Mac & Cheese Muffins

Oh, how I love homemade macaroni & cheese.  Enter the Mac & Cheese Muffin. These individual sized portions of creamy, cheesy pasta are the perfect solution to satiate your cravings without going overboard. You can eat two of them for dinner with a side salad and was happily satisfied. I think one would also make a perfect side dish to chicken, beef or pork. There’s even spinach in these so you can feel good about getting in some veggies! Feel free to get creative and use any of your favorite cheeses instead!

Mac & Cheese Muffins

yield: 12 MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 c cooked whole wheat or high fiber macaroni
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T flour
  • 1 c skim milk
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 (10 oz) package of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, drained and patted dry (or you could use 1 cup cooked fresh spinach)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400. Lightly mist a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour, mixing it into the butter until thick. Stir in the milk and garlic and raise the temp to bring the mixture to just under a boil. Add the cheese and whisk mixture together until thoroughly combined into a cheese sauce.
  3. Remove the cheese sauce from heat and then mix in the egg and egg white (binding agents) until combined.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, spinach, cheese sauce, salt and pepper and mix together. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cups of your prepared muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the tops slightly brown. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin.
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THREE INGREDIENT LOW-FAT CREAMSICLE CAKE

The other night I was browsing around and came upon this recipie for a three ingredient dessert using only a cake mix, Greek yogurt, and water.  It seemed almost too good to be true, so I just had to try it for myself!  That’s when the idea for this orange creamsicle cake was born.

Keep reading to find out how to make this Three Ingredient Low-Fat Creamsicle Cake!

 What I found was for a basic three ingredient cake using Greek yogurt.  Now, I am a HUGE fan of Greek yogurt so my ears perked up right away.  the recipe I found said all you have to do is combine a box of cake mix with a container of Greek yogurt and 1 cup of water to make a low fat cake.  Genius right?

But I wanted to take it a step further.  What if I gave it a flavor twist by using juice instead of water?  Voila!  Orange Creamsicle Cake.

orange creamsicle cake

If you want to boost the orange flavor even more, I suggest adding the zest of an orange into the cake batter.  Then, if you want to get all fancy with presentation, you can even save a bit of the peel for garnish on the completed cake.

The result was absolutely amazing!  Not only was this cake unbelievably easy to prepare, but I did the math and it comes in at only about 200 calories and 4 grams of fat per slice!  The Greek yogurt adds moisture and richness to the cake without added calories and fat.

In the end, the creamy yogurt combined with the orange juice and zest made the cake taste just like creamsicle.  

Creamsicle Cake

1 box (15.25 oz) White Cake Mix

1 container (6 oz) non-fat Greek yogurt, plain

1 cup orange juice

freshly grated orange zest, optional

powdered sugar, optional

In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, Greek yogurt and orange juice.  Include the zest of one orange, if desired.  Pour batter into a greased 8 x8 inch square pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-33 minutes.  Slice into 9 pieces.  Garnish with a dusting of powdered sugar and orange peel, if desired.

Nutrition information per slice:  Calories 201, Fat 4.4 grams, Carbs 40 grams, Fiber 1.1 grams, Protein 3.3 grams.

Tip:  A salt shaker filled with powdered sugar makes the perfect tool for dusting desserts.  I got this one at the 99 cent store and keep it in my pantry for an easy way to garnish any dessert plate!

Cheesy Garlic Bites

These tasty little treats are not for the weight conscious !!!! 

Cheesy Garlic Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 cans buttermilk biscuits (not the flaky kind)
  • 20 balls mozzarella fresca ciliegine (cherry size) or mozzarella cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt and basil to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Open the can of biscuits. Flatten each biscuit. Drain the liquid from the container of fresh mozzarella.

Place a mozzarella ball in the center and wrap the dough around it to form a ball.

Heat olive oil over medium low heat in a skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Add in the butter and stir until melted. Slowly pour in the wine and salt (it may splatter) and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes.

Roll the dough balls into the butter.

Place the balls in a mini muffin pan (open side up).

Combine the shredded cheeses and pile on each dough ball.

Bake in a 450-degree oven for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from oven. Brush with remaining garlic butter. Sprinkle with salt and basil to taste. Serve warm.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta

Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta I howsweeteats.com

This is sort of like mac and cheese. Or it is mac and cheese. Can someone tell me what the difference between baked pasta and mac and cheese is? Educate me. It’s probably the cheese to pasta ratio. Copious amounts of cheese make up this buffalo chicken pasta. Maybe baked pasta doesn’t have lots of cheese. I don’t know.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta I howsweeteats.com

But guess what? Now it does. That’s the beauty of this whole little deal we’ve got going on. 

 

Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta I howsweeteats.com

I don’t care what you call it. Just get on it.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta I howsweeteats.com

Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta

serves 4-6

1 pound pasta 

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into chunks

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon flour

1 1/2 cups milk

4 ounces freshly grated monterey jack cheese (I used half a brick) + more for topping

1/3 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese + more for topping

1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce

1/3 cup  bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste

for garnish: 3/4 cup chopped green onions, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese, additional buffalo wing sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare water for pasta and cook according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, and once it’s melted and bubbly add the flour. Whisk together to create a roux and cook for 1-2 minutes until mixture gets a bit golden in color. Add milk, stir and turn down heat to low. Continue stirring until milk thickens. Add in grated cheeses and continue to stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in buffalo wing sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Spray a baking dish (9 x 13 is fine, I used a round 4-inch deep dish) with non-stick spray. Add pasta and chicken, then pour cheese sauce over and mix throughly until everything is coated. Sprinkle with additional grated cheese and bread crumbs. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately top with gorgonzola, green onions and cilantro. Drizzle with buffalo wing sauce.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta I howsweeteats.com

And save me some? I’m still hungry.