Friday, January 27, 2012

My Favorite Mac and Cheese

I've made my fair share of macaroni and cheese recipes. My mother always just winged it and it worked but not so much for me. My father prefers Velveeta. I now prefer this!

This is my favorite mac and cheese recipe and I will use this from now on. I will post the original recipe which I halved. It seems like you are buying a ton of expensive cheese but that cheese lasted me a batch of this plus I used it in multiple other dishes. By halving the recipe I made four of these little ramekins. Abe and I can eat one ramekin between the two of us as long as we have sides like salad or fruit.

My Favorite Mac and Cheese
Source: Martha Stewart
Yield: 8 servings

1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
5 cups whole milk 
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (10 ounces) 
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (4 ounces) 
1 1/2 cups grated fontina cheese (4 ounces) 
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon paprika 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
1 pound elbow macaroni

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter 10 mini (1 cup) pie plates or a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs, and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Warm milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile, melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter is bubbling. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually pour warm milk into butter mixture, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in 3 cups cheddar, 1 cup Gruyere, 1 cup fontina, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the nutmeg, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain, and transfer pasta to cheese sauce. Stir to coat. Divide mixture among mini pie plates or transfer to baking dish. Scatter remaining cup cheddar, 1/2 cup Gruyere, and 1/2 cup fontina over top, and sprinkle with toasted breadcrumbs. Bake until cheese is melted and pasta is warmed through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gnocchi with Spinach and White Beans

It has come to the point where I am going to post recipes without pictures or with pictures from other sites (with credit of course). It is dark when we eat dinner so taking photos is a challenge. Plus I'm trying to feed a toddler and he is impatient. We are eating some really great stuff!

Pinterest and I are really great friends and I pin food things all the time. This is one that I found on there. The original recipe calls for chard but I like spinach or kale better.

Here is a picture from the Eat Well site:

Gnocchi with Spinach and White Beans
Source: Eat Well
Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 cups chopped spinach (or kale)
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add  spinach and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, beans and pepper and bring to a simmer. Stir in the gnocchi and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan. Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Congo Bars

Congo bars remind me of school lunch back in the third grade. Do you think they still serve these in schools? Probably not. I don't even want to think about what they serve for school lunch these days. Ick.

I've been hanging on to this recipe for quite a while. I think it was the full box of brown sugar that had me on hold. Man, that full box of brown sugar is amazing though. These are sweet and kind of chewy with chocolately little bites. I will definitely make these again!

Congo Bars
Source: Bakerella
Yield: 12 big or 24 small

2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
11.5 ounce package milk chocolate chips
Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine butter and sugar using a mixer until blended.
Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition.
Add vanilla and mix.
Add flour and mix until combined.
Stir in chips.
Coat a 13 X 9 pan with non-stick spray and spread batter evenly into dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Make sure you don’t over bake.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chex Lemon Buddies

Hi. Are you mad at me? I mean, for not blogging for a really long time? I have a good excuse. I swear. His name is Abe. He's 14 months old. He keeps me extremely busy. But don't worry. I've been cooking and baking a lot and I've been taking pictures of most of it.

I'll try to do better. I vow to make time to blog about food. I mean, I think about it enough I might as well put it on the Internet.

While making traditional Chex Mix for the holidays I noticed a new recipe on the back of the cereal box, "Lemon Buddies." Um. Yes. Please. In my head I was imaging lemon cooler cookies from the 80s. Remember those??

These weren't as good as a lemon cooler cookie (it is cereal after all) but they were very good, easy to make, and so addicting. I brought them into work today to get them out of my house.

And Abe approved of them.

Lemon Buddies
Source: Chex Cereal
Yield: 9 cups (be ready to share or get a tummy ache)

9 cups Rice Chex cereal
1 1/4 cups white vanilla baking chips
1/4 cup butter
4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar

Into large bowl, measure cereal; set aside.
In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chips, butter, lemon peel and juice uncovered on High 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag.
Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; gently shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool. Store in airtight container.