I was searching for some appetizer inspiration recently and came across this amazing recipe from Kinfolk magazine — I wanted to try it but it wasn’t exactly fitting my bite-sized criteria for serving snacks when I had friends over. I loved the idea of having something a little heartier to serve though, so I used the recipe for inspiration and made my own mac and chili mixture and baked in a mini-muffin tin for bite-sized tastes. They flew off the plate when my friends tested them over the weekend! Full recipe below. Ingredients:
- Red bell pepper – 1/4 cup minced
- Yellow onion – 1/4 cup minced
- 1 Clove of garlic
- 1 small tomato- 1/4 cup minced
- Scallions or chives – about 3 tablespoons chopped
- Lean ground beef – about 1/4-pound
- Kidney beans
- One bag of orichette pasta
- 2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus extra for topping
- Milk – 1 cup
Preheat oven to 375. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a skillet, heat a small amount of oil or butter and cook red pepper, yellow onion, garlic, and tomato for about 3-4 minutes, until they begin to get soft. Next, add in ground beef, and brown in mixture. When meat is browned, add in about a half a can of red kidney beans and the chives, heat through and then remove pan and set aside.
While making the chili mixture, cook pasta to al dente. Next, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan, and add 3 tablespoons of flour, whisk together. Next, add milk, and continue to whisk together over the heat until it begins to thicken. Next, slowly add in grated sharp cheddar cheese and continue to mix sauce until smooth. When all of the sauce is incorporated and smooth, pour it over the orichette in a large pot or bowl. Fold in all of the sauce and pasta, and then add in the chili mixture.
Scoop mac and chili mixture into a mini-muffin tin. Using the back of a spoon, pack the mixture into the tin so that the ingredients are compressed together. When the muffin tin is full, sprinkle more grated cheese over the top (I used some Parmesan here for extra flavor), and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let them rest and cool slightly before removing from the pan (this is important, they may not hold their shape if you remove them when they first come out of the oven). I served them in mini-muffin liners for a festive touch!