For Secret Recipe Club this month, I was assigned the blog Lori's Culinary Creations. The author, Lori, lives in Utah with her husband and their parrot, kitties, and dogs. They like to ride around on their Harley in their spare time! Lori sounds like a pretty interesting lady to me, and as a fellow animal lover, I'd like to meet her and her pets.
Lori's blog is packed with tastiness. I was particularly drawn to Jalapeno Popper Burgers (which I did actually make already, yum), Seven Layer Salad (which I plan to make soon), and the one I made for this post, Creamy Muffin Tin Mac & Cheese Bites. About time I finally make mac and cheese for Secret Recipe Club! This was a complete impulse recipe for me because I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand. I did have to use egg noodles instead of macaroni because it's all I had, I used milk instead of wine (personal preference), and baked the mac and cheese in mini muffin tins instead of normal sized ones. They turned out really well. My husband prefers his mac and cheese unbaked and had his straight from the pot, he really liked it and gave it a score of 9/10. He is very picky about mac and cheese, so that's a great rating! He did admit to liking the muffin bites as well.
I don't know that I'll go out of my way to make the bites just for us again, but I can definitely see myself making them for an appetizer to bring to someone's house (they're very good room temperature) or as a lunch for kids. We will definitely have the base mac and cheese recipe again though because it was really good. Thanks, Lori!
Mac & Cheese Bites
10 oz macaroni by weight
3 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
4 Tbsp flour
2 1/2 C milk
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz grated swiss cheese
8 oz grated cheddar cheese
small amount extra cheddar for garnish
paprika, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 and grease a 24 cup mini muffin tin.
Boil macaroni until al dente in a pot of salted water. Drain and return to the pot.
Make the sauce while the macaroni cooks. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium-high and add garlic, cook until it just starts to turn golden. Add flour and cook and stir for a minute, until flour is smooth. Whisk in milk 1/4 C at a time for the first cup and a half, making sure the sauce is smooth between additions, then add the rest. Stir constantly until sauce comes to a simmer, then continue to simmer while stirring for a minute or two. Remove from heat, whisk in mustard and salt, then stir in cheese until smooth. Stir sauce unto cooked macaroni. Spoon mac and cheese into greased mini muffin tin (you will have extra), sprinkle with a little extra cheddar and paprika, and bake at 425 until golden on top, about 12 minutes. Remove muffin tin from oven and let them sit for 10 minutes or so before carefully removing them, blotting off any excess grease with paper towels, and serving.
Yield: 24 mac and cheese bites, plus a bowl or two extra to have for lunch!