Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mac-and-Cheese Cups

Featured Ingredient: Broccoli

I thought I would share another recipe from my “Cupcakes for Dinner” article that recently appeared in Family Fun magazine based on the premise of my cookbook Muffin Tin Chef. This one is a healthy take on mac-and-cheese.

Filling out these mac-and-cheese cups with antioxidant rich broccoli and creamy low fat ricotta cheese helps avoid the avalanche of calories that is downfall of many of the casserole dish baked versions. You could also make use of fresh broccoli if desired. Making them in the larger sized (a.k.a. Texas size) muffin cups allows for a more substantial presentation, but you certainly can also use the standard sized ones. Just be sure to reduce the cooking time by about 5 minutes. Japanese style panko bread crumbs provide a lovely crusty topping. To add a shot of protein, you can stir cooked and chopped Canadian bacon into the pasta mixture before baking.

The tasty tomato jam recipe below was cut from the article due to space constraints, but I really love this upscale version of ketchup so I wanted to include here as an optional add-on.

Three Cheese Mac ‘n’ Cheese Cups


8 ounces (2 cups) whole grain macaroni (elbow) pasta
1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
3/4 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup reduced fat (light) ricotta cheese
3 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed and chopped
2 green onions (scallions), white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Prepare macaroni according to package instructions, leaving the pasta slightly undercooked (al dente).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Drain pasta and add to a large bowl along with cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup parmesan. Stir until cheese is melted. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs and stir in milk and ricotta cheese. Add egg mixture to pasta mixture and stir in broccoli, green onion, nutmeg, mustard, salt and pepper. Divide mixture among 8 large sized greased or paper lined muffin cups.

In a small bowl, stir together bread crumbs and remaining parmesan cheese. Divide bread crumb mixture among macaroni cups and gently press down on the contents. Cook for 20 minutes. Let cool for at least five minutes before unmolding.

Tomato Jam


1 pound plum (Roma) tomatoes, about 4 tomatoes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Using a sharp knife, slice a shallow X into the bottom of each tomato. Fill a medium sized saucepan about halfway with water and bring to a boil. Drop tomatoes into the boiling water for about 15 seconds and remove with a slotted spoon. When cool enough to handle, peel back the skin from the tomatoes starting at the points created by the X, slice in half, scoop out the seeds and chop.

Mix together tomatoes and sugar in a medium sized saucepan. Let stand for 10 minutes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Stir in cider vinegar, paprika, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce if using. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.


  1. These look so fun!! I am vegan so i feel a vegan mac&cheese version coming on...will link back if i make it since you have inspired me so! ;-)

  2. thanks so much! this recipe sounds fantastic :0

  3. Could you freeze these for use throughout the week?


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