Macaroni-and-Pimiento Cheese Bites


Macaroni-and-Pimiento Cheese Bites
Southern cooks have a secret– pimiento cheese is just as delicious as an appetizer as it is on a sandwich or cracker. By giving the pimiento cheese bites a quick fry, they gain a crisp crust that pairs perfectly with the slightly melted cheese on the inside of the popper.

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-oz.) package elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (8-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
  • 3/4 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Vegetable oil

Preparation

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Gradually whisk in flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.
  4. Gradually whisk in 2 cups milk and next 3 ingredients; cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Stir in Cheddar cheese and pimiento until melted and smooth.
  6. Remove from heat, and stir in pasta.
  7. Line a 13- x 9-inch pan with plastic wrap, allowing several inches to extend over edges of pan. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Cool slightly; cover and chill 8 hours.
  8. Remove macaroni mixture from pan, and cut into 1-inch squares.
  9. Stir together breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a shallow dish or pie plate.
  10. Whisk together eggs and 1/2 cup milk in another shallow dish or pie plate; dip macaroni bites in egg mixture, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.
  11. Pour oil to depth of 1 inch in a large skillet; heat to 350°.
  12. Fry bites, in batches, 2 minutes on each side or until golden.

Golden Baked Macaroni and Pimiento Cheese

  1. Prepare recipe as directed through Step 6.
  2. Pour macaroni mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish; do not chill.
  3. Omit eggs and 1/2 cup milk.
  4. Stir together breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over mixture. Omit oil.
  5. Bake at 350° for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
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