Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mac and cheese bites

Last summer, we hosted a cookout during the middle of summer. It was hot, humid, and an all-around miserable day. The food, however, was awesome. We decided to host another cookout this year but pushed the date out so the weather was cooler. Luckily for us, we had the perfect day. It was in the 70s with no humidity and a slight breeze. Perfect party weather.

One of the most popular items at last year's party were these mac and cheese bites. I made a double batch last year, and they were pretty much all gone. Although we had fewer people attend our party this year, my double batch also disappeared pretty quickly. They are perfect for adult and kids alike, and one neighbor commented that they were more sophisticated because of the herbs in the cheese.

Remember to allow these appetizers to cool or else your crust will fall apart. I made that mistake a few times and got crumbs all over the floor and counter. Otherwise, the crust will hold up pretty well and is a nice textural contrast to the herb-flavored mac and cheese. I doubt you'll be able to eat just one of these because they are so addictive.

Mac and cheese bites
  • 12 oz. elbow macaroni noodles
  • 2 cups Ritz cracker crumbs (do this in a food processor or blender)
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (5.2 oz.) package Boursin garlic herb cheese
  • 2 TBSP cold unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease 2 standard muffin pans and set aside.

Cook the noodles according to the package directions and drain.

While the noodles are cooking, prepare the crust. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the Ritz cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese and melted butter. Transfer about 1 TBSP of the mixture to the bottom of each muffin well. Using the bottom of a glass or a bottle, press down on the crumb mixture to flatten it.

Once the pasta has been cooked and drained, transfer it to a large bowl. Add in the Boursin cheese and cold butter and mix well.

In a small bowl or a measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk and Greek yogurt. Transfer this to the bowl with the pasta and mix well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the macaroni into the muffin wells and fill each one to the top. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden. Allow the mac and cheese bites to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing them from the pan (otherwise they might fall apart).

Any leftover mac and cheese bites can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheated as needed.

Yield: About 18 servings

Source: Barely adapted from Annie's Eats



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