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Hello, friends! I am so excited to have paired up with RITZ® Crackers and Coca-Cola today to bring you the perfect football party and tailgating bites. The big game is fast approaching, and even if you're not a football fan, odds are you're probably either attending or hosting a party... we all know that the food's the best part anyways, right? 😉 Today, I am sharing some creamy, cheesy mac & cheese bites with a crispy RITZ® Cracker bottom and topping. They're absolutely perfect when paired with a cold, refreshing Coca-Cola!
First things first, we need to go shopping. I stopped by my local Tom Thumb grocery store to pick up all the necessities! For these scrumptious mac & cheese bites, you need some macaroni basics: noodles, butter, flour, milk, lots of cheese, and of course the RITZ® Crackers! Don't forget to pick up some Coca-Cola bottles down the soda aisle, too. If you're lucky, your grocery store will also carry these seriously adorable old-school glass bottles! They're perfect for parties. I found the plastic bottles near the 12-packs of cans, and the glass bottles just a little further down.
I have to say that since I graduated this May, I haven't watched a single football game. I'm the worst fan ever! I guess after a few years of having the privilege of seeing each football game live in a stadium full of rowdy students, watching it on tv just pales in comparison! Thankfully, throwing a party with lots of yummy food and excited friends makes the experience almost as fun. These creamy, cheesy Mac & Cheese bites are absolute crowd-pleasers. Let's be honest, who doesn't love good ol' mac & cheese? Baking it in a muffin pan with crispy RITZ® crackers makes these not only perfectly pre-portioned, but also adds an irresistible crust to the delicious classic.
These delicious bites are the perfect addition to your football party spread! Serve them with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping, or maybe a dash of hot sauce on top. I love serving these with a platter of fresh fruit! A little richness from the mac & cheese, a little juicy goodness from the fruit, all washed down with a bottle of crisp, refreshing Coca-Cola. What more could you ask for? 😉
- 48 RITZ® crackers
- ½ lb elbow pasta
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup mild cheddar cheese
- 1 cup jack cheese
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2¾ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- nonstick spray
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Spray two standard muffin pans with nonstick spray, and place a RITZ® cracker in the bottom of each.
- In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it has completely melted, add in the flour and whisk until creamy and lump-free. Allow to cook for 1 minute, then slowly pour in the milk, stirring continuously.
- Keep cooking the sauce, whisking it, until it's creamy and thick. Remove from heat, and stir in the spices and cheeses. Set aside.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and cook elbow pasta 1-2 minutes less than the recommended time. Drain well, and stir into the cheese sauce.
- Evenly divide the mac & cheese amongst the 24 muffin cavities, and top each "muffin" with a crushed RITZ® cracker and additional Parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
- Let cool slightly, then remove from pan and enjoy with Coca-Cola!