Mac & Cheese Bites

DSC_4068

Don’t you love it when a recipe goes way better than you imagined? I doubt it’s a secret that I love frying things (fried guacamole anyone?), but sometimes it can go horribly wrong. Food falls apart, sticks to the pan, burns, doesn’t crisp up, and don’t forget the inevitable oil splatter wounds. My mom often brags about the FryDaddy that she and her roommates had in college. Of course, the bragging always turns to regret about actually using it and how unhealthy that is…If it weren’t for that, I would probably own one right now. I mean, it would be so much easier and cleaner! I could fry everything…and yeah snap back to the reality of why owning one is a bad idea…

I was really excited to make these mac and cheese bites because it came in as kinda sorta my first request on the blog! And also because I had tried them at a restaurant fairly recently and they were amazing! For as much as I love mac & cheese, I can’t believe I’ve only tried it fried a couple of times. Thanks to Pass the Curds for asking me to do a homemade post on these after I mentioned the Trader Joe’s version! I knew as soon as I saw her blog name that I needed to be subscribed!

We made these as part of a “tiny food party” that we had while I was home. The party has become a really awesome memory for me, but more on that later. I promise I will share the rest of the adorable (and delicious) tiny food this week! Since this was a request, I tried to take pictures of every step! I’ve included the recipe from the Tiny Food Party book because it worked so perfectly for me. We didn’t make their mac & cheese recipe, but I’m sure it’s a good one. Check out the step-by-step below!

DSC_4006First of all, you need to use cold mac and cheese for this. A little planning ahead is necessary, but when is mac and cheese for dinner a bad idea? And for two nights in a row? Even better. DSC_4009Just have to show off a bit here. My sister and I picked mac and cheese topping bar for our birthday dinner. See, we really are obsessed. It was a bit of a throwback to another birthday I had with the same theme. New York deli style, buffalo chicken, southwest, and classic. Amazing selection! (Future post, maybe?)DSC_4032Ok, so your leftover mac and cheese should be nice and cold. Press it into your leftover container with a spatula until it’s really compressed. It should stay together in a cube when you flip it onto your cutting board, like this. DSC_4039Then cut the cube into triangle shapes. I got pretty excited when this actually worked! As long as it’s cold and compressed, the triangles should stay together without a problem. DSC_4040 DSC_4041Next, roll the shapes in flour. Once again, I was surprised the flour actually stuck to and coated the bites so perfectly! DSC_4043See? Perfectly floured. Now take a bath in the egg. DSC_4048And finally, roll them in Panko bread crumbs until fully coated. DSC_4050And…keep going until they are all coated in crumbs.DSC_4068Fry them in oil until they are a nice, dark golden brown. Sprinkle parmesan over the top. They turned out perfectly crispy and melty in the middle. It really was more than I was hoping for! And much better than frozen. DSC_4073Just a sneak peek of the tiny food party! It was so fun. I say try this! I really didn’t think it was going to go well – just the idea of getting anything to stick to cold blobs of pasta sounded impossible. I promise, it was so easy and a great party dish!

Tiny Mac and Cheese Bites (from Tiny Food Party, which is a new favorite book)

Like I said, we haven’t tried this mac and cheese recipe, but it sounds good to me! We didn’t have bacon in ours – let me know if you’ve tried that!

For the Mac
1/2 pound small elbow macaroni
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbs flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup gruyere cheese
1/4 cup grated fontina cheese
2 tsp dry mustard
2/3 cup cooked crumbled bacon
2 green onions thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste

For Frying
1 qt cooking oil
1 cup flour
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups panko crumbs

Make the mac and cheese, pour in a greased 8 by 8 baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oil to 350. Cut chilled mac and cheese into triangles. Put flour in shallow dish, eggs in a 2nd shallow dish and panko in 3rd shallow dish.  Dredge triangles in flour, dip in eggs and then toss in panko crumbs. Fry in small batches for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, season with salt and pepper (I only sprinkled with parmesan).

