Tuesday, December 29, 2009

cutout sugar cookies

these are absolutely the best sugar cookies i've ever tasted. the recipe comes from my husband's cousin, alicia.

1 cup butter, room temp.
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour

preheat oven to 300'.
beat together the butter and sugar, then add in the egg yolks and vanilla.
add the flour and beat until combined.
divide in half and roll out to 1/4" thick.
cut out and bake 15 minutes. ice when cooled.

3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup water (maybe less)


i don't understand why these are so good when there isn't much sugar, no salt, and no leavening. but they are fantastic.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

jam-filled muffins

these are rich, buttery, and delish! adapted from Prudent Baby

2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
heaping 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
jam, jelly or curd of your choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Whisk together dry ingredients.
Melt butter, then slowly whisk in milk.
Add eggs and beat until well blended.
Add liquid to dry and mix until all dry ingredients are moist. Batter will be thick.
Fill 12 cups of a muffin tin a little less than 1/2 full, then make a small well in each cup. No need to use muffin cups or to grease the pan!
Add a heaping tsp of your favorite jam, jelly, or curd.
Cover jam with the remaining batter.

bake 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes.
Work a knife around the edge of each muffin to loosen from cup and gently lift out each muffin.

Friday, November 27, 2009

eggnog pumpkin pie with pecans & brown sugar on top!

i made two of these delicious pies to take along to the two thanksgiving dinners to which we were invited. i've made eggnog pumpkin pie before, but saw this topping on bakerella and adapted it to use what i had on hand. i used marie callender's frozen pie crusts (shame on me) and they were tasty! beau found some 'pumpkin spice' flavored eggnog, and that's what i used. this recipe makes two pies.

1 large can pumpkin puree
2 1/2 cups eggnog
scant 1 1/3 cups white sugar
6 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cinnamon
scant tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract

either prepare your pie crusts or take them out of the freezer to thaw, and preheat the oven to 375.

in a large bowl, beat all the above ingredients. i gave my custard mixture a taste and adjusted the spices and salt. you might want to try doing that too. i think i added extra salt and cinnamon. if you have pumpkin pie spice, try using that. i didn't have any. anyway, once the mixture is well-blended, pour evenly between two unbaked pie crusts. bake for 30 minutes.

meanwhile: in a medium bowl, combine:

2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp agave nectar (bakerella used maple syrup; i didn't have any)
1/8 tsp kosher salt

after the pies have baked 30 minutes, sprinkle this mixture evenly over both pies. bake an additional 20-30 minutes or until pies are puffed and still a bit jiggly. cool several hours and serve either at room temp or chilled.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

at-home mocha (single serving)

this is SO yummy. the hubby bought me several tins of peet's dutch cocoa, and i adapted my recipe based on the one on the side of the tin.

1 tbsp dutch cocoa
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
pinch salt
sprinkle of cinnamon & nutmeg
1 packet starbucks via (instant coffee)
1/4 cup water

combine above ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. whisk until smooth. add in 1 cup of milk and a few drops of vanilla. heat until almost boiling. enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

things to take on an extended trip, pt. 2

http://www.gentsupplyco.com/All-In-One-Cook-Prep-Set mixing bowls, measuring spoons & cups that all nest together.

http://www.gentsupplyco.com/Non-Stick-Serrated-Knife-For-Top-Chefs might be a good little knife.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

things to take on an extended trip

now that we've become semi-nomadic, i'm learning a few things about what to take if we'll be away from home for a month or two or three. here's a list of pantry staples that are a pain to buy and easy to bring along. i made the mistake of not bringing any of this with us, and i have it all at home. in addition to wasting a lot of money, i now have enough cinnamon to last until the apocolypse.

bring your own:

salt & pepper
baking soda
baking powder
spices & herbs
cocoa powder
vegetable/olive oil

good knives(!!!)
kitchen scissors
french press/coffee grinder
mixing bowl
hand mixer
measuring cups/spoons

that's all i can think of for now.

Friday, September 25, 2009

kelly's creamed spinach

i humbly declare that i made this tonight without a recipe. it was barely enough to serve 3 people so next time i'll be making more for sure.

