Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mac n' Cheese Bites

Since starting my blog a little under 6 months ago this recipe is going to be my second version of macaroni and cheese. If I keep blogging for, let's say 7 years, at a rate of 2 macaroni and cheese recipes per every 6 months, times 7 years, that will be: Ahhh.... Where's my calculator? 

Let's just say that is my type of math problem! 

Ok! Ok. I got it. It's 7 X 4. 28! That's almost 30 mac n' cheese variations my adventuresome boys get to consume like the guinea pigs I use them as. Lucky them. 

The Food & Wine recipe calls to butter your mini-muffin pan with melted butter, which I did. In hindsight, I'm going to recommend to you (unless you are anti-cooking-spray because of something toxic in the propellant) to use a non-stick cooking spray. 

The effort of #1 melting the butter #2 brushing the butter #3 cleaning extra dish and brush is #4 not worth the effort. 

Just sayin'.

Now, that certain publication I mentioned before - which I love - but I just have a little bit of beef with them on this recipe, ya dig? 

They recommend dusting Parmigiano Reggiano on your buttered mini-muffin tins. 

Let me say #1 I didn't use Parmigiano Reggiano because I'm on a budget. A budget that consists of 2 little boys growing so fast they eat a pineapple, a 5 pound bag of apples, 6 bananas, 8 fruit cups, and a 3 pound bag of cuties all in the time span of a week budget. 

My recipe used the stuff that comes in a green can. And #2 the flavor/texture wasn't really slapping me in the face, like, WHOA did you do something to this crust? 

Don't waste time, people. You need dinner on the table. Like, now. 
Elbows. Made of macaroni. Not real elbow.
Looks like Velveeta. It's not, but close. I used American slices. About 6 of 'um.
And more unnecessary dusting. Just like dusting in the house. So unnecessary. 

Maybe you're thinking "man, she really doesn't like these mac n' cheese bites." And you might be right. I'm not sure if this recipe is a keeper for the effort and amount of dishes that were required to procure this snack/appetizer/side dish. What are these little orange blobs, anyways??!

They did reheat well, and the children did like them. But it wasn't like a choir of angels were singing great praise. 

I'll leave it up to you to decide on the worthiness of mac n' cheese stuffed into a mini-muffin tin.  

Mac n' Cheese Bites
recipe adapted from Food & Wine

Yield: 36 Bites

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
4 ounces American cheese, chopped
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a large saucepan, bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add in macaroni and boil rapidly until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, grease a 24-cup (or 2 12-cup) mini-muffin pan with melted butter and dust with 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Set aside.

In same saucepan that boiled the noodles, melt butter. Whisk in the flour over moderate heat. Cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Whisk in cheddar and American cheese and stir until smooth and creamy. Remove from heat and add in egg yolk and paprika.

To cheese sauce add cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Drop macaroni by the tablespoonful into prepared mini-muffin tins. Gently pack down and dust with remaining Parmesan.

Place the muffin tins in the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for five minutes. Remove with a spoon unto a piece of parchment to cool. Repeat with remaining mixture. Serve hot or room temperature.

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I'd love to hear all about your kitchen adventures! Xo, Becki