Even the pickiest eater likes this Mac-N-Cheese trick
My four- and five-year old can’t finish a box of macaroni and cheese, I can’t stomach the stuff, and I’m too cheap or un-American to just through it away. The only thing easier to make than mac-n-cheese is leftover mac-n-cheese. But to do it right, you’ve got to do something more than nuke it. Try this: add roasted red pepper and tomato soup to it.
Now roasted red pepper and tomato soup probably sounds off-base for kids, I know, but they love it. This may be the one point where the kids’ tastes converge: the boy won’t eat vegetables, the girl won’t eat whatever the boy does. It’s a principal thing. I’ve tried the Sneaky Chef crap, pureeing veggies and hiding it, but it’s way too much work for very little reward. Mac-n-cheese soup is the opposite.
In my fruitless quest to get the boy to eat vegetables, one serendipitous day I found two containers that needed to be eaten or pitched: yesterday’s mac and my wife’s favorite soup, Pacific Natural Foods organic roasted red pepper and tomato soup. It was a zero-loss experiment: it would’ve been pitched if they didn’t like it anyway. The day before the kids refused their first offering of spaghetti-O’s, which seemed traitorous to childhood, so I thought I’d try one more time.
“This is really good,” my boy said. Such words had never been uttered before. That night instead of eating I watched him and his sister clear their bowls, lick their spoons, and ask for more.
Now the kids ask for mac-n-cheese soup instead of just plain mac-n-cheese. They get a serving (or so) of vegetables, it takes five minutes to make, and it clears fridge space. You don’t need a recipe card: just put the two things together, heat, stir, and serve. I’ve tried plain Andy Warhol Tomato soup but it’s too sharp for the kids’ taste. They prefer the Pacific brand soup: it’s organic, it’s got vegetables and vitamins and whatnot, but best of all, it’s sold in bulk at Costco.
One box, one carton, two meals, no guilt. It might be the best dad discovery yet.
—first appeared on Experiments in Manhood
—photo by Pink Sherbert Photography/Flickr