1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 oz neufchatel cheese or cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
10 oz. bag spinach
1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter

heat a skillet to medium heat. melt 1 tbsp of butter, then add the onion. saute a few minutes until the onion is beginning to become translucent, then add the garlic. after a few more minutes of sauteing, add in the cream cheese, whipping cream, parm, and salt and pepper. stir well until combined and the cream cheese is dissolved.

in a larger skillet, melt the other tbsp of butter and add the spinach. cook until wilted and add to cream mixture. serve and enjoy!

serves 2!

brown sugar oatmeal cookies

...or should i call these 'apple golden raisin brown sugar oatmeal cookies'? because that's what they are. and they're delicious.

2 sticks butter, softened (all i had was salted)
2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg
1 tsp salt
3 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)
1 cup golden raisins
1 tart apple, peeled and chopped

preheat oven to 350' and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

beat together the butter and brown sugar until creamy and lightened in color. add in the eggs and vanilla.

in another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda & powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. add to the butter mixture and beat until just combined.

add in oats, raisins, and apple and beat again until just combined.

with a medium-sized ice cream scoop or disher, scoop out 12 cookies per sheet. use your fingers to slightly press down the dough balls.

bake pans separately for 10-12 minutes or until set but not too browned! makes about 3 dozen good-sized cookies.

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins 2.0

4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 small can (15 oz.) pureed pumpkin
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips

preheat oven to 400 degrees. prepare muffin tin with paper liners.

beat eggs together in a large bown with sugar, pumpkin, and butter. beat until smooth and combined

in a medium sized bowl, combine flour, soda, powder, spices, and salt. blend into pumpkin mix. after thoroughly mixed, fold in chocolate chips.

fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way. bake at 400 for 12 to 15 minutes.

Monday, August 3, 2009

wicked good chocolate chocolate chip cookies.

these are dangerous. i had the husband take half of them to some friends today because i would eat them all by myself over the course of a day otherwise.

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

preheat oven to 325 degrees. cream together the butter and sugars. beat until fluffy. add in the eggs and vanilla and beat again until light and fluffy.

in a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, powder, soda, and salt.

add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just combined. stir in the chocolate chips.

line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop, put 8 balls of dough on each sheet. bake each sheet for 10 to 12 minutes. cookies will look puffy.

makes about 30 big cookies.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

zucchini bread

i haven't tasted this yet. it's based on a recipe from a family cookbook, but i've made big changes so there's no telling how it'll turn out. i'll let you know.

2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup crisco (butter would probably work too)
2 eggs
1 cup grated zucchini, peel on
1 tsp baking soda
zest and juice of half a lemon
zest and juice of half an orange
1 1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts)

preheat oven to 375 degrees. cream together sugars and crisco. add in the eggs and beat well. add in the zests and juices and beat until combined.
whisk together the flour, spices, soda, and salt. add into the wet mixture and mix until just combined. stir in zucchini and nuts and put into a greased loaf pan.
bake for about an hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

update: it's delicious! but next time i will bake at 425 degrees. the top got a little too dark before the center was done. other than that, i wouldn't change anything!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

perfect oatmeal raisin cookies

it's been a while since my last post, but i have a good reason!

that's my beautiful baby boy. he was born last friday and is the best thing ever.

two nights ago i got a massive craving for oatmeal raisin cookies, a cookie i've never particularly been crazy about in the past. i guess my tastes are changing now that i'm a mother... :) this is based on the quaker oatmeal "vanishing oatmeal raisin cookie" recipe, but i've changed several things. these are chewy, soft, and rich.

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 heaping cup raisins

preheat oven to 325 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy. add in both eggs at the same time and beat well. add vanilla. stir together the flour, powder, soda, cinnamon, and salt and add to butter mixture. fold in the oats and raisins. using a cookie scoop (mine holds about 1/4 cup) measure out onto cookie sheets. bake one sheet at a time for about 12 minutes each. makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

white chocolate orange cookies

my own recipe! picture to come when my hubby gets home with the camera. this makes a sturdy dough and the cookies stay nice and round, which i love. flat cookies don't appeal to me! although i still eat them. these are very sweet and very yummy with a glass of cold milk!

