In my ongoing quest to find tasty, kid-friendly food that's appropriate for the whole family, this week I chose a fun twist on a childhood classic. I found the recipe in the Kids Can Make section of FoodNetwork.com.

Mac 'n' Cheese Bites
(Makes 36 bites)

Ingredients
- Cooking spray
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 small clove garlic, finely grated
- 1 cup shredded mild Cheddar
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- Hot sauce (optional)

Directions
(Special equipment: 2 or 3 mini muffin trays -- for 36 muffins -- and mini muffin liners)

1. Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line 2 or 3 mini muffin trays with liners, and coat the liners generously with cooking spray.

2. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, and follow package directions for al dente. Drain the macaroni and rinse in cold water until it is cool. Shake off any excess water.

3. Put the heavy cream, cream cheese, eggs, mustard, paprika and garlic in a large bowl. Beat on low speed with an electric mixer until combined (the mixture may have small lumps). Add the cooked macaroni, Cheddar and Monterey Jack, and stir until combined.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

4. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the macaroni mixture into the prepared muffin liners. Combine the breadcrumbs and butter with your fingers in a small bowl until the mixture is the texture of wet sand. Sprinkle the top of each macaroni mound with buttered breadcrumbs.

5. Bake until the cheese is melted and the bites are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving hot, or serve at room temperature. Serve with hot sauce on the side if desired.