Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This MoM Can't Live Without: Annie's Mac & Cheese

Although most dinners are cooked from scratch, I'm sure many of you have a few things on hand for a quick meal, whether it's canned soup, frozen chicken nuggets, etc.

My go-to meal for the little ones is Annie's Mac & Cheese. It's actually Big Girl's absolute favorite food, and she would eat it every day if she could. Kraft Mac & Cheese is just not the same for my Big Girl. She likes Annie's, and Annie's only -- shells with white cheddar, shells with orange cheddar, bunny-shaped pasta with cheddar. The twins will eat Annie's as well, happily.

We have a standard menu plan in our house that Big Girl always has macaroni & cheese every Thursday night. She has piano lessons every Thursday from 5:30 to 6 p.m., smack in the middle of dinner preparation time. So mac & cheese is easy to make on Thursdays when we get home from piano. It's so routine that even her piano teacher knows of her regular meal.

We always have several varieties of Annie's on hand, and when it goes on sale, I stock up. While Kraft can be found relatively cheap, our local grocery store sells Annie's for $2.50 a box, or more. Luckily, Target sells a few varieties for around $1.60 a box, so I usually buy it there. If I'm lucky, I can get it on sale for $1 a box, and if I find that sale, I buy a lot -- like two dozen boxes, sometimes more -- and fill the pantry up.

Mac & cheese doesn't have to be boring or unhealthy either. Big Girl is not a cooked veggie fan, so she has raw veggies like tomatoes and cucumbers with her meal, and applesauce for dessert. The twins often get veggies mixed in to their mac & cheese. Peas are a good choice, since they are a similar size:

Not a great photo, but you get the idea... The peas "sneak" in the shells, and get gobbled up!
I don't even really cook the frozen peas before I add them. While I'm boiling the pasta, I put frozen peas in the colander. When you drain the pasta, pour the boiling water and pasta into the colander over the peas. Make the cheese sauce in the warm pot (milk, cheese packet, and I usually add just a bit of butter), then add the hot pasta and peas and stir everything up. Dinner is served!

Annie's also has some fun things for kids on its web site at this link. Kids can also send away for "free loot," a.k.a. stickers.

To find other products which have saved my sanity
as a MoM (mom of multiples),

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