For Halloween this year, my goal for the menu was mini bites and tastings. Our menu incorporated something for everyone. I made individual servings of shrimp ceviche, 7 bean salad, Mr. Bone (crudite shaped like a skeleton) and spinach dip, ribs, spicy wings and bacon wrapped wings, mini meatballs and dogs in cranberry/chili sauce, and mac & cheese balls. Desserts were 3 oz. servings of 5 different desserts. It was fun and delicious.
But, back to Macaroni & Cheese Balls. I love Mac & Cheese, but I’ve never been successful in duplicating my recipe from time to time, so, I went scouting and used this recipe from Food Network and provided by Chef’s Market.
That said, they were delicious, but a lot of work, and they didn’t reheat well, so I will keep this recipe as a basic mac & cheese recipe. For that it is fabulous, as the measurements make a delicious and uniformly creamy mac and cheese.
- 1 # Elbow macaroni
- 2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
- 2 Tbsp. All-purpose flour
- 2 Cups Milk, plus 2 Tbsp. for egg wash (for making the balls only-omit if just making the mac and cheese)
- 1 # Cheddar Cheese, Grated
- 1# Smoked Gouda, Grated
- NOTE: You need 6 C of cheese total – you can use 3/4# each of Cheddar & Gouda, and add 8oz of good, old-fashioned Velvetta if you like your mac & cheese really creamy.
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 Eggs (for the egg wash)
- 3 C seasoned bread crumbs
- Oil for Frying
- Marinara Sauce for serving
- Cook the macaroni per the box instructions for al dente. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, then rinse again and set aside.
- In a large pot, add the butter and flour to make the roux. Stir constantly while sprinkling the flour and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Continue whisking as you add the warmed milk, working out any lumps and cook for about 2 more minutes until it starts to thicken.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheeses, stirring until all the cheeses are melted.
- Fold the cheese sauce and macaroni together, stirring gently until the sauce is evenly distributed.
- Spray a large rimmed pan with PAM and spread the macaroni and cheese out. Refrigerate until cold; at least 2 hours.
- Take the mac & cheese out of the fridge and form the mac & cheese into uniform sized balls, and place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. I used a 2oz scoop and pressed it firmly into the scoop to do this. It will make approx. 80 mac & cheese balls.
- Freeze the balls overnight to ensure they are solid to work with.
- Beat 2 eggs and 2 tbsp. milk together and set aside in one bowl. Fill another with some seasoned bread crumbs.
- Roll each ball in the egg wash and then the bread crumbs and put them back on the wax lined cookie sheet. When they are all done, freeze them again. At this point you can cover them and leave them frozen until you’re ready to eat them.
- To fry them, heat your oil to 350 degrees. You can use a thermometer, or I used an old-fashioned electric frypan with a thermostat. Fry each one turning over after a minute or two, until they are crispy and browned. Serve immediately with warmed marinara.
I apologize. The picture of the finished product was too dark to put in.
Now, if you don’t want to bother with the balls, which were delicious fresh, but as I said, did not reheat well, skip the eggs and most of the bread crumbs, spread the mac & cheese into a casserole. Add two tbsp. softened (not melted) butter with 1/2 C seasoned crumbs. Sprinkle them on top of the mac & cheese and bake at 375 uncovered until the cheese is bubbly and the crumb topping browned. Enjoy.
Mac & Cheese lends itself to lots of great options. If you like a little zing with the mac & cheese, you can add 1/2 tsp. cayenne or some sriracha into the cheese sauce. You can dice up garlic shrimp or lobster and add it into the mac & cheese (you pay a fortune for that in a restaurant). You can add tuna, or spinach, or brocolli. You can use a variety of cheeses – just keep the proportions of 2 tbsp. butter 2 tbsp. flour, 2 C. warmed milk and 6 C grated cheeses. It will always turn out perfectly. Comfort food at it’s best.