When I got my mini, it was with the intention of installing OS X on it, and after a few days of trying to riddle out a way to install from a Flash drive, I gave up. I simply could not figure out a way to do it that would work through windows. I then resorted to thinking about external drives, but they were very expensive for a good one. I hatched an idea: I had an external IDE Hard Drive enclosure, and I had an internal IDE DVD drive, so why not put two and two together and try it out? I attached the DVD drive to the enclosure through IDE cables, and powered it through a 4-pin molex connector on the enclosure. After plugging it in (crossing my fingers, and knocking on wood), I turned it on on my main computer. Lo and behold, it worked; it showed up as a DVD drive perfectly, and I could use discs that I placed into it.
I've attached some pictures of the drive and my computer booting into the OS X disc, and yes, that IS a desk made out of DHL boxes that it's sitting on.