Hey all! My girl Alice is back with another perfect MN recipe for you! These mac and cheese cupcakes are super cute, easy, and fun to make! I know… I have made them. They are portable and perfect for snacking. Don’t forget to stop over to Dining with Alice to see more family friendly recipes with a Minnesota flair! ~Nellie
Simple Mac and Cheese Cupcakes perfect for easy meal planning and a meal the kids love.
The summer has slid away and we grapple with the push to get ready for a new school year. While New Year’s Day is the beginning of a new year, the start of school is the birth of a new year for many parents. The closets get cleaned out and you wrestle your child to see if last year’s dresses and jeans still fit. New backpacks, clothes, lunch boxes, routines, friends and of course, learning opportunities. It’s exciting and scary, for both kids and parents.
And times like these call for comfort food.
One of my favorite recipes to make is my Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese and it is one of the most popular recipes in my book, Freezer Meals for Moms. I make it for every dinner event with kids and there are rarely leftovers. I made it recently for a dinner playdate and told the parents, “It has squash.” And the parents gave me a resounding, “Shhh!” As their kids shoveled fork-fulls into their mouths.
One of the Minnesota State Fair new foods this year was Mac and Cheese Cupcakes. As a Fair aficionado, I look forward to the celebration of Minnesota every year but sadly, it does signify the end of summer. Inspired by the new fair food and celebration of the new school year, I decided to make my own version of Mac and Cheese Cupcakes.
These Mac and Cheese Cupcakes are simple to prepare, include squash and while the State Fair version included a swirl of Cheese Spray, I gave mine a fall-inspired, pumpkin-pie sugar spice panko crust. While waiting for the Mac and Cheese cupcakes to come out of the oven, my kids pressed their noses to the oven window. The bright noodles, covered in the sweet panko crust were twisted up with creamy squash and cheese. Our family sat down together, their arms tanned from the summer sun and they popped the Mac and Cheese cupcakes into their mouths. The kids each ate three! My jaw dropped. I knew my kids would love it, but my husband did too. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes, perfect for a big family meal and then great for leftovers. This would be an easy lunch idea for the kids and you could also wrap the cooked cupcakes in parchment paper, put in a freezer bag and microwave for a fast dinner.
While the year is new and the times are unpredictable, this comfort food classic with a new spin gives you those yummy flavors both kids and adults will love.
- 1 (16 ounces) box Cavatappi Pasta
- 8 ounces Mild Cheddar Shredded Cheese
- 10 ounces Frozen Winter Squash puree (defrosted)
- 2/3 cup Sour Cream
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 8 TB Butter (melted)
- 1 TB Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions. In a large stock pot combine the cooked pasta, shredded cheese, defrosted squash, sour cream, salt and heavy cream.
- Beat the two eggs and add to mixture, combine until mixed.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice then add Panko bread crumbs. Mix until combined.
- Distribute the Mac and Cheese mixture into greased muffin tins (24 muffin cups) or use parchment paper cupcake liners.
- Once cupcakes have been filled, sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on the top of each cupcake.
- Bake 20 minutes.