A few weeks back I was asked to host a Night Bites bar at a Stage + Table event. In short, Stage + Table is a culinary social club in Santa Monica, CA and Night Bites is a late night DIY bar that takes place at the club after either an inter-club competition, or another club event.
I was asked to host a Grilled Cheese Mac and Cheese night, and it was a mess, and a success. Grilled cheese mac and cheese is messy, and when you try to add in toppings, have multiple people grilling their grilled cheese over one stove, and add alcohol, its bound to get crazy, and turn into such a fun night.
I came up with about 20 toppings, but decided to offer a couple pre created options. I know sometimes having so many options can be overwhelming, so having a little direction is always helpful, even if I diverge from the instructions, it gives me a nice place to start.
The most popular of the night was the Cubano grilled cheese. Even though many people ended up with more of a mac and cheese and bread scramble, it was easily the one I heard the most compliments about! Watching how people ate the dish, inspired me to create a simpler, more compact version of the dish.
I went back and created the same cheese sauce, but increased the mustard powder to replicate the Cubano taste. I slathered torn bread bits in butter, and baked them to replicate the crunchy aspect of the grilled cheese. Then just tossed all the ingredients together and baked until bubbly.
The dish is delicious right out of the oven, but also the next few days, as the flavors mix together even more.