Sunday, August 30, 2015

SRC Tailgate Reveal: Baked Mac'N'Cheese Balls

The Secret Recipe Club has started a new - fifth Monday - event that blurs the lines between the groups. You can be assigned to any other participating blogger in groups A through D. Naturally, I jumped right in.

Our theme this month: Tailgate Eats. I was assigned to Burnt Apple, a blog written by Traci. This is a totally new-to-me blog. Woohoo.

I chuckled aloud at her story about why 'burnt' is part of her blog name. She shares: "Twelve years ago, my husband threw one of my muffin creations at the wall of our apartment and made it go right through the wall. ...I couldn’t cook to save my life. I hated cooking and we ate out at least three days a week." I love that she is an admitted master recipe manipulator, making recipes healthier and still great-tasting. That is an art!

I feel I should admit that I don't tailgate. I'm not a big sports fan. But I can always get behind any gathering that involves food. So, I imagined what I would want to eat huddled around a parking lot while drinking beer out of cozies. Her Honey Garlic Meatballs, Southwest Deviled Eggs, Ultimate Beef Nachos all caught my eye. But in the end, I decided to make a version of her Baked Macaroni and Cheese Balls. I love that her recipe includes pureed butternut squash. It's almost pumpkin season; I'll definitely make this again with pumpkin puree! I did have to change somethings around to make this gluten-free and dairy-free for my husband.

  • 12 ounce package elbow macaroni (I used Bionaturae's organic gluten-free pasta)
  • 1 C pureed butternut squash
  • 3/4 C chicken broth
  • 3/4 C milk (I used my homemade hazelnut milk)
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 C cheddar cheese (I used Daiya's cheddar style shreds)
  • 1/4 C parmesan cheese (I used GoVeggie!'s parmesan style topping)
  • 1/2 C flour + 1 T (I used Glutino's all-purpose gluten-free flour)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 C bread crumbs (I used Ian's gluten-free panko breadcrumbs)

Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain, then set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the pureed squash, broth, milk, pepper, salt and 1 T flour over medium heat. Heat until it boils, then reduce heat to low and slowly stir in cheeses. Once cheese is melted, stir in the pasta and coat in the cheese mixture. Place mac'n'cheese in the fridge to cool. 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in three separate bowls on your counter, then make tablespoon-sized balls out of the mac'n'cheese. Dredge each ball completely in the flour, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs. Place the balls on parchment-lined baking sheets.

Place the balls into the oven and cook at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, flip each ball to the other side to allow for even cooking. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. For crispier ball, turn the broiler on and broil them for an additional thirty seconds to a minute after cooking before flipping and broiling on the other side. The balls are done when crisped and browned.

Remove from the oven and serve warm with marinara sauce.

The first time I made these, I sent a photo to a friend. He requested them for a potluck dinner we were attending with some friends from high school. Done. These were a hit then, too.


  1. These look like so much fun! :D What an interesting choice for the SRC! :)

  2. These sound absolutely decadent!! Yummo.......

  3. Oh, these are too cute, and I bet a little dangerous... even though they are potentially easy to exercise portion control, we know how that might end ;-)

  4. These look fantastic - wonder if they'll work as well with vegetable broth instead of chicken. Great tailgating treat :-)

  5. Lots of apples going on in this round up! Love it! My kids would devour mini mac'n'cheese bites.

  6. I have seen the mac & cheese balls before and these look quite good! Great choice for reveal day.

  7. These bites definitely qualify for great tailgating fare.
    And hold up - you don't like sports yet you hosted #10DaysofTailgate two years ago!?

  8. I've eaten mac & cheese balls at a fancy restaurant in NYC but haven't made them myself yet. I know my kids would gobble these up! Great tailgating choice for the SRC!

  9. This looks so good. I love anything mac and cheese.

  10. Love that these are made in the oven with squash. Will definitely be trying these for my son soon.

  11. I'd already planned to make wings this weekend, but now I want to make these too! Do you think the squash would make them count as a vegetable?? ;) Great SRC choice!

  12. Those look delicious! P.S. I don't really tailgate either, but I do love football. In LA, we are fairweather fans =)

  13. The recipe calls for 4T of olive oil, but it is never referenced in the instructions? What is the olive oil for?

    1. Sorry, I had written that when I was going to pan-fry them. Then I baked them. Edited. Thanks for pointing that out.