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
zest of two oranges
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 (12 oz.) bag white chocolate chips

preheat oven to 325 degrees. cream together butter and sugar. add orange zest and vanilla extract. add egg and beat until fluffy. sift together flour, soda, powder, and salt. add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and blend until combined, but do not overbeat. stir in white chocolate by hand. drop by scant tablespoons onto cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake until lightly golden- about 13 minutes.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

my mama's banana bread

1/2 cup crisco
1 large egg
2 cups flour
heaping 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar
4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup freckled banana, mashed
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

preheat oven to 350 degrees. cream together shortening and sugar until well-blended. beat in the egg and lemon juice. whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. add to shortening mixture and blend well. batter will be thick! fold in the bananas and nuts. pour into 9x4" loaf pan that you've lined with parchment and sprayed with baker's joy. bake 60-70 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. cool on a wire rack.

i could eat this for breakfast every day. and i plan on doing just that for the next 2 weeks or so, because i baked 2 large loaves of it tonight.

biscuit quest 2009

one of my goals for this summer was to find the perfect biscuit recipe. it's turned out to be a short-lived search, because i think i found it on the second try. and wouldn't you know, it's the recipe on the back of the Gold Brand Self-Rising Flour bag. the only change the hubby and i made was to add 1/4 tsp of salt. the flour does have salt in it already, but i'm pregnant and have had to add extra salt to pretty much everything for the past 7.5 months. anyway, these are stellar and beau and i each ate two and a half of these straight out of the oven.

Gold's Buttermilk Biscuits

2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
2 tsp sugar
1 stick butter, straight out of the fridge
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk

preheat oven to 450 degrees. sift together flour, sugar, and salt. cut the butter into small pieces and then using your fingers, cut into flour until only some big chunks of butter remain. add in 3/4 cup buttermilk and stir gently. if the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, don't add anymore. we had to use about 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon. gently knead on a lightly floured surface until just smooth, then roll out to a generous 1/2". use a biscuit cutter and press straight down (DO NOT TWIST!). place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 9-12 minutes or until they're the golden color that whets your appetite. 9 was the right amount of time for us.

Friday, June 5, 2009

best garlic cheese bread ever.

i can't tell you how delicious this bread is.

1 loaf italian bread, sliced lengthwise
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried parsley
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise

preheat oven to 350'.
in a bowl, combine all ingredients except the french bread.
spread the bread with the mixture. place side-by-side on a cookie sheet covered with parchment or foil.
bake until cheese is melty, then broil until cheese starts to turn golden.
remove from oven, slice, and serve.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

samoas cupcakes- a.k.a. caramel de-lites

you could also make this in cake form! if you did a bundt, it would really look like a big samoa :)

butter cake:

1 pkg plain white cake mix
1 cup whole milk
1 stick butter, melted and slightly cooled
3 large eggs
1 tsp. (or tbsp.) vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

-combine all ingredients well and bake at 350 for 20-23 minutes. when you take the cupcakes out of the oven, turn the temp up to 425 and then proceed to make the caramel coconut topping.

caramel coconut topping:

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 (7 oz.) bag shredded coconut
1 tbsp vanilla extract.
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt

-pour the sweetened condensed milk into a small pyrex dish, then place that dish into a bigger dish. pour water into the outside dish, about halfway up the side of the dish w/ the milk. cover the entire thing with foil and put in the oven for 45 minutes. at that time check the water level and add more water if necessary. bake another 45 minutes or until the milk has turned a rich caramel color. carefully remove from the oven and transfer caramel to a larger dish if necessary. add coconut, salt, and vanilla and enough heavy cream to get it to the consistency you want. top the cupcakes and spread evenly.

chocolate drizzle:

1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
about 1/4 cup heavy cream

-microwave chips in 30 second increments until melted. also microwave the heavy cream for about 30 seconds until slightly warm. pour small amounts into the chocolate and stir until smooth. keep adding cream until it's thin enough to drizzle, but don't make it too thin. you might need to keep microwaving in 10 second increments after you add the cream. transfer into a ziploc bag and seal. snip off the corner and drizzle over the cupcakes. chocolate will set after a few hours.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

more meal planning

for my information... this may change- 3 weeks ahead of time might be too early to plan, even for me!

spag & meatballs
meatball stroganoff
pork chops, biscuits, roast veggies
i will attempt falafel & tzatziki! with salad.

meal planning!

the hub and i are working on our budget, and after realizing what a huge amount of money we spend on dining out each month, i am even more resolved to start cooking at home as much as possible. i love cooking, and there's no reason why we shouldn't eat all our meals at home at least 5 days a week!

having an apartment with a fully functional kitchen will make this easier. 2 weeks and 1 day until we move in! so here's to pre-planning the first week...

sunday: roast chicken, buttermilk biscuits and roasted veggies
monday: chicken quesadillas (w/leftover chicken)
tuesday: stuffed peppers made with buffalo, yellow bell peppers and extra onion
wednesday: tamale pie, also made with buffalo
thursday: leftovers
friday: gnocchi & sauce if i'm feeling up to it, mexican hamburgers with baked fries if im not!

