Mac and Cheese

Updated on June 06, 2010
N.J. asks from Dayton, OH
15 answers

Anyone have a good homemade recipe for mac and cheese for my two year old.

Also, my two year old refuses to eat anything - no PB & J, no pasta, no sandwiches, fruits, etc. I have tried everything MULTIPLE times. I am running out of options. Any ideas?

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answers from Columbus on

No mac & cheese recipe, but I've got a suggestion for another meal idea.

French toast. Poke holes in the bread to infuse more of the egg onto the bread.

Good luck. I had a fussy eater too.


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answers from Dallas on


Hang in there! My son is 3 1/2 and went through the same thing. Everyone told me to keep offering him what we have for meals and that eventually he will eat. Well, a year later, he's becoming a little bit braver and trying new things. For every meal, I fix one main dish, and I try to make it something that he can eat, not too spicy or too tough to chew. I put that on his plate as well as the vegetables that we eat, and I usually make a side dish that he likes, i.e mac and cheese. If he doesn't eat his meal, I simply pick up his plate, tell him he can be excused, and go on about our routine. My pediatrician advised me not to make a fuss about it. He said that it's our job as mothers to offer the food, not to make them eat it. He also said that our children will not starve. They will eventually eat what is served to them. It took a year, but my son is finally coming around. I think it's just a phase.

I know it's frustrating and one of the most challenging things, but again, hang in there. They'll eat when they're hungry!!! Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I've never made homemade mac & cheese, but last week I was watching my friend's children at dinner time, and I made a box of Annie's white cheddar mac & cheese shaped like bunnies (purchased at SuperTarget). All 4 kids, ages 2-5, gobbled it down and asked for more, but it was all gone. My kids never do that with Kraft, so it looks like I'll be buying Annie's from now on.

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answers from Philadelphia on

Grated cheddar cheese, milk, whole wheat pasta. Cook the pasta first and put aside. Make the sauce with the cheese and milk, add some flour to thicken. Add pasta, stir and put in casserole. Bake for about 20 min or until cheese sauce is thicker. Let sit for a few and serve!
Also, try baked sweet potatoes, boiled carrots, regular potatoes, etc. My son (who by the way will eat anything EXCEPT mac and cheese, go figure!) loves sweet potatoes and carrots. Don't worry too much, I agree with PP that he will eat when he is hungry. If you give him juice, switch to water, and if he drinks lots of milk, cut that down as well. I read an article a doctor wrote (sorry I can't find it) that said "Don't worry if your kid seems to subsist on mac and cheese and air, it will pass!" If he likes it, give it to him along with other things. Maybe he will just eat the other stuff along with the mac and cheese.
I also give my son pancakes and waffles with baby food fruit, and he likes to eat the rest of the baby food himself. Have you tried anything with a spoon he can use? Maybe mashed potatoes or something? A little independence can sometimes go a long way! Just a thought. Good luck getting your little one to explore new foods! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

For mac and cheese. Make a white sauce and add grated cheese to taste. You can add vegetables and/or herbs for seasoning. I like to add some nutmeg. Cook the noodles. Stir the two together.

I'd relax about getting your 2 year old to eat. Prepare meals and snacks. He'll eat when he's hungry. Tell him that you know he'll eat when he's hungry. Give the responsibility to eating to him. Stop trying to find foods for him. Fix meals, expecting him to eat them. Put them in front of him. Don't make a big deal of him eating. Encourage him to try something by taking one bite. When he's thru, even tho he hasn't eaten much, put the food away and put him down from the chair. Then, no food until snack time. He really will eat when he's hungry.

All too often we make too bug of a fuss over eating and not eating becomes a way to be independent. When we work too hard to please the child learns to use food as control. This is how eating disorders get started.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Try - the site will have multiple recipes for mac and cheese that are rated by users. This way you can pick one that has been made multiple times and comes out great.

I am going through the same thing with my 13 month old. She used to eat almost anything we put in front of her. Now, she's picky. I have (out of desperation) tried foods I thought for sure, she'd hate. Suprisingly some of her favorite foods are hummus on carrots or crackers and cut up avocado. She also likes the sweet N spicy tuna in a pouch - go figure. I just keep trying things and sometimes it seems she forgets she doesn't like it. Have you tried beans? My daughter will also eat shelled edammame. There are foods I tried half a dozen times and the 7th time, she eats. What about making a smoothie with yogurt? You could put bananas, strawberries, orange juice, etc. If she likes it, you could then sneak in some spinach or other vegetables. Same with the macNcheese. you could puree spinach to put into the sauce. At least you'd know she was getting a little bit of green in her diet. Another thing I noticed was that my daughter wouldn't eat fresh peaches or pears, but likes the ones in the small containers by Del Monte(I think). I get the no sugar added and better yet, when I get to Trader Joe's I get the natural ones. It's basically canned fruit in plastic, but she'll eat those instead of fresh. I agree with the others, too- try not to stress about it too much at this point. Just keep trying all sorts of different foods.
Good luck!

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answers from Cincinnati on

This might not be for a two year old.

I cook about 1/2 box Macaroni. Then I put in a baking dish for the oven. Pour a little bit of milk over the macaroni. Add some shredded cheese and stir it up. Then I cut slices of mild cheddar or colby cheese and place it on top of the macaroni until its all covered. Bake it at 350 degrees in the oven until cheese melts. Sometimes I let the cheese melt till its a little "crunchy" around the edges.

2 year olds are picky. I heard somewhere that it takes an average of 18 trys before your child may like something. Maybe your child could help you pick out the foods at the store. Maybe they can take a couple bites each time any ways. You don't know if its good unless you try it.



answers from Nashville on

I have used Martha Stewarts Mac and Cheese recipe and it was yummy. I just googled it when someone told me about it. But I think it uses mostly swiss cheese, and kids might like cheddar or american (deli american, not slices) better. You could substitute either of those for one of the stronger cheeses. With mac and cheese recipes you can substitute cheese types pretty freely for your personal preferences. Brick cheeses work better than the pre-grated bag cheeses. And I second the recommendation, I love that site.

One thing about making the sauce though. You MUST do it over a lower heat. And you need flour for a binding agent. I sometimes make a cheese sauce myself that starts out as equal parts flour and butter (or oil) browned in a saucepan, then add your liquid- milk, cream, chicken stock or a mixture of those. I just keep adding liquid until it is slightly thickened when it is bubbling. Then turn down the heat to very low and add your grated cheeses in. If the heat is too high, it will curdle, almost immediately. Some recipes I have seen even say to remove from the heat completely and just let the cheese melt on its own. And another trick is to stir in the cheese in a figure eight pattern, it makes is smoother for some reason.


answers from Columbus on

My mac & cheese recipe is just 1 pound of pasta (cook & drain) with 1 bag (8oz/2cups) of shredded cheese, preferably colby jack or a cheddar jack mix. I like to sneak in a jar of pureed carrots or something else to give the noodles an orange color, it tricks the adults in my family into thinking it tastes "cheesier" because it looks more like the color of the Kraft box mix. Also we will throw in a handful of finely chopped broccoli or another veggie that goes well with cheese.

Have you tried letting him "help" you cook? My son isn't very picky, but he eats a lot better when he gets to be part of the preparation.

For example, when we make mac & cheese, I let him pick out the pasta (at the store and/or from the cupboard that day). Instead of elbow macaroni he will usually go for the little spirals or the mini shells, I think they are more fun to pick up. Then I let him help me dump the pasta in the water and sometimes help me stir. When it comes time to eat, he is very proud to tell everybody that he helped, and he eats twice as much!



answers from Dayton on

Instead of the box, try this: cook a half pound of pasta (penne or whatever) and drain, then in the pot, add about a couple pats of butter, a tablespoon of flour, mix that up for a minute on low heat, then add about a half cup (?) of milk, slowly, stirring. Then add the pasta back in, keep it on low/medium heat, and add a cup or so of shredded cheese. I've been doing this and it can get clumpy for a moment, but if you keep stirring and keep it on low heat for a little while, it will magically turn out like a nice sauce. This way, you can avoid all the salt in the boxes, and also use whatever kinds of cheese, etc. you have on hand. Also, it's nice to grate a little nutmeg in before you add back in the cooked pasta. Enjoy!



answers from New York on

Puree some cauliflower and add it to the mac n cheese. She'll never even know it's in there! You can do the same with cooked apples. pears, etc. in other things she likes.

Also, sounds like she likes pasta. You can also puree and hide meat and veggies into the sauce.

Be sure to serve actual broccoli or string beans, etc along with the pureed vegies that you hide. One day she will pick them up and start to eat them and never look back.



answers from Indianapolis on

Pick up a copy of FEED ME I'M YOURS. There are lots of ideas for ALL ages. you need to make it FUN and educational. In other words, talk about how much fun it is to try new things. make sure you remind him periodically that almost everyone has something they don't like and that's okay. You'll never know if you like it if you don't try. Ask him if he likes...mac & cheese (something he likes). Ask him HOW he knows. Of course, he knows because he tried it. He needs to make that connection.

