Mac n’ cheese – an American classic! In fact, we might just love it more than people – especially those haters who say mac n’ cheese is “fattening” or “not vegan.” That’s not just rude, it’s un-American! We can’t get enough of these cheesy noodles, and since today is National Macaroni Day, we wanted to share some clever ideas that will instantly silence the mac haters – one for kids and one for adults. Just a few extra ingredients will determine whether your mac is best suited for your kid’s birthday party or a chic soiree.
Fried Mac n’ Cheese Balls with Goldfish Crackers
Do your kids love mac n’ cheese? Do they love goldfish crackers? Then you may want to combine these favorites for a fun recipe – Fried Mac n’ Cheese Balls with Goldfish Crackers. This one-bite finger food is just as easy to prepare as it is to eat and will be a huge hit with the kids!
For the Mac n’ Cheese:
1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
¼ cup butter
1 cup half and half (or ½ cup milk, ½ cup cream)
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, save ¼ cup for top
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, save ¼ cup for top
½ tsp garlic salt
¼ cup ground Goldfish crackers.
For the Balls:
Cold Mac n’ Cheese leftovers
1 tbsp oil
¼ cup flour
½ cup milk
½ cup cheese
1 cup crushed Goldfish crackers
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Cooking oil for frying
1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray 9 x 13 pan with nonstick spray.
2. Prepare macaroni and drain.
3. Add butter to macaroni; allow to melt and stir occasionally.
4. When butter has melted add cheeses (1/4 cup each), garlic salt, and half and half.
5. Stir until melted and gooey.
6. Transfer to a baking dish.
7. Sprinkle with the remainder of both cheeses, and the Goldfish crackers.
8. Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is melted.
9. Let sit and cool, then keep it in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, if not overnight.
10. Combine 1 tablespoon oil and flour in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds.
11. Whisk in the milk and microwave for an additional 30 seconds.
12. Add the cheese and microwave for an additional 30-45 seconds.
13. Check sauce and whisk together. It should be thickened. If it’s still runny, heat an additional 30 seconds.
14. Pour the sauce onto the cold mac n’ cheese and mix it together.
15. Use a deep fryer or a heavy deep frying pan, and preheat the oil to medium high.
16. Crush the Goldfish crackers and mix with panko bread crumbs. The quickest way is to use a food processor, but you can also get the kids involved and have them use a rolling pin to smash the crackers inside Ziplock bags.
17. Use a medium ice cream scoop and scoop the macaroni into balls.
18. Then, gently roll them in the cracker/breadcrumb mixture.
19. Using a slotted spoon gently place in the oil for just 1-2 minutes.
20. Remove when golden brown and place on paper towels to soak up excess oil.
Basil & Brussels Sprout Mac and Cheese
Want to keep children’s paws off your gourmet “adults only” mac n’ cheese? Warn them it contains brussels sprouts. Your children’s nemesis will be your hero this summer, and you can impress guests with a green twist on the comfort food classic by making Basil + Brussels Sprout Mac and Cheese. While not necessarily “healthy,” we like to pretend the veggies cancel out the carbs. Take advantage of farmers market offerings – clip some fresh basil, and feel free to substitute broccoli or asparagus for the brussels sprouts. Mac experts suggest serving macaroni and cheese with a burgundy wine.
1 pound pasta (opt for whole-wheat for a healthier version)
20 brussels sprouts (5 reserved)
2 cups heavy cream
8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (1/2 cup reserved)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella
1 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch basil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Boil a pot of salted water and cook up your pasta.
2. Chop and sauté 15-20 brussels sprouts while the pasta is cooking. Once both the sprouts and pasta are cooked, combined in a glass baking dish.
3. Now for the béchamel-inspired sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt your butter over medium heat. Add in the flour, and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown and is fully combined. Slowly pour in the milk and keep whisking. Add in 1 cup of shredded mozzarella and a 1/2 cup of cheddar. Keep whisking until everything is well mixed.
4. Pour your sauce mixture over the pasta and brussels sprouts. Add in the fresh mozzarella.
5. Now add some crunch! Dice up remaining brussels sprouts and sauté on high in olive oil. Add in the chopped basil and bread crumbs. Cook until everything is fairly crispy.
6. Top your pasta and sprouts mixture with the basil and brussels crunchy topping. Add a ½ cup of shredded mozzarella on top of the crunch.
7. Bake for 25 minutes.
8. Let cool, serve, and enjoy! This recipe yields 6-8 servings.
– Roaming Hunger