The following recipe and photography was provided by Christina Musgrave of Tasting with Tina.
These Baked Mac and Cheese Zucchini Bites are the perfect game day snack!
Everyone loves the comforting crunch of deep fried mac and cheese balls, but let’s face it, they’re terrible for you! This recipe is the ideal healthier alternative. With a super easy mac and cheese, fresh zucchini and panko breadcrumbs, these bites are baked to perfection and perfect for a hungry crowd!
Here’s a pro tip: make the mac and cheese the night before to save yourself some time on game day! It’s the ultimate hack to make life a little easier!
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For the Mac and Cheese
- 1/2 lb. Heinen’s artisan organic orecchiette
- 3 Tbsp. Heinen’s unsalted butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 cups Heinen’s whole milk, warmed
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 12 oz. Heinen's sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 4½ cups)
For the Zucchini
- 2 zucchini, sliced into rounds
- 2 cups Heinen’s panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 Tbsp. Heinen’s garlic powder
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Toothpicks or small skewers
- Heinen’s 24-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano, for serving
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted pater until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Melt 3 Tbsp. of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in ¼ cup of flour and mix constantly for 3 minutes. Add 3 cups of milk and bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes, until thickened. Add 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. black pepper and the 12 oz. of cheese. Add the cooked pasta and mix well. Let the mac and cheese cool, then chill for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a few baking sheets with foil.
- Pour 2 cups of Heinen’s panko breadcrumbs into a medium-size bowl. Pour 1/2 cup of flour and 1 Tbsp. of Heinen’s garlic powder in a separate medium-size bowl. Beat the two eggs in another bowl.
- Scoop the mac and cheese into balls, about 1 Tbsp., and sandwich each ball between two zucchini rounds. Secure with a toothpick or small skewer.
- Dredge the bites in the flour, then dip in the egg and finally coat with the panko breadcrumbs. Repeat until all of the bites are coated with breadcrumbs.
- Line the bites on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Top with Heinen’s 24-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano and serve.