Be a Kid Again

Recently, on a day when my daughter had a half day at school, I picked her up and asked her what she wanted for lunch. She suggested macaroni and cheese, which should not have surprised me. It is reliably her favorite food. I told her I'd have to see what we had on hand when we got home, but I figured we could probably do that. Upon our return, I realized I had more or less what I needed, but instead of standard cheddar cheese, I had part of a bag of shredded mozzarella from the last time we'd made pizza and an unopened block of marinara cheese, which is loaded with Italian seasonings and sundried tomato flakes. I also noticed the pepperoni we hadn't finished when making the aforementioned pizza. So I turned to her and asked, "How about making pizza mac 'n cheese?" She responded, "Wait. That's a thing?" And a new favorite was born:

I gotta say, even I love this stuff. What's more, because I had the Instant Pot on hand, I could whip this dish up in about 15 minutes. You can't really make a box of mac 'n cheese with that powdered cheese stuff any faster than that! Now, we happened to make a giant batch of the stuff, but that meant we had leftovers for over the weekend and also set aside a small container of it for my husband to take to work for lunch later. And did I mention how gloriously amazing this stuff is?

Of course, if you don't have an electric pressure cooker, you can still make this dish on the stovetop. It just means it will take twice as long, which still isn't too terribly long. Although I'll be honest and say once the aroma starts swirling around, it might well feel like forever!

Pizza Mac 'n Cheese

  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 4 c. water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 c. shredded pizza cheese (pepperoni, marinara, etc. or use shredded sharp cheddar)
  • 6 oz. sliced pepperoni, sliced in half

Instant Pot Instructions:
Inside the Instant Pot, place the macaroni, water, salt, and butter. Set the Instant Pot for 4 minutes using the manual setting. When it beeps, use the quick release method for releasing the pressure. Take the lid off and set the pot on the sauté setting. Add the whipping cream and stir. Slowly add the shredded cheese, stirring constantly, until it is all melted. Stir in the pepperoni and serve.

Stovetop Instructions:
Cook the elbow macaroni according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, return it to the cooking pot, and add the salt, butter, and heavy whipping cream. Heat that mixture over medium heat until the cream is hot, about 5 minutes. Slowly add the shredded cheese, stirring constantly, until it is all melted. Stir in the pepperoni and serve.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: Instant Pot: 15 minutes, Stovetop: 30 minutes