Thanks so much for all your sweet comments about the arrival of our daughter. Little Greta is napping on my lap right now as I work on finishing up this post!
I’m usually always all about balance when it comes to meals and automatically make sure there’s a veggie on my plate. A few weeks before my due date though, we headed over to our favorite BBQ place, Blue Ribbon, and I found myself ordering mashed potatoes and mac & cheese as my side dishes instead of my usual carb and veggies combo. I just couldn’t resist! Half way through the meal, I dipped a forkful of mac & cheese into my mashed potatoes. Why hadn’t I tried this sooner? The creamy garlic mashed potatoes and sharp cheddar cheese noodles were just so tasty together.
So good in fact, that I decided to make little mac & cheese bites inspired by this meal. I mixed mac and cheese made with a fontina and asiago sauce with creamy mascarpone and garlic mashed potatoes and then baked them up in little mini muffin cups. Oh, and I sprinkled some shredded gruyere on top too. These are the perfect little appetizers!
Mac and Cheese Mashed Potato Bites
2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and cut into chunks
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
Mac and Cheese:
1 pound elbow macaroni pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 1/2 cups shredded fontina cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded asiago cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
To make the mashed potatoes, place potato chunks in a large stockpot with boiling water over high heat and boil 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and place in a large bowl; mash well. Stir in melted butter, mascarpone cheese, garlic, and salt until smooth.
To make the mac and cheese, prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and place back in a large pot. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and cook one more minute or until mixture starts to brown. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and mix in fontina cheese, asiago cheese, and salt. Heat 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth, whisking occasionally. Pour cheese sauce in the pot with the cooked pasta and mix until well combined.
To assemble the bites, heat oven to 350°F. Place all the mashed potatoes (I had 4 cups) and 8 cups mac and cheese in a large bowl and mix well (I found a ratio of 1:2 mashed potatoes:mac and cheese worked well, so I had a little mac and cheese left over). Fill 48 cups of 2 greased mini muffin pans with the mixture and press down into the cups; sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese. Bake 35 to 40 minute at 350°F or until golden brown. Let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes and then pop bites out of their mini muffin pans. Repeat with remaining mashed potato/mac and cheese mix and shredded gruyere cheese. Makes 96 bites and 24 servings of 4 bites each.
Nutrition: 232 calories, 11.7g fat, 1.3g fiber, 10.2g protein per serving
Cost: $0.53 per serving