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Mac, Chicken and Cheese Bites

Mac Chicken and Cheese Bites from weelicious.com

Someone in our family...you know who...is going through a serious macaroni and cheese phase. It's funny how kids get something in their heads and just fixate on it. This has happened to Kenya with tons of foods such as pizza, pasta, yogurt, muffins, cheese, even string beans (seriously, he couldn't get enough of them) and now he's obsessed with mac and cheese.

I've been having a blast coming up with fun pasta and cheese recipes and these Mac, Chicken and Cheese Bites are a tasty way to give your kids a double boost of protein. I especially love these bites because they fit beautifully in a lunch box and even little kids can easily hold them in their hands. When Kenya first saw these he asked, "What are those" and I said, "mac and cheese muffins". "Macaroni", "cheese" and "muffin" all in the same sentence? They were a winner before he even tried the first bite! I wonder if that means this phase will last three times as long?

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Mac, Chicken and Cheese Bites (Makes 20 Mini Bites)

Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 15 mins

nut free

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cup Milk*
  • 1 Cup White Cheddar
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, divided
  • 1/4 Cup bread crumbs
  • 1 Cup shredded cooked chicken

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions (the pasta I used said to cook for 9-12 minutes, so I cooked it for 10 minutes).

3. Drain the pasta and set aside.

4. In a small heavy bottomed saucepan melt 2 Tbsp of the butter.

5. Whisk in the flour and salt and cook for 2 minutes.

6. Add the milk in a slow stream and whisk to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally .

7. Add the white cheddar and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and stir until melted.

8. Pour the cheese sauce and chicken over the pasta and stir to combine.

9. In a bowl, combine the 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.

10. Grease mini muffin cups.

11. Pour about 1/4 cup of the macaroni mixture into the muffin cups, sprinkle the top with the bread and cheese mixture and bake for 15-20 minutes (I cooked mine for 20 mins) or until breadcrumbs are golden brown.

12. Cool in muffin cups, remove and serve.

*Allow to cool and place in ziploc bag,label and freeze up to 4 months. When ready, place in toaster oven or oven at 300 for 10 minutes or until heated through.

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. My passion is creating simple, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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53 comments

  • Mandie

    Oh wow, my daughter is a little cheese hound -- she'll love these!

    leave a comment

  • Laurie

    I can not wait to try these! (with whole grain pasta though).

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  • Jojo

    Have you ever tried this recipe with the veggie chicken strips? It looks delicious tho even without the chicken!

    leave a comment

  • Sheryl

    I made this last night. It was easy, yummy, healthy and the best part, Rocco loved it. I love this site. Thanks for all the work you put into it.

    leave a comment

  • Adina

    I Love this resipe!!!

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  • Adina

    My dd wrote in that last comment for me:) We are trying this recipe today!

    leave a comment

  • Kathy

    Do these freeze well? I have a little boy who will love them, but it is just the two of us, so we will certainly have leftovers! If they do, how do you recommend reheating?

    Thanks!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      They freeze well, I would take them out and put them in the oven or you can put them in the microwave, just let them thaw out.

      leave a comment

  • Jacqueline Hay

    I was so happy when I came onto the website today and found this recipe! I too have a toddler that is in love with Mac & Cheese and I can't come up with enough ways to satisfy his appetite. I made these today, using tri-color whole wheat Alphabet pasta and organic chicken. Alexander could not wait for them to be baked so I had to give him one before they went into the oven! He loved them...and this is a recipe I am recommending to all of my friends with young children.

    I always look forward to the new recipes you post and can't wait to try them out.

    Thank you,
    Jacqueline & Alex

    leave a comment

  • Margaret Ann

    I made these last night and my kids loved them! They helped me stir the cheese and milk and mix them with the noodles. They waited (kind of) patiently while the \"cupcakes\" baked and, when they came out of the oven, my 5 year old declared them \"the best dinner ever!\" Thank you for yet another healthy family dinner hit!

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  • Weelicious Whole Wheat Dutch Baby Almost Crunchy

    [...] Lots of food in miniature form. Since I’m a sucker for bite-sized cuteness, she had me at Mac, Chicken and Cheese Bites. The site is well organized and easy to navigate. Love that she broke recipes down into age and [...]

