I am usually full of ideas and every once in awhile, I decide to act on one of them without fully thinking it through. Such was the case, when we decided to take our kids to Chicago for a long weekend earlier this month. After we got them all excited, then I remembered that we can't eat out with Tomas' FPIES and I would need to pack all of our food. All of the food for 9 people for 5 days.
Suffice it to say we came home with 4 fewer bags than we left with.
Two things made our trip possible food wise- my InstaPot and kids who know how to cook. Ok, there was also a serious amount of up front planning and preparation, but those two made the whole thing a success in the implementation stage.
My general food plan was to do as much as I could upfront. We brought a couple dozen hardboiled eggs and four pounds of homemade meatballs. I packed individual hummus and labeled boxes of crackers and bread by which meal it was needed for. I also packed basics such as cheese, butter, peanut butter, and organic frozen broccoli. We kept breakfast and lunch simple, planning picnics for at least one meal each day. I knew we would need something more substantial for dinners, however, if I wanted to keep my little travelers on my side.
The winner, winner hotel dinner was hands down our InstaPot Mac & Cheese. It only took 15-20 minutes and the kids managed all of the work while I was nursing the baby after a long day. Adding in meatballs and frozen broccoli, it was so much the favorite meal that they requested it a second night! Night two we cooked the meatballs and broccoli right in with the pasta making a casserole like meal that was slightly different than the day before.
We can't use pre-shredded cheese due to additives, but we brought along the grater and while the pasta was cooking the kids took care of grating. Even Tomas got into the game this time, which tells me he is ready for some new kitchen presentations of his own.
Nothing like a little work to keep the mind off of the hungry belly!
Since coming home, my kids have requested this meal more times than I can count, which has led to two of my older children learning how to operate the InstaPot. This expands their already thorough cooking skills even further.
Indahl Favorite InstaPot Mac & Cheese
1 lb of Macaroni Noodles + 4 Cups of Water, 4 Minutes on High Pressure
Cancel & Quick Release Pressure (You shouldn't need to drain the water, but if it seems like there is a lot you can.)
Then Stir In Slowly:
2-4 Cups Shredded Cheese
1/2-1 Cup Milk (Whole is best)
1 Stick of Butter
Salt/Pepper to Taste
I mean with all that dairy fat, how could this not be delicious?!?!
Are you interested in having kids who can do more in the kitchen? My friend Katie over at Kitchen Stewardship has an incredible Kids Cook Real Food eCourse! Click below for more information!