Sometimes I wish I didn’t work from home just so I could pack a lunch. When I did work in an office I used to looked forward to my mid-day meal. Even though I’d made it myself, opening the various containers always felt a little bit like Christmas. But having some fun-to-eat, quick-to-heat up lunch fare is a good idea for those of us who work from home, too. Many days I don’t start thinking about lunch until I’m so hungry that I just start raiding the fridge and that’s never a good way to enjoy a meal. These mac and cheese muffins make a great quick lunch option.
I got the idea to bake mac and cheese in individual portions form “The Sneaky Chef” by Missy Chase Lapine. She bulks up otherwise not so heathy recipes with lots of vegetables, a trick I use a lot too, but since they’re mostly for kids they’re a little on the bland side. I borrowed her idea of using sweet potatoes, carrots, and eggs in place of the usual milk, butter, and flour roux, but, since I don’t have any picky-eaters to deal with, I spiced it up a bit and even threw in a bit of green. I’m sure any mac and cheese recipe could be made into muffins. They would be a great for picnics or potlucks.
You can used canned pumpkin (not pie filling) instead of the sweet potato and carrot puree. The recipe below makes more than you’ll need for the muffins. The leftovers can be frozen for future use.
Sun Oven mac and cheese will dry out if it’s not covered so it’s easier to use ramekins or silicone molds placed in a baking pan rather than a muffin tin.
Solar Baked Mac and Cheese Muffins
For the Sweet Potato and Carrot Puree:
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat.
Lightly spray a roasting pan or baking pan with cooking spray. Add potatoes and carrots, sprinkle with salt, cover, and cook in Sun Oven until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Puree vegetable mixture in a food processor until smooth. Set aside. Can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cover and store in refrigerator, bring to room temperature before using.
For Mac and Cheese Muffins
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons plain bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sweet potato and carrot puree
2 cups grated cheese, cheddar, gruyere, fontina or a mixture
2 cups cooked elbow macaroni
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat. Line eight ramekins or silicone molds with paper liners, spray liners with cooking spray, place ramekins or molds in a baking pan.
Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat; stir in bread crumbs and toast slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Set aside.
Beat eggs with mustard, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir in sweet potato puree, cheddar cheese, and macaroni. Divide macaroni mixture evenly among the ramekins or molds. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the muffins. Cover the baking pan with aluminum foil and then a dark tea towel. Bake in Sun Oven until cheese melts and tops begin to brown, 25 to 30 minutes.