Mini Mac and Cheese
Mini Mac and Cheese
I came up with this Mini Mac and Cheese idea after watching my favorite You Tube Vloggers, The Tim Tracker. The Trackers are Tim and Jenn and the Vlog (video blog) all things Orlando including Disney. They had this meal at Star Wars attraction and it just looked so good to me, I had to make my own recipe.
This Mini Mac and Cheese recipe is made with Ditalini Pasta, which is normally a pasta for soups. It just happens to be delicious in this recipe. Additionally, I show you how to make a simple cheese sauce for this recipe using butter, flour, some seasonings, herbs and the cheese of your choice. This recipe is easy to make, delicious for kids and grown ups and makes great leftovers.
The full, printable recipe is below. Beyond that are a few more tips and tricks that may help some folks who need a little bit more information.
Full, Printable Recipe
- 1 16 oz box of Ditalini Pasta
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 2 cups of full fat milk
- 2 to 3 cups of shredded cheese of your choice
- 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon of brown or spicy mustard
- pinch of salt
- pinch of chili powder
- 1/2 tablespoon of dried parsley
- black pepper to taste
- *seasonings can be adjusted to personal preference
- Boil your Ditalini pasta according to the package directions, reserve one cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta in case you need to thin out your cheese sauce.
- In a pan, melt your butter on low heat. Add your flour to the pan with the butter, I kind of disperse the flour all over the pan instead of dumping it in one spot.
- Use a whisk and whisk the butter and flour together. It may clump up a little bit that is ok. You want to cook out the raw flavor of the flour by doing this step. Whisk it for just a minute or two.
- Add the milk a little at a time. I do about 1/4 cup of the milk at a time. Whisk constantly you want to work out the lumps of flour, the pan should be very slightly simmering but not boiling. Continuously add the milk and whisk as you go. The mixture should be smooth and again, not boiling but simmering enough to thicken.
- Add your mustard and all your seasonings, whisk, taste and adjust seasonings. You know the mixture is right when it coats the back of a spoon.
- Add the cheese a handful at a time and fold in with a spatula, stir until the cheese melts, then add more and repeat.
- Once the cheese mixture is smooth, if your pasta is still cooking you can keep it on the lowest heat.
- When your pasta is cooked, drain it,, reserve a cup of the pasta water, add all of your pasta to the cheese sauce and toss to coat. If your cheese sauce is too thick, which it should not be, but sometimes it just does what it does, add a little of the pasta water at a time to smooth out your sauce.
- Serve immediately. Makes great leftovers, but it will not be as smooth an creamy as it is when you first serve it.
My inspiration, The Tim Tracker video, shows this Mac and Cheese served with Fried Chicken, it also has a school lunch vibe. I air fried some of my favorite chicken tenders by the brand Bell and Evans. This brand is not an inexpensive brand, but it is very much worth the price. The chicken is always juicy and the chicken tenders crisp up perfectly in the air fryer or the oven. I accidentally bought the gluten free variety but I didn’t notice any difference from the usual ones I buy. Use the link above to find their store locator where to buy.
Making The Cheese Sauce
For this recipe you have a step where you are whisking butter with flour and then adding milk to make a basic sauce. You call this a roux. This makes a thick, yet smooth base that allows you to melt your cheese easily and it won’t clump up or get grainy.
You will see the sauce come together if you work low and slow. Make sure to reserve some of your pasta water so that you can thin out the sauce if you need to because sometimes when you first make this you can struggle a bit. If you follow the steps that I have in the full recipe, you should not have any issue.
You should be left with a beautiful, silky cheese sauce. Additionally, I used a sharp cheddar and the unexpected cheddar from trader Joes, but you can use any cheese sauce you like.
Sloppy Joe Sliders
If you are looking for another great recipe that will go with this Mini Mac and Cheese try my recipe for these Sloppy Joe Sliders. The sliders are easy to make, fun and delicious.