I love the holidays that celebrate things that are truly important to everyone. Father's day is one of those holidays. It is a day where everyone gets to really think about a man in their life who has loved and supported them unconditionally. My dad, and I might be slightly biased, is the best. My dad has five kids! He truly made a career out of having children. He started when he was 23 and he had his last kid when he was 46. He has been raising children for most of his life, and, I've gotta say, he's pretty good at it.
I love my dad so much. We are so similar and sometimes I'm amazed at how much I act, talk, and look like him. Truly, it's a little scary. From girl scouts, to musical theater productions, to school performances, he has always been there. He is absolutely fantastic. And now, he is fully supportive of all my endeavors with my education and other life experiences. I can't express how much that means to me. Although I complain about how I take after him, big nose and all, I truly love it. He is an amazing man and I feel truly blessed to have him as a role model. I know that one day I will have a family and I will continue to take after my dad and that is something I am relieved and excited about.
Thanks Daddy for being the World's Greatest Dad! I love you!
Today, I am also bringing you a fantastic little appetizer that would really be a hit at any party. So, if you are having a big family dinner, brunch, lunch or whatever, you should make these. They are mini mac and cheese cupcakes. I made them for my brother's graduation party figuring that the little kids and the high schoolers would love them. However, I found that they really just brought out the kid in everyone who was there and they were a huge hit. I made a different variation of these before, but this recipe was even better! The mac and cheese was creamy and delicious, the bites were small enough to pop in your mouth all at once, and they can be made ahead and just warmed up the day of! The recipe listed below was adapted and doubled from the original and it made about 200 mini cupcakes. If you want less, and you probably do, just make 1/2 or 1/4. However, they do re-heat nicely so maybe you do want 200! They are pretty delish :)
Mini Mac and Cheese Cupcakes (adapted from Macaroni and Cheesecake)
2 lb. macaroni noodles
6 tbsp butter
8 tbsp flour
2 cups skim milk
1 cup half and half (I used fat-free)
4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups milk cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
4 extra large egg yolks
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp paprika
1. Cook macaroni noodles according to directions on box, drain and place back into a very large bowl.
2. Preheat oven to 425 and grease or place mini cupcake papers in a mini cupcake pan. I did papers because they were easier to remove and provided less clean up in between batches, but you don't need to use them as the mac and cheese cupcakes will stay together.
3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour for about 1 minute. Pour in the milk and half and half and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Pour in the sharp cheddar, mild cheddar, and parmesan. Continue to stir until cheese melts. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in the egg yolks, salt, nutmeg and paprika.
4. Pour the cheese sauce into the large bowl of pasta and toss to coat the pasta evenly. Place spoonfuls of mac and cheese into each cupcake well, fill to the top and sprinkle with a little extra parmesan cheese, and bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Or: place in fridge and when you are ready to eat them heat in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.