Hash Brown Mac and Cheese Cups

Have some shredded hash browns in the freezer? You could bake them and serve them with ketchup, or you could break out your muffin tin and turn them into something a little more creative: Crispy mac and cheese-stuffed hash brown cups. Crisp savory potatoes cradle mac and cheese that's topped off with buttery breadcrumbs.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 12 cups
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Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

One 20-ounce bag frozen shredded hash browns, thawed (about 3 cups) 

4 ounces small elbow macaroni (about 1 cup) 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter 

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 

1/2 cup milk 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt  

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper  

Pinch ground nutmeg 

1 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese (about 4 ounces) 

1/4 cup freshly grated Cheddar (about 1 ounce) 

1 tablespoon finely sliced chives 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  2. Divide the hash browns between the muffin tin cups and firmly press into the base and up the sides of each to create a cup shape. Bake until golden around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.  
  3. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large pot of salted boiling water according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. 
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk and whisk constantly until the milk thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the salt, cayenne and nutmeg. Slowly fold in the Gruyere and Cheddar and stir until the cheeses are melted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the macaroni. 
  5. Divide the macaroni among the hash brown cups. Bake until the tops of the cups are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.  
  6. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and combine with the breadcrumbs.  
  7. Remove the mac and cheese from the oven, top with the breadcrumbs and bake until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 5 more minutes. Top with chives.