Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cooking Through Bread and Wine, Recipe 2: Mini Mac and Cheese

Mini Mac & Cheese

(Once again, picture is not mine, it is stolen off of pinterest 
because I am still without my Iphone and all my pictures!)

Moving through "Bread and Wine" with my attempt at recipe #2.  This recipe did not turn out nearly as well as the first one -- I melted the cheese a little too long, but we learn from our mistakes right? Even so, the mini mac and cheeses were delicious, oh so gooey and plenty cheesy! (so I can't wait to try them when done correctly!)  Also, they turned out well enough to bring (along with the goat cheese biscuits) to an outdoor cookout/dinner party at a friends out. Since it was casual, mini mac & cheeses were perfect - for cutting into -OR- eating with our hands!

I have recently reverted back to eating mac and cheese - particularly the cheap Kraft, made from a box, kind.  I somehow associate mac & cheese as a comfort food which is funny because I actually have very few memories of eating mac & cheese as a kid. Tacos? Sure. Make your own pizza night? you betcha. Cook hot dogs over the fireplace because Mom's out of town? Absolutely. (I think we now know where my random love of hot dogs comes from. Thanks dad) But, not many memories of mac and cheese. Whatever the reason, since college, I have turned to this kiddie staple whenever life is busy, stressful or unnerving. So the past 6 crazy months have included a ton of mac and cheese for me!! And, honestly, I tend to prefer the boxed noodles with the powder/milk/butter sauce to homemade macaroni casseroles. (Although my mom does make delicious homemade mac and cheese at holidays, a tradition that came about per my brother's request)  I enjoy the homemade deliciousness but I can't eat much of the heavy thick sauce in the casserole versions. Sometimes its just too rich for me! Maybe that's why I enjoyed the mini mac and cheese so much.  Although there was plenty of butter and cheese and homemade goodness, the individual bites weren't too heavy with that thick creamy delicious but make you feel sickly full sauce.  Plus, I love Parmesan (to an obnoxious point, ask my family) - so I loved that this recipe had a tiny bit of Parm cheese in it. :)

1/2 lb. elbow macaroni (or 4 cups cooked)
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp. butter, plus more for pan
1 Tbsp. Dijon
2 dashes Tabasco
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Smoked Paprika
  1. In a pot of boiling water, cook the macaroni for about 5 minutes, to just al dente, which is just a touch firmer than how you’d like to eat it. Drain.
  2. Brush mini muffin pan with melted butter, then sprinkle half the grated Parmesan into the muffin cups.
  3. On medium-low heat, warm butter and cheddar cheese, and whisk till smooth. Off heat, add Dijon, Tabasco, egg yoke, and whisk again. Add macaroni and mix until well coated with cheese. 
  4. Spoon into muffin cups, making them slightly rounded and packing them lightly. Top with grated Parmesan
  5. Bake at 425° for 12 to 14 minutes, until golden on top.
  6. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving, because they will set as the cool.
  7. Sprinkle with smoked paprika. Serve warm or at room temperature.
**Step 3 is where I made my mistake -- just warm the cheese until it is melted and sticky  but still looks like grated cheese. I warmed mine until it was FULLY melted which made a globby mixture which was hard to properly mix into the noodles-- thus you could easily take a bite into cheese or a bite into noodles, but not always both at the same time.
**This recipes makes 20-24 small bites. If its a small dinner of 6-8 or so, that's enough, but if you are having more than 8, double the recipe as many people eat 3,4, even 5 bites!

Final Verdict: I would make this again (minus the overcooking the cheese part). This is perfect for dinners, parties, chicken, beef, pork, kids, adults.  It takes a classic that almost everyone loves and makes it a little more exciting and glamorous without changing the integrity of the dish. People have been eating cheese and noodles in some form or fashion for years, so why quit now?

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