What are Baked Mac & Cheese Cups with Broccoli?
Only the best thing ever! Scratch-made Mac & Cheese combines with broccoli for a delicious dish, but that isn’t the only amazing thing about this dish. No, seriously. Let me explain why I say this:
- These are a LOT neater and cleaner if you are serving to young kids. Forget the spoon-fulls of macaroni hitting the floor and the their shirts. They can pick these up and eat with their hands if they like. Alternatively, even when cut with a fork, they still hold together in “bites” so cleanliness factor alone makes these awesome for kids.
- These are customizable! I will give you easy directions for making these either full-size muffin cups or mini muffin-size to best suit your needs.
- These sneak in extra protein. Is it just me, please tell me all of your kids always eat their proteins, no, yeah, that’s what I thought. These sneak in some extra protein by way of “invisible” cottage cheese and eggs. Your kids won’t know it is there but they will still be getting some protein.
- It makes a bunch! This Mac & Cheese Cups recipe makes enough for approximately 24 regular size muffin “cups” which would equate to about 4 trays of mini muffins. This is great news because…
- These keep really well! When you are done eating that night, place any leftovers in a air-tight container in the refrigerator. When you are ready to serve them again, just microwave a bit and munch. They are perfect for left-overs for dinner, school lunches or just general snacking for the minis.
- They are even good cold! Ok, maybe that is just me, but while “cold pizza” has been a “thing” forever, I’ve never really been into it. Cold Mac & Cheese, is another story. I can’t say one or two of these didn’t disappear from the fridge without reheating, just saying.
- They work just fine, even without the broccoli, if you just can’t get your kids to eat it or if you just don’t happen to like it.
Easy Swaps or Customizations for Mac & Cheese Cups with Broccoli
I love this dish as written; however, here a a few simple swaps you can make if they better fit your needs:
- The elbows could swap for small shells or any other small-sized pasta.
- The chicken bouillon could be swapped for vegetable bouillon if you prefer to make the dish vegetarian.
- Fresh broccoli would work fine if you don’t want to use frozen. Just place it in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes to soften and chop as directed. If you really don’t want to use the broccoli it can be omitted
- If cheddar isn’t your thing, pepper jack, Colby or mozzarella could be substituted. Or a combo thereof.
What to serve with Mac & Cheese Cups
Just like regular macaroni and cheese, these Mac & Cheese Cups with Broccoli work well with all sorts of dishes. Here are a couple of ideas:
- A simple green salad
- Roasted Vegetables: You can make whatever is seasonal at the time you are making the dish. For Spring try asparagus, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, or broccoli. For Fall try bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, onions or maybe some potatoes.
- Serve the Mac & cheese Cups as a side for your favorite protein: chicken, beef, etc. These cups work well with a variety of different meals as either a side or a main dish.
If you like these…
Be sure to check out our Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcakes. A similarly portable version of a traditional pasta dish. This dish likewise has a vegetarian-friendly option.
Mac & Cheese Cups with Broccoli
For the Cups
- 1 16oz box elbow macaroni
- 1/3 cup melted olive oil butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 Tbsp chicken bouillon
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2.5 cups shredded cheddar divided
- 10oz frozen broccoli, cooked, and finely chopped
- salt/pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- Cook the macaroni according to package instructions, drain.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the garlic powder and diced onion and cook to softened.
- Add in the broccoli, cooked macaroni and remaining ingredients (less the reserved cheddar cheese shreds) and stir to melt and combine.
- Add the macaroni mixture to the prepared (sprayed with olive oil) pans. Press down to level the tops. Sprinkle with the additional shredded cheddar cheese.
- For either size, once the muffins are in the pan, press down slightly with a spoon and top with the reserved shredded cheddar cheese.
- To cook full-sized muffins: Bake for 30 minutes at 350. This recipe will make about 24 full-sized muffins.
- To cook mini-muffins: Bake about 15-20 minutes. Gently remove by loosening with a butter knife.
- Combos of mini/regular muffins work fine as well, just remove the mini cups earlier.