Kid-friendly Superfragilistic Cauliflower Chive Mac 'n Cheese Cobbler in a Mug Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Superfragilistic Cauliflower Chive Mac 'n Cheese Cobbler in a Mug

Recipe: Superfragilistic Cauliflower Chive Mac 'n Cheese Cobbler in a Mug

Superfragilistic Cauliflower Chive Mac 'n Cheese Cobbler in a Mug

by Erin Fletter
Photo by olepeshkina/
prep time
15 minutes
cook time
4 minutes
1-1 servings

Fun Food Story

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Superfragilistic Cauliflower Chive Mac 'n Cheese Cobbler in a Mug

Take a kids’ classic like Mac ‘n Cheese and give it a healthy twist with cauliflower, and you’ve got a recipe that’s perfectly suited for Sticky Fingers Cooking! The best part is that you can substitute any frozen vegetable for cauliflower, and it will be equally delicious. We want kids to see how easy it is to make themselves a healthier after-school snack and to get curious about vegetables by introducing them in a familiar way. Have fun this week by teaching kids a bit of history behind this iconic American classic, singing Yankee Doodle Dandy, and telling plenty of bad (but good) food jokes!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • microwave :

    to heat or cook food or liquid quickly in a microwave oven, which uses high-frequency electromagnetic waves to generate heat in the food's water molecules.

  • shape :

    to form food into a specific shape by hand or with a cutting tool—examples are cutting cookie dough into shapes with cookie cutters, forming bread dough into a roll or crescent shape, and rolling ground meat into a meatball.

  • snip :

    to use scissors to cut something with quick, sharp strokes.

  • whisk :

    to beat or stir ingredients vigorously with a fork or whisk to mix, blend, or incorporate air.

Equipment Checklist

  • Microwave
  • Microwave safe mug
  • Mixing bowl
  • Clean pair of kid-safe scissors
  • Measuring spoons
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Metal spoon
  • Paper towels
  • Whisk
  • Soap for cleaning hands


Superfragilistic Cauliflower Chive Mac 'n Cheese Cobbler in a Mug

  • 1 C frozen cauliflower florets (or frozen broccoli/mixed frozen veggies)
  • 2 T shredded cheddar cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free Daiya brand cheese shreds + 1 pinch nutritional yeast)**
  • 1 T whipped cream cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free cream cheese)**
  • 2 T heavy whipping cream, divided **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub puréed silken tofu)**
  • 1 tiny squeeze of dijon mustard (or 1 tiny pinch of mustard powder)
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 2 T whole wheat or unbleached all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 T cold butter **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance, or a nut-free oil, like olive or vegetable oil)**
  • 10 fresh chives

Food Allergen Substitutions

Superfragilistic Cauliflower Chive Mac 'n Cheese Cobbler in a Mug

  • Dairy: Substitute dairy-free/nut-free Daiya brand cheese shreds + 1 pinch nutritional yeast for shredded cheddar cheese. Substitute dairy-free/nut-free cream cheese. Substitute puréed silken tofu for heavy whipping cream. Substitute dairy-free/nut-free butter, like Earth Balance, or a nut-free oil, like olive or vegetable oil for butter.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour.


Superfragilistic Cauliflower Chive Mac 'n Cheese Cobbler in a Mug

combine + add + mix

To a mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese, 1 tablespoon whipped cream cheese, 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream, 1 pinch of black pepper, and 1 tiny squeeze of dijon mustard. Add 1 cup frozen cauliflower florets. Mix well to coat the florets with the cheese mixture! Add the cheesy veggies to your microwavable mug.

cover + microwave

Cover the mug with a damp paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes.

whisk + cut in

Mix up your cobbler dough! To the same mixing bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons flour, 1/8 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 pinch of salt. Chop 1/2 tablespoon cold butter into tiny pieces and cut it into the flour with your fingers to combine.

snip + mix + form

Snip 10 chives into small pieces. Then, mix the chives and 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream into the dough. Form two biscuits with your hands!

top + shape + microwave

Top the cooked Cauliflower Mac 'n Cheese with the first biscuit. Form tiny shapes (e.g., a feather for a hat or features for a face) with the dough from the second biscuit and stick them on the first. Cover with a damp paper towel again and microwave for another 2 minutes. Let cool before digging in! It will be very hot!

