I get asked to review a lot of cookbooks; actually more than I can handle lately so I’ve taken to being pretty blunt. Where once it was a thrill to get asked, I’m now more inclined to make sure I don’t commit before I get the book. I learned that lesson the hard way…some pretty bad books have come my way! So, when I get one that is a keeper I’m thrilled to share it and today is one of those days. A book about meatloaf? Really? So what’s this business about macaroni and cheese then?
I actually used Cynthia Kallile’s ‘The Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook’ when I made meatloaf for a fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. That post was about helping others and I didn’t feel it would be appropriate to end by saying, ‘Oh, by the way…how about a chance to win a cookbook?’ Still, that meatloaf was fantastic. I’ll probably never consider making meatloaf again without combining some pork with the ground beef and the barbecue sauce was genius; a real keeper in my book. Not to mention the mashed potatoes on top. Not only were they fabulous but really did something to make what can be a mundane looking dish look so appealing and even pretty.
Since I had already prepared a meatloaf I decided not to replicate that effort but instead to look for a fun side dish…and this was it. I was calling these Mac and Cheese Cupcakes when sending photos to Instagram, but a friend queried me on exactly what that meant and I could feel her trepidation at the notion of a cupcake that somehow included mac and cheese. Oops! No worries, not a cupcake at all; just an unconventional method for baking macaroni and cheese that results in charming individual servings.
A variety of cheeses are used in this recipe and my experience has always been that this creates a much more robust and tasty sauce than just using one cheese. That being said; I also had to punt…I do that a lot. The recipe as cited calls for sharp cheddar, white cheddar, Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheese. No Monterey Jack in the house but I did have some KerryGold Dubliner cheese…of course not enough so I actually threw in a bit of cottage cheese too…it was the United Nations of cheeses! A bit of dry mustard and cayenne added a necessary bit of zip and the ‘cupcakes’ were all finished with a crust of more cheddar, Parm, panko breadcrumbs and butter.
These are so good. I love the little individual servings. Sophisticated and fun for a dinner party but I know kids would LOVE these too. Maybe instead of stuffing?
The Meatloaf Bakery Tour has seen this book featured on a variety of websites and I’m lucky we were chosen to be a part of that effort…and so are YOU! Check out after the recipe for how to win a copy for yourself. Meatloaf isn’t just old fashioned or comfort food…it’s simply good food! Here are some other blogger reviews:
In Chicago? Aren’t you lucky…you can visit The Meatloaf Bakery at 2464 N. Clark Street and try all of their treats. I’m jealous!
Great individual servings of a delicious macaroni and cheese 'cupcake.'
- 2 cups dry small pasta shells
- Olive or vegetable oil for tossing with the pasta (optional)
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
- 2 & 2/3 cup shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese
- 1 & 1/3 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- 2/3 cup Monterey Jack Cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh curly parsley
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Butter or canola oil for greasing muffin tins.
For the Crumb Topping
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp butter, softened
- In a large saucepan, cook the pasta according to directions. If holding while making the sauce, toss with a bit of olive oil to keep noodles from sticking to each other.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large pan, melt the butter and incorporate the flour, stirring to blend. Add the milk and cream and heat on medium while continuing to stir until thickened.
- Add all of the cheeses and whisk with a large whisk until all of the cheese is melted and combined.
- Add the spices and parsley and mix to combine:
For the Crumb Topping:
- Mix the panko, cheddar, Parmesan and butter and pulse briefly in a small food processor or mix thoroughly with a fork.
- Spread a heaping tablespoon of topping on each cheese cupcake; using all of the crumb mixture.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until top is brown (I put mine under a broiler for 1-2 minutes to brown the crumb topping.
- Let cool for a couple of minutes then run a knife outside the other edge and use a knife to remove. Serve immediately as an appetizer or as a side dish.
The original recipe uses large muffin cups making about 6. I just had regular muffin tins so mine made a dozen which are definitely mounded a bit.
I'm glad I put a cookie sheet under the muffin tin...the cheese did not dribble a lot but it did a bit!
Once the cheese starts to melt; if the top is not brown enough, put the muffin tin under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to brown the crust. Watch CAREFULLY; browned is good. Black is not. 🙂
A copy of ‘The Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook!’ will be given to one of my lucky readers. Here’s how you can enter to win:
- Simply leave a comment and tell me…meatloaf lover or need to be convinced?
- Only open to residents of the US.
- Must be 18 years of age to enter.
Optional Entries (leave a separate comment for each entry to be sure it’s counted!):
- Like Creative Culinary on Facebook
- Follow Creative Culinary on Twitter
- Follow Creative Culinary on Instagram
- Follow Creative Culinary on Pinterest
- Follow @meatloafbakery on Twitter
Contest will end on Monday, November 26, 2012 at midnight. I will select a winner via random.org; they will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to contact me with shipping information or another winner will be chosen.
Good luck; I love this cookbook!