Macaroni & Cheese – Family Friendly & Real {recipe}

Here is a recipe for a kid-friendly, delicious and nutritious macaroni and cheese recipe. It contains all real ingredients – no Velveeta or processed anything! It can be made even more nutritious by sneaking in some shaved carrots, cauliflower or squash. It is easy to make it in just 30 minutes or less, and is perfect paired with your favorite white wine and greens.

Real and Kid-Friendly Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
REAL Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach Salad and your favorite white wine
Cooking with Toddlers to Make Macaroni and Cheese
Getting messy is part of the fun when you're 2 1/2!

There is quite a story behind the making of this Macaroni and Cheese that had me thinking I did choose the best name for this blog, as it perfectly describes this episode. It was both Merry and very, terribly Messy!

I started making this recipe the other afternoon as a last ditch effort to entertain Gabriel (he's 2 1/2 and loves to cook with me) since I was not able to get him to take a nap. So, I laid all the ingredients out on the counter and put Gabe on his step stool with his own special spoon and a bowl, and sat Grayson on the floor with a hope and a prayer he'd be happy and entertained by himself. We carefully measured and dumped (as Gabe calls it as he pretends to be an excavator) in several ingredients, and I stepped to the side to grate the carrots. As I walked back over to him (mind you, I was just a few steps away), I returned to find he had silently slung the sour cream all over the kitchen (because it made his hands dirty and he didn't like it!) and had cracked and dumped the egg in and stirred the whole bowl by himself! Meanwhile, baby Grayson is crawling on the floor, helping himself to the yumminess that his big bro is throwing on the floor for him. Gabe's shirt, face, hands and hair and the kitchen cabinets, counters and floors were splattered with sour cream and cottage cheese. What a mess! But both boys were happy. I just had to laugh and decided the clean up wasn't so bad since it helped me burn lots of calories!

Cooking with Toddlers to Make Macaroni and CheeseThis recipe is one of my late grandmother's yummiest delights – she was a master cook. We make this every Christmas and Thanksgiving and it is always gone, but I keep on my dinner recipe list for my family because it is a kid and adult favorite. You can make it as unhealthy or healthy as you like, and I like to sneak in grated veggies for extra nutrition. It is SO delicious because it uses real cheese – no Velveeta or processed cheese powder product here, folks!

Macaroni & Cheese – Family Friendly & Real {recipe}

A family-favorite, passed down from my grandmother.

  • Author: Sara - My Merry Messy Life
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1 16 oz. package of Macaroni (I like Barilla Plus Whole Wheat Elbows)
  • 1 cup sour cream (I use fat free)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups cottage cheese (I use fat free)
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 grated carrots (or about 12 cups)
  • Bread Crumbs (or Stove Top Stuffing Mix)
  • 2 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Seasoned Salt
  • 1 tsp. Pepper
  • 2 tsp. Ground Mustard
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the macaroni according the package instructions. While it's cooking, in a bowl combine all the ingredients except the bread crumbs and stir. Add the macaroni to the bowl and mix together. Put in a greased casserole dish and top with the bread crumbs, more paprika, and more cheese, if you like. I like to add parmesan.
  2. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes with the cover on until the cheese on top is melted and the center is warm.
  3. Serve with spinach salad with Cumin Vinaigrette and a glass of your favorite white wine (We love Clover Hill because it's tasty, local and cheaper than imported wine!).
Real and Kid-Friendly Macaroni and Cheese Recipe - Ready to Put in the Oven
Ready to pop in the oven!



Cumin Vinagrette over Spinach Salad

A delicious and healthy salad dressy with a bite of cumin, but not spicy!

  • Author: Sara - My Merry Messy Life
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: Dressing
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix all ingredients together and shake, and pour over your salad.
Real and Kid-Friendly Macaroni and Cheese Recipe with Salad and Cumin Vinagrette

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *