Monday, October 15, 2012

Comfort Cups

Meatloaf Cups

Mac N' Cheese Cups:
Since my discovery of kid's food cups, I've been on a mission to see how many possible meals I can create in a muffin pan.  My last two experiments, Meatloaf and Mac n' Cheese Cups, were as delicious as they were successful with my twins, and the best part of all is that I have a freezer-full of leftovers for rainy days in our near future.

Taste of Home's Meatloaf Cups:
Servings: 10 meatloaf cups

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup crushed cornflakes
4 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 lbs lean ground beef (90% lean)
-additional ketchup for dipping

In  a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients.  Crumble beef over mixture and mix well.  Press into 12 foil-lined or greased muffin cups.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes until an internal thermometer reaches 160 degrees.  Serve with ketchup.

Giada's Mac N' Cheese Cups:
Servings: 6-8 servings

Vegetable cooking spray
2 cups dried bread crumbs, divided
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
8 oz ground turkey or chicken, preferably dark meat
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
8 oz 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 note
1 lb asparagus, cut into 3/4" pieces, blanched* see note

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  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 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 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through, about 5-8 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 cooked until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 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 remaining bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil. 

Bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Let cool for a few minutes and carefully unmold with a spoon on a serving platter. 

*Cook's note: To blanch vegetables, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the veggies and cook for 1-2 minutes until very crisp.  Using a small strainer, remove veggies and immediately plunge into a bowl of iced water. Drain and use.

PC: and

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