We love dinners made of “small plate” items in the summer. These are usually things we make in advance and eat cold or take on picnics like our Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese Bites. This is a gourmet take on a classic childhood staple that wows people as well as being just darned tasty.
You will need:
- 2oz shredded Colby cheese
- 2oz shredded Monterey cheese
- 2oz shredded white sharp cheddar cheese
- 2oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- 8oz cooked elbow macaroni, (right before al dente)
- 1 ½ cups of half and half (or milk or heavy cream)
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon of ground sage
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg (optional)
- ¼ cup of favorite breadcrumbs (I used Italian)
- Pinch of Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Pinch of shredded parsley (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large pan over medium heat melt butter and add in flour, whisk until well blended. Add in half and half continue whisking, making sure there are no bumps. Add in seasonings, mix well. Lower heat to low and add in cheeses, gently stir together. Keep stirring gently for about two minutes, turn off heat and allow to sit and thicken about two minutes.
- In a large bowl filled with macaroni, slowly fold in cheese mixture.
- Spoon into a well-greased mini muffin pan two teaspoons of macaroni and cheese into each pocket space. Sprinkle each space with a pinch of Italian breadcrumbs. (Optional- sprinkle a pinch of Parmesan cheese to each one.)
- Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside for at least 10-15 minutes (if not, it may crumble apart).
- Serve warm and garnish if desired.
**Notes: There’s enough salt in these macaroni and cheese bites with the cheese, you can possibly leave the salt out of the recipe completely. Nutmeg is a take it or leave for some people, but most people love to add nutmeg to any kind of “slurry” mixture.