Mac & Cheese: good. Cupcakes: superb. Bacon: wonderful. I cannot see this meal going wrong.
This was the perfect solution for a work lunch party. The recipe makes enough for the 20+ people in my office, and who doesn't love macaroni and cheese? It is always a crowd favorite, obviously. No one had to worry about their eyes being bigger than their stomach because they were already portioned out. And, it made it easy for everyone to at least try the cupcake. They could very easily pick something out if they didn't like it (but, really, what's not to love?). The best part was, it didn't take too long to make. Just combine the ingredients, line the muffin pan, pour and bake. Voila! You have an amazing appetizer that everyone will love. I will most certainly be making this again.
I again, adapted this from How Sweet It Is. I just put my own spin on it. Because, well, Bacon is way better than zucchini. It's just a fact. Here is what I put together:
1 regular size bag of pasta (I chose shells, but it can be whatever)
1 bag of shredded Italian 5 Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
1 small package of bacon, cooked and torn into bits
2 cups bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400.
Step 2: Boil pasta and set aside in a large bowl. Meanwhile chop up the tomatoes and bacon. This is where you can add as much salt and pepper as your little heart desires.
Step 3: Spray cupcake tins with some non-stick spray (Pam) and coat with breadcrumbs. You have to be pretty liberal here. Go big or go home. Once you have added the breadcrumbs, shake off any excess.
Step 4: Come back to the pasta bowl. Add the bag of shredded cheese and combine it with all the pasta goodness. Then, go ahead and fill the cupcake tins about 2/3 full with the pasta-cheese heaven.
Step 5: Now it is time to top the pasta mixture with those tomatoes and bacon. Yum. This is where you can kind of get creative. The tomatoes & bacon need to be placed throughout the mixture. You don't want all of that flavor just at the top of the cupcake. Let the bottom of the cupcake get in on some of the goodness.
Step 5: Top with a drizzle of olive oil, some Parmesan and whatever is left of your breadcrumbs.
Step 6: Bake for 12-15 minutes. Once they are completely cool, you can very, very gently remove them with a spoon.
My pictures do not even begin to do these little cuppycakes justice. I'm working on it though.