DSC_4069

Sunday in Boston

DSC_2664

Yesterday was such a beautiful day! We were on our way  to the Arnold Arboretum, but got distracted by a big crowd, music, and news trucks at Copley Square. We headed over and saw that all the signs, flowers, and toys left for the bombing victims had been collected there. The place was packed with people writing messages, snapping photos, and just taking everything in. Each time I’ve been in the area of the marathon has been emotional. From seeing the closed down street being investigated, to seeing the bombing sites and boarded up windows for the first time, and now this collection of mementos – it’s very surreal. Today, the tulips were blooming, people were singing, dogs were playing, and strangers were uniting. It’s tough to see these memorials, but also comforting to be around people leaving behind so many positive messages. I had my camera handy since I thought we would be hanging at the arboretum. Hopefully we will go there soon! Although the tulips were so beautiful, that I didn’t mind skipping it for today. The sun and shadows made them look like a painting – it was crazy. No edits on the tulip photos below, and they looked just as cool in person. I couldn’t narrow the photos down, so there are lots! Hope you enjoy.

Oh, and one other thing about today. We were on CNN! Haha. They were all over Copley Square. We stood with a crowd of people by the CNN station so that our families back home could see us. I think only my sister caught it in time. Who knows, maybe some of you saw me and just didn’t know it! : )

DSC_2669 DSC_2666 DSC_2672 DSC_2688 DSC_2682 DSC_2671 DSC_2685 DSC_2678 DSC_2675 DSC_2668 DSC_2689 DSC_2686 DSC_2674 DSC_2670 DSC_2687

Thankful

IMG_4404

Was last week just the worst, or what? I still can’t believe that so many awful things happened all in one week. And I really can’t believe that some of the awful things happened in the place that I currently live. We walked down to check out the marathon last Monday and only got to experience the cheering and celebration for maybe 5 minutes before we heard that there was an explosion at the finish line. We were miles away, but the news definitely changed the mood almost instantly. We hurried back home, turned on the news, and immediately felt sick.

That sick feeling didn’t go away for next 4 days. We were on lockdown while the search was going on and man did I stress myself out. We weren’t that close to Watertown, but the uncertainty, chaos, and inability to step outside to make sure everything seemed okay out there was just so scary. I could hardly eat because I tend to get really, really nauseas when I’m nervous! I had to take news breaks in order to keep my nerves at bay. Some really sweet girls in the building brought smoothies to everyone, which was a nice little distraction. We were pretty freaked when we heard a knock at our door though. We had been hearing warnings to not open your door for the last 24 hours and didn’t know what to do! As soon as I heard friendly voices talking about mangos in the hall, I figured it was safe. Of course, I would open the door to a food conversation whether my door had been knocked on or not.

So yes, this whole experience was incredibly scary, but also really eye opening. Whenever any kind of tragedy happens, you hear so many stories about people coming together in strength. This time, I saw the strength up close – not just through the news, but on the streets. It’s amazing and so inspiring. It’s too easy to let all the horrible events we see on TV cast negativity  over your mind and attitude. It feels absolutely hopeless at times. Like there’s nothing that can be done to keep these things from happening. This whole experience has shown me that the best thing I can do is to continuously put positive things out into the world. I’ve now seen how much the positive truly outshines the negative and I hope that my little blog here can a space for positivity and fun. I have some ideas a brewin’ that I am so excited to put together. Everything that’s been going on has thrown me off on posting here, but blogging has definitely been on my mind!

I’ve been trying to write this post (in my head) for days. I’m not sure if I’ve articulated everything that I’ve been feeling or wanted to say, but it feels good to write this out. I am very ready to get back to posting less stressful content! And last but not least, I just have to say that I’ve never been so thankful for all the officers out there! I heard one cop say on the news “I feel like a firefighter I’m gettin’ so much love!” Haha! They deserve every bit of it!

IMG_4418

So many people loved the comfort dogs that were hanging out near the site of the finish line. So sweet!

IMG_4343So many thanks.

IMG_4339

While walking town a crowded Newbury St., silence hit at each blocked off corner.
IMG_4424