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Mac and Cheese Lunchbox Muffins

Mac and Cheese Lunchbox Muffins


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These are a handy lunch box alternative to sandwiches and are loaded with hidden veggies! The Sneaky Chef mac and cheese formula is tried and true, and this turns it into a hand-held meal that can be popped into the kids’ lunch boxes. Kids don't mind them cold. Make ahead and freeze, take them out and put into the fridge the night before, and you are set to go.

Servings8

Calories Per Serving255

Folate equivalent (total)125µg31%

Riboflavin (B2)0.4mg20.7%


Ham & Cheese Macaroni Muffin Cups

Ham & Cheese Macaroni Muffin Cups – Perfect for school lunches and freezer-friendly too!

Hey everyone! It’s September. The start of all things FALL begins! I’ll be breaking out the fall decor this weekend! It’s my most favorite season to decorate my house. Now my husband…he’s probably cringing right about now thinking about helping me drag tubs of decor out of the attic…

But I LOVE it! Another thing I love is back to school stuff, as I’ve mentioned a lot lately. Just the other day, I partnered with Wet Ones Singles and shared this Lunch Calendar Printable with you guys. Today I’m back to share a great lunch idea with you. Ham & Cheese Macaroni Muffin Cups are an awesome make-ahead and freezer-friendly lunch idea for your children…and even you too!

The muffin version of mac and cheese makes these so lunch-friendly! I popped them in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds and quickly sealed them up the thermos. They were still warm and yummy in time for lunch!

To go along with these Ham & Cheese Macaroni Muffins, I made some fruit kabobs with grapes and strawberries. Because who doesn’t love food on a stick? I also added some yogurt with sprinkles. I freeze the yogurt, and it is thawed by lunch time. I don’t have to worry about it spoiling that way.

Don’t forget how convenient these Wet Ones Singles are for lunch boxes too. Since who knows how many surfaces your children have touched before heading off to the lunchroom, you can feel better about them having clean hands to eat, and they kill 99.99% of germs. Unlike a hand sanitizer, they don’t dry out skin since they have aloe in them. They are also hypoallergenic. So your children can be ready to chow down on these Ham & Cheese Macaroni Muffin Cups with clean hands! #WishIHadAWetOnes

These Ham & Cheese Macaroni Muffin Cups are super easy. And those crispy edges…those are my favorite part! You can add more ham if you’d like too. I only added a cup to this recipe, but if you like more meat, go ahead and add some more. After I let them cool, I placed them in a freezer bag and froze them. In the morning, just take out and heat how ever many you need.


Mac & Cheese Muffins

Encourage guests to dive in with their hands, or make birthday dinners more interactive with this unique twist on mac & cheese. Adored by children and grown-ups alike, this timeless classic is easy to love, and even easier to put together. Spice up lunch boxes with a portion of mac & cheese in bite-size, or grab some for when you want a quick snack on the move, our Mac and Cheese Muffins are great inclusions wherever they go.

Presented in portable sizes, the mac & cheese snacks make for perfect appetizers, lunchbox additions or engaging dinners. The addition of eggs helps the muffins hold their shape and ensures that they retain their moisture and viscosity even when cold. Liven up birthdays, or try an old favorite from a new angle – this recipe is as easy to follow, as it is to enjoy.

1. Preheat the oven to 350° C. Cook the Stortini pasta according to the packet instructions in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente.

2. In a bowl whisk eggs, milk and salt and pepper. Grate Castello® Extra Mature Cheddar and Castello® Aged Havarti and mix with corn starch. Stir the grated cheese with the egg and milk mixture.

3. Drain the pasta, keep the pan off the heat and add the cheese batter. Make sure to stir constantly to avoid the eggs from scrambling. Pour the mac and cheese into a muffin pan or in muffin cups.

4. Mix olive oil, finely chopped rosemary and breadcrumbs. Top the muffins with the breadcrumb mix and bake for 30 minutes at 350° F.

For a younger crowd, serve your muffins alongside dipping sauces, as you would other finger foods. Try marinara sauce for an Italian spin, or keep it simple with some ranch dip - both are instant crowd-pleasers. As appetizers at dinner parties, pair your Mac and Cheese Muffins with a light sparkling wine or champagne. The bright notes of fruit stand in great contrast to the mellow flavors from the cheese. During dinner, the darker aromas from a Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon thrive when enjoyed along the soft and nutty zests from the Cheddar, while Pale Ales are great when opting for beer instead.