Surprise Ingredient: Cauliflower!

back to recipe
Photo by Tetiana Maslovska/

Hi! I’m Cauliflower!

“I'm a vegetable with a head full of flowers—actually, flower buds. I'm a cauliflower, and my florets (also called curds) are a tight bunch! They are often white, but you might see cauliflowers with green, orange, and purple heads. We also have a variety called Romanesco broccoli (they like to be different), which is green with spiral, spiky-looking florets! Cauliflower is a great gluten-free substitute for a pizza crust, and you can make a yummy, low-carbohydrate version of mashed potatoes with me, too!"


  • Cauliflower is a cousin of kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, collard greens, and broccoli. These vegetables (including cauliflower) are descendants of the same wild vegetable called "Brassica oleracea." Brassica oleracea is native to the southern and western coasts of Europe (find these areas on your map!). 
  • Over several generations, farmers have selected different features of the Brassica oleracea. From these selections, each of the original species' modern-day relatives was born: cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli, collard greens, and cauliflower. 
  • These modern-day vegetables are called cultivars. They are different varieties of the same original plant bred to have desirable qualities for human purposes—in this case, to eat!
  • Cauliflower is quite a noble vegetable. History tells us that the French King Louis the 14th demanded that cauliflower be present at every feast.
  • China is the largest harvester of cauliflower in the world. China produces an estimated ten million tons of cauliflower and broccoli per year. 

Anatomy & Etymology

  • The head of the cauliflower (what we eat!) is actually undeveloped flowers! It's true! Each flower is bonded to its neighboring flower so that together, they form a tightly-packed head of "curds."
  • Cauliflowers can be purple, green, orange, yellow, or white!
  • Cauliflower develops coarse, green leaves that grow in a rosette shape. The leaves are attached to the stalk, which is centered and sturdy enough to hold the cauliflower's large, heavy white head.
  • These giant leaves grow up and over the cauliflower head to protect it. Cauliflower will stay white if farmers "blanch" it or cover the heads to shield them from the sun. When cauliflowers are the size of tennis balls, farmers cover them with their biggest outer leaves and tie them at the top. Farmers give the cauliflower leaves a haircut at harvest time and trim the huge leaves closer to the cauliflower head. 
  • If cauliflower heads are not covered as they grow, they will turn dull yellow. Yellow cauliflowers actually have MORE vitamins than white cauliflower because the sun has allowed the heads to develop phytonutrients or special plant vitamins. Heirloom varieties of cauliflower are naturally bright purple, green, or orange and are also high in phytonutrients.
  • Cauliflower is a bit of a picky vegetable. It doesn't like to grow in too hot or too cold temperatures. It also prefers a very comfortable environment free from pests like insects (as we imagine, would most veggies and fruits!). Cauliflower is especially prone to insect infestations. 
  • The word "cauliflower" may be from the French "chou-fleur" or from the Italian "cavolfiore," which both mean "cabbage flower." 

How to Pick, Buy, and Eat

  • Cauliflowers are picked when they have reached the expected size and texture.
  • When buying cauliflower, look for compact heads where the curds (individual florets) are not separated but tightly packed together. Avoid heads that have blemishes or spots on them.
  • Store raw cauliflower in a paper or plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Cauliflowers can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. (They're delicious pickled!)
  • You can sauté cauliflower leaves in butter (just ask Nigella Lawson!).
  • You can also rice cauliflower florets or curds by pulsing them in a food processor for a great low-carb alternative to white rice.


  • One cup of raw cauliflower has more vitamin C than an orange!
  • Cauliflower has quercetin, a pigment that helps protect our veins and arteries, the tubes that transport our blood!
  • Cauliflower is high in fiber, which helps us digest our food. 
  • Our bodies are basically giant collections of cells. Every organ, every inch of skin, every body part is made up of millions of invisible cells that each have their own job in keeping us healthy. 
  • Antioxidants are nutrients that clean our body's house to keep our cells happy and healthy. Fruits and vegetables provide these antioxidants, and cauliflower is an excellent source, keeping our internal house clean and healthy

History of Mac 'n Cheese!

