If coming up with school lunchbox ideas is ever a challenge (and let's be real, when is it not?), you are going to love this recipe.
Six-ingredient easy, totally adaptable, make-ahead friendly and (most importantly) kid-approved, these mac and cheese bites are about to save lunchtime!
You can use your favorite mac and cheese recipe or the easy one included here. This one’s a favorite in our house because it can easily adapt to accommodate dietary restrictions. Because there’s no egg or flour, just a few simple swaps make this dish gluten-free and/or vegan with ease.
Even better? Add in some cooked and crumbled bacon or minced chives and you’ve got a sure-fire after-school snack or party appetizer that will fly off the tray.
And best of all you can make these in advance — which earns this recipe gold-medal status when it comes to school lunches. Just pop ‘em in the freezer after they’ve cooled and re-heat in the microwave or toaster oven.
But be sure to keep some for yourself.
Mac and Cheese Bites
Meal lunch, snack, appetizer
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 35 minutes
- 1/2 pound macaroni
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
- 1 cup cracker or bread crumbs
- 2 1/4 cups shredded cheddar, divided
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees – generously grease a 24-cup mini muffin tin.
- 2. Cook macaroni 1 – 2 minutes less than the package time; drain and set aside. While the macaroni is cooking melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Mix in the cracker crumbs and 1/4 cup cheddar, stirring till well-coated.
- 3. In the same saucepan that you used for the pasta, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add the milk, whisking constantly. Add the cream cheese and continue to whisk till melted. Season with salt and pepper.
- 4. Return the macaroni to the pot along with the remaining 2 cups cheddar; stir till well-coated. Place a few spoonfuls into each of the muffin tins and sprinkle with the cracker crumbs. Bake for 15 minutes or till golden brown.
- 5. Transfer tin to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from tins and let cool completely.
Images via Sheri Silver