A lot of sauces in our household are from scratch. Marinara sauce, ranch, creamy lemon garlic pepper sauce, sometimes even gravy, Alfredo/béchamel sauce… All organic or clean 15 ingredients like onions.
Today I was at Costco and I have not purchased Annie’s Organic boxed macaroni and cheese in a long while. Lately Henry has been picky with his food choices and I decided to pick up a pack today. There was a man looking at the ingredients and as soon as I picked up a box he set it down and his significant other asked him if it was no good. I felt like I was a bad parent for choosing something “easy” but honestly I thought to myself, chances are, if I do not get this box, I am more likely to choose fast food or dine out at a restaurant where one serving of organic macaroni and cheese would cost this whole Costco pack of 12.
I am not a perfect mom and some times I just don’t want to cook. Henry is most definitely a beige eater and it makes me sad but buying organic and cheese is a hard compromise I make so my picky eater doesn’t go to bed hungry and crying. Yes, there’s guilt of not making it 100% from scratch or being able to cook a plate of just vegetables and have him enjoy every last bite, but like I said, he won’t be hungry. I try my best by making smoothies with carrots, kale, beets, and spinach but sometimes repeatedly asking him to finish his 4 ounce cup of juice for an hour and forty-five minutes makes me irritable. This is not an exaggeration, I have literally waited this long on many occasions. Honestly I get bored waiting in the kitchen while he gets his daily serving of vegetables in liquid form.
Back to the Mac. Yes, I know it’s gluten. Yes, I know the cow was probably not consenting to giving up her milk. Yes, I know organic or not, it is still heavily processed. Yes. I know that all those carbs will be converted into sugar in his gut. Box Mac and cheese means that my boy is getting fed and he won’t be hungry. He will be a happy little boy, full of his favorite food.
When I was little, I loved boxed Mac and cheese. I can’t remember how often I would have it, but everyone in the household would make it a little differently. Nanong would make it a little runny with extra water, because that’s how her mom made it. I suppose with six kids in the family, making the cheese go a long way was important. When I first made Mac & cheese with Dustin, he thought I was crazy for using water. Milk or heavy cream was the way to make it in his mind. After trying his method, I’m not going to lie, my palate loved how creamy the cheese tasted on the perfectly cooked noodles. Henry on the other hand, he does not really care how it’s cooked or how thick or how thin the sauce is. I can puree spinach leaves into the sauce and he will still enjoy his Mac and cheese very happily. Regardless of whether I use cow, almond, rice or soy milk. Regardless of whether I use butter, ghee, almond oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil, he will still enjoy his boxed Mac.
I guess there are a million ways to do boxed Mac and cheese and I should not beat myself up over it. Do you have any vegan Mac and cheese hacks? Do you prepare it according to the box or do you use something else? Let me know your experiences in the comments and let me know if you’re a tired mom like me, just doing your best to get your child fed.