One of my favorite, favorite food is macaroni and cheese. I like all versions of it: store-bought, boxed, homemade, from scratch, low-brow, gourmet. It’s comfort food, and it’s celebration food, and so versatile that even Brad, whose culinary abilities extend to making eggs and spaghetti, can whip up a reasonably tasty macaroni and cheese. This miniature macaroni and cheese cup recipe, prepared in ramekins, are the perfect party food or portion-controlled quick weeknight dinner.
There are plenty of recipes for from-scratch, homemade macaroni and cheese that are creamy, cheesy and full of goodness, but sometimes you want something that’s going to be quicker, easier and just as delicious.
This is where I’ll note that Brad only likes boxed macaroni and cheese, and I’m especially partial to making us the O Organics version from Jewel-Osco, which is fun to doctor up in a bunch of different ways.
Jewel-Osco’s O Organics line incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables, wholesome dairy and meats, cereals, snacks and more. With the wide variety of products offered by O Organics, there are so many easy ways to incorporate organic foods into meals. I get my O Organics products at Jewel-Osco, but if you are outside of the Chicago area, O Organics products are available at Albertsons Companies stores across the country, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Vons, Safeway, Shaw’s, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Pavilions and Star Market.
During the holiday season, I love ‘small bites and appetizer’ meals, and these miniature macaroni and cheese cups are perfect for the ramekin dishes you got for Christmas. I’ll be making them on New Year’s Eve along with some other bite sized nibbles that I’ll talk more about later this week. You could also make these to eat for lunch or a worknight dinner alongside a big, fresh salad or some roasted vegetables.
The recipe below is super simple: cook the macaroni and cheese as the package directs, then spoon them into ramekin dishes. Mix 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, then bake for about 10 minutes until cheese bubbles and crust gets nice and brown and crispy. Top with fresh thyme and you have a delish appetizer or part of a hearty meal.
If you want to get crazy, there are a lot of ways to can modify these miniature macaroni and cheese cups, too. Simply add the mix in ingredients to the recipe before you divide them into cups and then top with the parmesan crust before baking. Garnish with herbs before serving.
Bacon & Cheddar: Add 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup crumbled bacon bits. Top with fresh chives.
Very Veggie: Add 1 cup of your favorite frozen vegetable medley, such as chopped broccoli florets, peas or chopped spinach. Top with your favorite fresh herbs.
Chicken and Broccoli: Add 1 cup of cooked chopped chicken and 1 cup of chopped broccoli florets. Top with fresh tarragon.
Southwestern: Add 1 cup diced fire-roasted tomatoes, 1/2 cup corn and 1/2 cup black beans. Top with fresh cilantro.
Sweet Harvest: Add 1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin and 1 cup chopped apple. Top with fresh thyme.
- 2 boxes O Organics White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons milk
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Fresh herbs (optional garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare macaroni and cheese with butter and milk according to the directions on the box. Spoon into ramekins.
- In a small bowl, mix parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on top of each ramekin, then place each dish on a baking sheet or tray,
- Bake ramekins for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese begins to bubble and the parmesan breadcrumb topping starts to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes, then garnish with fresh herbs, such as parsley or thyme, then serve immediately.
Creamy Pesto Mac with Spinach from Budget Bytes
Miniature Mac and Cheese Cups from Savory Style
Brie Mac and Cheese with Panko Breadcrumbs from Chef Savvy
Gnocchi Mac and Cheese from Gimme Some Oven
Three Cheese Macaroni Stuffed Peppers from Creme de la Crumb