We have a "courtesy bite" rule. If someone prepares something for you, the least you can do is to try it. We recommend the three bite rule, too. Take three bites and THEN make a decision. There are times when the first one doesn't cut it.....different textures, etc. Talk about those it smooth, chewy, etc. Help him to develop communication skills, being able to describe things.

Try fixing smoothies to get in the fruits. His immune system will be poor if you can't get any fruits and vegetables in him!

Have him start helping making decisions......peas or green beans....pick out new things at the grocery with HIS help, ESPECIALLY in the produce section. When you find something new, talk about where it comes from, how it grows (ground, trees etc). Meijer has signs that tell you. Get out a world map or globe and find where it grew. This is how I taught my preschoolers and reminded them that God made EVERYTHING we need to be healthy. If we don't eat those things, we can't expect to be or stay healthy. I reminded them that every day for the rest of their lives, there will be food choices. It's up to the adults to TEACH them how and why to make good ones. Yes, I DID start all of this at TWO. I now have a 7 year old that tell me they want......."an egg for protein, raspberries for their fruit, multi-grain chips for their grain.." etc. She understands the need/how they help her and the need for balance in her diet....WAY better than most adults.

Lots of books out there to do fun things w/ food, too, like making a shark out of cucumber, etc. Make sure you learn - even if that means you have to do a little homework- what nutrients these foods have and WHY your body needs them. Most people, adults included, are MUCH more apt to do/eat something if they know WHY they need to do it rather than, "because I said so."

Learning good nutrition CAN be fun and can be the difference between health and disease and maintaining healthy weight and having weight issues. Make it a family learning experience. It CAN be fun! Think of this as an opportunity for you as well as your son.

BTW, if you give him a ONLY a couple of options, if he's hungry enough, he'll eat it. This is NOT being mean, it's simply being more in control of his diet and yet, allowing him to make some decisions. Kids want to be able to make some decisions. Allow it, but DON'T let him control the situation.


answers from Jacksonville on

I too had (well... have, but she is getting better) a picky eater. Oddly enough, the foods she eats the "best" are meats! Chicken, ribs, steak, meatballs, smoked sausage... (just no fish). When she discovered tacos, she would only eat meat and a little cheese on them... no lettuce, olives, etc. She LOVES meat.

Also, try unconventional things with your 2 yr old. My kids have always loved olives. When they got a little older, I tried black olives (since they loved the green ones so much) and they love them even MORE Than the green ones. While they don't care much for green bell pepper, they LOVE raw red bell pepper cut into slices. And neither of my kids will eat a carrot that has been cooked. They like them just fine RAW, though.

My daughter refused any kind of starchy stuff, except bread and corn, for years. No potatoes (baked, mashed), no rice (even flavored), no mac'n cheese! Finally she started eating spaghetti noodles, and now likes regular pasta basically plain.. a little melted cheese on it will work... nothing else added.
What fruits have you tried? Mine wouldn't eat much. NO citrus for a LONG time (like until last year--- she is almost 9 yrs now). She will only eat a granny smith apples (no red ones of any kind), and will sometimes eat red seedless grapes. She does like raisins. As far as peaches, pineapple, red apple, oranges, grapefruit, pears, watermelon, canteloupe... she wouldn't and still doesn't touch any of them. But she started liking clementines in small amounts (mandarin oranges) and the occasional slice of sweet naval oranges... just not the regular kind of oranges.

What about pizza? For a long time, my child picked off all the "stuff" off the top and ate it, leaving the crust, lol. Now, she likes the crust too.... ha ha. You can put ham or ground beef on top, it doesn't have to be pepperoni. (although that is our favorite).
You could even make a tortilla with cheese and chicken in it... my kids will eat that.



answers from Cincinnati on

My son doesn't like standard "kid" foods either. Have you tried different flavors, like Japanese, Chinese, Indian, or Mexican foods? My son won't touch mac & cheese, hotdogs, or PB&J, but he loves Udon and soba and Matar Paneer. Try some new spices and he might love it! He might hate it, too (I make no promises! ^_^) but it's worth a shot.



answers from Indianapolis on

When I'm feeling ambitions, I make a simple rue (flour and butter), then add warmed milk, then add a couple kinds of grated cheese, then pour it over whole-wheat pasta for my kids. But most the time I just use Annie's organic mac&cheese because I got a couple cases cheap at Kroger one week:)

Just don't give in and keep offering nutritious foods. He may not eat for a little while, but kids don't starve themselves, he'll give in if you don't.

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