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  • Jessica H

    We made this, but as I'm always trying to find ways to sneak veggies into things, added some peas, too. They were a huge hit! Thanks for the recipe!

    leave a comment

  • Beth

    These look great! I'm going to try them and reduce the milk by 1/2 cup and substitute 1/2 cup cauliflower puree for some added nutrition. I hope it works!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      ME too!! Let me know how they turn out!

      leave a comment

  • Krista

    I've made Mac & Cheese Muffins before, but they turned out dry. Is the Mac & Cheese as creamy as just made? :D

    leave a comment

  • Macaroni & Cheese & Chicken Cupcakes « Food They Eat

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  • Colby

    All 3 of my kids loved them- which is a shocker! I am waiting to hear how they did as leftovers in school lunches. My 2 year old actually ate them at school and that is all I need to do it again! I am wondering if I wanted to use a regular muffin pan for my bigger kids (and less time consuming) would I just let it go longer to get them thoroughly cooked and develop that crust?

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  • PattiR

    Awesome! My husband took the leftovers for lunch today. I tried the mac and cheese before putting them in the muffin tins and it was creamy and delicious. I might try cooking it in one big casserole dish next time.

    leave a comment

  • Sara

    These were wonderful, I made them in a regular muffin time and they turned out great. I took three out immediately because I was hungry and too impatient and they stayed together pretty well, a little crack but pretty good. I let the others cool to put into the freezer and they stayed together perfectly. I did leave out the chicken though.

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  • Sarah

    I made a batch of these tonight to freeze and put in my son's lunches over the next few weeks. I only added 1/2 cup of milk and I mixed in 1 cup butternut squash puree right before I added the cheeses. I also subbed whole wheat pasta, flour and breadcrumbs. They turned out great, with just a hint of sweet from the squash, but I know he'll love them. Thanks for the recipe!

    leave a comment

    • Lanie

      Is your son able to heat these up at school or does he just eat them cold?

      leave a comment

  • Donna

    Hi,
    My toddler LOVES mac and cheese...would eat it every day if I let him! I am so excited to try these, but don't have any Parmesan Cheese on hand. Can I use any other type of cheese?

    leave a comment

  • Coquitlam Mommy

    [...] Mac, Chicken & Cheese Bites [...]

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  • Fatima

    Amazingly cheesy n tasty! Only it's better to substitute wholewheat pasta for normal macaroni and wheat in place of flour, from health point of view.

    leave a comment

  • Meredith

    I made these the other night and they were a HIT!!! My 6 and 4 y.o. daughters LOVED them, as well as the hubby! I have a gas oven and typically I have to cook things 5 mins. (give or take) less than what the original recipe calls for. However, these NEED more than 15 mins. in the oven to get that good crisp on the outside. I had one batch in for 15 mins. and they fell apart upon scooping them out. (And yes, I did wait until they had cooled a bit.)

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  • Melissa

    Just made these...shredded the chicken vs cubing it, they held together perfectly after 20 min in oven & VERY picky 5 yr old didn't fuss about the chicken! Yea!

    leave a comment

  • Meredith

    I made these for my girls (who LOVE mac n cheese with a passion!) and they LOVED them! I swapped out white cheddar for 2% milk sharp cheddar (the hubby hates white cheddar) and they were fab! You definitely have to cook these *just* long enough. I made two batches, and the 1st batch fell apart upon scooping them out b/c I had under-cooked them. The 2nd batch I let cook a couple minutes more and they held together.

    leave a comment

  • Michelle

    I made these and my daughter just LOVED them...me too!! Instead of breadcrumbs, i sprinkled wheat germ on top for extra nutrition! Just a crispy as breadcrumbs!

    leave a comment

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  • Alicia

    Could I leave out the chicken, or substitute a veggie for the chicken?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You can do either! You could leave out the chicken or substitute a soft veggie. You want something that will be about the same consistency as the cooked chicken. Maybe steamed carrots or broccoli? Let me know how it works!

      leave a comment

  • Leesh

    I had high hopes for this one. I was kinda bummed my 14 month old just wasn't loving them. They fell apart and were really dry.

