Sunday, April 15, 2012
Macaroni and Cheese Cups
Even though I had my last day at my old job, I didn't want to miss a baby shower that we'd been planning for months. Luckily, it fell during my week off between jobs, so I was able to make it! I was especially excited to meet my former coworker's wife, Christina, because I love her blog, Proper Hunt. She is absolutely gorgeous and has amazing taste! She looked gorgeous at the shower in a floor length blue dress. You couldn't even tell she was pregnant until she turned around!
The shower was a really nice time. We played the "baby food game" which I'd never played before. We guessed based on look alone what a whole bunch of 1 ingredient baby foods were. The chicken and turkey with gravy are some of the grossest looking foods I've ever seen! Then, we had a few extra credit multi-ingredient baby foods. The fruit ones weren't so bad, but the chicken-based jars smelled so terrible. There was no way I was tasting those! Do people really give these to their kids? Or do they make their own foods for their babies?
I wanted to make something for the adults that would be a little bit fun. I love these Mac and Cheese cups because they are filling enough for a luncheon, but don't require a knife and fork. The original recipe used full size muffin cups, but I wanted to make them a little bit smaller to fit with the "baby" theme. I think they came out super adorable and everyone seemed to enjoy them!
The original recipe called for seasoned breadcrumbs, but I really like to season my own. It allows me to have more control over my ingredients and salt content. I added a dash of cayenne because I know that the father-to-be enjoys a little bit of heat. It was just enough to add flavor but shouldn't scare away anyone who doesn't like spice - they definitely weren't spicy! I really like panko breadcrumbs so I decided to use them for this recipe, but you can use anything you have on hand or even make your own.
I think this recipe came out pretty tasty. They are super easy to put together and you can eat them with your hands. These would be a delicious and fun meal to make for your kids or to serve at a barbeque as a vegetarian option. If you wanted to make them even more special, you could use different types of cheese like goat cheese or monterey jack. You could even add in chopped bacon for some extra flavor. But really, it's pretty wonderful as is!
Macaroni and Cheese Cups
adapted slightly from all recipes
2 c uncooked elbow macaroni
1 tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten
1 c milk
1 1/2 c shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (divided)
1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c Panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease a mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, olive oil, and salt. Set aside.
3. 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). Drain and return to the pan, removing from heat.
4. Stir in the butter and egg until pasta is evenly coated.
5. Stir in milk, mozzarella cheese, and 1 c of the cheddar cheese into the pasta.
6. Spoon into the prepared mini muffin tin.
7. Sprinkle the reserved cheese and the bread crumb mixture over the tops.
8. 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 and serving.