Preschool Lunchtime Favorite {Creamy Macaroni with Veggies}

I've taken such a break from blogging regularly over the last two years that it seems silly to say that I'm taking a break from crafty posts to share with you a recipe.  But nonetheless, yes, I'm sharing a "recipe" and not a craft on this odd occasion of actually posting.  So sue me.  (Please, don't.)

While I know many moms who are in the "I don't serve my kids PB&Js for lunch" camp, I'm totally a PB&J makin' fool for weekday lunches.  I'd say my girls enjoy the quintessential childhood sandwich at least twice a week for lunch and often dinner leftovers make it onto their lunch plates, too.  What can I say?  I'm practical that way.  Don't feel too bad for the little ladies, though--we switch things up enough to keep things interesting.

I'm not going to knock the blue box of mac-n-cheese, as it's one of my ultimate guilty pleasures.  Seriously.  Maybe you want chocolates on Valentine's Day but my knows-no-shame tastebuds would gladly take a serving of Kraft mac-n-cheese as a substitute.  Perhaps it's the fact that I didn't grow up eating it that makes it such a novelty.  Anyhow, this momma can't be trusted with boxes of macaroni-and-cheese in the house, so I've created a kid-pleasing alternative that my kids love so I can keep the blue-box macaroni out of my pantry (and off of my thighs).  I'm guessing that like me, their deprivation of boxed mac-n-cheese will one day result in a torrid secret love affair with the stuff but if that's the worst emotional scarring I cause them as a mother, I'll call it a success.

1 cup macaroni ($ .20)
2 oz. cream cheese (1/4 of a brick) ($ .30)
1 carrot, shredded ($. 8)
1/4 cup frozen peas ($ .15)

Cook pasta according to box directions, adding the carrot and peas to the boiling pasta during the last minute of cooking.  Drain; return to the hot pan and immediately add the cream cheese, allowing the residual heat of the pan and the pasta/veggies melt the cheese into a nice creamy coating.  (This recipe makes 2 large preschool-sized portions. It's easy to double or triple, based on your kids' needs and whether or not Momma wants to join in on the macaroni binge).

I love that the total cost of the recipe is $ .73 (please note that I do not 'coupon' but I do buy things in bulk so my prices tend to be lower than the average supermarket). Some fruit alongside the pasta rounds out lunch quite nicely, but if you have some leftover diced ham or chicken, it'd be awesome to throw in to the pasta, too.

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