Pepper Jack cheese is a huge favorite with my kids. We don’t buy it very often because it’s just not that versatile. But when we find a good deal on cheese, we usually grab a block of pepper jack.
I wanted to use some of that cheese to make a fun dinner for the kids. My husband and I have a long-standing date night at home on Tuesday nights and we always eat a special dinner together then. So I like to give the kids something a little special on those nights too.
These pepper jack & mac cups fit the bill perfectly. I could have just made a simple mac & cheese with the pepper jack, but I wanted to boost the fun factor. As an added bonus, the cups freeze really well too and will make a great quick snack or dinner on another night. I added some frizzled ham to them too, so with a veggie side, they had a complete dinner. (You could certainly leave the meat out though.)
Pepper Jack Mac Cups
- 5 T. butter or margarine
- 1/3 lb. ham lunch meat, sliced thin
- 1/4 c. flour
- 2 c. milk
- 2 c. pepper jack cheese, shredded or diced
- 1/2 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked
- 1 T. butter or margarine, melted
- 1/4 c. breadcrumbs
1. In a sauce pan, melt butter or margarine. Add ham and cook for about 5 minutes, until slightly crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Stir flour into pan and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, bring to a slow boil and cook just until thickened. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Add macaroni and ham. Stir to combine.
3. Grease muffin tins and press about a quarter to a half cup of mac & cheese into each cup. Combine 1 T. melted butter with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over each cup. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly and slightly crisp. Remove carefully and enjoy!
Removing these can be a little tricky. I found they were easiest to take out once they had cooled completely. It takes a little trial and error, but they will come out in one piece.
Also, this recipe makes about 20 cups, depending on the size of your muffin tins.