Photo by Elena Shashkina/
  • Pasta and cheese recipes were first in 14th century Italian and medieval English cookbooks. A more modern recipe was found in a 1769 English housekeeping book. So how did macaroni and cheese become such a popular American dish? The prevailing story involves Thomas Jefferson, the third US president. Is it way too gouda to be true?! 
  • The story says that Thomas encountered macaroni and cheese when he traveled to Paris and northern Italy in the 1700s. He sketched the pasta and took detailed notes on how to make it. Then, in 1793, he sent an American ambassador all the way to Paris just to purchase a pasta machine so he could make his own macaroni. After a year of waiting, the device was finally brought back to Jefferson, and guess what?  It didn't work!
  • But Jefferson did not give up. He started importing dried macaroni pasta and Parmesan cheese from Italy to serve at his dinner parties at his home in Virginia. In 1802, Jefferson served the very first macaroni and cheese dish at a state dinner, which he named "a pie called macaroni." It was considered an exotic and fancy meal. As far as we know, this was the first time anyone in North America ate mac 'n cheese.
  • At that time, mac 'n cheese was considered a cuisine of the upper-class. However, Thomas Jefferson had slaves who cooked for him and his family. These slaves made this "fancy" dish their own, and mac 'n cheese became and remains a staple southern "soul food" dish. 
  • About two decades (20 years) after Jefferson served the first cheese pasta dish at his dinner party, a recipe called "macaroni and cheese" was published in the 1824 cookbook called The Virginia Housewife. A distant cousin of Jefferson's, Mary Randolph, wrote it. 
  • During the Great Depression in the USA in the 1930s, Kraft Foods created a boxed version: Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. As a result, mac' n cheese became affordable and accessible to all Americans, and it has been one of America's most popular comfort foods ever since.
  • July 14 is "National Mac and Cheese Day!"

Let's Learn About Colonial America!

Photo by Alexander Sviridov/ (Plymouth Colony Village Re-creation)
  • European settlers came to America from England, France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic in the late 1500s and created colonies for their respective countries. The Jamestown settlement in the Virginia colony was established in 1607 and was the first English community in the Americas. The Dutch founded the New Netherland colony in the area that is now the states of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. 
  • There are two reasons these countries colonized America. One was the access to natural resources in the new land and the ability to make money for investors back in their home countries. The second was for freedom to practice their religion without persecution. The Puritans were the first such pilgrims to leave England, and they settled at the Plymouth Plantation. The Province of Maryland was founded to protect English Roman Catholics. 
  • Unfortunately, foreign colonization brought hardship to the indigenous people already living there. One reason is that these people lived in an interconnected relationship with the land. In contrast, many colonists and their governments set out to conquer the land (and the Native Americans) to increase their property and wealth.
  • The thirteen British colonies eventually joined in revolting and fighting against the British in 1775 and declaring independence from the British government in July 1776. 

What Was It Like to Be a Kid in Colonial America?

  • The lives of colonists and their children were difficult. They had to live off the land and often suffered and died from diseases. Kids had to follow strict rules, and their parents expected them to do a lot of work at home.
  • There was a common belief that "children are to be seen and not heard." Therefore, kids were to eat quickly, without talking, and then leave the table as soon as they finished. Sometimes kids did not even sit at the table but stood behind their parents, waiting to have their food handed back to them!
  • Kids had household chores such as shelling corn, spinning cotton and wool, cutting sugar, gathering wood, making soap and candles, helping in the garden, and feeding the animals. 
  • Even babies had a job to do! Crawling was considered an animal behavior, so little ones wore stiff stays under their clothes to help them stay upright, keep good posture, and learn to stand and walk as soon as possible.
  • At the age of eight, boys started grammar school for writing and arithmetic, but for girls, education came second to their training in domestic duties. By age 14, young people were already considered adults. 
  • Children played with toys made of wood; however, they spent so much of their time doing chores they had to squeeze in playtime.

That's Berry Funny

What do you call a pasta that is sick? 

Mac and Sneeze.

The Yolk's On You

What do you get if you cross a sheepdog with a rose? 

A Collie-Flower!

The Yolk's On You

Customer: "Excuse me, waiter, is there Mac 'n Cheese on the menu?" 

Waiter: "No, madam, I wiped it off."

The Yolk's On You

"Knock, knock!" 

"Who's there?"  


"Cauliflower who?" 

"Cauliflower by any other name and it's still a daisy!"

Lettuce Joke Around

What kind of flowers should you NEVER give to your Mom on Mother’s Day? 


The Yolk's On You

What do you call a cauliflower growing at the edge of a garden? 

A border cauli!

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