Wis Dells Fried MAC & Cheese Bites

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One of my favorite things about traveling is the opportunity for food discovery. Even common dishes can take on a new local spin or inspire food creativity. This summer we headed to the mid-west to spend some time with good friends. Had it not been for them we may have never made it to Milwaukee and I can honestly say that we would have really missed out. It was a fantastic trip- the food, the people, the history, the fun. It was really a time to put the last 3+ months behind us and to focus on summer and friendships.

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you more about the food. My friend Maria and her husband Robbie appreciate good food whether they are dining out or cooking-in. Over the years we’ve shared many meals together and this past February we took an amazing foodie adventure trip to New Orleans, Robbie’s home town. It was off of the charts delicious. Definitely a trip to remember. Our latest trip was no slouch either, Maria and Robbie created a list of fun things for us to do, places to explore and places to eat when they weren’t preparing delectable meals. A true vacation!

As you may have heard through the grape vine, Wisconsin is B-I-G on cheese. While we were visiting the Wisconsin Dells (Wis Dells), one of her recommendations was to dine at Mac’s– a macaroni and cheese shop. It was FANTASTIC –and yes, we are still talking about it! We ordered, then taste tested a few dishes, and without hesitation put in a second order, which left us with more food than we could eat. Without question we asked for to-go containers and packaged it all up.

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The next day, as we drove back from the Wis Dells to Milwaukee to reconnect with our friends and have a much anticipated farewell BBQ, I started thinking about our leftovers. I have always loved making and eating aranchni (fried Italian rice balls made with leftovers and other goodies) so why not make something similar with the leftover mac and cheese?! When we arrived at their home, a beautiful farm house built in the 1800’s, we gave it a try. The result was worthy of this post and has me pondering other fun ways to prepare this dish again.

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Wis Dells Fried MAC & Cheese Bites

Ingredients

2 cups mac and cheese, fresh or leftover /p>

1 large egg

½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs

1/8 cup Parmesan Cheese, finely grated

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp salt

2 slices, cooked chopped bacon (optional)

1 TBS vegetable oil

Directions

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place Italian breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese into a bowl and set aside.

If preparing mac and cheese from scratch, see link above. If using leftovers, place mac and Cheese in a bowl. In a separate bowl beat one egg and add it into the mac and cheese mixture. Add in bacon and combine well. Begin to form into 1-inch sized balls (golf ball size). Coat each ball well with breadcrumb mixture. Place poppers on baking sheet. When all of the mixture has been used, add vegetable oil to a 10-12 inch pan. Heat on medium-high and then add in as many poppers as can fit comfortably with room to turn and brown; working in batches will be necessary. Turn poppers regularly to crate a crispy outer crust. Place on plate and set aside in a 100 degree oven until ready to serve.

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