Tips & tricks

Once you taste our take on mac & cheese in bite-sized muffin shapes, trying some of the many other variations of the incredibly versatile dish will become unavoidable. At Castello®, mac & cheese is one of our favorite dishes, and our many recipes are guaranteed to satisfy even your strongest cravings. Keep things simple, and indulge on the classic Mac and Cheese in its most celebrated form, or do away with carbs using our delicious Cauliflower Mac and Cheese recipe. Our Bacon Mac and Cheese makes you wish you had room for another bite, while our Lobster Mac and Cheese delivers on all accounts with gourmet and feel-good pairing beautifully together. Dive into our Crockpot Mac and Cheese for when you have no time for cooking or enjoy tongue-tickling bursts from our Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese. Using our recipes and cheese, getting to the good part is quick, easy and delicious.


Recipe Summary

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 ½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, olive oil and salt set aside.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for about 8 minutes, it should still be a little bit firm. Remove from the heat, drain and return to the pan stir in the butter and egg until pasta is evenly coated. Reserve 1/2 cup of sharp Cheddar cheese and stir the remaining Cheddar cheese, milk and mozzarella cheese into the pasta. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the reserved cheese and the bread crumb mixture over the tops.

Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the topping is nicely browned. Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. This will allow the cheese to set and they will hold their muffin shape.


Mac n Cheese Muffins

by Amber Gray // August 6, 2014

These Mac n’ Cheese Muffins are a healthy spin on a kid-favorite. Since they’re fun to eat and packed with flavor, kids won’t even know they’re filled with veggies!

Nutrition Tip: Calcium and phosphorus in cheese work together to strengthen bones, muscles, and support heart health.

How do you #PowerYourLunchbox? Show us your healthy lunchboxes on Instagram using #PowerYourLunchbox.

Looking for more lunchbox ideas? We’ve got you covered with 70+ ideas including make-ahead ideas, non-sandwich lunches, ideas for repurposing leftovers, and vegetarian, nut-free and gluten-free recipes.

Or check out all of our back-to-school content on our blog. A few of our most popular posts include:


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Mac & Cheese Muffins

As far as classic comfort foods go, mac and cheese definitely reigns supreme. If you&rsquore on the hunt for a dish that features mac and cheese in a new and different way, then you have to try our mac and cheese muffins. These tasty muffins feature delicious macaroni noodles with cornbread and cheddar cheese. This recipe is bound to be popular with your loved ones. The recipe makes for 24 muffins, making them perfect for an afternoon snack or a casual appetizer. If you think your friends or family will like the recipe, then please share it on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram.

Aside from being super tasty, our mac and cheese muffins don&rsquot take very long to make. In order to make the muffins, you&rsquoll need 16 ounces of macaroni elbows, 16 ounces of Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, one cup of Panko breadcrumbs or cornbread, Cabot Salted Butter, all-purpose flour, and hot milk. You can also add some bacon, ham, sausage, or veggies if you&rsquod like the muffins to be a little heartier. You can serve the muffins as soon as they&rsquore prepared, but they also keep well, so you can enjoy them the next day.

You can&rsquot beat classic mac and cheese. If you&rsquore interested in trying an old-school recipe, then give our cheesy macaroni with Cabot cheddar a try. Here at Cabot, we take a great deal of pride in preparing our award-winning dairy products. We&rsquore confident that you and your loved ones will enjoy our muffins, but we&rsquod love to hear your feedback. After trying the muffins, please take a moment to rate and review them.

Ingredients

16 ounces medium or small macaroni elbows
16 ounces Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 4 cups), divided
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs or crumbled cornbread
10 tablespoons Cabot Salted Butter
½ cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
4 cups hot milk
Optional additions: cooked and diced bacon, ham, sausage or vegetables


Related Video

I've only made a few changes, which is typical for my regular mac & cheese. I always cook the macaroni in water & chicken boullion cubes for a much richer flavor. I don't add the breadcrumb topping and add a little white pepper to the mac & cheese mixture. The macaroni will absorb most of the milk so if you think it looks too dry, add a little more milk or 1/2 & 1/2, just don't make it too soupy. I make mine in a mini-muffin tin sprayed with butter flavored spray and they make great appetizers!

These tasted great! My pasta said to cook for 11 min, and I cooked for 8 which was perfect. I used closer to 2 cups each of medium cheddar and jack cheese, and about 1/4 cup shredded parm. I left out the bread crumbs because I don't care for them much on my mac. I was concerned the sauce would be too thin, but it firmed up perfectly. I also covered the mac with foil and cooked for 20 minutes to avoid browning. A nice change to the casserole mac & cheese dish, but I didn't care for the clean up so I'm not sure if I'll make again.

For the most part I enjoyed these, but there were less of a hit with the kiddos than I thought - a few of the pasta corners got crunchy which they did not like. I think that next time I will cover with foil until the last few minutes and see if they are more gooier.

