I love mini bites! You know those cute little bite size foods that you pop into your mouth in one bite and are often bursting with flavor? How do they get all those ingredients into that tiny little compact dish anyway?
I had often wondered why people would want to take the time to make these itsy bitsy bites, other than the fact that they are cute and look pretty (and may possibly even impress your guests when you’re hosting a party). Making them looked like a lot of work and that I thought I would need to eat at least 5 or 6 to feel full.
Then I discovered how fun they were and came to the understanding that they are meant to be served as appetizers, which you are not supposed to fill up on anyway, and not full meals. They are also great for kids, especially ones who have smaller appetites as they can have one or two and feel full without having any waste – instead of having a bigger portion and not eating it all. It is also a great way to introduce new foods to kids as you are giving it to them in a fun way and again with the smaller portion size, if they do not like it the waste is minimized.
And there are so many different mini bite recipes to try you’ll never run out of ideas. You can come up with almost any combination and likely be successful. So I’ve been on the lookout this month for mini bite recipes to try. Looking for combinations that I knew would work and then considering how I might create one on my own.
This week I started with macaroni bites, which are one of the more popular and common mini bite recipes out there, and usually a hit with kids. I loved this recipe as it has a super cheesy sauce and is simple to make. Also easy to make dairy free, these delicious bites will have you easily gobbling two or three!
Macaroni Mini Bites – Dairy Free (can be made gluten free if you use brown rice or other gluten free pasta)
1 c. elbow macaroni
2 tbsp. Earth Balance Vegan Spread
2 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 c. almond milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
2 c. Daiya cheddar shreds
1/4 c. vegan cream cheese
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 egg beaten
Optional additions: bacon, cayenne, paprika
Grease well your mini muffin tin (like really well. This is the one downside of mini bites is those muffin tins, they stick and are hard to clean. Greasing it well does help but sometimes you have to scoop around them very carefully to get them out. If you can find mini cupcake liners you could use those and it would make getting them out and clean up a little easier. This may not work though if you want a certain look without the papers on them).
Cook pasta according to package directions, rinse and set aside. In a medium size pan whisk the vegan spread and flour together until melted and smooth.
Slowly add non dairy milk and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add 1 1/2 c. of the cheese, vegan cream cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth and creamy. Remove from heat.
In a large mixing bowl carefully stir pasta, cheese sauce and well beaten egg until pasta is evenly coated and mixed in.
Using a teaspoon, spoon mac and cheese into prepared mini muffin tin, topping each with a small bit of cheese.
Bake bites at 400F for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes, then gently remove bites from tin.
The first time I made these I made the original plain recipe but I felt that they were missing something. So I would highly recommend adding in real bacon bits, or a dash of cayenne or paprika to add a little zest.
These are also a fun and easy recipe to make with kids. They can easily help with mixing it all together and scooping the pasta into the muffin tins. Kids love to help and research shows that if they help make it they are more apt to eat it!
Don’t miss next week’s recipe Quinoa Pizza Mini Bites.
What is your favorite mini bite recipe? Share in the comments below.