Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mmmac and Cheese

Your time: 1 hour
Your money: $15-$20

Mike's favorite food is macaroni and cheese so I have made a few versions to test his palette. This one came from his Mom and it's his favorite, and mine too. I guess nothing's better than Mom's cooking! It's creamy, but it has some bite to it. If you're willing to buy good cheese, you can't mess this one up. I don't think you need a picture, we all know what mac and cheese looks like, right?

One stick unsalted butter (8 tbs)
4 slices of white bread crusts, removed torn into 1/4 to1/2 pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more for a kick)
4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese.
2 cups Gruyere cheese
1 lb. elbow macaroni

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3 quart casserole dish; set aside.

Place the bread pieces in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan melt 2T butter and pour over bread. Toss and set aside.

Warm mild in medium saucepan set over med. heat. melt the remaining 6 T butter in a high sided skillet over medium heat. When the butter bubbles, add the flour. Cook, stirring 1 min.

While whisking slowly, add hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth.

Continue cooking, whisking constantly until the mixtures bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 min.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg. both peppers, 3 C Cheddar cheese, 1 1/2 C Gruyere. Set cheese sauce aside.

Cover large pot of salted water and bring to boil. Cook Macaroni until outside is done and inside is undone. Transfer to colander, rinse under cold running water and drain well.

Pour mixture into casserole. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bread crumbs over the top. Bake for 30 mins or until golden brown on top. Place on rack and let sit for 5 minutes.

This makes great leftovers. It's really good mixed with pesto too! (I got that tip from my manager, Jason-his blog is linked on my page).

Unadulterated No-Bake Cookies

Time: 10 minutes
Dough: You should have everything already

I've tried many no-bake cookies in my life, thanks to our church's propensity towards potlucks, and these are the best I've had yet. This came from my friend Jamison's family, and I'm pretty sure she (and these cookies) are the reason for my freshmen 15. These no-bakes are just plain chocolate, but I've added 1/4 cup of peanut butter and they turn out great too.

2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups old fashioned (REAL) Oatmeal

In a saucepan combine 2 cups sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 cup butter. Turn heat on to med - high and bring it to a boil. Take off heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 tsp. salt and 3 cups of oatmeal. Stir all together. On a cookie sheet covered with wax paper place drops to form cookies. Put in fridge to set, eat when hardened (or in the freezer if you're impatient). Sometimes they are hard to get off of the wax paper. The best way I've found to pry them off is to pull the wax paper taught around each cookie as you do it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Note on No Bake Cookies

I know no-bake cookies are not the classiest or most refined dessert, but they have gotten me through many a' late invites to bbq's, ward activities, and the likes. I have one tip to making good no-bakes: Use REAL old-fashioned oats. If you use the quick oats you'll just end up with a chewy, classless cookie, and no one will like you or your cookies! It had to be said.

Cinnamon Rolls

Time: 2 hours (1 and 1/2 rising time)
As with all cinnamon rolls, they are labor-intensive, but worth it.
Cost: I'm sure you have the ingredients

I've tried one other recipe, but this one is much better. The dough turns out perfectly flaky, and I like how simple they are without frosting. Mike thought differently. I think guys think 'the more sugar the better.' So word to the wise: if you are making these for a gaggle of cub scouts, make an ample amount of cream cheese frosting to plaster on top.
This makes roughly 20 medium-sized rolls.

This is Paula Deen's recipe which I tweaked a little bit. And this is a stock photo, not my own. So what I'm saying is-you didn't even need to visit my blog to get this recipe, but I sucked you in!

1/4-ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter or shortening (shortening works best)
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans, optional

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 6 tablespoons hot water

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours (place bowl on top of a towel or wooden cutting board, not a cold granite counter top).

When doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at the 15-inch side, role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 15-20 slices.

Coat the bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

You can feel this one going straight to your buns!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Buffalo Drumsticks

Bones: $6 (so cheap!)
Time it will take: 1 1/2 hours (prep included)
These are so good...they're fried, so of course they're good! I didn't have any chicken wings so I used drumsticks-they ended up perfect. This sauce is a heavenly spicy kick for these fried niblets (this recipe makes a medium spicy sauce).
Recipe modified from:

You'll Need:
oil for deep frying (fill 1 inch of pan)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup hot sauce
Ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 drumsticks

Combine flour, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt on a plate to dredge drumsticks. After coating each drumkstick, place them in a glass casserole dish and cover with the remaining flour mixture. Refrigerate for 45 minutes. Heat a deep pot of oil about 1 inch deep for 10 minutes. Place drumsticks in oil with tongs and allow to fry for 10 minutes or until golden brown, turning halfway through. In a saucepan, heat hot sauce, butter, garlic salt and pepper just until fully combined. Remove drumsticks from oil and place on plate covered with paper towel to absorb oil. Pour sauce over wings and serve. These go great with Ranch dressing for dipping.

Lemon Basil Pasta with Salmon

Cost: $10
Time: 20 minutes
I took this recipe directly from the Food Network: Giada's Spa Weekend Episode. It is light, healthy and fresh. It is really easy to put together and makes a nice little presentation. Summer is coming and this salmon would be great grilled!

You'll Need:
1/2 pound whole-wheat spaghetti pasta
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs trans fat free butter substitute
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (4-ounce) pieces salmon
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons capers
1 lemon, zested
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Do This:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl. Add the garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, butter substitute, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Add the fish to the pan and cook until medium-rare, about 2 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove the salmon from the pan.

Add the basil, capers, lemon zest, and lemon juice to the spaghetti mixture and toss to combine. Set out 4 serving plates or shallow bowls. Place 1/2 cup spinach in each bowl. Top with 1/4 of the pasta. Top each mound of pasta with a piece of salmon. Serve immediately.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

Prep Time: 2 1/2 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Cost: $5

These individual cakes have a gooey inside. They are great with ice cream because they make their own chocolate sauce. These turned out more like a souffle in the center. I loved them though because they weren't too sweet.

You'll Need:
12 tbs butter
3 oz. quality milk chocolate, chopped
3 oz. quality dark chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cornstarch, sifted

In the microwave, melt chocolate and butter in a bowl, stirring occasionally to reduce clumps. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, sugar salt and vanilla. Add cornstarch until well blended. Gradually add in chocolate mixture to egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
In a muffin tin (springform muffin tin works best), fill each cup about 3/4 full. Fill remaining cups with water for even cooking.
Bake for 10 minutes before turning pan, then cook another 10 minutes or until cakes appear muffin-like. Use a knife to loosen edges from pan and place cakes immediately into serving bowls. Serve with ice cream.