    leave a comment

  • Dale

    Would it hurt to take these out of the freezer, let them thaw in the fridge over night and send them for lunch the next day, with out heating them? Or would it be safer to heat them in the morning (straight from thenfreez) let them cool then put them in the lunch?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      That would be totally fine from a food safety standpoint!

      leave a comment

  • Courtney

    I used this as a base recipe for our dinner last night. I used ham and spinach, added a little onion and garlic powder, and baked in a 9x9 casserole dish. It was so good. We only had enough leftovers for my daughter's lunch today..

    leave a comment

  • Abb

    Hi! I loved this idea and tried to make them yesterday but mine fell apart as I tried to get them out of the muffin cups. Any suggestions to keep that from happening again?

    leave a comment

    • Samara

      Mine fell apart! What did I do wrong? I used rice milk in place of milk but my roux looked great and I wouldn't expect a diff result...?

      leave a comment

  • keaton21us

    I did most in mini muffin tins and ended up with 4 for the big muffin and I prefer the minis. They stay together better, especially coming out of the tins and the minis are great to pick up and eat. I used a teaspoon to gently take them out. My kids and I loved them!

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  • Deryn

    Just made these for my daughter's birthday party and they were a big hit. I used a big muffin pan but lined the cups with parchment paper. Baked for 20 min. They stayed together beautifully.

    leave a comment

  • Lisa

    I made these for my daughter's lunch and had high expectations for them! She loves mac-n-cheese, but she told me that even after heating them up for lunch (they have a microwave in her classroom), they tasted \"bad\" - she asked me to never make them again. Bummer! Had high hopes for this recipe in integrating it into our Bento lunch boxes, but my 1st grader doesnt like this one! Her comments is \"they taste bad\".

    leave a comment

  • BettyJo

    I'm a grama and want to make some of these recipes for grampa!

    leave a comment

  • GD

    How long do these need to cook when using regular size muffin cup pans?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      About the same amount of time. 20 minutes, or until golden brown!

      leave a comment

  • Tammy

    I love these! Make them all the time. I make w and wo the chicken and have added spinach, peas and carrots. I also up the veggie factor by adding some pumpin, sweet potato or butternut squash purée in the cheese sauce.

    leave a comment

  • Meal Plan: August 12-18 Writebalance

    […] – Homemade Mac N’ Cheese with chicken and steamed […]

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  • Meal Plan August – 11 Writebalance

    […] Saturday: Homemade Mac N’ Cheese with Chicken and steamed edemame on the side […]

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  • Stacy Cahill

    Would you mind letting me know what would be considered an adult serving of this food? I see in the nutrition information that the recipe makes 20 bites and I am trying to find out if the accompanying calorie and nutrition calculations are per one bite or if the stats were calculated on another amount. I am currently trying to track my food intake and want to make sure what I should be utilizing as a serving. Thanks!

    BTW, I made these for my almost one and a half year old and she loved them! She is going through a picky face right now and it was incredibly satisfying to serve these as part of dinner that she ate with enthusiasm. Thank you so much for your books and this site, they have been a great guide for me to plan her meals.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine McCord

      The nutrition information is for 1 Mac, Chicken and Cheese Bite!

      leave a comment

  • Sandmp

    Awesome. Just finished making a batch and they are yummy. My girls should love these!! Thanks.

    leave a comment

  • Ladymalai

    Would you do a video of this?. I am like the others who had the problem that the bites don't retain their shape though I followed the recipe to the letter. I would love to figure out what I did wrong.

    leave a comment

  • Victoria

    Can you use whole wheat pasta?

    leave a comment

    • Victoria

      I made these with whole wheat pasta and marble cheese - so good!

      leave a comment

  • Megan

    I made a mistake that I thought might interest some people: I didn't realize how big my box of pasta was, and probably put in 1 1/4 lb of macaroni, while keeping all other ingredient amounts the same. I wouldn't exactly recommend this variation; it seemed a little dry and bland to me. BUT it did still work. We all ate it, and the kids really liked it. So if you find yourself with unexpected mouths to feed or an especially tight budget, know you can stretch this with more pasta. (BTW, it made 67 mini muffins with my pan!)

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