Baked Macaroni & Cheese Cupcakes!

Remember this post when I said my Southern M.A.N. absolutely LOVES macaroni and cheese? I wasn't kidding when I said he LOVES to couple this comfort food with his entrees as often as possible. Which is exactly why this recipe from Giada is dangerously perfect for us. It's a delectable pupu (appetizer) and instant fave at get-togethers, but it's also a genius side-dish, so add it to your recipe box!

Baked Macaroni & Cheese Cupcakes

Vegetable cooking spray
2 cups dried bread crumbs, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
8 ounces ground turkey or chicken, preferably dark meat
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
8 ounces small pasta, such as pennette, shells, or elbows
2 cups grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups grated white Cheddar
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 cups chopped broccoli, blanched,* see Cook's Note
1 pound asparagus, cut into 3/4-inch pieces, blanched

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 2 (12-cup) muffin or cupcake pans with vegetable cooking spray. Using 1 cup of the bread crumbs, coat the inside of each muffin cup with bread crumbs, shaking off any excess.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey or chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, Cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and add to a large bowl. Stir in the cooked turkey and the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the prepared pasta mixture into the cupcake molds, filling evenly to about 2/3 full. Arrange a few pieces of tomato, broccoli and asparagus into each cup. Top with a thin layer of the remaining bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and carefully unmold with a spoon onto a serving platter.

*Cook's Note: To blanch vegetables, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the vegetables and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until very crisp. Using a small strainer, remove the vegetables and immediately plunge into a bowl of iced water. Drain and use.

What do you absolutely LOVE with your entrees?

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8 love notes:

Courtney said... [Reply]

girl, you are killing me with these delicious mac and cheeses recipes! (kidding) i like to have some kind of starch with my entrees which stinks because i have to do them in moderation!

Suz and Allan said... [Reply]

Ahhh mac & cheese anything is pretty much a vegetable here in the South!

Victoria said... [Reply]

ooo yum! and they looks super cute :)

Sarah Grecco said... [Reply]

Wow, I mean wow....Wow.....this is such a great idea! Never seen it before....I love good food that looks cool when presented.

Get Up & Go

Katie @ Will Race for Carbs said... [Reply]

Yum! I am such a sucker for mac and cheese!

Michelle P said... [Reply]

Looks good, I'll have to try that.

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said... [Reply]

I am going to have to try this, my kids will think it is so awesome!

Ali Mc said... [Reply]

I LOVE rice and salads, I'm a big salad on the side kinda girl. Nice recipe :D

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This place is all about Jennʻs Adventures: a Maui Girl who has evolved in to the modern day female nomad! Departing from her home in 2005 until the beginning of 2011, only the leave again less than a year later. Follow Jenn's Adventures in life, healthy living, travel, and love. To learn even more about Jennʻs Adventures, read this! Thanks for stopping by, please stay awhile & say ALOHA!

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