Macaroni and Cheese Balls

Mac and Cheese Balls

Mac and Cheese Balls

A few weeks ago I cooked something I’ve wanted to make my entire life: I made Macaroni and Cheese from scratch. It turned out so good that I made it again a week or two later with cavatappi pasta and made sure to set some aside in the fridge. I had big plans…

I love the Cheesecake factory. Their menu has something for everyone: Thai, Chinese, Italian, pizza, pasta, and everything in between. They also happen to have killer appetizers. Their Buffalo Chicken Blasts are to die for and their Tamales are heavenly. I fell in love with their Mac and Cheese balls after the first bite. Cheesy, crunchy, gooey- there’s not much better. And, as I do whenever I eat anything that I love, I wondered if I could accomplish this on my own- if I could make the Perfect Mac and Cheese balls myself…

…Back to my plan. I didn’t know how I was going to do it but I was going to make the mac and cheese balls a reality. I looked at lots of recipes online and most looked overly complicated. I decided I was just going to jump right in. They weren’t too difficult to make but were a bit messy. However, they were scrumptious and so worth the cheesy mess.

Mac and Cheese Balls

Printable Version

1 cup macaroni and cheese (click link for recipe)
1 large egg
1/2 cup italian breadcrumbs, more if needed
Canola or Vegetable oil- enough for frying

1. Save about a cup of macaroni and cheese from the mixture before baking. Allow to cool completely after mixed with sauce and place in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap until needed.

2. On a pan, lay out some parchment paper. I didn’t have any lying around so I used Reynolds wrap and it turned out ok. Remove large balled mixture and start to form smaller balls. The 1 cup mixture made about 4-5 balls. This is a messy task but so worth it. Place Mac and Cheese balls on paper and cover with plastic wrap. Place in freezer for at least 2-3 hours.

3. When the Mac and Cheese balls are ready to be cooked, start heating canola or vegetable oil to medium heat. Set 2 bowls up- 1 for dipping and 1 for dredging. I used 1 egg, scrambled, and italian breadcrumbs, but I’m sure you could use egg whites and panko as well.

4. Remove Mac and Cheese balls from freezer and dip into the egg mixture. Cover generously with breadcrumbs and place in the hot oil. Fry each until golden brown on both sides, flipping carefully once, and serve immediately with tomato sauce.

Macaroni and Cheese Balls

All I need now is some tomato sauce and a fork!

While I wouldn’t say they were exactly like the Mac and Cheese Balls at the Cheesecake Factory- they came pretty close and were exactly what I was going for. Another win for Christine!


An Ode to Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese

Oh, Mac & Cheese- how you delight me so!

Always there to comfort and warm me

Changing ever so slightly-

Always to satisfy my wishes and desires

You never falter-

Whether made from scratch or out of a box-

I will never tire of you, Mac & Cheese

And will enjoy our love affair

Nay, our journey as fateful soul mates

Forever and ever

Now that I’ve got that out of my system I’ll just say it once more: I LOVE MACARONI AND CHEESE!  Everyone who knows me knows I make a mean Mac & Cheese. All the kiddies can tell you- my Kraft Mac & Cheese making abilities are beyond amazing. However, as I am constantly looking for ways to challenge myself gastronomically, I wanted to make sure I could make the real deal Mac & Cheese from scratch. I did it- and I did it well!

Cheesy, Crunchy, Gooey, Perfect!

Cheesy, Crunchy, Gooey, Perfect!

The Perfect Cheesy, Crunchy, Gooey, Mac & Cheese: Serves 4
adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for casserole

2 slices white bread, crusts removed, cubed

1 3/4 cups milk

1/8 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water

A pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese

2/3 cup (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyère or 1/2 cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1/2 pound elbow macaroni

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a casserole or gratin dish and set aside. Place the bread in a bowl. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.

2. Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.

3. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep the mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, black pepper, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and 1/2 cups Gruyère (or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano); set the sauce aside.

5. Cover a large pot of salted water, and bring to a boil. Cook the macaroni about 2 to 3 minutes until it is underdone. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold water, and drain. Stir the macaroni into the sauce.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish(es). Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Gruyère (or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano), and the breadcrumbs over the top. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes for an individual serving, 35-40 minutes for a casserole serving. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

There is nothing more to say. Just go, print out this recipe, and indulge in this perfect Mac & Cheese.

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