When you say mac & cheese to most people, they think of the boxed variety with the powdered orange cheese. It’s super cheap and easy to make, but tastes pretty gritty.
When we go out to restaurants, they make creamy mac & cheese from a rue with nice pasta and cheese. It’s so delicious! But, my kids still won’t eat it. It’s almost too complex of flavors for them.
So I set out to make the traditional dish taste like a restaurant dish but in a kid-friendly way. It still has the nostalgic orange color, and creaminess inside, but now there is a crunchy outside that bursts with just the right, not overpowering flavors in your mouth! The crunch comes from baking them into little muffin sized cups that are perfect for big hands as appetizers or little hands for dinner. These come out great in regular muffin tins as well and fit perfectly in lunchboxes.
Now, the real test? My girls… they ate them, and asked for more twice! Definitely a winner and an easy way to use up leftover pasta.
What’s your favorite classic dish that you now make at home with your own spin on it? Let me know in the comments below!
Mac & Cheese Bites
- 1/2 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and cooled
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1½ cups milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray (don’t skip the spray or you’ll never get them out of the pan!).
- In a medium size pan, combine butter and flour over medium heat. Whisk until butter is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Slowly add milk and bring to a simmer. Add 1½ cups of the shredded cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth and creamy. Remove from heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir pasta, cheese sauce, and egg until evenly mixed and pasta is evenly coated.
- Spoon mac and cheese into mini muffin tins and top each with a small pinch of remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool 5 minutes before gently removing the bites. Enjoy!