Mac & Cheese Muffins – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Macaroni and Cheese Muffins, found over at Angie’s Big Love of Food. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

 

 

 

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was Nance’s choice. Oddly, just last week (or.. the week before? Recently, anyway.) I was catching up on Grey’s Anatomy, and there was a wedding and they were serving macaroni and cheese muffins. Funny that I’d never heard of them before I saw them on Grey’s Anatomy and here I was about to make them.

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The ingredients: elbow macaroni, eggs, milk, garlic, ground mustard, butter, and cheese. I used a cup of what was labeled “triple cheddar” (sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, and vermont white cheddar), and a cup of plain ol’ sharp cheddar. I wanted to use up the triple cheddar so it would stop taking up space in my fridge, partying all night and sleeping all day. You know how that triple cheddar is. Also, the original recipe calls for parsley, but I think I’ve mentioned my dislike for parsley, which everyone else considers the least offensive herb on the face of the earth. YOU AND I KNOW THE TRUTH, PARSLEY.

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Prepare your muffin cups. I used my (CLEAN, BUT STAINED) silicone muffin pans, and put them on a (CLEAN, BUT STAINED) baking sheet. No matter what kind of muffin pan you use, you’re going to want to put it on a baking sheet, otherwise you’re going to end up with melted butter burned to the bottom of your oven, and who wants to deal with that when you could have prevented it? Also, original recipe suggests you use paper muffin cup liners. Whatever works for you works for me.

First thing you’ve gotta do is cook your elbow macaroni.

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The wooden spoon will stop the pot from boiling over. TRUE STORY.

I have some awesome magnets on my refrigerator. This is one of my favorites.

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When the macaroni is cooked, drain it.

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Then put it right back in the pot you boiled it in, and put it back on the stove (turn the heat to low).

Add butter, garlic, dry mustard, and about half the cheese. Stir for a few moments ’til things (cheese and butter) start to melt.

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YUM.

Then whisk your eggs and milk together and add to the pot with the macaroni. Add the rest of the cheese. Stir until the cheese is mostly melted. It looks like soup. This is the point where I realized there was nothing in the original recipe about when to add the salt and pepper, so this is when I added mine.

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I assure you, even though it looks like you could serve it in a soup bowl, this is how it’s supposed to look.

Hey, look. Fred harvested the lemons off our miniature Meyer Lemon tree (it’s in a pot in the garage; when the weather turns warmer, we’ll bring it out and put it on the driveway). Aren’t they pretty?

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Still soupy. I’ll admit, at this point I was like “There’s no way this shit is going to pull together and I’m going to end up with little muffin cups of mac and cheese soup.”

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I filled those things almost all the way up to the top. And again I said “Yeah, there’s no way. What a waste. Oh well, the chickens will like mac and cheese soup!”

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That’s Baby Beans. Most of the time I had no idea where he was, but the instant I walked into the kitchen and started making something, he’d just APPEAR. Sitting there, looking hopeful that food would appear for him. Then as soon as the cooking stopped, he’d disappear again. This was his expression when I told him about the mac and cheese soup. He was less than impressed.

I baked my mac and cheese muffins for the full 20 minutes (recipe calls for 15 – 20), and then let them sit for five. They popped right out of the cups, and they were perfectly solid. It’s like magic!

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The verdict? I really liked them, actually, and I’m not usually much of a fan of mac and cheese (I know, right? What’s WRONG with me?) We ate them with dinner, and then I had one with lunch the next day, and then again the day after that, and then I was like “Are these mac and cheese muffins ever going to go away?” and fed the rest of them to the chickens (who thought they were awesome).

Fred thought they were good, but said that he thought they had too much butter and would probably be okay with about half the butter. He should probably just shut up, because the more butter the better, AM I RIGHT?

I’ll probably make them again. This – like the cheesy bread from last week – would probably be a good Super Bowl party recipe.

(My Super Bowl Shuffle continues to set you free!)

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Nance’s Take:

I actually thought long and hard about sharing a mishap that I had in my kitchen while making this because it’s so embarrassing. I am 47-years-old and have been cooking a very long time. I know better. Or at least I thought I did.

