serve it with a big side salad for an easy family dinner!
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8 Minute Mac and Cheese for Toddlers and Kids
- 2 cups macaroni pasta add ½ teaspoon salt to the boiling water
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese or any kind
- Boil water and add a good pinch of salt. Cook macaroni about 7 to 8 minutes (You can add fresh or frozen veggies in last 3 minutes of boiling, optional).
- Drain and stir in yogurt and shredded cheese. Give it a taste and add a pinch more salt, yogurt, or cheese if needed. Serve hot!
- Use any kind of short pasta such as macaroni, rotini, or bowtie.
- Amounts don't need to be exact! To make this quick and easy, estimate half a boxof pasta, a big scoop of yogurt and a good handful of shredded cheese!