Baking macaroni and cheese in a muffin tin makes for adorable, individual comfort-food cups that are fun for kids and grown-ups alike. Stirring in pureed butternut squash for extra creaminess and color, using whole-grain noodles, low-fat milk, and just the right amount of real sharp cheddar means you can have your favorite feel-good food in a healthier way to boot. Keeping a stash of these in your freezer makes them even more convenient on a busy day than the boxed stuff.
- 8 oz. whole-grain elbow macaroni
- 2/3 c. cold 1% milk
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (5 oz.), divided
- 2 tbsp. reduced fat cream cheese
- 1 c. butternut or winter squash puree
- 1 ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place paper muffin cups in the wells of a 12-cup muffin tin.
- Cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes fewer than suggested on the package directions; drain.
- In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 ¼ cups of the cheddar cheese and the reduced fat cream cheese and whisk until melted. Add the squash puree, mustard, paprika, and salt and whisk to incorporate. Remove from the heat and then whisk in the egg yolk. Add in the macaroni and stir until evenly coated.
- Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin. Sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and then bake until bubbling and the tops are slightly browned, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and set for 10 minutes before serving.
To Refrigerate and Reheat
Allow to cool in the refrigerator uncovered for 30 minutes, then cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
To reheat, allow to sit at room temperature as the oven preheats to 350°F. Keeping them in their paper cups, place in the muffin tin or on a baking tray, cover with foil, and bake for 10 minutes, then uncover and bake 8-10 minutes more until warmed through. Alternatively_, place in their paper cups on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a splatter guard, and microwave on high for about 60 seconds, for one 2-cup portion.
To Freeze and Reheat
Allow to cool in the refrigerator uncovered for 30 minutes, then wrap each cup individually in plastic wrap then place in a freezer-safe container or sealable plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
There is no need to thaw. To reheat, remove the plastic wrap, then place them still in their paper cup in a muffin tin or on a baking sheet, cover with foil, place in a cold oven set to 350°F. Once the oven reaches temperature, bake for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 minutes more, until warmed through.
Alternatively, remove the plastic wrap, place the frozen cups on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a splatter guard, and microwave for 90 seconds to 2 minutes for one 2-cup portion.
Serving size: 2 cups; Per serving: Calories 290; Total Fat 11g (Mono Fat 0.8g, Poly Fat 0.4g, Sat Fat 7g); Protein 13g; Carb 35g; Fiber 4g; Cholesterol 60mg; Sodium 410mg; Excellent source of: Calcium, Manganese, Protein, Vitamin A; Good source of: Fiber, Copper, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, Thiamin.
Recipe and image republished from Ellie Krieger’s new cookbook You Have It Made: Delicious, Healthy, Do-Ahead Meals.