Cache Valley Creamery: Baked Mac and Cheese Bites
Baked mac and cheese bites are a fun appetizer or side dish. These tasty bites are made with spicy mac and cheese with jalapeno and baked with breadcrumbs until super crispy and golden brown!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Mac and Cheese
8 ounces elbow macaroni
2 Tablespoons Cache Valley® salted butter
¼ medium yellow onion, diced
½ medium jalapeno, diced
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups whole milk
4 ounces Cache Valley® Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (approximately 1 cup)
2 ounces Cache Valley® Pepper Jack cheese, shredded (approximately ½ cup)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 whole egg, beaten
½ cup panko bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons Cache Valley® salted butter, melted
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
Preheat the oven to 400˚ and grease a mini muffin tin with butter or cooking spray. Cook the elbow macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water over medium-high heat for 2 minutes less than the package instructions. Drain and set aside. While the pasta is cooking, heat a saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop with the Cache Valley® Salted Butter. Once the butter is melted, add the onions and jalapeno and saute for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the onions and jalapeno and cook for 1-2 minutes until the flour is absorbed. Slowly pour in the milk, while whisking continuously until it is all combined. Continue to simmer the mixture while whisking for 1-2 minutes until it starts to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the shredded Cache Valley® Sharp Cheddar and Pepper Jack Cheese along with the salt, and pepper. Whisk until the cheese is completely melted. Set aside to cool. In a small bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs with the melted Cache Valley® Salted Butter, garlic powder, and paprika for the topping. Stir until well combined. Mix the beaten egg into the macaroni and cheese mixture and then evenly distribute it into the prepared mini muffin tin. Evenly distribute the bread crumb topping over the macaroni and cheese and bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.
Spice - Omit the jalapeno and replace the Cache Valley® Pepper Jack cheese with Cache Valley® Sharp Cheddar or Medium Cheddar for a less spicy mac and cheese. Size - Use a regular-sized muffin tin instead of a mini muffin tin for larger portions. Baked - Instead of bites, pour the finished mac and cheese into a greased 8x8 baking dish and top with the bread crumb topping. Bake as directed. Make Ahead - Assemble the bites up until baking time. Cover in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Remove to sit at room temperature while the oven is preheating. Cooking times may be a bit longer. Storage - Leftovers can be kept for 3-5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven.