July is for BBQs and although burgers and dogs are tasty, the side dishes are really where its at. I’m talking about delicious hand made cole slaw, hearty potato salad, fresh fruits, and more. The side dishes are what saves your BBQ when dad is charing hot dogs and serving up hockey pucks on cold buns. The side dishes are where the creativity happens. We’d like to share one of our favorite summertime side dishes that will actually give you twice the goodness. This mac and cheese recipe is as delicious on day one as are the mac and cheese bites you will make on day two. Read on to learn more! Ingredients:
- 1 pound pasta, hearty pasta works best such as: Cavatappi (corkscrew), Conchiglie (shells) or, Farfalle (bow ties).
- 1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar,
- 1 cup Monterey Jack, or Colby (smoked Gouda adds a great twist).
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups seasoned bread crumbs (panko bread crumbs are a great touch).
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Bring about 1 gallon of water to a boil over high heat in. Add the pasta and a tablespoon of salt. Cook until the pasta is al dente, or about 8-10 minutes.
- Drain and let rest.
- In a medium saucepan, prepare the cheese sauce. Begin warming 1 cup of the milk in the saucepan over medium heat. Whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and the flour until there are no lumps. When you just start to see a bit of steam rising from the milk, whisk in the milk/flour mixture. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3-4 minutes.
- Turn the heat to low and begin mixing the cheese into the milk a ½ cup at a time. Stir in the salt, white pepper, and hot sauce. Stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Remove the sauce from heat.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta evenly and add the second half of the sauce and any additional items like crispy bacon pieces.
Salivating yet? Just wait a second, there’s more. Now you can serve this tasty homemade mac & cheese at your BBQ or wait a day and make… Fried Mac and Cheese Bites:
- Mold the cold mac and cheese into desired-sized (keep in-mind the size of your cooking vessel) balls and place them onto a waxed paper or another non-stick surface and freeze overnight.
- Beat the eggs and 2 tablespoons milk together to form an egg wash and pour it into a shallow bowl. Place the bread crumbs into another shallow bowl. Remove the mac and cheese balls from the freezer. Dip the frozen balls into the egg wash then into the bread crumbs. Put the balls back into the freezer until you are ready to fry.
- Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or large cast skillet to 350 degrees F. Fry the mac and cheese balls until they are golden brown and center is hot ( at least 140 f), or about 5-6 minutes. Drain on rack for 5 minutes and serve hot with your favorite sauce: Cheese, Marinara, Alfredo, or Hot Sauce to name a few.
This side dish is sure to impress your guests and satisfy their taste buds! Now go out there and host the best BBQ of the summer! Need some help or would you just prefer to have someone else do it? Contact That Personal Touch Catering in Centennial Colorado about providing the food for your next event.