I almost started out by saying I’m not a great planner, but that’s not actually true. I AM a great planner, I have plans and lists out the wazoo. What I am not so excellent at is execution. The latest example of this is that all week I kind of had in mind what I was going to make for this week (spoiler: bite sized mac & cheese “muffins”) but every day I put off actually DOING it.
I’ve had several recipes of this type on my Pinterest for a while. One of the reasons it jumped to the top this week is that on my last trip to the grocery store (a week ago? 10 days? It blurs) one of the only types of macaroni I could find was called “Ditalini.” I’d never heard of it, but I grabbed a box. They’re very small and kind of look like if you snipped the ends off elbow noodles.
I wasn’t quite sure how to I was going to use it – for some reason, it seemed too small for a standard mac recipe – but wanted to have some backup pasta on hand. Then I did a search for “diatalini recipes” and the first hit was “Mac & Cheese Canapes.” While that wasn’t the recipe I ended up using, it made sense to use mini macaroni noodles in something that would be cooked in mini muffin tins.
And that was pretty much the extent of my planning until this morning – I knew I had milk and cheddar cheese, so I was a little complacent. Honestly, I’m surprised it took me four weeks (five? It blurs) to wait until the last minute. Procrastination is usually my middle name. Anyway, as it turned out, the specific recipe I wanted to use called for a second type of cheese I didn’t have on hand, so I had to wing it, and I waited until after lunch time to make it, and then I had a nice long Facetime chat with a friend, and then went to the pharmacy, and then took Murphy for a walk, and then and then and then, and then it was a lot later than I hoped before I got this posted!
Mac & Cheese Bites
Adapted from A Pinch of Joy
- 2 cups uncooked Ditalini
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp. onion powder
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3 ounces softened cream cheese, cut into cubes
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (reserve 1/3 cup for topping)
- 2 cups shredded fontina (see notes)
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 and spray two mini muffin tins with non-stick spray
Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and cook ditalini approximately 10 minutes.
While the macaroni is cooking, beat an egg in a small bowl; and in a second bowl combine the milk, onion powder, and garlic powder.
Drain the macaroni and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the butter and stir in the beaten egg until the butter melts and the egg coats the pasta.
Add the milk and cream cheese and stir to combine.
Stir in the cheeses, reserving some for topping if desired. Fill mini muffin tins with the mixture (a cookie scoop is the perfect size) and sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
Mix the olive oil and bread crumbs and sprinkle over each muffin.
Bake approximately 25 minutes.
The recipe I used said it would make 36 mini muffins – I had enough for 48, plus a small ramekin.
They’re pretty tasty – I think the onion powder and garlic powder give it a great flavor – plus, they’re just so cute! They’re just a tad on the dry side – I made a batch of my favorite tomato sauce the other day (the Marcella Hazan 3-ingredient version, it’s the best and easiest tomato sauce I’ve ever found) and I think it would be fantastic with these.
- The recipe called for fontina cheese, which I didn’t have and didn’t plan for, so I shredded up a small wedge of Gouda that was hanging out in the back of my cheese drawer, plus a cup or so of something leftover from a previous recipe – I’m pretty sure it was Parmesan.
I’ve been pulled into one of those Facebook challenges, naming albums that were “influential” on you while growing up. My first big time musical crushes, around the age of 8, were Shaun Cassidy and Donny Osmond, so I boogied around the kitchen today to Da Doo Run Run and Puppy Love and all the other songs that made my little heart flutter back then.
Posted April 5, 2020