I love this macaroni and cheese in a jar recipe because you can have fun with it! Kids also love this twist on mac and cheese — and you can add bacon bits, tomato, bell pepper or broccoli, too.
- 6 8-ounce canning jars
- 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups milk
- 2 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling salt water for 6 minutes, until just al dente.
Drain the macaroni, run cold water over it to stop the cooking, place in a large bowl and set aside.
Heat milk until warm but don’t scorch it. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and mix constantly for 2 minutes until blended, bubbling, smooth and pasty. Gradually whisk in the warm milk and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes smooth and thickens.
Remove the sauce from the heat, add salt and mix until incorporated. Gradually mix in the mozzarella and cheddar cheese until it’s blended, stirring until smooth. Add cheese mixture to the macaroni and mix until well coated. Fill the jars with the macaroni and cheese mixture.
Melt the remaining butter. Toss the Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and butter together and sprinkle on top of macaroni and cheese until covered. You can use any kind of cheese you desire (it’s all a matter of taste). You can add other ingredients such as bacon or bits of ham or sausage (again, it’s all a matter of taste).
Place jars in the middle of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Watch for over-browning towards the end of the baking time. The cheese sauce may bubble over so you may want to place the jars on a baking sheet. If you’re eating the macaroni and cheese right away, go ahead and fill 6 jars to the top. If you are planning to save it for later, use more jars (7 to 8), leaving room for the lids.
If you wish to make this macaroni and cheese recipe in a casserole dish instead of the 6 jars, follow the same directions. Fill a 1 1/2 quart casserole with all of the macaroni and cheese mixture, baking the casserole for about 25 to 30 minutes.
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