Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes.
You can't beat this simple, freezer-friendly kid recipe. Make a Macaroni and Cheese Cupcake for your kid for dinner. Macaroni and Cheese, one of the five things kids will actually eat, is even better in the shape of a cupcake, no?
After by a cooking class I went to at Central Market today, I wanted to share this tasty recipe because it's one of those that you smack yourself in the head and say "Of course, how brilliant." Kids will think it is cute, it's made of cheese, and it takes no time at all. Bonus? You can make a bunch and freeze them individually, making it easy to whip out a "new" dinner for a picky toddler who won't eat what you've cooked. (Or leave them for a babysitter to heat up in the microwave for your kids.)
This recipe came to me from Cabot Cheese, who hosted the cooking class today. You find this and other kid-friendly food on my Kids Eat This pinterest board here.
Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes
2 cups small dry elbow macaroni
Cooking Spray (like PAM)
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground paper to taste
Pinch of ground red pepper (optional)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
2 ounces of Neufchatel cream cheese
8 ounces of sharp cheddar (we used Cabot Sharp Light Cheddar), grated
1/3 cup Italian-flavored, or plain dry breadcrumbs
Cook macaroni according to package directions. Chef Linda at Central Market advises adding 2 Tablespoons of salt to the water for the pasta, to season it. Totally makes it taste better. Drain well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8 muffin cups with cooking spray and set aside.
Place flour in a large saucepan over medium heat, gradually whisking in milk. Add mustard, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, red pepper and Worcestershire. Continue cooking until sauce thickens, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream cheese until well blended. Add 2/3 cup of your grated cheese and stir until melted. Add macaroni, stirring until well coated.
Spoon into your muffin cups.
Toss remaining shredded cheese with breadcrumbs and sprinkle over top of macaroni in the cups.
Spray the top of the bread crumbs with cooking spray. (This will make the breadcrumb topping get crispy in the oven. Neat trick!)
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until golden on top, and bubbling throughout.
Serve as your main dish for a toddler, or as a side dish for an adult. And since I'm a mom who hides extra healthy stuff in food, I'm adding ground flax seed to the breadcrumb topping.
The registered dietitians for Cabot, Regan Jones, and Robin Plotkin, let us know that this recipe is a great freezer day recipe! If you're going to make these ahead of time and freeze, double this recipe to make 16 of them. Once they are baked and cooled, set them on a cookie sheet with some space in-between them. Freeze them this way. Then place each one in it's own Ziploc Freezer Bag. Now you've got 16 quick go-to meals or snacks for your little ones, or a quick and pretty side dish you can heat up in the microwave.
You can find other neat Cabot Cheese recipes on their website here.
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Mommy's Wish List Disclosure: Cabot Cheese invited me to a cooking class to make this and other recipes. I was not paid to share this, I just thought it was worth sharing.
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