Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve dinner for a tired, happy toddler

It's 5pm on Christmas Eve. So far today Little E has eaten two fried eggs, bacon ("ham! ham!"), two pancakes with raspberry sauce, gingerbread ("biccies"), chips (also biccies), rice crackers (little biccies), miniature chocolate Christmas brownies ("cakey") and mountains of watermelon.

It's dinner time. She's tired. I need something fail safe. So here it is. Cook in the microwave cheese sauce to put on pasta, and a plate with some cucumber and tomato.

Microwave cheese sauce for pasta or potatoes or whatever else

1 heaped tablespoon of butter
1 heaped tablespoon of plain flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup of grated cheese
Chopped parsley or chives
1. Put the butter in a microwave proof jug or deep bowl and zap for long enough that it melts (30 seconds in our microwave).
2. Add the flour and whisk vigorously until it makes a thick, lump-free paste.
3. Add the milk a little at a time and whisk vigorously until the liquid is lump-free, scraping down the sides with a spatula if necessary.
4. Zap in the microwave for two minutes then take out and stir.
5. Zap another two minutes then take out and stir again (you may need to do this again depending on your microwave - it should be quite thick by this point).
6. Stir in the cheese, zap for a further 60 seconds.
7. Stir in the herbs.
8. Serve on pasta. Freeze the excess in small portions in sandwich bags or ice cube trays.

I've used it as the base for baked macaroni cheese and I reckon it would be good on baked/boiled potatoes. I've also seen recipes that involve baking leftover cooked rice with cheese sauce and cooked vegetables.

I would post a photo of the result but again it was served in the red Ikea googly-eye bowl and no one but a toddler would think it appealing. That said, our toddler just devoured her bowl of without complaint and demanded seconds - a happy household all round. We're set to repeat today's excesses tomorrow.

Merry Christmas wherever you are.

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