Mac & Cheese – Make it with Ribeye

Stay-at-home mom and dad, when was the last time you made a kid-friendly mac & cheese with ribeye steak for your littles? Ribeyes usually go on the grill for the adults. But why not for the kids?

You might say, “Too expensive.” Makes sense if your children are growing teenagers. Little children, on the other hand, don’t eat that much.

Add Ribeye Steak

The next time you make mac and cheese, add ribeye strips. Serve it to the whole family – yes, even the littles. Not sure that they will like it? Put the steak strips on the side if you think they won’t eat it mixed in with the macaroni.

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My kid-friendly ribeye story:

Since I love ribeye, I wanted to try it out with mac and cheese for my grandchildren. The two youngest were coming for a few days to see my husband and me, and I couldn’t wait to make my new kid-friendly ribeye recipe idea. The Ribeye Mac & Cheese went on the week’s menu plan.

The Uber Rider

Actually, I wasn’t sure how the littles would like the steak with macaroni and cheese. But before they came, I was driving for Uber one day. One of the riders happened to be a young man who works at a steak restaurant. Our conversation led to food, and I mentioned that I’m a food blogger and told him about my ribeye mac and cheese idea. He said he brings steak home from the restaurant, and his one-year-old daughter loves it. My Uber rider agreed that my grandchildren would like the ribeye with macaroni and cheese.

How the Ribeye Mac and Cheese Turned Out

Guess what! The littles liked it. And so did my husband. The dish was served in purple and pink plates for the children and Corelle dinner plates for my hubby and me. At first, the three-year-old looked at her plate and asked what it was. To be honest, she didn’t seem enthused. However, she loves macaroni and cheese. So she took a bite, liked it, and ate it all. The two-year-old ate about half of the ribeye mac and cheese in his plate. Oftentimes, children don’t finish their food. Therefore, I was surprised to notice that both littles ate as much as they did.

Serve Ribeye Mac & Cheese in Colorful Divided Plates

mac & cheese
Kid-Friendly Mac & Cheese
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Present a colorful tablescape with attractive divided plates in pink, purple, and blue or whatever your children’s favorite colors are. Look for cute dishes at Target and Walmart, or order them from Amazon. Decorate your table with a special touch, such as a candle or a bowl of apples (a favorite part of my tablescapes when the grand-littles come).

Hint for including apples as part of your table display:

If your grandchildren (or children) are like mine, they will grab an apple and take a bite or two, and they’re done with it. Purchase a bag of small apples.

Why choose a bag and not individual apples?

After watching a lady pick up several apples at in a produce section at a grocery store, inspecting each one between her hands and placing them back into the apple bin, all I could think of was GERMS. Of course, the apples would be washed before eating them. Nonetheless, that experience inspired me to buy bagged apples.

Teaching Kids Hospitality

No matter how simple or elegant, table designs can be considered kid-friendly because you are teaching your children how to be hospitable. They will learn from you what showing hospitality means.

Hospitality is not only providing hotel or restaurant services. It begins in the home with caring ways – like setting the table with fun and beautiful objects of each season. For example, use a dinosaur tablecloth to enhance your kids meal.

Little Things that Bring Joy

Imagine how eager your children or grandchildren will be to eat dinner at the table when they see a dinosaur tablecloth. It’s doing little things like using fun-themed tablecloths that bring joy to our littles, spouses, relatives, friends, and acquaintances.

Include a macaroni and cheese dish as part of your weekly menu. Little kids and the big kids at heart (yes, even the Mommy, Daddy, Grandma – whoever’s doing the cooking and the eating), love mac and cheese. Buy the boxed kind, or make it as fancy as you wish.

Shown here are five types of divided plates in all kinds of colors that you can find on Amazon:

Mac & Cheese – the Boxed Kind

Mac & cheese is one of the easiest dishes to make. The simplest (probably not the most nutritious) is the boxed kind. Basically, you pour water in a pot, add salt, boil, open the box of macaroni, add the pasta to the boiling water, drain the macaroni, add the cheese from the packet, and stir. If you’re using a box of macaroni and cheese, follow the directions on the box. Back in the day, there was one kind of macaroni and cheese on the shelf at the grocery store. Now, you have choices. For instance, some packets of cheese come in powder. Others you squeeze the cheese out.

Look for fun shapes and healthy macaroni and cheese like Annie’s found on Amazon:

Mac & Cheese – the Bagged Kind 

The best kind of macaroni and cheese (my opinion) is the bagged large elbow macaroni that you boil and then add Velveeta (or store brand) cheese. And this is the way Kid-Friendly Mac & Cheese – Kitchen Southern Hospitality  Ribeye Recipe is made (with gluten-free pasta).

Cook the Ribeye in the Pressure Cooker First

First, you cook the ribeye steak. Grill it, cook it in a cast iron skillet, slow cook it, or cook it in a pressure cooker as I did for this recipe. It’s easy. You can make the whole meal fairly quickly. However, I cooked my ribeye in a pressure cooker ahead of time, cut it into strips, then stored it in the fridge for two days for this Ribeye Mac & Cheese recipe. See my recipe for pressure cooker ribeye.

Make Ribeye Mac and Cheese:

Kid-Friendly Mac & Cheese – Kitchen Southern Hospitality Ribeye Recipe

Kid-Friendly Mac & Cheese – Kitchen Southern Hospitality Ribeye Recipe


  • 5 cups water
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 bag of Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Elbow
  • 1 lb. Great Value Reduced Fat Melt'n Dip Easy Melt Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Great Value Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Ribeye steaks, cooked and cut into strips


  1. Bring water and salt to boiling.
  2. Add pasta to boiling water, and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Pour the water and pasta into a colander.
  4. Drain the water.
  5. Rinse the pasta in cold water.
  6. Put the pasta back into the pot.
  7. Slice the cheese into small cubes, and stir into the pasta.
  8. Add the whipping cream with the pasta and cheese.
  9. Turn burner to low, and stir the pasta mixture until the cheese is melted.
  10. Heat steak strips either in a microwave or in a pan on the stove.
  11. Serve the pasta with steak strips on top (or serve with steak strips on the side).
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More Ideas for Macaroni Lovers

Pasta makes great hot dishes as well as cold. It’s good in salads, by itself, or in casseroles. “There are approximately 350 different types of pasta around the world” according to the fun-to-read Wonderopolis website. Choose long or short noodles, stars, tiny pasta or large.

Like mac and cheese but want a healthy recipe as much as it is delicious? Try this wonderfully-tasting cauliflower dish below (it’s kid-friendly and a great way to include veggies). If you are in need of comfort food, something with pasta, make the Southern Comfort Macaroni Goulash.

  1. Mac and Cheese Cauliflower – This is probably the most nutritious mac and cheese recipe I’ve tried, and it is delicious. Great recipe for people who stay away from pasta but love mac and cheese.
  2. Southern Comfort Macaroni Goulash – Goulash is a feel-good food for Southerners. But you don’t have to be from the South to love this comfort food. Cheese is optional in this recipe. It’s good with or without the cheese.

How Pasta is Made

Pasta is commonly made with semolina, a wheat flour. However, pasta is also made with various types of grains such as corn, quinoa, and rice. The Kid-Friendly Mac & Cheese recipe is made with a brown-rice pasta, al dente, wheat free, and gluten-free. Fortunately, supermarkets now are carrying a wide range of pasta types. But if your local grocery store doesn’t have what you’re looking for, order online.

Thank you for visiting Kitchen Southern Hospitality, a blog that encourages families to create joy with healthy recipes and dining through hospitality in the home and kitchen.

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