First I have to say my 6 year old son gobbled this up! He loved it! However, it was a little bland for me and the breadcrumb topping was salty. I followed the recipe without any change. On the positive side it was creamy yet kept a good muffin form. Next time I will lessen the salt in the crumb topping and maybe add a little salt in the mac mixture instead. This was such a fun food! Thank you. UPDATE: I'm back to add an afterthought. I heated these up the next day and I have to say, they reheat very well. They weren't bland the next day. It seems to be that this is a great "make-ahead" meal. Delicious!

I made these for my son's Christening, as I wanted to serve comfort food, but not a box of store-bought mac and cheese! My husband and I did a few test runs before the big event, just to work out any kinks. We finalized the recipe by using 3 cups of sharp cheddar (instead of the 1.5 cups) and adding an extra 1/2 cup of milk (total of 1.5 cups of milk used), because we thought they were a little dry and bland with the basic recipe. I also added salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika to the mixture before putting it into the cupcake pan. To get the best results, we used foil cupcake liners, so they came out easily and were a little more individualized for our guests. They came out amazing, and were a huge hit with everyone! The were gooey and had great cheesy flavor! My mom (who is known for her baked mac and cheese) asked me for the recipe for Thanksgiving! Thanks for the fun twist on a classic family dish! :)

I wanted to make something special for my son's first day of Kindergarden. This fit the bill perfectly. I used 8 oz. extra sharp white cheddar, 4 oz. sharp cheddar and 4 oz. grated parmesan cheese. I sauteed a little garlic in with the butter, then added the milk and eggs. For me, this made 16 large mac and cheese muffins. More than enough for a couple lunches or dinner warmups. My son was impressed with handheld macaroni and cheese. I'll make this again for another special occasion. UPDATE: My family at all 16 mac and cheese muffins. This was a huge hit. Think about making it my way. You'll thank me.

I will give this 4 stars for presentation! They look great. However, just by reading the ingredients I could tell they would be bland so I added some spices to my preference like garlic powder, onion powder, salt and Pepper to the pasta. Because my true favorite recipe for Mac & cheese has cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese in it, I thought Iɽ add them too! I am glad I did. So, I can't really rate this recipe as written because I tweaked it too much, but baking them in the muffin pan is a brilliant idea and it went over well with my daughter who only likes the boxed process kind. untill now! thanks.


Ham and Mac & Cheese Lunchbox Muffins

  • 2 cups prepared Horizon Classic Mac (fresh works best. after it is well cooled)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs + 2 tablespoons

Directions for Ham and Mac and Cheese Lunchbox Muffins :

  • Combine macaroni and cheese with eggs, ham, and 1/4 cup bread crumbs. Stir until well combined.
  • Spray eight openings in a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  • Use an ice cream scoop to add 1/2 cup of mixture to each cup.
  • Gently press mixture down with your fingers to flatten it into each cup.
  • Sprinkle with additional bread crumbs.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. depending on how soft or firm you prefer your muffins. Immediately remove from cups to cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate after 30 minutes of cooling.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic.
The opinions and text are all mine.

9 comments:

These muffins are by far the best I have ever tasted. Really really good.

I'm so glad you enjoy them! Thank you bunches for stopping by!

Hi, what amount of cheese are you using for that?

Hi Mee! The cheese is included in the box! I use 2 cups of prepared Horizon mac and cheese. I hope this helps! Thank you bunches for stopping by!

Ahh thank you! Didn't notice xD

Hi. I can’t wait to try this! I think my girls will love it. One question tho. Do you heat them back up to pack their lunch? Or just serve cold? Do you add an ice pack in the lunch box? Just trying to figure out how they are the next day for lunch.

Hi there! This is a great question! One of the wonderful things about these muffins is that they are delicious served hot or cold. so it really is your preference! If left cold, yes, I would add an ice pack. To serve them warm, I like to run some hot water from the Keurig into an insulated thermos and let it sit for a few minutes. While I'm doing that, I heat up the muffins in the microwave. Empty the thermos and dry it out really well. then pop the muffins in and they should stay nice and warm until lunch! I hope this helps! Thank you bunches for stopping by! <3


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Prepare the easy mac n cheese as per instructions on the box, 170mls water into microwave container add macaroni and cook on high uncovered for 4 minutes.

Add powder mix to cooked noodles and stir quickly until starts to thicken. Set aside.

Grate cauliflower and broccoli into a bowl, now add 2 tablespoons water, garlic salt and place in microwave on high for 2 minutes, drain and stir in almond meal.

Add mac n cheese and mix, then add eggs and mix well.

Mix panko crumbs and parmesan cheese together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Grease muffin tins well with spray oil. Spoon mixture in until almost full, sprinkle with panko crumbs and cheese mix.