Italian, Pasta & Pizza

mac & cheese cups

It is a BEE-YOO-TI-FUL day today! Finally! Since this is some straight-up grilling weather I thought I’d share a yummy, easy side for a BBQ. While I am partial to Queen Ina’s classic mac & cheese (oof! those photos on older posts!) – I liked this recipe because it’s quick, super creamy, and with the addition of spices has a little kick that would go perfect with a big ole’ slab of ribs. The individual cups are cute for a party, but you could certainly just bake it in a dish if you’re not feeling cute. Get at this y’all! I’m headed outside, woo!

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Servings: 12
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients
1 tbs melted butter, plus more for baking dishes
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
4 cups grated white cheddar cheese
10 oz elbow macaroni
1 1/4 cups whole milk
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 tbs chili powder
1/2 tbs cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter the insides of a muffin pan, all 12 spaces. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni until al dente and drain. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to a boil, being careful not to burn. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the cream cheese, cut into cubes and stir until melted. Gradually stir in cheddar, holding out 1/4 cup for topping, until melted, 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta and seasonings, mix well. Taste the mac & cheese here – I almost always shake a little more of this, and a little more of that – until it tastes exactly the way I want it.

Divide the noodles into the muffin pan equally, should fill all 12 spaces. Finally, melt the 1 tbs of butter and combine with breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup cheddar. Throw this yummy mixture on top of the mac & cheese cups. Bake until bubbling, 12-15 minutes.

Let them sit for about 10 minutes before removing so they solidify just a bit. Use a pairing knife to go around the sides, and remove the mac & cheese cups with a spoon – should come out pretty easily. Serve right away, receive high-fives. I got this recipe from Ms. Martha, but tweaked some things here and there.

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