Mildly seasoned for picky toddlers (perfect size), or add a little zip by using half cheddar and half pepper jack cheese and/or bacon bits.
1/2 pound elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
2 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
small pinch of cayenne
1 beaten egg
Boil the elbow macaroni in SALTED water for 8 minutes, then drain and set aside. Preheat oven to 400° and spray MINI muffin pan with cooking spray.
Note: Salting the water is important. If you don't you will have to increase the amount of salt in the sauce.
In medium size pan, melt butter and stir in flour until smooth and bubbly, let it simmer for about 30 seconds or so.
Slowly add the milk (whisk while you add it) and bring it to a simmer (it will thicken just a little).
Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the cheese (set aside the other 1/2 cup) and add the cream cheese, salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir to melt.
Mix the cooked macaroni, the cheese sauce and the beaten egg. Spoon mac and cheese into greased mini muffin cups and top with just a few shreds of the remaining cheddar cheese.
Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. IMPORTANT: Let cool for 5 minutes before you take them out of the pan.
NOTES: I cook mine for 14 minutes, then put them under the broiler for the last minute (but watch them so they don't over brown).
NOTES: If you like a little spice, use half shredded sharp cheddar cheese and 1/2 pepper jack cheese.
NOTES: You can even sneak in some finely chopped broccoli for color.
This recipe makes about 4 dozen mini bites
Original recipe found at www.chef-in-training.com (and adapted by Coleen's Recipes)