Cooking with Alison

Macaroni and Cheese Bites (or a Delicious Baked Macaroni and Cheese)

In Appetizers, Hors D'oeuvres, Snacks, Sides and Sauces on November 20, 2013 at am

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I love macaroni and cheese and these mini macaroni and cheese bites turn a comforting pasta dish into finger food fit for any party.  These can also be made gluten free!  I used grown-up cheese and made two versions of macaroni and cheese bites for John’s housewarming party.  If you only own one mini muffin pan, which I do, these can be tedious and time-consuming to make.  But they can be made hours in advance and then reheated in the oven prior to serving.  You could also bake these in a standard muffin pan and serve them as a side dish for a sit down meal.  This recipe also happens to make the best baked macaroni and cheese dish I’ve ever had, especially cheese mixture #2.  I used the leftover ingredients to make individual baked macaroni and cheese dishes as shown in the photo below.

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Macaroni and Cheese Bites Recipe

adapted from here; You could use a mini muffin pan to make finger food for a party, or you could use a standard muffin pan to make sides for a sit down meal.  Makes approximately 30 mini macaroni and cheese bites or 8 macaroni and cheese sides.  Alternatively, you could use this recipe to make a single pan of baked macaroni and cheese in a glass or ceramic baking dish.  Feel free to substitute the cheeses with your favourites or whatever you happen to have on hand.

1 1/2 cups of crushed Ritz cracker crumbs  (Note:  Use a food processor to crush the Ritz crackers.  I also tried making these using crushed Corn Flakes cereal.  Both will work, but I prefer the flavour and buttery crispiness of the Ritz crackers.  If you are making a gluten free version, use crushed gluten free cereals such as corn flakes or Rice Chex.)

5 tablespoons of salted butter, melted

1 cup dried macaroni pasta  (Note:  Use gluten free macaroni or elbow pasta instead, if desired.)

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup sour cream

vegetable oil cooking spray

fresh parsley, coarsely chopped (optional for garnish)

Cheese mixture #1:

2 packed cups of grated cheddar cheese  (Note:  Choose white chedder for the clean look of the cheese bite or choose yellow chedder for more flavour.)

1 (5.2 ounce/150 gram) package of Boursin brand gournay cheese, garlic and fine herb flavour

OR

Cheese mixture #2:

2 packed cups of grated gruyere cheese

1/2 cup of grated parmesan or grana padano cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a mini muffin pan or standard sized muffin pan with vegetable oil cooking spray and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together the crushed crackers, half of the grated cheese (cheddar or gruyere), and 4 tablespoons of the melted butter.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining melted butter with the Boursin cheese (if using), milk, sour cream, and egg until smooth.  If you are making mini macaroni and cheese bites, stir all of the remaining cheese (cheddar, or gruyere and parmesan) into the milk mixture.  If you are making macaroni and cheese sides, reserve the remaining cheese.  Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat.  Meanwhile, divide the crumb mixture evenly among the muffin cups.  Use your fingers to press the crumbs firmly into the muffin cups.  Then press the crumbs up the sides of the muffin cups as well.

Once the pot of water reaches a rolling boil, add a large pinch of salt and add the dried macaroni pasta.  Follow the guidelines on the packaging of the pasta and cook it until the desired doneness has been achieved.  Then drain it well and toss it in with the cheese and milk mixture.  Fill the muffin cups with the pasta mixture.  If you are using a mini muffin pan, the pasta should form a heaping dome.  You may have some extra macaroni leftover.  If you are making macaroni and cheese sides, top them with the remaining grated cheese (cheddar, or gruyere and parmesan).  Bake in the preheated oven until the crust is golden brown and crispy, and the cheese is bubbling, about 10 to 15 minutes for mini macaroni and cheese bites, and about 20 to 25 minutes for the macaroni and cheese sides.  Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and allow the bites to cool slightly before removing them from the pan.  I used a small metal spatula to loosen the sides before lifting them out of the pan.  Then garnish with parsley if desired and serve immediately.  Although these are best served hot and fresh out of the oven, you could make them in advance, allow them to cool completely on a wire cooling rack and then reheat them in a 350 degree F oven for up to 10 minutes on a parchment paper lined baking sheet prior to serving.

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  1. Okay. I for SURE need to try this, I love trying any and all mac&cheese recipes.

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