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Entertaining Gluten Free: These Recipes Wow Guests!

Gluten free food blogger Nicole Hunn has released a new book that will have you excited to be entertaining gluten free.

Gluten free food blogger Nicole Hunn has released a new book that will have you excited to be entertaining gluten free. The recipes from Gluten-Free Small Bites are easy to make and utterly delicious. Today I'm sharing a favorite from this new book that I plan to serve at my kids' future birthday parties.

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I moved my family to a gluten free diet about a year and a half ago. It was something I considered doing for years, but I dragged my heels because I was convinced that it was just too hard to live without gluten.

Once we made the switch, it was pretty obvious that my family was much better off staying away from gluten. The difference was so obvious that even my four-year-old no longer finds gluten remotely tempting. I get better at cooking gluten free every day, but receiving an advance copy of Nicole Hunn’s Gluten-Free Small Bites made me realize that you can make just about anything gluten free!

The recipes from Gluten-Free Small Bites are easy to make and utterly delicious. Today I’m sharing a favorite from this new book that I plan to serve at my kids’ future birthday parties.

Entertaining Gluten Free

Entertaining gluten free remains my greatest struggle. It has been long enough since my family ate gluten that we have forgotten just how amazingly chewy wheat is, but most of our guests are used to that texture! Nicole’s book is full of hors d’oeuvres that both look and taste delicious – to everyone.

Today I’m sharing a mini mac and cheese recipe from the book that I plan to use for my children’s upcoming birthday parties.

Gluten-Free Miniature Mac and Cheese Cups Recipe

gluten free mini mac & cheese recipe

There are two basic styles of macaroni and cheese: custard style and cheese-sauce style. Custard style is more like a casserole, as it contains eggs and must be baked. Cheese-sauce style is essentially a cheese sauce made from a flour roux, folded into boiled pasta, and served immediately. These mac and cheese cups are a hybrid of sorts, as they’re made with a gorgeous mozzarella and Cheddar cheese sauce but with the addition of one egg – just enough to help the cups hold together when they’re baked but not so much that they bake up like miniature casseroles. The best of both mac and cheese worlds! Plus, they freeze and reheat perfectly.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces small dried gluten-free pasta (like elbows)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (14 to 28 g) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons (27 g) Basic Gum-Free Gluten-Free Flour (page 4)
  • 6 fluid ounces (1/2 can) evaporated milk
  • 1 to 11/4 cups (8 to 10 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces sharp yellow Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature, beaten

Instructions:

  1. Boil the pasta in a large pasta pot to an al dente texture, according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and toss it with olive oil to prevent it from sticking together. Cover the pot and set it aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Generously grease the wells of two 12-cup standard muffin tins, and set them aside. To make the cheese sauce, melt the chopped butter in a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine well. The mixture will clump at first, and then smooth after it cooks for a minute or so. This is the roux that will thicken the cheese sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has just begun to turn a very light-brown color, about 2 minutes. Add the evaporated milk to the roux very slowly, stirring constantly to break up any lumps that might form. Add 1 cup of milk, and whisk to combine well. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by about one-quarter, about 7 minutes. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the shredded cheeses, salt, and pepper, and mix to combine. The cheese sauce should be very thickly pourable. Add the beaten egg to the remaining milk, and pour the mixture into the cheese sauce, mixing constantly. Pour the hot cheese sauce over the cooked pasta, and stir carefully to coat all of the pasta in the cheese sauce without breaking up the pasta at all.
  3. Fill the prepared wells of the miniature muffin tins just past the top with the macaroni and cheese mixture, and press down carefully but firmly to pack the mixture into the well. Place the muffin tins, one at a time, in the center of the preheated oven. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the muffin tins for 5 minutes before running a toothpick around the edge of each muffin well to loosen the cups and popping them out. Serve warm.

MAKE-AHEAD OPTION

These mac and cheese cups can be baked ahead of time. Cool the cups completely, then freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet before sealing them, frozen, in freezersafe wrap and returning them to the freezer. Defrost at room temperature, and reheat them in a microwave oven before serving. If you don’t have a microwave, you can reheat them in the oven. Place the cups on a lined baking sheet and preheat your oven to 300°F. Sprinkle them each with a few drops of water and place them in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until warm. Do not overbake.

BIGGER BITE OPTION

Rather than baking this mac and cheese as individual cups, it can be placed in a greased 12 x 9-inch baking dish and baked at 350°F until lightly golden brown all over and set, about 35 minutes.

From the book Gluten-Free Small Bites: Sweet and Savory Handheld Treats for On-the-Go Lifestyles and Entertaining, by Nicole Hunn. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Press, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc. Copyright © 2016.

These mini mac and cheese cups are easy to make and perfect for kids' birthday parties!

Do you have a favorite gluten free recipe that my family should try? How about a regular recipe I should adapt for entertaining gluten free?

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MaryAnne lives in Silicon Valley with her Stanford professor husband Mike and their four children. She writes about parenting through education, creativity, and play. Mama Smiles - Joyful Parenting is a space to share crafts, hands on learning activities, and family outings that enrich lives and bring families together.

21 thoughts on “Entertaining Gluten Free: These Recipes Wow Guests!”

  1. I love the idea of gluten free macaroni and cheese! I do not usually purposely eat gluten free but I am always trying to eat healthier.

  2. I don’t usually cook gluten free. Lots of foods are going gluten free like Cheerios. But a challenge for me is gluten free pasta. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

  3. My daughter was diagnosed with PCOS and one of the things to help her is eating gluten free. I would love to win this book for her. I am also going to try the mini mac-n-cheese recipe it looks yummy.

  4. I don’t cook gluten free, but we are a pasta eating family. It’s inexpensive and filling, so gluten free pasta recipes would definitely catch my attention!

  5. My son has Celiacs disease so we cook GF for him he is Diabetic with a heart transplant so we have to really keep to it he has his own pan and everything for cooking he get very sick if he has cross contamination of his food. Cooking tasty foods are important to us and this looks like a wonderful cook book to use.

  6. My 5 year old son and I both have celiac and we are always looking for new and fun cooking ideas! I love looking through cookbooks with him and coming up with new things for him to try!

  7. I have cooked a few gluten free items before with a good friend of mine in the past. Some of the things turned out pretty good too.

  8. The mac & cheese bite look really yummy! We love to make our own pizzas and recently adapted to make them gluten free! The kids love it cause they can make their own with all the toppings they want!

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