Dead Red Mac & Cheese Bites - The General's Hot Sauce
Dead Red Mac & Cheese Bites
The recipe that will take you from just bachelor with a box of mac & cheese to “Wow, I didn’t know you could cook!” via a seriously addictive finger food.
Dead Red Hot Sauce
A box of your favorite mac & cheese (Velveeta, Kraft--you know the stuff)
An egg or two
Bread Crumbs or French-Fried Onions (crushed)
Frying oil OR a baking sheet
Prepare your super high-quality box of mac & cheese per the instructions on the box. After you’ve got everything in the pot, be sure to retrieve the box out of the trash where you threw it prematurely in order to double check the cooking instructions. Retrieving it a second time because you immediately forgot as soon as you threw it away again is optional. Once complete, you can go ahead and mix a little Dead Red in now, along with a pinch of whatever spices you’d like to add if you’re feeling froggy. (Garlic powder and smoked paprika work for us.)

Step two! Too many recipes are so nitpicky in how they want things done—this ain’t one of ‘em. Long story short, we need this mixture cold enough to form into “bites.” How cold is cold enough? What’s a bite? Hey, we’re just the treasure map here, this is your adventure. You can spoon “bites” into a metal muffin tin to both shape and cool them faster, spread the mixture out on a sheet pan, or throw the whole pot into your fridge or freezer depending on your space and time considerations. After 3-4 hours in the fridge if you spread it out, or overnight if you decided to be impressively lazy and left it in the pot, form the mac and cheese mixture into whatever bite-sized shape you like (a tablespoon and rolling them in your hands works pretty well). If you opted for the freezer method, we’d check it every 30 minutes depending on how you spread it out.

Now that we have our mac and cheese ready to go, decide if you’re baking them or frying them. If baking them, go ahead and pre-heat to 400 F. If you’re frying them, 350 degree oil is the sweet spot. If you’re like us and don’t temp your oil, that means medium-high heat until dropping a small piece of the breading in gives you a good sizzle.

Time to start the show. Grab 3 small plates and put the Dead Red, egg, and your bread crumbs or crushed onions each on their own plate. Roll each mac and cheese “bite” in Dead Red, then the egg wash, then your breading of choice. Feel free to cycle them through an extra time or two depending on what balance of fried crust to cheesiness you like. Place them on your baking sheet or in your frying pan roughly 2” apart and start your timer. Roughly 13ish minutes for the oven, or 2-3 minutes of flipping them in the oil. Either way, we’re not really cooking anything here, just get them to a nice golden brown crust come hell or high oil. (Note: Our lawyers said we have to strictly advise against the “high oil” comment. It’s just a pun, don’t burn your house down over some mac & cheese bites.)

Drain on a paper toweled covered plate, or allow your baked bites to cool before serving. To re-heat them at an away game, microwaving them in 20 second increments actually works pretty well.
November 14, 2023 — April Nestor

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