Sunday, March 20, 2011

Giada's Baked Macaroni & Cheese Cupcakes

A year ago, my husband and I were watching one of Giada's cooking shows on the Food Network (we love Giada!) and she made baked macaroni and cheese cupcakes with a bunch of kids.

Well, I like cupcakes...and I like macaroni and we decided to try them out. We altered the recipe a little, just because at the time we didn't have some of the vegetables in the house... so we left out tomatoes and asparagus and used corn, green beans, and peppers instead.

The recipe wasn't too difficult, but a little time consuming and I think I baked them a little too long because they were a little dry. Tasty, but dry. I also made these long before I really got into cooking, so I wonder if I am just better with cooking overall now that I would do a better job with the recipe. I also think the recipe needed an egg to hold the cupcakes better together.

I honestly haven't tried them again, but that's mostly because the recipe got buried in our cabinet and I just took the time to sort out all of the papers and figure out what I need to actually write into my recipe book!

I would definitely try making these again. I remember when I posted a picture of them up on my regular Facebook account, one of my sorority sisters replied to it and asked about them because she too saw the episode of the show and wanted to try them out. I don't know if she ever did though!

Anyway, you can find the recipe here, but it is posted below as well! Enjoy!


* 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.

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