Stuffed peppers are soooo versatile. Fill ’em up with leftovers, like Mac ‘n Cheese. We double-doggy-dare you not to smile.
I love mac ‘n cheese, and I love stuffed peppers so it was a no-brainer to combine the two and make Mac ‘n Cheese Stuffed Peppers. The cool thing about this recipe is that the filling is precooked, speeding up the time it takes to get dinner on the table.
Using Leftovers To Stuff Peppers
Precooking a filling before stuffing a pepper is great because you never have to worry about whether the filling is still raw. All you’re doing is letting it heat right through to the middle while the pepper cooks.
You can use leftover mac ‘n cheese for this recipe – use your favorite version or use what we’ve jotted down below. Whatever you do, make sure the mac is really really creamy. The noodles will be sucking up moisture as they heat up in the oven. If the sauce isn’t liquidy enough you’ll end up with really dry macaroni in the middle.
Tip: If you’re using leftover macaroni and cheese and the noodles have already sucked up lots of sauce and are looking dry, liven them up with a splash of warm milk.Print
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni noodles
- 6 bell peppers
- 8 oz. cream cheese (1/3 fat cream cheese works fine in here)
- 8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 6 tsp. panko bread crumbs
- Baking spray
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- Cook the macaroni according to package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, prep the peppers either by cutting them in half front stem through to bottom and then deseeding or by cutting off the stem end of the pepper and de-seeding. Arrange peppers cut-side-up on a large rimmed baking sheet.
- Make the macaroni and cheese sauce by measuring the cream cheese, cheddar cheese and milk into a microwave-safe bowl. Cook in the microwave 1 minute at at time for 3-5 minutes, stirring after each interval until sauce is fairly smooth with no big cream cheese chunks. Whisk in the mustard, salt and cayenne.
- Drain the macaroni noodles well and then combine them with the sauce. Let sauce sit on noodles for 5-10 minutes. Stir well and then fill peppers with macaroni and cheese.
- Top each pepper with some of the panko crumbs and then spray tops lightly with baking spray.
- Bake until breadcrumbs are browned and peppers are desired tenderness, 20-25 minutes.*
*If you like your peppers very soft, bake them for 40 minutes at 350ºF instead of 20-25 minutes at 450ºF.
This post originally appeared in September 2015 and was revised and republished in August 2018.