Summers in Minnesota (and falls too) are filled with lots of outdoor activities and time at the lakes. I mean this IS the land of 10,000 lakes, so it makes sense. Which means road trips with baby. Which also means packing up some road trip friendly food. One of our favorites is Poppy’s favorite Road Trip Broccoli Mac and Cheese.
My kid loves cheese. LOVES LOVES LOVES CHEESE! Any kind, cheddar, munster, manchego… seriously we even gave her a stinky blue cheese one day and she enjoyed it too. So mac and cheese is an obvious favorite for her.
I personally think a homemade mac and cheese is pretty great too because I know baby is getting calcium and protein from the cheese and milk, carbs from the pasta, and healthy nutrients from the broccoli. Plus knowing the baby Poppy loves to eat this, I never worry about a fussy baby.
This is a great meal to travel with because it is all mixed together, saves really well and can be eaten warm or cold.
When we take road trips, we normally bring a little cooler with simple kid staples like yogurt, cheese, milk and easy baby meals. This Road trip Broccoli Mac and Cheese is always among these.
I like making a big batch, letting it cool and then storing in little glass jars for the road. Whatever is left over, I freeze in a larger container for future meals. It couldn’t be simpler than that! And even though I normally make this for baby Poppy, it is totally delicious for adults too! I have definitely eaten her leftovers before. It is creamy, delicious and healthier than most mac and cheese recipes out there.
Just don’t tell baby I ate her food 😉
Road Trip Broccoli Mac and Cheese (12M+ and toddler friendly)
Serves: 3-6 servings depending on how much your kid eats. I would recommend feeding this to babies that have a few teeth to chew pasta with. The broccoli is very very soft but still has needs a tiny bit of chewing.
- 1 small head of broccoli (about 2 cups cooked)
- 2 cups elbow macaroni or pasta of choice
- 1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbs. butter
- 2 tbs. flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 2 cups whole milk, warmed
- 1 cup shredded cheese of choice (I used mild cheddar), divided
- 1 tablespoon of full fat Greek yogurt
Start by boiling a large pot of water and adding a pinch of salt. Once it comes to a rolling boil, add pasta and cool according to the package instructions. Cook a minute or 2 extra to make the pasta even softer if you want.
Cut broccoli into small florets. Peel broccoli stems and cut into tiny pieces as well. The smaller the better for little babies and broccoli will get really soft too which helps with chewing. Put a steamer rack in a pot with an inch of water. Bring to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and cover. Steam for 6 minutes or until fork tender. Then remove the broccoli from the pot to a bowl.
In a sauce pan on medium-low heat, add the butter and olive oil. Stir until butter is melted. Once melted, sprinkle in the flour and immediately whisk with a whisk until uniform and smooth. Add the warm milk slowly whisking constantly. Turn the heat up to medium high until mixture thickens, just a few minutes. Once thickened, turn off heat add cheese, and yogurt. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
Pour cheese sauce into the bowl with the broccoli and add the pasta. Mix it all together until everything is cheesy and coated.
If storing the Broccoli Mac and Cheese for a road trip, allow it to cool completely. Then store in individual containers. Either refrigerate for up to 5-6 days or freeze. If possible try to reheat in a sauce pan or in microwave in a glass container instead of plastic.
This can be enjoyed with silver ware or with little fingers. Bon Voyage!