Amy Casey Cooks: Mac n’ Cheese Bites

Who doesn’t love mini versions of favorite foods? Slider-sized burgers, mini lobster rolls, shots of tomato soup, and bite-sized chicken tacos. They are all just so adorable and so much fun to eat. Mac and cheese comes to mind as a recipe that is perfect to make mini. Introducing the Mac and Cheese Bites.

Macaroni and cheese is a crowd pleaser so it is just natural to fashion it into 2 bite snacks. And this recipe is nothing like the packaged variety. But, I must admit I do love making the one in the blue box with the neon orange dried cheese packet from time to time.

A batch of 24 mini mac and cheeses are perfect for parties or just every day meals. The pop in your mouth snacks are a crowd pleaser as are Antipasto SkewersHoney Ham and Pineapple Tortilla Pizza and BLT Bites.

Chef cooking tips for macaroni and cheese bites

Cheese and lots of it! I like to use a combo of sharp cheddar for the its flavor and Monterey Jack for its creamy meltability. And be sure to use a grater to shred a block of cheese by hand or use a food processor. The flavor is undoubtedly superior and the cheese melts better than the packaged and shredded cheese available at the grocery store.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, packed
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, packed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 24-count, nonstick mini muffin panwith cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 30 seconds. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking occasionally, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Add cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses and stir to melt.
  4. Stir in the salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and mustard.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolks and macaroni.
  6. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of macaroni and cheese into the prepared mini muffin pan. I like this medium cookie scoop. Pack each one down gently.
  7. Melt 2 teaspoons of butter in a small saute pan. Add 2 tablespoons of panko. Stir occasionally until panko becomes golden brown. Remove from heat.
  8. Sprinkle bites with toasted panko.
  9. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling.
  10. Let cool 1 to 2 minutes in the pan.
  11. Using a teaspoon, carefully loosen the mac and cheese bites and transfer to a platter to serve.

Fill the muffin tin cups to overflowing. A heaping 2 tablespoons will make the perfect size macaroni and cheese bites. A medium cookie scoop makes for easy scooping. Pack the cheesy mixture into each cup for sturdy handheld snacks.

Add an extra special crunchy topping of buttered panko. Melt 2 teaspoons of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of panko. Stir occasionally until the panko just begins to become golden brown.

Make these tasty snacks in advance

Don’t like to feel rushed before your guests arrive for a party? I know I like to have as much done in advance of the festivities. The Mac and Cheese Bites can be made ahead of dinner or party time. Prep the bites until just before baking. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 6 hours. Pull the pan out of the fridge at party time. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Written By:

Amy Casey

@amycaseycooks

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