Rule #1 – Nothing is Just…
The first thing you’ve got to acknowledge as a mom is that nothing is ‘just’ what it seems. Those quiet moments when you can hear yourself breathing and you let your guard down for a millisecond but just as your lips curl upward in a peaceful smile, your mummy-spidey sense kicks in and you realise it’s just too quiet for comfort. That’s when you drop everything and begin the hunt; finding them engrossed in emptying the contents of your handbag and repacking it with lego pieces, plastic dinosaurs, zoo animals and multicoloured blobs of playdough. Suspicions confirmed! Nothing is just as it seems.
Enter the Muffin Pan – Mac n Cheese Muffins
At the start of the new school term, I realised that I needed to take my lunchbox game to another level. After several days of scrolling through Pinterest, I unearthed a host of Bento box awesomeness. The easiest thing to do would have been to just order bento accessories online, like this one. I could have gotten an array of coloured silicone moulds, foodpics, napkins and an assortment of implements to execute. Of course, that would have been too easy.
On my first go, I realised that I needed to pull together a consistent list of little lunchables that could easily fit into my little buddy’s lunchboxes. My Pinterest board reeks of muffin pan recipes, so there was little rocket science involved in selecting the right kitchen tool – muffin pans! Since Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade was always a hit with me, my kitchen pantry is generally stocked with quick fix meal items that can double up as gourmet.
My go-to guy for quick fix lunches is the indomitable Mac n Cheese, the champion of many late morning scrambles. This time around, I paired him with some bits of crunchy turkey bacon, amped up the cute factor with brightly coloured muffin cups and Ahh Hah – Muffin pan magic!
Mac and Cheese Muffins
You can make your Mac n Cheese from scratch if you’ve got time or if you prefer to use less processed products. Here’s a great recipe you can try.
- 1 box Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner
- 6 cups of water
- 4 tbsp margarine
- 1/4 cup milk
- pinch of salt
- 4 strips of bacon (your choice)
- Extra cheese
You’ll need a muffin pan (1 full box makes 10 average sized muffins) and coloured muffin cups to bake them in.
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan
- Add the salt
- Add the Kraft Macaroni and stir. Let cook for 7 to 8 minutes or until tender.
- Remove the macaroni from the water. You can strain, but don’t rinse.
- Return the macaroni to the pan.
- Add the margarine, milk and cheese sauce mix (included in the Kraft dinner boxes) and mix well.
- Cook the bacon until it’s crisp. Let cool for 3 minutes before crumbling into your macaroni and cheese mix. (You can leave some bacon crumbles behind to sprinkle on top your finished muffins.)
- Line your muffin pans with your muffin cups.
- Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups.Press firmly down on the mixture to ensure that it’s packed tightly. Sprinkle extra cheese onto the macaroni and cheese muffins.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with extra bacon crumbles.
- Remove from the muffin pan and let cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes.