Mini Macs

November 15, 2010

Let’s face it.  Macaroni and cheese makes most people happy.  It really doesn’t matter how old those people are.  It’s just a happy dish and it’s tasty.  Mac and cheese = tasty.  Small things also make people happy.  Mini cupcakes, muffins, petits fours.  People think they are cute.  Mini things = cute.  So what we have here is tasty and cute.  It could be worse.

If you want to have a guaranteed hit on your party menu, make these little guys.  The look on people’s faces as you pull them out of the oven (that combination of “that smells so good” “they are so cute!” and “mac and cheese!”) is priceless.  I would make these for every single event I do, but they really need oven time right before serving.  Sometimes I am catering a party where that is not an option, so they don’t appear on the menu.  I have made them a few hours in advance and then just reheated them right before party time.  It works but they really are best if you bake them off just as guests are arriving.

This recipe calls for good old American cheese slices presumably for their melt-ability.  This last time, I went for the more “natural” version – Horizon brand – and I have to tell you they were better with the cheap stuff.  Just like you want to bake with Jif rather than an all-natural brand of peanut butter, you want to make these with Kraft rather than the all-natural.

One Year Ago: Creamy Artichoke Dip
Two Years Ago: Bulghur and Green Lentil Salad with Chickpeas

Three-Cheese Mini Macs
Adapted from Food & Wine
Makes 48 Mini Macs

½ pound elbow macaroni
1½ tbsp. unsalted butter
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp. flour
¾ cup milk
4 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 packed cup)
4 ounces deli-sliced American cheese, chopped
1 large egg yolk
¼ tsp. smoked Spanish paprika

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente, about 5 minutes.  Drain, shaking off the excess water.

Spray four 12-cup nonstick mini muffin tins with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with 2 tbsp. Parmesan.

In a large saucepan, melt the 1½ tablespoons of butter.  Whisk in the flour over moderate heat for 2 minutes.  Whisk in teh milk and cook, whisking, until boiling, about 5 minutes.  Add the Cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted.  Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolk and paprika.  Fold in the macaroni.

Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of the macaroni into the prepared muffin cups, packing them gently.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan on top.

Bake the mini macs in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling.  Let cool for 5 minutes.  Using a small spoon, carefully loosen the mini macs, transfer to a platter and serve.


  1. Thank you for yet another party menu! I should just stop reading every blog except yours :)

    Comment by maris — November 16, 2010 @ 1:36 am

  2. Oh my!

    Comment by Bridget — November 16, 2010 @ 2:32 am

  3. These are adorable. Would it be too bad if I ate 10 of them?

    Comment by leslie — November 16, 2010 @ 2:57 am

  4. I’m a sucker for both mac and cheese and mini things! My fiance and I would devour these in no time. I bet they’d even be tasty cold as leftovers!

    Comment by Rachel — November 16, 2010 @ 2:11 pm

  5. These are so cute! They would make perfect appetizers!

    And, speaking of appetizers… I host a monthly cooking challenge on my site and this month’s theme is apps. If you’re interested, I’d love to have you submit this recipe for the roundup! You can get all of the details from the Kitchen Bootcamp section on my site.

    Comment by Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — November 16, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

  6. I’ve so been craving mac and cheese lately! And these are just too cute!

    Comment by Jacqui — November 16, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

  7. Mac and cheese definitely always for sure makes me happy. I remember on the lucky days that my mom made it…from scratch – ALWAYS from scratch…how overjoyed I was. I probably would have eaten the whole pound of pasta if she’d have let me. Thank god she didn’t let me.

    I love that these are bite sized. A great way to get your mac and cheese fix but not totally overdo it. Until you eat ten of them.

    And in response to your comment on my Asian noodle salad – I’ve been trying to expand my nut butter horizons and had cashew butter on hand. I think it’s 100% likely that peanut would taste equally delicious.

    Comment by Joanne — November 16, 2010 @ 6:34 pm

  8. Utter genius!! I’m assuming this could be adapted for regular-size muffin pans, perhaps with a few extra minutes of baking time? Can’t wait to try them!

    Comment by Cynthia — November 16, 2010 @ 7:14 pm

  9. YUM!! Oh how I loved these. I have actually dreamed about them.
    signed, your velveta friend!

    Comment by julie — November 16, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

  10. man oh man oh man. lil bites of pure crack. how many of these would i eat? dangerous. these are dangerous. but i love em.

    Comment by vanillasugar — November 17, 2010 @ 2:12 am

  11. Those would make me very, very happy. Mac and cheese always does, but add a cute mini size to the mix? Recipe for elation.

    Comment by Ele — November 17, 2010 @ 9:36 am

  12. I am so excited for these Dana! I am planning 2 parties at my house in the coming weeks & have been jotting down ideas for easy finger food. These are PERFECT!!

    Comment by fresh365 — November 17, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

  13. Dana, these are adorable. And so innovative! You really are the queen of appetizers, are’t you?

    Bookmarking this one!

    Comment by Hilary — November 17, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

  14. This is such an ingenious way to serve Mac. Looks good.

    Comment by Helene — November 17, 2010 @ 4:12 pm

  15. These look amazing! I cannot wait to make them for my cousin coming into town next week for our Misfit Thanksgiving.

    Comment by ButterLover — November 18, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

  16. Oh!
    These look beyond COMFORTING!
    I can just see myself popping these little bits of LOVE one right after the other!
    For sure going to bookmark this yummy recipe!
    Love your site Dana!

    Comment by teresa — November 19, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  17. I used this recipe at a recent party, and they turned out great! Linked to you from my blog. Thanks for sharing your recipes!

    Comment by julee — December 18, 2010 @ 6:26 pm

  18. These look and sound amazing!!

    Comment by Ashley — January 23, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

  19. […] these mini Mac & Cheese bites myself…I didn’t.  Most recently, I saw them on a blog that I follow, & now I’m spreading the Mac & Cheese love (with a little Laura […]

    Pingback by Mac & Cheese Bites « Enjoy Life, It's Delicious — April 7, 2011 @ 2:56 am

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