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Baked Mac and Cheese Bites

Fun and delicious mac and cheese bites! Perfect as a side dish or an appetizer for any holiday or occasion!  Use your imagination and let the fun eating begin!

Ingredients

Scale

For the crust:

1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed (a little over 1 cup)

6 T. butter, melted

¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

For the macaroni filling:

14 oz. bag of Christmas Tree Pasta (or any fun shape!)

2 T. olive oil

2 T. butter

2 T. flour

¾ cup milk

2 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

5 oz. of Boursin garlic and herb cheese, or any flavor or herbed cheese

¼ cup sour cream

2 large eggs, room temperature, and lightly beaten

Salt and pepper to taste (just a pinch)

Red and/or green peppers, diced for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

This recipe will make 18 regular muffin size bites for a side dish, or approximately 4 dozen mini bites for an appetizer.

Whichever direction you decide to go, spray the muffin tins with cooking spray.

For the crust, whiz the crackers in a Cuisinart until finely crushed.

Melt 6 T. butter and add cracker crumbs and ¼ cup shredded cheddar in a bowl.  Stir until well combined.

For the regular muffin tin, you’ll place 1 T. of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup.

For the mini muffin pans, add only 1 teaspoon to each cup. 

Press the mixture down firmly until it is packed and note that some of the mixtures may go up the sides of the cup. This will provide a solid base for the bites.

Get your pasta ready!  Cook pasta according to package directions, but make sure to take off the heat about 1 minute early, so the pasta is al dente.

Drain pasta, rinse with cold water, and toss with 2 T. olive oil. 

Set aside pasta and reserve about ¼ cup of pasta shapes to use as a garnish on top of the bites (I like to set aside the colored ones!).

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt 2 T. butter, then add flour and whisk until combined. 

Add milk and whisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken about 1-2 minutes.  Reduce heat to low.

Add cheddar, Boursin cheese, sour cream, and beaten eggs.  Stir until cheese is melted and the mixture is thoroughly combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add pasta to the mixture and gently combine until all pasta is coated.

For a regular muffin tin, add a heaping ¼ cup of mixture into each cup, on top of the crust. For a mini muffin tin, you’ll only use about 2-3 teaspoons of filling for each bite.

Using your fingers, press the mixture down into each cup to help fill the gaps around the cup.

Bake for 12-14 minutes.  Remove from the oven and garnish each bite with one or two pieces of reserved pasta.

Let mac and cheese bites rest for about 10 minutes to ensure they will hold together.

Run a sharp knife around the edge of each cup and gently remove the bite. 

Serve immediately!

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