Hello! How is everyone’s week going? Mine has been quite packed, but the good kind of packed that keeps you on your toes and keeps you thinking. So much going on in January in the world of Wellness and I’m also staying pretty busy with sports nutrition items as well.
Today, however, oh my gosh, I’m excited to finally get to share with you one of my newer recipes, these jazzed up mac and cheese cups.. This is one of my favorite recipes yet. It’s so savory and cheesy and easy to eat. It’s basically mac & cheese with a few surprise ingredients in a cup! And a bonus - made with milk and cheese, each cup packs in some calcium, which we know everyone needs, especially the young growing athlete. I actually created these about a year ago, but it took me a few times to get the recipe just the way I wanted it and then I, of course, had to have friends and family give them a try and earn their stamp of approval. You can prep these ahead and then store them in the fridge until you are ready to bake which, if you know my recipes, you know I love. They also store and reheat nicely, which is great because the recipe makes 12. I store them in a big airtight container or wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store in the fridge. They can be an easy option to take to school or work or enjoy as a late night dinner or post-practice snack. What makes them jazzed up? Well, I substitute some of the pasta for roasted cauliflower and add in sun dried tomatoes, which gives it a whole new level of deliciousness. And, honestly, you may not even realize it’s cauliflower in there if you are not paying attention. I seriously love these and I hope you do to! So, here you go, the recipe for my Jazzed Up Mac & Cheese Cups.
JAZZED UP MAC & CHEESE CUPS
Makes 12 cups
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup macaroni noodles (will use 1 1/2 cups cooked)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon flour
1 1/4 cup 1% milk
1 1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 1/2 tablespoon creamy Dijon mustard
1 whole egg, whisked
1/2 cup rehydrated (according to package directions) and chopped sun dried tomatoes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the chopped cauliflower with the olive oil and salt.
Spread cauliflower on lined baking sheet.
Roast cauliflower in preheated oven for 15 minutes, stir the cauliflower, and roast for 15 minutes more.
While the cauliflower cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil and, once boiling, add the macaroni, cooking about 7 to 8 minutes until tender. When done, drain the cooked macaroni into a large colander and set aside.
Once the cauliflower is cooked, remove from the oven and set aside.
Now, increase the heat of the oven to 425 degrees F.
Prep a 12-muffin tin (or two 6-muffin tins) by spraying lightly with cooking spray and then, using about 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese, sprinkle on the bottom of each muffin tin.
Heat the same large pot you used to cook the noodles in to medium heat and add 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of flour. Whisk for about 3 to 4 minutes, allowing the flour to cook and start to brown.
Add the milk, whisking slowly as you pour it in, and continue to cook, whisking occasionally, until the milk begins to warm almost coming to a simmer.
Add the cheese to the warm milk and whisk in until the cheese melts into the milk and the mix is smooth.
Take pot off the heat and add the Dijon and egg and stir to incorporate all ingredients together.
Add 1 1/2 cup of the cooked macaroni, the sun dried tomatoes, and the cauliflower to the pot and fold it into the cheese sauce.
Spoon mac and cheese mixture into each muffin tin (about 1/4 cup mix per tin).
Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove cooked mac and cheese cups from the oven, sprinkle tops of each with remaining 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided equally between every cup.
Turn oven to a broil and broil on low for about 1 to 2 minutes until the tops start to brown and crisp a little.
Remove cups from the oven.
Allow to cool about 10 minutes so that the cups will keep their shape when you take them out of your tins. After they cool a little, I run a knife around the edges of each muffin tin to help get each mac and cheese cup out smoothly.
Serve immediately or store to enjoy later in the week!
Serve It Again!
As I mentioned earlier. Wrap each individually in foil or plastic wrap to pull out and take with you as a part of lunch. Or reheat them as an easy side with dinner another night of the week. OR grab one after an afternoon or evening practice as an easy source of protein, quality carbohydrate and calcium!