I’ve been asked for this recipe for 10 years now, I’ve never given it out… Until now… I was at a holiday party with some girlfriends before Christmas and my friend Kelsey (Follow her Blog Poppies and Pretty) brought Mac & Cheese Bites! I couldn’t get them out of my head after and had to try them with my Mac & Cheese recipe. One of the only negative things I can say about M&C is that it’s messy to serve, especially if you’re hosting a Super Bowl party or kids party. This takes the messy out of serving it to any aged guests and is also filling. I like that you can make it the day before, refrigerate and bake when you’re ready.
12 Macaroni & Cheese Bites
- 1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 8 oz Pasta (any kind is fine, but a small elbow, mini pene is best)
- 2 Cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar
- 1 Cup Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
- 3/4 Cup Half & Half (You could use low-fat, but why would you?)
- Pinch of Salt
- Pinch of Pepper
- 3/4 Cup Panko Crumbs
- 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan/Romano
In a medium size pot bring water to a strong boil add Olive Oil and a pinch of Salt. Boil for 7-10 minutes, make sure it’s cooked but not too soft. Drain pasta, but keep 2 TBSP of your pasta water, the starch in the water really helps with the mixing. Put drained pasta and the pasta water back in pot.
In a medium size skillet pan add 1/2 stick of butter, cheddar cheese, mexican blend cheese, half & half and a pinch of each salt and pepper. Over medium heat stir continuously until mixture is completely melted and blended, about 5 minutes. Pour the melted cheesy goodness into the pot and mix into pasta very well. You want to make sure the cheese is inside and all around every single piece of pasta.
Then take your cupcake pan and spray with your Misto, if you don’t have one… Get one, NOW! No chemicals, or weird stuff that you find in Pam… You can put whatever oil you want in them. I see a double pack at Costco every once in a while.
So after you’ve sprayed your cupcake pan scoop your macaroni and cheese into each cup until full. Then in a small bowl melt the other 1/2 cup of butter, once melted add your panko and parmesan. Once its mixed well, put some on top of each cup like the picture below.
Now, put into your oven preheated at 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn and bake for another 15 minutes. Once you pull them out is the hard part, your house smells like cheese heaven, but you need to wait 15-25 minutes for them to cool… Or they will just fall apart and not look like this…
So there you have it, the secret is out there. Obviously this is a very kid friendly meal as well. If you’d like to add a little more flavor to it, you can add crumbled cooked bacon, buffalo sauce or jalapeños. Make sure to do this in the skillet so all flavors blend prior to mixing into pasta.