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Oxmoor House Photo by: Oxmoor House

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.

Southern Living JANUARY 2008

  • Yield: Makes 5 1/2 dozen
  • Hands-on:50 Minutes
  • Total:8 Hours, 50 Minutes

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. Gradually whisk in flour until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in 2 cups milk and next 3 ingredients; cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in Cheddar cheese and pimiento until melted and smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in pasta.

3. 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. Remove macaroni mixture from pan, and cut into 1-inch squares.

4. Stir together breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese in a shallow dish or pie plate. 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.

5. Pour oil to depth of 1 inch in a large skillet; heat to 350°. Fry bites, in batches, 2 minutes on each side or until golden.

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

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Macaroni-and-Pimiento Cheese Bites recipe

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