Fall Gameday Fun with Baked Macaroni and Cheese Balls

Fall is just around the corner and it’s time for some fall family fun! Our family loves football. Since game days are Saturdays and Sundays, I usually start the weekend ┬áby heading out the door for a good long early Saturday morning run. My trusty german shorthair pointer accompanies me as we head out for our thirteen mile run.

Can I tell you that after thirteen miles I smell wonderful? Yeah, I don’t.

baked macaroni and cheese balls

After my run, it’s time to relax, take a shower, watch some football and eat!!

Today I’m sharing one of our favorite Game Day recipes with you as part of the Tide with Febreze Sport Game Day Campaign.

baked macaroni and cheese

If you love The Cheesecake Factory, you will love this recipe! My husband introduced me to the fried mac and cheese balls on a recent trip to the restaurant. While I’m not usually a fan of fried things, I have to admit these were really, really good! I wanted to reproduce the recipe at home for the kids (and I’ll be honest–myself) using better ingredients. I came up with this recipe for baked macaroni and cheese balls. A plate of these with some marinara sauce and you will be ready for game time too!

macaroni and cheese balls

Baked Macaroni and Cheese Balls

Inspired by the Cheesecake Factory, these baked macaroni and cheese balls boast better ingredients and the same great taste as their fried friends.


  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup pureed butternut squash
  • 3/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat milk
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese (we used Cabot 1%)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour + 1 tbsp
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup parmesan herb bread crumbs (you can use plain breadcrumbs or even gluten free if desired)
  • 4 tbsp olive or canola oil


  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain, then set aside while you prepare the sauce.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the pureed squash, broth, milk, pepper, salt and one tablespoon flour over medium heat. Heat just until boiling, then reduce heat to low and slowly stir in cheeses. Once cheese is melted, stir in the pasta and coat in the cheese mixture.
  3. Place macaroni and cheese into the refrigerator to allow it to cool.
  4. When macaroni has cooled, form into tablespoon sized balls and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet or scoop mixture into lightly greased mini muffin tins. Place mixture in freezer and allow mixture to freeze for at least one hour.
  5. Right before taking the macaroni out of the freezer, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls. Remove the macaroni from the freezer. Roll each macaroni ball completely in the flour, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs. Place the macaroni on parchment lined baking sheets. If you used the mini muffin cups to freeze, do not place them back into the muffin cups. You will need to move them to a parchment lined baking sheet.
  6. Place the macaroni balls into the oven and cook at 425 degrees for ten minutes. After ten minutes, flip each macaroni ball to the other side to allow for even cooking. Cook for an additional seven minutes. For crispier macaroni, turn the broiler on and broil them for an additional thirty seconds to a minute after cooking before flipping and broiling on the other side. The macaroni is done when it is browned.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve warm with marinara sauce.

If you need a serious cleaner for your clothes, consider using Tide With Febreze Sport. It works fantastic on my long run workout clothes as it is designed for your toughest of tough stains and smells. While I usually opt for healthier cleaners, Tide with Febreze has been a lifesaver for my sportsbras, tanks and running shorts.

“Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Tide through their partnership with Circle of Moms. While I was compensated to write a post about Tide Plus Febreze Freshness Sport, all opinions are my own.”


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  1. What an awesome idea!!! These look so good, and what a great idea for a party! Such a fun thing to serve! Thanks for sharing!!!


  1. […] Her philosophy that healthy eating can be delicious,┬ábalanced, and happen on a budget struck right at home for us. I knew we had the same ideas when I saw all the creative ways she finds to make her food healthy. Like the recipe we picked to make for today: her Mac and Cheese Balls. […]

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