Last week I was tasked with helping my sister come up with a ‘pot luck’ meal to bring to my niece’s day care (she is almost 2). It was actually my sister who chose to do mini mac and cheese bites but when I saw the recipe she had chosen, I decided to ‘add my own twist’ and the results were incredible. These little bites are SO addictive. (Bet you can’t eat just 10!) The kids LOVED them, but they’re a fun and delicious treat for kids of any age! They’re PERFECT party food (girl’s night!), take to work food, snack food, standing in the fridge door eating them cold in the middle of the night food….. well, you get the idea (;
I made these ones vegetarian but I’m already thinking of different ways to make these ‘fancy’… Crumbled bacon and green onion, ham, jalepenos, cooked ground beef thrown in…. or how about sneaking in some broccoli, cauliflower or diced bell peppers to add veggies?! Yep. Once you get the basic recipe down (which is super easy) you can go wild with variations!
*NOTE: these are great with dip as well! (ketchup, chipotle, ranch, garlic….)
Equipment needed: Mini muffin tins (4, 6 muffin tins)
Yields: 24 bites
- 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni noodles
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (any will do. I used panko)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cheese sauce powder (OPTIONAL. Found in bulk section of many grocery stores)
- 2 Tbsp cream cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cup milk
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided (sharp cheddar works best)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or swiss/gruyere)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (OPTIONAL)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten – with 1/8 tsp pepper added
- Add a generous amount of salt to a pot of water.
- Bring water to boil and cook pasta 1 minute less than the package directions says to. **Do not rinse with cold water. Toss with 1 tsp vegetable oil so pasta won’t stick**.
- In a large saucepan or pot, melt butter over medium heat.
- Stir in flour and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly so butter doesn’t burn, until flour starts to get a ‘light golden colour’ (1 – 2 minutes).
- Gradually whisk in the milk.
- Once mixture is smooth, add in all the seasonings, including salt, along with the cream cheese.
- Bring to boil, whisking/stirring constantly to ensure mixture does not burn, until mixture has thickened. (1 – 2 minutes).
- Stir in 1 cup of the cheddar, parmesan and the mozzarella (or swiss) and stir until just melted.
- Remove from heat.
- Add 1/2 cup breadcrumbs & eggs. Stir.
- Add macaroni and toss all together.
- Spoon about 2 Tbsp of mixture into each of the mini tins until it’s evenly distributed over 24 spots.
- Combine the rest of the shredded cheddar and remaining breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the bites.
- Bake in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 8 minutes. Cool for at least 8 – 10 minutes before serving.
Now TRY not to eat these all in under 5 minutes!