I consider myself well-versed in the world of pasta and cheese combinations. After years spent perfecting my macaroni and cheese skills, I’m sharing my tried and true recipes perfect for every occasion.
Our Classic Macaroni & Cheese Casserole is cheesy perfection and there won’t be a lick left. My kids love the Cheesy Macaroni Muffins, but they’re also perfect on a brunch menu.
Use leftover macaroni and cheese from our casserole recipe (if there is any), or grab Baked Macaroni and Cheese from the Harris Teeter deli. Either way, our Fried Macaroni & Cheese Balls are the best game day snack you will ever have. I don’t say that lightly.
Finally, if you’re looking for a great app for summer, our Mac ‘n Cheese Stuffed Pepper Poppers will bring the heat! Which macaroni and cheese recipe are you craving most?
Best Comfort Food: Classic Macaroni & Cheese Casserole
Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9x13 baking dish and set aside. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions removing the pasta from heat 3 minutes prior to being al dente. It will still have some chew.
Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse under cold water. Return the same pot to the stove top and melt butter over medium heat. Once it begins to foam, whisk in the flour and cook for one minute. Slowly pour in the milk and continue whisking. Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a slow boil and becomes thick.
Remove from heat and add the salt, nutmeg and pepper. Stir. Reserve ½ cup of each cheese then add the rest to the milk mixture. Stir until smooth. Pour in the pasta and carefully mix.
Pour the pasta in to the prepared pan. Top with remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden and bubbly. For a darker top crust, place under the broiler for an additional 3-4 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.
Best Outdoor Summmer App: Mac ‘n Cheese Stuffed Pepper Poppers
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a tablespoon or small scoop, fill hollowed out pepper with cooked pasta. Top with shredded cheese and crumbled cheese curls.
Bake in a greased baking dish – 20 minutes for jalapenos, 25 minutes for poblano peppers. Enjoy immediately.
Best Brunch or Playdate Food: Cheesy Macaroni Muffins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until you can just bite in to it – about five minutes. Drain.
In a large bowl, add butter and egg. Stir in the hot, drained pasta. Mix until the butter is melted and the egg has coated the noodles. Add seasonings, and stir. Add in the milk and cream cheese, stir until combined. Add the cheese and mix well.
Coat a 12-cup muffin tray well with cooking spray and spoon mixture into cups. In a small bowl, mix panko crumbs with olive oil. Sprinkle on top of muffin cups.
Bake until firm and golden – about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Before removing from the muffin tin, run a knife around each muffin and gently twist in a circle to release. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
Best Game Day App: Fried Macaroni & Cheese Balls
Pour oil into a large pot and insert a deep fry thermometer. Bring oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit over medium heat.
While you’re waiting for the oil to come to temperature, use a scoop to firm 12 one and ½ inch balls. Working on at a time, dip the balls into the eggs, then roll in the panko bread crumbs.
Fry a few balls at a time, cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate. Garnish with sliced onion and serve immediately!
Katie Harding is the publisher of Forks and Folly . A self-taught cook and die-hard foodie, Katie lives in Charlotte with her husband and three boys. Besides cooking and eating, she loves craft beers, running, and napping.