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I was in a good mood when I started to make this recipe. But the husband ended up annoying me. He is always yapping about how fluid ounces are different, blah*math*blah*science*blah when I’m cooking. I know that it’s different, but I don’t want to mess around with all of that stuff when I’m cooking…I just wing it.  It has become an issue between us because he just has to say it and I just have to get pissed off when he mentions it. Which is probably why I don’t usually try new recipes when he’s around. Imagine having Alton Brown up your ass yapping every single time you tried to make something!

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The recipe called for 8 ounces of elbow macaroni. I measured out 1 cup (8 ounces = 1 cup, SHUT-UP about OUNCES ALREADY), tossed it in the water, threw a wooden spoon over the top (because of Robyn) , snapped a picture and walked away. I left him standing there babbling to himself about how he thinks he figured out the trick to the wooden spoon thing.  Whatever.

Men.  Hmph!

I was reading something on my laptop when I heard the smoke alarm go off.

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No, this is not a blurry picture. This is smoke. The smoke that filled the downstairs of my house and went up the stairs in order to set off the smoke alarm on the second landing. Nice.

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I have no idea where the hell Rick went.  The last time I saw him he was standing at the stove yapping about that damn spoon (ROBYN).  I was annoyed and ignoring him, remember?

I just gave up that night and decided to try it another day.  A day in which my husband was at work.  Ahem.

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Oh, look. The spoon trick might work this time. Because I’m standing there. Making sure that it works.  By watching it.  And stirring it as needed.  Because who needs a firetruck pulling up when you’re just trying to make mac & cheese?

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I decided to use green cupcake liners because I’m almost positive that I won’t be making Saint Patrick’s Day cupcakes. Please ignore my white-trash nail polish. Those are the peel and stick ones. They were on clearance and I wanted to try them. They work pretty good. But I’m not into jungle prints. Hell, I’m not into any prints when it comes to nail polish. Why am I talking about nail polish on this web site? Please accept my apologies, Amanda.

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Action shot!

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It’s all ready to go into the cupcake tins.

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My mother took this picture while I poured it in with my left hand. Be impressed.

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This is what it looked like before I put it in the oven.

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This is right after I took it out of the oven.  I let it bake for 20 minutes.

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When I pulled them from the cupcake tin they were dripping with butter/grease. Cheddar cheese is a greasy cheese so I’m not sure why all the extra butter was needed. My mother dug in right away. I told her she was supposed to wait until they cooled down, but she wouldn’t listen (bullhead alert). She ended up scraping a lot of hers off of the cupcake liners with a fork. You would think that they wouldn’t stick considering how much butter/grease is in there, but no, they stuck pretty hardcore.

I waited about a half hour before I tried them. They still stuck to the liners (they were Wilton® brand liners). I think (I’m guilty of skimming) that the idea for the cupcake liners is about portion control. Maybe the foil liners would work better. Probably.

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These are fried macaroni and cheese balls from The Cheesecake Factory®. They are delicious and come to you in a perfectly proportioned state. Allow yourself to eat one ball and pass the rest off to whoever you are with (sharing is fun!). You won’t regret it. And you also won’t be picking cupcake paper out of your mouth.

 

Mac & Cheese Muffins - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Original Source/Author:
: snack/ side dish
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1 - 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used a mix; use whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard (try dijon if you don't have dry mustard. Why don't you have dry mustard? You should.)
  • 1 T dried parsley (if you must)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners (or use a silicone muffin pan and forgo the liners). You'll want to put your muffin tin on a baking sheet to catch any overspill during the baking process.
  2. Cook the macaroni according to package directions, drain, and return to the pot. Put pot back on the stove over low-medium heat.
  3. Add butter, garlic, dry mustard, parsley (if you must), and about ½ the cheese. Stir for a few moments until things begin to melt.
  4. Combine eggs and milk together, stir, and add to the pot of macaroni. Add the remaining cheese slowly, and stir. Let sit on the heat for a few minutes. It will be very soupy; that's okay. It all works out. PROMISE.
  5. Ladle the macaroni soup into your muffin pan and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until bubbly.

