Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mac and Cheese Muffins

Who doesn't love macaroni and cheese?! Usually it makes a ton and you never know how much is a serving of the cheesy goodness. Here is the perfect solution, mac and cheese muffins! It is a simple recipe that is poured into well greased muffin tins for built in portion control and easier transportation. I made these for a cocktail party as a more substantial finger food and they hold up well enough to be eaten with your hands, but can also be a side dish for any meal. If you want, you can add in some brocoli or bell peppers to get in a vegetable but I kept it pure. If you have any left over I actually thought they tasted better the second day when reheated in the oven because it allowed the sides to brown up more and get crispier. Another tip, don't use the low-fat cheese, it won't melt. I tried to make things healthier but it just didn't melt properly.

Mac and Cheese Muffins
Slightly adapted from: All Recipes
Yields: 12 regular muffins

2 cups elbow macaroni
1 Tablespoon butter
1 egg, beaten
1 cup 2% milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs (optional)
2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, olive oil and salt; set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for about 8 minutes, it should still be a little bit firm. Remove from the heat, drain and return to the pan; stir in the butter and egg until pasta is evenly coated. Reserve 1/2 cup of sharp Cheddar cheese and stir the remaining Cheddar cheese, milk and mozzarella cheese into the pasta. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the reserved cheese and the bread crumb mixture over the tops.

3. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the topping is nicely browned. Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. This will allow the cheese to set and they will hold their muffin shape.

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