*There’s no definable logic to the numbering pattern anymore. Just know that it makes sense in my head.
Killing two birds with one stone – or perhaps it’s two macs with one waffle iron. Except I used two waffle irons. And actually only one mac. This metaphor is falling apart quickly.
ANNNYWAYYY … I still had a good-sized bowl of last week’s smoked cheddar mac in the fridge, so rather than make a new one, I decided to see what I could do with the leftovers. I’ve been toying with a few ideas for some time, including giving waffling a try, and having a well-chilled bowl of already-prepared pasta seemed like a sign.
I’ve only had a waffle iron for a couple of years, maybe three, and I’ve never actually made traditional waffles on it. (I’m a French toast gal.) Up to now, it’s only been used to turn frozen tater tots into hash browns. (They’re so good that way, and soooo much faster than peeling and boiling and grating and frying a bunch of potatoes.) Then last year, I succumbed to the “chaffle” craze on social media and bought a mini-Dash iron. It’s so cute and fun to use!
Initially my plan was just to drop some mac and cheese onto the hot iron and see what happened, but then I remembered a cookbook I have called “Will It Waffle?” Let me clear up the mystery of that title – it’s all about what kinds of foods can be cooked on the waffle iron. (Spoiler alert – more than you’d think. I also have the companion “Will It Skillet?” I have a little bit of a cookbook addiction.) The version there recommended breading it to make sure it holds together, so since I was already hauling both appliances out of the cupboard, I went for the comparison approach.
Waffle Mac & Breaded Waffle Mac
Waffle Mac: leftover mac and cheese, well-chilled in a relatively deep container (see notes)
Breaded Waffle Mac: same as above; plus 1 egg (see notes), ½ cup flour, ½ cup breadcrumbs, and ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.
- Cut the macaroni and cheese into ½” thick slices.
- Spray your waffle iron with non-stick spray and preheat on medium setting.
- Place one of the mac “steaks” in the iron and press firmly to distribute.
- Cook 3-4 minutes until brown and crispy on the outside and warm and gooey on the inside.
Breaded Waffle Mac
- Cut some more mac slices.
- Beat the egg and pour it into a shallow tray or bowl.
- Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese and place in a second shallow container.
- Put the flour in a third container.
- Dredge a slice in flour, then coat with egg followed by the breadcrumb mixture.
- Spray iron with more nonstick coating and repeat the cooking process.
I did one of each type in each appliance.
I didn’t notice any difference in taste between the coated and uncoated pieces, but the coated ones may have been slightly easier to get off the iron. Slightly. Not necessarily “worth the extra work and messiness and having to wash three additional trays” easier. Especially since it may have been because I did the coated ones second in both, so each waffle iron was a little hotter, creating a crispier macaroni waffle (would that be a maffle?). Also, the mac patties fell apart more the more I handled them, so they need to be really cold for the coating process.
The last one I cooked was the best one – again, this may because I got to taste it fresh off the iron, so it was hot and crispy and melty and gooey. I took the leftovers in my lunch the next day – they still taste good reheated in a microwave, but they do not retain the crispiness. I prefer the texture when they’re fresh off the griddle, so to speak, so I don’t recommend making a bunch as part of any meal prep. Overall, tasty, and if you go the low-effort route with no coating, not too time-intensive.
- I had, fortunately, put the leftovers in a tall, sort of square bowl. The “Will It Waffle?” cookbook recommended a loaf pan, which would definitely help with uniformity of the slices.
- Two eggs would have been better, the coating was kind of skimpy. But I only had one on hand since I had spaced on picking up dog food over the weekend and had to make scrambled eggs for Murphy for dinner Sunday night AND breakfast Monday morning.
Posted January 26, 2021