Archive | November, 2010

Best Macaroni & Cheese you’ll ever have! Repost from previous blog

30 Nov

This recipe was posted over the summer on my former blog, but I felt the need to post it over here, as it’s truly the best kind of macaroni and cheese I have ever had!

Let me know what you think!!

I love macaroni and cheese! Whether it’s in the blue box, velveeta, or homemade….I can eat this stuff all the time! I stumbled upon this recipe on a cooking board I belong too and knew I would have to try it! We had some family over this weekend from Nevada. They had been traveling for a few days and were looking forward to a nice home cooked meal! I accompanied this macaroni and cheese with country homestyle ribs, corn bread, corn on the cob, and some salad. It couldn’t have turned out better! I didn’t expect for us to finish it all…needless to say, I didn’t get a picture of it prepared! The picture here is of the leftovers!

There were 8 of us and the ¾ of a pound was just enough for a side. If you are cooking this for a smaller group you could easily reduce the recipe or just enjoy the leftovers!!


For the Topping:

¼ stick unsalted butter, melted

2 cups panko or coarse style breadcrumbs

1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese

For the Cheese Sauce and Macaroni:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter *I used 5 tablespoons to ensure macaroni wouldn’t dry out

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes *I didn’t measure, but probably ended up with close to 1.5 tablespoons…we love anything spicy and with great flavor!

2 ¾ cup whole milk

¾ cup heavy cream

4 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese

2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard

1 ½ teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¾ pound elbow macaroni


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease pan with butter or cooking spray.

For the topping:

Mix together panko, butter and cheese in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Melt butter in a heavy pot over low heat. Whisk in flour and red pepper flakes, whisking constantly, for about 3 minutes to make a roux. Whisk in milk in a slow steady stream. Increase heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Simmer for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently until mixture is thickened. Stir in cream, cheese, mustard, salt and pepper until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook macaroni according to package directions, making sure to add plenty of the salt to the cooking water. (At least 1 tablespoon for every 4 quarts.) undercook macaroni about 3-4 minutes so that it is al dente. This ensures the pasta won’t get mushy when cooking.

Stir together macaroni and sauce in a large bowl or in your sauce pot if it’s big enough. Transfer to prepared baking dish, mixture will be loose.

Sprinkle topping evenly over mixture and bake for about 25-35 minutes. Top should be golden and bubbling.


Chicken Strips

30 Nov


The last time I made these chicken strips was probably 2 years ago…yes to long!! I will never wait that long again! These are perfect little pieces of chicken and come out super crispy…the crispier the better for me! A bonus – These chicken strips are actually a cooking light recipe!

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten *I used 2 whole eggs when making these rather than just the egg whites. Original recipe doesn’t call for milk either, but to ensure the breading stuck, I added a 1/3 cup of skim milk to my mixture.
1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed corn flakes
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
Cooking spray
1/3 cup Franks Hot Sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup fat-free ranch dressing
4 celery stalks, cut into 1/4 x 3-inch sticks
4 carrots, cut into 1/4 x 3-inch sticks


Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Place eggs in a shallow dish. Place corn flakes in a shallow dish. Working with 1 chicken strip at a time, dredge in flour mixture. Dip in eggs and *milk; dredge in corn flakes. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken strips, flour mixture, eggs/milk, and corn flakes.

Lightly coat chicken strips with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until done, turning once.

Combine hot sauce, pepper sauce, and Worcestershire in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in butter. Drizzle hot sauce mixture over chicken. Serve with ranch dressing, celery, and carrots.

Pasta with Sausage, Basil and Mustard

30 Nov

Recipe Repost:

On Sundays, DH and I like to enjoy a nice pasta meal! I will start off the morning by listening to the Italian House Party on the radio like my grandmother used to years ago! She would get up nice and early and begin cooking her dinner around 12pm. Sunday’s were always the days she would have an early dinner and I like to try and do the same! I wish she was here today to make some of her chicken cutlets and eggplant for me!

I came across this recipe on the food and wine website some time ago. Being a picky eater, its hard to find meals that I can make for both of us without having to prepare that much seperately. With the exception of the sausage, I prepared everything together.

It didnt come out as flavorful as I would have expected, but it was still very tasty and DH loved it! The recipe didnt call for any tomato sauce, but I like to enjoy my pasta with a nice sauce so I added some sauce and ricotta to it. If I made this again, I would probably saute some onions and garlic to give it the additional flavor.

