We've figured out how to make a kid-friendly dinner without forgoing more sophisticated flavors. For our recipe, you start with a basic mac-and-cheese, then halve it and keep one portion plain for the kids. The other gets more grown-up treatment with the addition of lump crab and artichokes (and it's so yummy your kids may even be tempted to eat a few bites). Both versions take just a few minutes in the oven, which means less time in the kitchen, more time at the table!
Hands-on Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4 adults and 6 children
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
In a 12-inch, ovenproof skillet set over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Whisk in the flour until a smooth paste is formed. Whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream until smooth. Continue whisking until the mixture begins to bubble, about 7 minutes. Whisk in the Gruyère, the Cheddar, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and salt until the cheeses melt, about 1 minute more. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cooked pasta.
Transfer 5 cups of the pasta mixture to another ovenproof skillet and set it aside. Stir the crab, the artichoke hearts, the chives or scallions, and the green chiles into the remaining pasta.
Adjust the oven rack to 8 inches below the broiler element and set the broiler to low. In the microwave, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small bowl, then toss it with the remaining Parmesan and bread crumbs. Sprinkle half the mixture over the top of each pasta skillet. Sprinkle the pepper over the crab pasta dish.
Broil both dishes until golden brown and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Cool the pasta for 5 minutes before serving.