 


Comments

Mac & Cheese Muffins – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe — 46 Comments

  1. great. I am now going to have to make mac and cheese for supper. curse myself for checking the recipe blog before supper.
    the plus side is that it’s freaking cold here in Nova Scotia (-30 C windchill) so comfort food is a must.
    I totally cheat though and use velveeta slices for the cheesy part.

  2. Why the hell were mine so much soupier than yours?

    Also, DAMNIT, there are no Cheesecake Factories here, and I’m dying to try those mac and cheese balls!

    • Ask Rick, he can tell you all about how you probably measured your ounces wrong or some shit. Hee!

      If you come to Pennsylvania, I will gladly take you to Cheesecake Factory for mac and cheese balls. It’s in between the airport and home (sorta, it’s only about a 10 mile left turn out of the way – TOTALLY WORTH IT)!

      • I’ve tried and tried to convince Fred to rent a van and drive to Atlanta for an Ikea visit. He (rightfully so, but still) looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. 🙂

      • I think you should go to Atlanta for The Cheesecake Factory, but skip Ikea. Girl, your house does not lend itself to Ikea style. That stuff is for college kids. Can’t you just order the cat beds online?

      • Ikea freakin’ rocks. To really blow your mind Nance – the best part I like about it? Kids eat free on Tuesdays!

  3. I also saw these on Grey’s Anatomy and thought it was a great idea! I will try these for sure, since we don’t have a Cheesecake Factory around here 🙂

    Nance-I am embarrassed to admit-I had NO idea fluid ounces were different from regular ounces till about 5 yrs ago, I’m 52 now! I never knew you were supposed to use different measuring cups for solids and liquids, I think all my life I used a regular pyrex measuring cup. Never seemed to have a problem evne with baked stuff. Last summer I did find a pyrex liquid measuring cup at a garage sale for a quarter. Hmm…maybe the fact it had a pouring edge should have been a clue??

    • Grey’s Anatomy had mac and cheese cupcakes? Weird. And see my answer to Robyn. I will gladly take anyone who wants to visit me to The Cheesecake Factory for Mac and Cheese balls. Come on over (down, up, whatever)!

      I love the fact that you didn’t know the difference between ounces! As I told Rick, I think the real difference is if you want to be a pretentious asshole about your food. Heh. And I never thought about the pouring edge being a clue. I’m such a dumbass! 😀

    • Ummm, I had no idea fluid ounces were different from regular ounces til I read this post! I feel like my whole life has been a lie!

    • My husband and I had the SAME damn argument. I, and every female in my family (some of which were damn fine cooks), always used the same damn measuring cup for dry and liquid ingredients. To shut my husband up, I used my trusty Weight Watchers flood scale to weigh 8 ounces of flour, then poured it into the measuring cup. GUESS WHAT?? It measured out at one cup exactly!

      I know Alton Brown highly recommends measuring ingredients by weight for baking, but I do not have the patience for it. Much like I cannot be bothered to measure my baking dishes, ROBYN! 😉

      • You’re the one that told the world about the wooden spoon trick (which is nothing but a lie AND dangerous!). You’re probably going to get DCEP sued and we’re gonna be in the poor house…with way too many cats…and SHIRLEY!

      • Hey, it works for ME. I can’t help it if you can’t make it work for you. 🙂

        And hey – y’all can come down here and live in the blue coop!

      • Yup. I had never heard of the wooden spoon trick until she wrote about it. See above comment to her about poor advice and possible lawsuits. Heh.

      • I, too, tested out the wooden spoon trick after Robyn posted about it and failed miserably. I just chocked it up to me being a kitchen klutz (honestly, I don’t know how I haven’t accidentally chopped off all my fingers yet (now that I said that, I’ve jinxed myself (ahhh, so many parentheses!))).

      • The wooden spoon trick does work. Once it gets to a rolling boil, you have to turn the burner down (on my glass cooktop it still boils on medium) and Then there is no problem. You need it on high to get it to boil but once it is hot enough, lowering the temp will maintain said boil.

