Macaroni and Cheese Muffins

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Hooray for handheld mac and cheese! This spin-off of the traditional macaroni and cheese is an invitation for kids to eat with their hands. The layered textures are fun—the bottom, soft and decadent, melts in the mouth; the crunchy top is munchable. These muffins freeze well, re-heat easily and make tasty lunchtime treats.

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Macaroni and Cheese Muffins (makes 18)

2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 Tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup milk (whole or skim)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp pepper (to taste)

 

Crunchy Topping

1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded

1. In a bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, olive oil, and salt.
2. Add cheese.

 

Muffins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or grease tin with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for about 8 minutes (until slightly firm).
3. Remove pot from heat, drain macaroni, and return macaroni to pot. Stir in butter and beaten egg until pasta is evenly coated.
4. Add to the pasta the Cheddar cheese, milk, Parmesan, mozzarella, and cottage cheese. Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Stir.
5. Distribute mixture into each cup of prepared muffin tin.
6. Sprinkle the Crunchy Topping mixture over the tops.
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until tops are nicely browned.
8. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing muffins from the tin (this allows the cheese to set and muffins to take shape).

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