This recipe can easily be doubled which you may want to do, as these muffins freeze well and are easy to transport for lunch. For added protein, stir a can of flaked waterpacked tuna into the cheese sauce.
What Kids Can Do
* Mix macaroni with cheese sauce.
* Scoop mixture into muffin cups.
* Sprinkle bread crumbs over muffin tops.
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable cooking spray. Use a piece of paper towel to make sure cups are thoroughly coated. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp. bread crumbs into each muffin cup. Shake pan gently to distribute crumbs over bottom and partially up sides of each cup.
2. In a large pot, bring 12 cups water to a boil over high heat. When water boils, sprinkle in 1 Tbsp. salt, then add macaroni. Stir well, and cook until just barely tender, a firm al dente, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3. While water is coming to a boil for pasta, prepare cheese sauce. In a glass measuring cup, combine evaporated milk and nonfat milk; set aside. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Sprinkle in flour 1 Tbsp. at a time, stirring until its thoroughly mixed in before adding each tablespoon. Mixture will be slightly thick, like heavy cream.
4. Add milk gradually, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing thoroughly with a wooden spoon until smooth. When you first add milk, mixture will thicken and be like dough, but it will thin out as you add more milk. As mixture gets thinner, switch to a whisk and whisk until smooth. Raise heat to medium-low and continue stirring frequently, watching carefully. When mixture just starts to bubble slightly, gradually add Cheddar cheese a few tablespoons at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition until melted. When all cheese has been incorporated, mixture should be slightly thick, like pancake batter.
5. Add cooked pasta to cheese sauce and stir to coat thoroughly. Scoop about 1/2 cup macaroni into each prepared muffin cup. Pinch about < tsp. of reserved bread crumbs and sprinkle on top of each muffin.
6. Bake at 350 F for 18 to 20 minutes, until tops are golden. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of each muffin. Use a fork to lift muffins out of pan and transfer to a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature. May be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen. Reheat in 350 F oven, 12 minutes for refrigerated, 20 minutes for frozen muffins.
Please note that low-fat evaporated milk can be substituted for the regular evaporated milk.
Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, March - April 2009