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Easy Kid-Friendly Recipes

These meals should please even the pickiest palates.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese There is no easier way to make a child happy at dinnertime than by serving up this gooey, cheesy side dish.

Eugenia Uhl Photographs

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It’s hard to be a committed “foodie” if you have children. You have to consider the need to feed them a healthy meal while also respecting their tastes, and you have to do it all when they’re hungry, not when it’s convenient for you. What you need are recipes that kids will like but that don’t require hours of preparation. Here’s a meal you can put together in less than an hour and that both kids and adults will love. All recipes (except the drinks) are written to serve four hungry people, but they can all be easily modified to feed a crowd.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 pound elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
4 cups milk
5 cups grated cheddar, divided

Put a large pot of water on to boil, and salt it liberally.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 9-inch-by-9-inch baking dish.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat, and then add the flour, and stir for a few minutes to make a blond roux. Add the mustard powder and ground nutmeg, and cook another minute or so. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Add the pasta to the boiling water, and stir. Cover, but keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t boil over. Stir occasionally until the pasta is done, about 8 to 10 minutes.

As soon as you drop the pasta, whisk the milk into the roux, and let the sauce come to a boil. Immediately turn the heat to low, and let it cook for a few minutes, continuing to stir. Once the sauce is smooth, add 4 cups of the grated cheddar cheese. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as necessary. Drain the pasta, and stir it into the sauce.

Put the pasta into the prepared baking dish, and then top with the 1 cup of additional cheese, and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. If the cheese on the top of the dish hasn’t browned a bit, fire up the broiler and give it a couple of minutes. 

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