My biggest issue with food has always been portion control. I tend to eat pretty healthily — I go easy on meat, rarely get fast food, and my typical “dessert” is usually a Fiber One bar. My problem has always been that, if left to my own devices, I will just keep shoveling food in my mouth until an outside force causes me to stop. Women be eatin.
That’s the main reason why cooking meals from scratch poses a challenge for me. When you microwave a frozen dinner, your portion has been predetermined by the frozen dinner people. But when you make a big pot of pasta, who’s to say what the correct portion size is? Particularly if you’re making recipes meant for four or six people when only two of you are at the dinner table. It takes a lot of effort to keep yourself in check (at least for me).
I think that’s why I was so drawn to these mac and cheese muffins — automatic portion control. Also, they’re super cute, and my muffin pan seriously doesn’t get enough use. And who doesn’t love cheese?
MAC AND CHEESE SPINACH MUFFINS (recipe from Emily Bites)
4 cups cooked macaroni
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 cup skim milk
1 tsp minced garlic
3 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 egg + 1 egg white
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained, with water squeezed out
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400. Lightly spray 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. In small sauce pot (or same pot you cooked macaroni in), melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, mixing until thick. Stir in milk and garlic and bring mixture to just under a boil. Add cheese and whisk together until thoroughly combined into a cheese sauce.
3. Remove cheese sauce from heat and mix in egg and egg white.
4. In large bowl, combine pasta, spinach, cheese sauce, salt and pepper and mix together. Spoon mixture evenly into cups of muffin tin.
5. Bake 10-15 minutes until tops slightly brown. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin tin.
I ended up liking these a lot. I had two along with a little salad…and then a third one later on (sigh). My vegetarian friend came over for these, and we both agreed that, while they were lower-calorie and not super rich or decadent, they still scratched that “mac and cheese” itch. Plus, there’s spinach in there, so. You know. Add an extra 20 minutes to your lifespan or something.