Instant Pot Mac and Cheese:
This simple Mac and cheese is creamy, easy to make, and uses pantry staples. It is the perfect addition to school lunch. Pop it in a thermos to enjoy on the go!
If your kids had the choice, wouldn’t they rather have a delicious, healthy lunch that’s fresh and different every day than the same old sandwiches? Get this year off to a great start with school lunch ideas that will have your kids as excited about that brown bag as they are about recess, including this totally easy and creamy Instant Pot Mac and Cheese!
Who wouldn’t want this Mac and Cheese in their lunch box? When it comes to lunchbox ideas, this is a good one! The sauce is so cheesy and creamy. The addition of the spices and the mustard don’t change that cheese flavor, but rather enhance it and help you notice it more so you don’t end up with a bland Mac and cheese.
What goes into a good lunch?
Can you remember your own school lunch bag?
Classic lunches contained a wrapped sandwich, bag of chips, apple, and a cookie! Boring? Maybe, but at least those pieces gives us a good place to start. A great lunch generally has a few key components:
- Main dish that you know your kid likes
- A side of some kind
- Fresh fruit or vegetables, maybe even both
- And a treat (because lunch feeds the stomach AND soul, right?)
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
One of my favorite foods that meets all of the above requirements is Instant Pot Mac and Cheese!
This delicious Mac and cheese is so creamy and tasty, and ridiculously easy to make. You can make it in 15 minutes in the morning before school. It only requires a few ingredients, and a pressure cooker!
- Put organic chicken stock into a pressure cooker with elbow macaroni and seasonings.
- Pressure cook for 5 minutes.
- Add Horizon Organic Milk and Horizon Organic Cheddar Cheese, and Parmesan cheese to the pot and stir!
Okay, great, but seriously…what can I make for lunch besides sandwiches?
I love this Mac and cheese because it is something my kids will take in their lunches to school if I make it in the morning and pop it in a thermos or insulated food jar. These are the ones we got because they are the right height and size for my age of kids. I love using them for soups, and warm foods.
So while the kids are eating breakfast and running around doing those last minute things before school, you can quickly and easily toss everything in the pressure cooker and have this hot and ready before you walk out the door.
The best solution is to simply give your kids plenty of options and see what they like best. Here are four ideas that are going to make your kids the lunchroom stars:
- Mac and Cheese, grapes, cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes, a Chocolate Milk Box!
- Hard boiled egg, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, string cheese, crackers, and a milk box!
- Quesadilla triangles, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, orange slices, milk box!
- Cottage cheese, fresh fruit, homemade muffins, seeds, chocolate milk!
Find more fun ideas for nutritious, easy, lunch ideas for back to school in these posts:
- Lunchbox Ideas
- Pasta Salad Lunch Box Ideas
- Protein Gummies + 8 Lunch Ideas
- Back to School: Lunches
- Beyond Sandwiches Lunches
Instant Pot Favorites
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces Uncooked elbow macaroni
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 2 Tbs Butter
- 1 Tbs Dijon Mustard
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1 Cup Mexican blend Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- Add the uncooked macaroni, chicken broth, butter, dijon mustard, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, and salt to the Instant Pot.
- Place the lid on the pot, and lock into place.
- Set the valve to sealing.
- Cook on "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" on high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Quick release the pressure in the Instant Pot after the 5 minutes are up.
- Stir your macaroni, and stir in milk and cheeses.
- Stir until smooth and adjust liquid as needed.
- Taste, season, and enjoy!
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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