Mac & Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Both Ari and Maddie find this to be true and love to have it at least a couple of times a week. When I came across this recipe in the January/February food network magazine, I brought it with me to make for Ari while I was here in Kentucky. The first word out of his mouth when he saw the soup at his place, was "Yum."
The recipe actually calls for roasting some Roma tomatoes and baguettes in the oven to top the soup with, but for a toddler, I just accompanied some cherry tomatoes for him to add and he did with each spoonful. It has just a few ingredients and takes less than 35 minutes to make which was easily accomplished while Ari played with Thomas the Train. I set it up his set on his mama's desk and he had such a fun time pretending with all his new friends.
Mac & Cheese Soup
4 oz (1 cup) elbow macaroni (I used whole wheat)
2 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 1/2-inch thick slices baguette
Freshly ground pepper
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 3/4 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth (I used vegetable stock)
1 1/4 cups 2% milk
6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese ( about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450F-degrees. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook as the label directs; drain.
2. Mist a baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the tomato and baguette slices on it in a single layer; season with salt and pepper. Bake until the bread is golden brown, about 7 minutes.
3. Mince the shallots, carrot and celery in a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and add the vegetables and cook over medium-high heat until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the broth and bring to a boil; cook, stirring 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. Add the milk, cheeses and macaroni and stir until the cheeses melt. Season with pepper. Top the toasts with tomatoes; serve ontop.
I loved this soup! And, I can't wait to make it for Pop Pop when I return home. Cold, winter days and soup is so satisfying...just ask this toddler. Enjoy!