Baked Macaroni and Cheese Cupcakes

  • Preparation Time45 mins
  • Cooking Time35 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyEasy
Vegetable cooking spray
140g dried bread crumbs, divided
1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
250g ground turkey or chicken, preferably dark meat
1/2 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
250g small pasta, such as pennette, shells or elbows
200g grated Parmesan
150g grated white Cheddar
125g cherry tomatoes, quartered
150g chopped broccoli, blanched*
500g asparagus, cut into 3-cm pieces, blanched
Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas Mark 5. Spray 2 (12-cup) muffin or cupcake pans with vegetable cooking spray. Using 70g of the bread crumbs, coat the inside of each muffin cup with bread crumbs, shaking off any excess.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey or chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, Cook, stirring frequently, until cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside and cover to keep warm.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and add to a large bowl. Stir in the cooked turkey and the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the prepared pasta mixture into the cupcake moulds, filling evenly to about 2/3 full. Arrange a few pieces of tomato, broccoli and asparagus into each cup. Top with a thin layer of the remaining bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and carefully unmould with a spoon onto a serving platter.

*Cook's Note: To blanch vegetables, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the vegetables and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until very crisp. Using a small strainer, remove the vegetables and immediately plunge into a bowl of iced water. Drain and use.

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