They say that being a parent is ridden with challenges. I guess the worst challenge in that case is to feed a fussy child. I cannot even begin to describe how painful mealtimes are at my place. My son who ate just about anything till he cut his 3rd birthday cake has now transformed himself into someone who can raise anyone's blood pressure. The term 'picky eater' in reality has a million different meanings. From eating like a bird (picking (not eating) just 4 grains per hour) to complete refusal to eat - I have dealt with a child who displays a range of excuses of how not to eat & drive mommy crazy!
My mum says that feeding me when I was his age was hardly an issue. It was a piece of cake (I wonder if she fed me just that - haha!). But then I tell her that God stopped making people like me long ago! Jokes apart, my son's pediatrician says that today's kids are not without a mind of their own. They want to eat what they want to eat! I was asked not to force him to eat what I cooked especially when he was ill and asked me to prepare whatever he liked the best. Woe is me! I have been reduced to doing just that - every single day! Ill or not, I find myself making what I think he will finish in less than an hour and I don't have to suffer through the trauma of coaxing, cajoling & yelling during mealtime.
My aunt assured me that by the time my son turns 7 he would be a changed boy. She better be right! Or else!!
Sigh! Anyways, here's one of those recipes which saves my sanity when I want to bang my head against the wall. Thanks to my friend Veda for brainstorming the idea/ingredients with me. Hope this recipe helps all you moms out there who are in the same boat as I am.
About the dish
Pasta with white sauce is preferred by most kids. Make it in a jiffy and watch your lil one devour it in one go (hopefully!). The goodness of cheese makes for a filling, nutritious & lip smacking meal
Easy Cheesy Macaroni
Prep time: 8-10 mins | Cook time: 5 mins | Serves 1
- 1/2 cup dried macaroni (or any pasta of your choice)
- 1/2 a small onion finely chopped
- 1 big clove of garlic finely chopped or grated
- 2-3 tablespoons of pre boiled, shredded chicken or 4-5 mushrooms quartered
- 1/3 cup warm milk
- 1 teaspoon all purpose flour (maida)
- 1/8th cup (or 2 triangles) cheddar cheese (I used Kraft cheese) (use as much as you wish)
- freshly ground pepper to taste (1/4 teaspoon or just a sprinkling will do for kids aged 3 and above)
- 1/2 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 2 slivers of sun dried tomatoes (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano or thyme (or any dried herbs)
- No salt required as the cheese has plenty of it!
Boil 2-1/2 cups of water and add the macaroni to it. Add a pinch of salt and 2-3 drops of oil and cook for about 7 minutes or as per the instructions on the packet. The pasta should be al dente (90% cooked or else it will break). Strain & gently refresh with cold water and allow to drain. Add a couple of drops of oil so that the pasta doesn't stick to each other.
In a small bowl make a smooth lump free paste of the flour and warm milk.
Heat butter or oil in a non stick pan and fry the chopped onions till pale. Toss in the chopped garlic and fry for a couple of seconds. Add the shredded chicken & sun dried tomatoes and fry for half a minute. Add the grated cheese and stir until melted.
Add the flour and milk paste, reduce the flame and quickly stir to avoid lumps. Toss in the ground pepper, oregano and mix well. Do not overcook - the sauce should have a creamy consistency.
Add the pasta and mix gently. Serve immediately
If you are making this for toddlers under 3 years, use onions, garlic & pepper as per the level of spice tolerance. Skip any one or all the aforesaid ingredients and replace with extra cheese.