Ready, Set, Weekend with The Garden of Eatin'

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Comfort Food Definition: A food that gives emotional comfort to the one eating it, these tend to be favorite foods of childhood, or linked to a person, place or time with which the food has a positive association. I have eaten lots of comfort foods in my lifetime (mainly because I’m old and need to be comforted). To name a few….creamy mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, buttermilk biscuits, apple pie, meatloaf and of course classic macaroni and cheese. Nothing is better than good ol’ down home cooking. In fact, I’ve always envisioned myself as Laura from Little House on the Prairie, cooking up “vittles” in a small wooden barn house…….I just don’t look great in braids. I’ve used my “mac n cheese” recipes in various ways but the easiest and cutest thing I have done to date are these little muffins. They are great for parties or just for fun when you want to serve them as an appetizer, main or even a side dish. The trick to a perfect mac muffin is a good combo of “binders”…….eggs and cheese are your best bets. I have tweeked my recipe to add a little punch for the adult crowd by making them sharp and spicy but you can absolutely use any cheddar cheese you desire. Here’s how you make em’ …. 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1 extra large egg, beaten 1 cup whole milk (if you are watching your diet you can use 1 % milk but it really makes a difference using the full fat one) 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese or shredded jalapeno cheddar for an extra kick 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese 1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs 2 teaspoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley for garnish 1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin (or a 24 mini tin) with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, olive oil and salt; set aside. 2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook for about 8 - 10 minutes, it should still be a little bit firm or al dente. Remove from the heat, drain and return to the pan; stir in the butter and egg until pasta is evenly coated. Reserve 1/2 cup of cheese and stir the remaining Cheddar, milk and mozzarella cheese into the pasta. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the reserved cheese and the bread crumb mixture over the tops. 3. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the topping is nicely browned. Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan. This will allow the cheese to set and they will hold their muffin shape. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm. See ya next week! Debi @thegardenofeatin xoxo