A few weeks back I got this crazy great email from Catherine McCord reaching out to me to see if I wanted a copy of her new book, Weelicious – One Family One Meal. Immediately responding with a big YES, I anxiously waited for the mail man each day for my package to arrive. When it did, I ripped open the packing material and started thumbing through the pages – earmarking recipes that I wanted to make, with more than half of the book earmarked.
With a busy week shuffling 3 boys here, there and everywhere, plus the Jewish New Year stuck in the middle of all of that (tons of cooking for that), I settled on her Mac Chicken ‘n Cheese bites to accompany some grilled chicken, kale chips, and a cucumber salad.
With all the ingredients on hand, including some shredded chicken that was leftover from a few chicken breasts I had roasted two days prior, plus both kinds of cheddar, this was the obvious choice. Converting this recipe to a gluten free version was a simple task. Using brown rice penne and my gluten free all purpose flour blend to make the roux, whipping up this dish in less than 20 minutes was just what I needed at the end of a very busy day.
There are so many more recipes I want to try. On the top of my list are the brown rice and veggie casserole, shrimp fried rice, chicken and wild rice casserole, veggie nuggets, “fried” green beans, oatmeal on the go bars, apple-cinnamon sticks, and so much more! Just yesterday, Levi picked the book up and with unprovoked excitement, he chose a few recipes that needed to be on next weeks meal plan. He’s 6. If he’s asking for something new and different, I am going to give him what he wants!
What I loved most about making macaroni and cheese in individual servings (which, duh, I have never done), is how easily it transferred into the lunch box the next day. Warming up the thermos (filled with boiling water and let sit for 5 minutes before putting in the food) and the mac ‘n cheese muffins(wrapped in foil, in toaster oven at 300*), simultaneously, was easily done in 5 minutes.
This book is a must have in everyone’s home library. That is why I am offering one lucky Urban Baker reader a copy of Catherine’s book. It’s easy to enter and only takes a few minutes.
How to Enter
You have until Sunday, September 30th, 12 midnight PST to enter this giveaway. The Winner will be chosen via random.org and will have 2 days to respond or a new winner will be selected. U.S.A. residents only.
You can enter multiple times by leaving a separate comment for each of the following steps listed below:
• tell me your favorite mac ‘n cheese recipe.
• go to Weelicious’ Facebook page and like her page.
• go to The Urban Baker’s facebook page and like me!
• tweet about this giveaway. make up one of your own or tweet this sample message: pls RT @theurbanbaker has a copy of @weelicous new book #giveaway. family + kid friendly meals http://is.gd/ufDJOV
• follow @therubanbaker on Twitter
• follow Catherine McCord on Twitter
• follow my pin boards on Pinterest
• follow Catherine’s pin boards on Pinterest
• follow @susansalzman on Instagram
• sign up for my RSS feeds and receive my blog posts each week
• Stumble this post and follow me (and see who I follow) @theurbanbaker on StumbleUpon.
Mac Chicken ‘n Cheese Muffins
Catherine suggest adding veggies to the mix, however we were having a few extra kids the night that I made these for dinner, and wasn’t sure what kind of eaters they were going to be. I kept them authentic and instead added some ricotta for a creamier mixture and some cayenne for a little kick. The possibilities are endless and I would not be opposed to adding some grated zucchini next time along with some chopped spinach!
yield: 24 regular size muffins
2 ounces | 57 grams | 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus more for greasing the pans)
1.25 ounces | 35 grams | 1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayanne (optional)
16 ounces | 450 grams | 2 cups whole organic milk
8 ounces | 225 grams | 1 cup organic heavy cream
4 ounces | 112 grams | 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces | 112 grams | 1 cup raw, white cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces | 112 grams | 4 tablespoons ricotta cheese
3 ounces | 86 grams | 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
1 pound brown rice penne (I like Trader Joes)
• in a large stock pot, bring copious amounts of water to a boil. add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to water. add pasta and cook for 8 minutes. drain and set aside.
• preheat oven to 400*
• generously butter(I use room temperature butter and a piece of wax paper. this helps cover it evenly) two 12 cup capacity muffin tins. set aside on rimmed baking sheets.
• in the same pot that you cooked the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat. whisk in the flour and salt and whisk for 1-2 minute until all is combined. you want to make a roux. this will help thicken up your sauce later on. add white pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne.
• slowly add the milk and cream, whisking to combine. bring to a boil, whisking the whole time. let boil for two minutes and then turn heat down to simmer. cook until thickened, about 5 – 7 minutes.
• off heat, add both Cheddars, ricotta, and 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan. using a rubber spatula, stir until combined.
• in a large bowl, combine the pasta, chicken, and cheese sauce.
• using a 1/4 cup ice cream scooper (or a large spoon), fill individual muffin cups with pasta mixture.
• sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan over macaroni cups.
• bake 20 – 25 minutes or until tops are starting to turn golden brown.
• let cool slightly before removing them from the muffin tins (I actually made these in the morning and let sit at room temperature. at dinner time, I removed them – in one piece – and warmed them slightly in the oven).
• save left overs for the lunch box. I warmed them, wrapped in foil, in the toaster oven for 5-7 minutes and then placed in a warm thermos. got rave reviews when I picked the boys up from school!