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!
‘Macnificent’ Mac and Cheese from the Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook
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!