Pasta with Sausage, Basil, and Mustard by Nigel Slater


  • 1 pound penne or medium shells
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 hot Italian sausages, meat removed from casings and crumbled (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup thinly sliced basil


  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the sausage meat and brown over moderately high heat, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the cream, mustard and crushed red pepper and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the pasta and basil and toss to coat. Serve at once.

    Eggplant Spread – Barefoot Contessa

    30 Nov

    I cant wait to try this one! I will post a full review once I make it.

    1 medium eggplant
    2 red bell peppers seeded
    1 red onion, peeled
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    3 tablespoons good olive oil
    1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
    half a teaspoon of ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon of tomato paste


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant, bell pepper and onion into one-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them on baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking. Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend.

    Pillsbury Brown Butter Creamy Apple Pie

    30 Nov

    Looking for a great pie for the Holiday’s? Look no further!

    I made this pie last Thanksgiving. It was my first attempt at making a pie, let alone for a holiday for a large group of people! I turned to the internet for some help and pillsbury came to my rescue! I was not disappointed by it. Such a great and easy recipe. It was so tasty and it’s perfect for this time of year.

    1/4 cup butter or margarine
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 egg
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    5 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apples (5 medium)
    1 Pillsbury® Pet-Ritz® frozen deep dish pie crust
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 cup firm butter
    1/2 cup whipping cream
    1 tablespoon powdered sugar
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla

    1. Heat oven to 400°F. Place cookie sheet in oven to heat. In 1-quart saucepan, cook 1/4 cup butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and lightly browned. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
    2. In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the egg with wire whisk until light and fluffy. Beat in 2 tablespoons flour and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in cooled butter. Gently stir in apples. Pour into crust-lined pan.
    3. In medium bowl, stir together all streusel ingredients except butter. With pastry blender or fork, cut in 1/4 cup butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apples. Place pie on cookie sheet in oven.
    4. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and cover edge of crust with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake 40 to 50 minutes longer or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cool 2 hours.
    5. In small bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add remaining topping ingredients; beat until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spoon onto pie.

    Repost – Ice Cream!

    30 Nov

    Previouly posted on Megans Recipe Box:

    With the summer just about here, I find myself wanting more and more ice cream! While it’s nice to go out and get some at the local ice cream parlor or even your local grocery store, it’s even better to make your own! It can be costly, but depending on what kind you make you can buy the ingredients in bulk and save the rest for your next batch! In fact, the milk and heavy cream used for this ice cream was left over from my previous endeavor…making cake batter ice cream!

    Simple Chocolate Ice Cream:


    1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    2/3 cup granulated sugar

    1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

    1 1/2 cups whole milk

    3 1/4 cups heavy cream

    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

    1. Place the cocoa powder and sugars in a medium size bowl and stir well. Add the whole milk and use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine until the cocoa and sugars are dissolved, about 1-2 minutes. *I used a whisk and while it did mix everything fairly well, I think a hand mixer would have been better to get the bottom of the bowl! Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. If not freezing immediately, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
    2. Turn ice cream machine on, pour mixture into frozen freezer bowl and let mixture thicken; about 20-25 minutes. *I poured a bit more liquid into the machine than I should have, so when I made this it took about 40 minutes for it to thicken the way we like. The cream ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

    For packing or gift ideas, CVS sells some great containers that will ensure the ice cream freezes and stays nice and fresh! has some great ideas as well:

    Sweet & Sticky S’more Bars – Great addition to your holiday dessert!

    30 Nov

    I love s’mores and only have them once in awhile or when Erin comes over; that usually involves them in the microwave!

    These bars are a great addition to any cookie swap party and they are super fast to make!


    2 cups Graham cracker crumbs
    1/3 cup sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    16 oz. Semi sweet chocolate
    4 cups mini marshmallows

    Blend together first 4 ingredients; set aside one cup. Press remaining mixture in an ungreased 13″x9″ baking dish and bake 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until golden; let cool.
    Melt chocolate in a double boiler and spread over cooled crust. Layer on marshmallows, pressing gently into warm chocolate; top with one cup reserved Graham cracker mixture.
    Broil 2 inches from heat source until marshmallows are lightly golden; cool and cut into squares.

    Makes 1-1/2 dozen.

    Source: Magic of Christmas; Gooseberry Patch