I always think of cupcakes as the “super easy” yet impressive dessert to make. Mix up the batter, scoop it into baking cups, bake, decorate and go! But I honestly never think of using my muffin tins for much “outside of the box” cooking, except for some roasted garlic cloves every now and then. So when I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Muffin Tin Chef: 101 Savory Snacks, Adorable Appetizers, Enticing Entrees and Delicious Desserts to peruse and enjoy, I can honestly say that flipping through the pages was pure delight! As a mom who now constantly thinks of things in “bite size packages” I couldn’t get enough. A book full of yummy goodness that could be eaten with small hands yet impressive and simple to make for parties and guests at home!
The first recipe I was dying to try is no surprise to moms out there: mini macaroni and cheese! And the first occasion to make them for: a casual surprise party for my Grandma’s 90th birthday, as an accompaniment to a variety of sliders and other picnic food. And guess what – they’re just as delicious as they sound!
Mini Macaroni and Cheese
[recipe shared from Muffin Tin Chef: 101 Savory Snacks, Adorable Appetizers, Enticing Entrees and Delicious Desserts by Matt Kadey – with permission of the publishers]
8 ounces whole-grain macaroni (elbow) pasta
1. cups shredded cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), divided
2 large eggs
¾ cup low-fat milk
⅓ cup plain low-fat yogurt, preferably Greek-style
½ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped chives
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon grainy or Dijon mustard (I kept this out)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup panko (Japanese-style) bread crumbs
Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions until al dente. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and stir in the cheddar cheese and ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and stir in the milk and yogurt. Add the egg mixture to the pasta mixture along with the sun-dried tomatoes, chives, cayenne, if using, nutmeg, mustard, salt, and pepper and mix well. Divide the mixture among 12 medium muffin cups. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in the bread crumbs and cook until browned, stirring regularly. Stir the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese into the toasted bread crumbs, sprinkle over the pasta mixture, and bake until set, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before unmolding.
I cut little squares of parchment paper to stuff in my muffin tins to make the unmolding easier, since I don’t have silicone muffin tins.
But even unmolded, they look just as pretty, and are still mess-free to eat!
And if you would like to check out these wonderful recipes for yourself, I have a little surprise for you!
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