Kids + Cooking = Fun and Learning with Nielsen-Massey

Classic Back to School Lunches with a Twist

Mouthwatering meals from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas that parents can use to teach math, science to children

Waukegan, Ill. (July 15, 2015) – With more than 40 percent of kids bringing food to school (U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service), preparing a pa-per-bagged lunch is an opportunity for parents to cook with their children and add in an educational lesson along the way.

Setting the timer, mixing wet and dry ingredients, sharing the benefits of fruits and vegetables, and demonstrating other cooking and baking processes are simple exercises parents can use to introduce chemistry, math and nutrition to their children. This fall, Nielsen-Massey recipes feature high quality meals that trump the traditional turkey sandwich and apple combo, offering lunch options that are both nourishing and delicious.

“Cooking together is a great bonding experience for parents and children,” said Beth Nielsen, Chief Culinary Officer of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Inc. “While measuring ingredients and watching muffin dough rise, kids can learn about fractions and chemical reactions while creating a mouthwatering meal for the school day.”

Send a taste of home to school in a heat locking Thermos with the rich flavors of the Cheesiest Gluten-Free Jack Mack (recipe below). Using a blend of Monterey Jack, sharp white cheddar and American cheeses, the savory combination comes to life with several teaspoons of Nielsen-Massey Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and a topping of gluten-free pretzels, perfect for kids with dietary re-strictions. A twist on a kid-friendly meal, this delectable plate will put a smile on even the pickiest student’s face.

Come dessert, kids will beg to make more of the delicious Healthy Fruit Nut Muffins. The treat mixes Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Pure Vanilla Powder with a variety of fruits and vegetables as a sweet and clever way for kids to eat their veggies—and love them, too.

Kids + Cooking = Fun and Learning with Nielsen-MasseyCheesiest Gluten-Free Jack Mac

Serves 8

12 ounces gluten-free uncooked elbow macaroni
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely shredded
8 ounces extra sharp white Cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
4 ounces American cheese, cut into small pieces
1½ cups whole milk
2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract
¼ teaspoon organic garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
½ cup crushed gluten-free pretzels
½ tablespoon butter (for pretzels)


While macaroni is cooking prepare cheeses; set aside. Cook macaroni al dente accord-ing to package directions, rinse well with cold water and drain; set aside.

To a small bowl, add milk, vanilla extract, garlic powder, salt and pepper; stir to combine and set aside.
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, cook and whisk for about 2-3 minutes. Gradually pour milk mixture into pot while continuously stirring, about 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add cheeses. Cook and stir until cheeses melt. Add drained macaroni, stir to coat and remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Coat 8 (6-ounce) ramekins with cooking spray and place on a heavy, rimmed baking sheet. In a small microwave safe dish, melt butter; add crushed pretzels and stir to coat. Evenly fill ramekins with macaroni and top with pretzels. Bake on lower rack until heated through, about 10-15 minutes.

If baking in a casserole dish, coat with cooking spray; add mac and cheese and top with crushed-buttered pretzels, bake until done, about 25-30 minutes.

Visit for additional vanilla- and flavor-infused back-to-school lunch recipes, including:

About Nielsen-Massey Vanillas

Throughout its more than 100 year history, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has earned its reputation as a manufacturer of the finest extracts in the world. The full line of Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Vanilla products include: Vanilla Beans and Extracts from Madagascar, Tahiti and Mexico; sugar and alcohol-free Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste; Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Sugar, Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Beans. Nielsen-Massey Fairtrade products are certified by FLO-CERT.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas also offers a full line of Pure Flavors: Pure Chocolate Extract, Pure Almond Extract, Pure Orange Extract, Pure Lemon Extract, Pure Coffee Extract, Pure Peppermint Extract, Orange Blossom Water and Rose Water. All Nielsen-Massey products are All-Natural, Allergen-Free, GMO-Free, and certified Kosher and Gluten-Free. The company is headquartered in Waukegan, Illinois, with production facilities in Waukegan and Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.