These baby led weaning butternut squash mac and cheese bites make the perfect on the go healthy snack or lunch with extra veggies to boot for babies, toddlers and kids and even parents too.
I’m pretty sure mac and cheese is a childhood right of passage. So there is NO WAY I am skimping out on this childhood experience for Baby E. While I have no issues with the blue box stuff (#nostalgia), I wanted to create a finger food for Baby E that’s easy to take with me when we eat out, and easy to batch prep and freeze!
So these butternut squash mac and cheese bites were born and they’ve since become a favourite in Baby E’s lunch. Not only are these adorbs mac and cheese bites bougie AF, but they’re also baby led weaning friendly and are packed with some nutrient heavy hitters (including some naturally sweet veggies!).
Let’s discuss these mac and cheese bites in greater detail.
how to make these blw butternut squash mac and cheese Bites
To make these mac and cheese bites I like to use this silicon muffin tin, because it helps the cups pop out easily when it’s cooked and makes the perfect cup size for your babe to likely throw on the table before making it to their mouth.
To make these mini muffin cups, start by making a roux by melting butter in a pan, add onions, garlic and then the flour and milk. Once the roux has thickened, add the frozen (so much easier) butternut squash and a little spices to give the mac and cheese that signature orange colour. Transfer the sauce to a blender and combine until it reaches a smooth consistency. Return the sauce to the pan add your cheeses. Finally, I take the pan off the heat and add the cooked bean pasta and egg (as binder and iron!) and mix to combine.
Now it’s time to grab your trusty silicone muffin tin, spray it with nonstick spray and spoon the mixture to each tin. Top it with ground flax, hemp hearts and parmesan for some extra flavour and nutrition and let them cook until golden brown.
Are these mac and cheese BITES freezer friendly
Obvs. I’m a mom, so making these mini mac muffins isn’t just for fun. These cups are just what I need when I need to pack a quick lunch for Baby E, or a snack when we go to the park. When the mac and cheese bites have cooled, throw them in a freezer bag and when the moment strikes, these cups will save the day.
Can I Make These Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese bites Gluten Free?
You bet! Just go for gluten free pasta and flour! My pick is chickpea or bean based pasta for extra nutrition!
How do I get extra protein into these butternut squash mac and cheese bites?
We are a huge fan of using bean based pasta because it packs a ton of fibre and protein! If your kid is a carbaholic like mine (they all are!!) this is a great way to sneak some extra protein in.
Now I want to hear from you.
Would you make these butternut squash mac and cheese cups?
What are your go-to baby led weaning snack recipes?
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BLW Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Bites
- 1 lb chickpea macaroni
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 yellow onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups frozen butternut squash cubes thawed
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 cup grated cheddar
- 1 cup grated fresh mozzarella
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 tbsp hemp hearts
- 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp ground flax
- Cook the pasta al dente according to box directions. Set aside.
- To a medium skillet with high sides, over medium heat, heat the butter.
- Add the onions and garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the flour and stir to make a roux.
- Add the milk and cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently until the milk bubbles slightly and thickens.
- Add the butternut squash, mustard and paprika and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes until they are soft.
- Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the sauce back to the pot over medium low heat and add the cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Cook until the cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Take the sauce off the heat and add to the pasta.
- Beat the eggs and quickly mix with the sauce and pasta.
- Spray 72 mini muffin tins with nonstick spray (ideally use silicon like these ones). Fill the muffin tins with the mixture and top with flax, hemp hearts and parmesan.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and set in a 350 degree oven.
- Serve right away, or transfer to a freezer bag to pull out as easy on the go snacks.
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian, an avid food writer and blogger, a cookbook author and the founder of Abbey’s Kitchen Inc.