Popeye Mac and Cheese | Spinach Mac and Cheese for Picky Eaters

There’s probably no kid who doesn’t like Mac & Cheese, right?
In a few of my earlier posts I had mentioned how tricky it can get to feed my tiny one. Enough said, she does like a few things and Mac & Cheese luckily is one among them.
Necessity they say is the mother of invention and I feel, mothers have the most necessity for invention.
Every day I have to find new ways to sneak in veggies and fruits (yes, fruits too) in creative ways just so that my toddler gets to eat and have her nutrition right too.
Oh! No, I have no qualms about being a sneaky mom (in a good way that is). Given that, what better medium than Mac & Cheese? So, I made use of this ‘unfair advantage’ and slid in Popeye’s favourite into my little one’s fave food. All is fair in love and food wars isn’t it?
Even though hundreds of packaged ready to make/eat Mac & Cheese come lined up in the supermarket, there’s no better satisfaction than in making my own, it hardly takes more time than the packaged ones. Also, I get to play around with the ingredients and sneak them under my very nose like I did here. What on earth? Turmeric in Mac & Cheese you said? Call me crazy if you like, but I know its antiseptic power. Try telling me who needs it better than kids do?
And rest assured, your finicky eater will lick his plate too ‘cos this recipe comes with a seal of approval from my fussy little one.

Thing’s you’ll need:
  • 1/4 cup Macaroni (your choice of shape)
  • 4-5 large spinach leaves washed and minced
  • 2 tsp boiled and mashed potato (for thickness)
  • 1 tsp minced onion
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp Butter
  • dash of Ground black pepper
  • pinch of garlic powder (substitute with fresh minced garlic if you like)
  • pinch of Turmeric, ‘T’ silent! (I mean, u won’t even know I have added it)
  • 1 mini Babybel (original) cheese (or use cheese of your choice)
  • 1 slice – Horizon American singles cheese (or use cheese of your choice)
  • Salt
How it’s done:

  • Microwave the macaroni immersed in 1/2 a bowl of water and a little salt for 3 mins or until well cooked.
  • Place a small saucepan over medium-heat. Add in the butter.
  • When butter melts, add the garlic and then the minced onions and a pinch of turmeric and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
  • Add in the minced spinach and sauté until the rawness goes away. Add in the mashed potato, salt and ground black pepper and mix well.
  • Now add the milk and let it come to a boil. Add the cooked macaroni into this and stir well.
  • Add in the cheeses and let melt. Add a little more milk if required and keep aside.
  • Serve warm when cooled to room temperature.
  • Do not add too much salt either to the veggies or while cooking mac as the cheeses already have some.
  • Spinach is minced because I didn’t want it sticking on my toddler’s tongue, there by creating a chance of rejecting it
Thrilled to know that Rajani of My Kitchen Trials loved the recipe enough to not only make it in her kitchen but also blogged about it.



Angel hair Pasta with Herbs and Veggies

Angel hair pasta to me is a comfort food that I reach out for when I have little time to cook or no mood for elaborate cooking. Yesterday was one such day and instead of the same old spaghetti with sauce, I experimented with some herbs and it came out wonderful with the herb salt lending a unique flavor to the pasta. It is without any doubt a “30 minute meal” in Rachel Ray speak.
Things you’ll need:
  • 2 1/2 servings whole wheat Angel hair pasta cooked as per box instructions or Al dente. (How to measure Spaghetti servings)
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil (or EVOO if you are a fan of Rachel Ray)
  • 1/2 Carrot – thinly sliced lengthwise (Julienne cut)
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Cabbage
  • 1/4 cup Thinly sliced Capsicum (Green Bell pepper)
  • 1/2 cup Brown button mushrooms or any mushroom you like – sliced
  • 2  Green onion stems – Both white and green parts thinly sliced across
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb (salt free)
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Parsley leaves
  • Sea Salt to taste (regular salt should be fine too)

How it’s done:
  • Heat Olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the garlic for a few mins making sure not to burn.
  • Add in the green onions and saute for few more mins.
  • Then add capsicum, mushroom, cabbage and carrots in that order and saute until tender or capsicum does not look raw and mushroom can be cut with your spatula.
  • Add the sea salt and season with a generous amount of Mrs. Dash and some basil and parsley. I have used the dried herbs.
  • Stir in the cooked pasta, add some more Mrs. Dash and cook uncovered for a few more mins until well mixed.
  • Serve hot with a sprig of basil or mint leaves.

Here is another version – with Tofu and bell peppers, on the side are Tofu fritters.

Sauté 1/2 inch cubed Extra firm Tofu first and keep aside. Toss the Tofu back into the sautéed vegetables before adding the cooked pasta. Rest is the same as above.

Tips & Warnings:
  • Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herbs is crucial to create the unique flavor of herbs and spices. If you do not have it, try substituting with garlic, basil and parsley
  • Use caution while adding sea salt; it is more granulated than the regular salt and stronger.