Friday, January 21, 2011

Mac & Cheese Muffins

In celebration of my 34th birthday this week I wanted to take my favorite comfort dish and create something NEW.  As I searched for inspiration I came across a blog that featured a restaurant (not here in Memphis) that was making mac and cheese into muffins.  Now they got pretty fancy, adding bacon, bell peppers and such..which is great but to me the simpler the better.  Just a few key ingredients and a muffin pan works just fine.  Plus this dish is super easy clean up, especially with the liners.  Another great aspect with these little babies is how these are pre-portioned out for you.  A typical serving of pasta is 1/2 cup of cooked pasta (unlike what you would find in a restaurant) so you don't have to feel guilty for having 1 or 2 because they are only about 1/4 cup each.  It's really all about portion control & this is a great example about what I am all about.  You can still enjoy things like mac and cheese when it's done sensibly.  ENJOY!!!

All you will need is:
1 (3-5 quart) pot
muffin pan and liners (suggest paper ones)

8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 - 2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (dijon works great too)
1 T dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste (recommendation: 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon white pepper)

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners (paper or foil)
2. Cook the macaroni, drain and immediately return to pot.
3. Add butter, garlic, dry mustard, parsley and about 1/2 the cheese.  Stir briefly until it begins to slowly melt (I had the stove on medium low at this point). 
4. Whisk eggs & milk together, add to pot with the macaroni. Add remaining cheese slowly til it comes together, it will be soupy consistency. Don't worry you are doing it right. 
5. Ladle macaroni mixture into muffin pan & bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly & Serve. You can allow them to cool a bit before serving, I think it makes it easier to remove the liners but if you are like me & can't wait that long don't feel bad & just ENJOY!!!

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