        Boy, do I feel pretentious now. lol Sorry.

      • Not pretentious at all! I do turn the heat down, I just never thought to mention it, I thought everyone did that! 🙂

  4. They look good but I have a question. Do they have the creamy texture that regular mac and cheese has or what? Does the cheese string out like melted mozz or…..
    I know the eggs help hold them together when baked but I’m wondering how it affects the final texture? Plus, plus, plus nobody bothered to post a pic of what they looked like when cut into. snicker, PW.

    Nance I think I beat you with the house filled with smoke. Last Sunday I was making cinnamin pull aparts and the combo of butter, cinnamon and sugar overflowed the pan and started burning off in the bottom of the oven! Before I knew it almost the entire downstairs was filled w/smoke and we had to open almost all the windows, with the temps in the low 20’s no less, and pull ALL the smoke detectors. I had to spray the oven twice to clean that fucking shit off! I would have much rather boiled macaroni dry!

    One more thing. Did you guys change the layout of the site? When I came here today everything’s scrunched on the left side of the screen using maybe 30-35% of the screen with a whole lot of blank space on the other side.

    • My kid made grilled cheese earlier this week. Too hot of a pan plus too much butter equaled enough smoke that I turned on the exhaust fan AND opened the windows (with a wind chill of 20 below)

      My story? Well, um…. I left a grocery bag full of bread on the stove once and bumped the knobs with my rear (in a ridiculously narrow galley kitchen). It merely resulted in a teeny tiny fire. My house smelled like burnt toast for DAYS

      • My kids warped my skillets from turning the stove up so high. I bought separate skillets and they’re not allowed to touch them because of that. Grrr!

        Burnt toast smells pretty good (sometimes). I’ve pushed the bread bag up against the toaster and melted it to it (years ago, i don’t think they work that way now – thank god) and I remember being so pissed that it wouldn’t come off.

    • I thought they had a gritty texture and mentioned to my mom that if I ever made them again I would use Sharp and Velveeta cheese (which I guess isn’t really even cheese). Robyn’s look like macaroni quiches to me. And I don’t envy you having to clean that oven. That would SUCK. And I admit to being lazy and would have just put the self-cleaner on rather than deal with spraying and scrubbing.

      And yes, I’m working on changing the site. We’re fiddling with it and will be fiddling more over the weekend. I’ll open up every damn computer/phone/ipad/laptop I have (geek family= a lot) to make sure it all works and looks right before the weekend is over.

      • Unfortunately when I bought the new stove I stupidly did not get one that had the self cleaning feature! I had no choice.

        Thanks for letting me know about the texture. I like my mac & cheese creamy so I think I’ll pass on this one.

        I”m making the lasagna soup again tomorrow. This time I’m using a medium hot italian sausage instead of hamburger. Give it a bit of a kick!

  5. Nance –

    Years ago I was cooking some hot dogs and let them go dry and they seared a black halo around the spot they were so that for years afterward I had a ghostly image of fallen wieners reproaching me whenever I used that pot again.

    So I feel for you.

  6. My favorite recipes on this site always seem to be the cheese-heavy ones. These look great.

    As does the new site layout! Good job, Nance/Rick! A question: Are you guys goes to have a “Search” function? Because I was looking for the zucchini tots recipe the other day and had some trouble finding it. Not that that was a terrible thing — I discovered other recipes in the process — but it might be helpful to be able to find recipes quickly!

  7. I really want to try this recipe but I will have to wait until a pot luck or something. I have a husband that hates cheese ( I know that this is horrible but he has so many other great qualities that I keep him around) and I have no chickens to feed the extras to 🙁

  8. Um. I don’t think you can blame Robyn’s spoon trick. She only claimed that it would prevent the water from boiling over…not cooking it dry. I did the same thing New Year’s Day with my black eyed peas. Came back downstairs and they were burning on the bottom of the pan and the kitchen was smokey. Now I have a year of bad luck since I was too lazy to cook more!

  9. I once burnt boiling eggs dry.
    I had to throw out the pot. but hey I was nannying and it wasn’t my pot! hee hee
    oh the smell!

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