All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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I woke up dizzy & light-headed & (oddly) filled with a dozen ideas for soul food or otherwise southern menu options. I had all kinds of aspirations involving chicken-frying something & biscuits & gravy & mashed potatoes and mac & cheese. I am really excited about the chicken-fried recipe but I only got as far as this mac & cheese idea. I have enough of just these things to survive here for a week. And I really shouldn’t eat mac & cheese cupcakes every meal for a week or I might develop type-2 Diabetes.
You can opt to make the cupcakes out of this recipe or just stop at the mac & cheese level. It is a no-bake mac & cheese but I am certain 20 minutes at 375 wouldn’t hurt it. Here it is right outta the pan – no baking at all. If you are not baking it or making cupcakes – this mac & cheese comes together in just a little more time than it takes to boil the pasta.
That is a little smoked paprika on there. Pretty, no?
I used this wacky, large shell pasta for my recipe. Regular macaroni or other small, shaped pasta would work, too.
Vegan Buffalo Mac & Pepper Jack Cheese Cupcakes
1 lb dry pasta – cooked
4 TBS flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
4 TBS vegan butter
2 celery stalks – diced (plus more for garnish)
3 scallions – diced (plus more for garnish)
1 jalapeno – seeded & diced
3 cups non-dairy milk
1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
4 cups vegan pepper jack cheese (grated)
Crumbled vegan blue cheese as garnish (optional)
Wonton skins (2 per cupcake)
Paprika (as garnish)
Breadcrumbs and/or extra grated cheese to top the cupcakes (optional)
Cook the pasta according to directions.
Heat the oven to 375.
In a bowl – whisk the dry ingredients together: flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper & cayenne. Set aside.
In a large stock pot, melt the butter & saute the celery, jalapeno & scallions for about 2 minutes. Add the flour mix & saute over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add the milk – 1/2 cup at a time – and stir it in until it thickens. Then add the rest of the milk in the same fashion & in 1/2 cup increments.
Stir in the hot sauce & the pepper jack & heat until melted & combined.
Stir in the cooked pasta. You can serve it at this point with blue cheese crumbles, celery & scallions as garnish – and maybe a drizzle of more Frank’s sauce – or a brightly colored paprika!
Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray. Place two wonton skins in each cup. Fill them with your mac & cheese.
You might want to add more grated cheese or breadcrumbs here – or not. I only added breadcrumbs to half to see how they came out. No big difference. Bake at 375 for about 12-15 minutes or until bubbly & browning.
Let them rest for about a minute & then serve garnished with blue cheese crumbles, scallions and/or celery. Maybe sprinkle some paprika on them or drizzle more Frank’s sauce. Then get a shoe horn & force feed yourself these things like they do a pate goose.