Friday, April 17, 2009

bow ties in cream sauce

this is adapted from a "members only" recipe on tasteofhome.com. i changed it quite a bit but in case you're interested, over there it's called "creamy bow tie pasta recipe"

1 box uncooked bow tie pasta
2 tbsp salted butter
1-2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp flour
2 cloves minced garlic
salt to taste
2 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4-1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vodka or white wine (i had vodka but i suspect white wine would be better)
1/4 cup water
1/4 shredded Parmesan cheese
2-4 tablespoon sour cream

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in the oil, flour, garlic and seasonings until blended. Gradually add the milk, vodka/wine and water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Remove from the heat; stir in cheese and sour cream. Drain pasta; toss with sauce.

Monday, April 13, 2009

no-bake nutella cheesecake

i made this for easter this year and it was fantastic.

2 blocks neufchatel cream cheese, room temperature
1 (13 oz.) jar nutella
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1 store-bought oreo cookie crust

blend together the first 4 ingredients until smooth. pour into crust and refrigerate at least 4 hours.


i had more nutella in another jar, so i microwaved about 1/4 cup of it until runny and drizzled it over the top before putting it into the fridge.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

chocolate lava cake in a mug! in the microwave!

this is adapted from this recipe at the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog, which has become one of my favorite food blogs.

in a large mug, whisk together:

4 tbsp flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp white sugar
2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder

then add in:

1 egg
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp milk
a splash of vanilla extract
a splash of orange extract (optional, but delicious!)
dash of salt

whisk together thoroughly until well combined.

chop approx. 2 oz. chocolate. i used 1 part dark chocolate to 2 parts milk chocolate, because that's what i had. dump on top of the batter but do not stir.

microwave for ONE minute, then stir. microwave another 20-30 seconds, and voila! chocolate cake in under 5 minutes.


this would also be good with peppermint extract and/or a small handful of andes mints. i guess technically this isn't a lava cake because it's sort of lava throughout- some of it is solid and some is liquid, and that's exactly how i like it! this would be great to share because it's very rich.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

super delicious burritos

i was inspired by a friend to make a big batch of burritos to put in the fridge/freezer. it may be a symptom of nesting- putting up lots of food for after the baby comes sounds smart. only i'll be halfway across the country when that happens. these taste better than taco bell's grilled stuffed burrito!

8 burrito-sized flour tortillas
1 large can mexican-style refried beans
1 package uncle ben's spanish rice (the kind that you microwave for 90 seconds and it's done)
1-2 cups prepared guacamole- mine came from trader joes
2 cups mixed cheese (i used 1/2 cheddar and 1/2 mozzarella)
2 cups cooked shredded chicken, well-seasoned with salt

lay out 8 large pieces of foil, and put a tortilla on each one. if you know you'll be microwaving the burritos, use plastic wrap instead.
spread about 1/4-1/2 cup of beans on each tortilla
spread 1-2 tbsp on top of the beans. i like guac so i used 2 each.
sprinkle a couple tbsps of rice on top of the guac
sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese on top of that
sprinkle 1/4 cup chicken on top of that
fold up edges and roll. then fold up the foil around the burrito. your burritos should be sort of flat.

to serve:
you don't have to do it this way... nuking in the microwave for a minute or two would be fine, but i love the texture of a good toasted tortilla! if your burrito is frozen, let it defrost on the counter or microwave to defrost.

heat a skillet to medium and melt 1/2 a tbsp of butter. fry seam-side down for several minutes. spread a bit more butter on the side that's up. when golden and crispy, flip over and cook the other side.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

breakfast of chubby champions

i made this up this morning. it's not really creative or original, but i've never seen this EXACT thing before, so i'm calling it *my* recipe.

1 slice bacon, cut in half. 2 slices if you really mean it.
2 slices bread
1 egg
cheddar cheese (1 slice? however much you like. i like cheese a lot.)

-using a small juice or shot glass or even a fancy biscuit cutter, cut a hole in the middle of one of the pieces of bread. i don't care what you do with the bread round. you could toast it up to sop up the delicious egg yolk goo that is in your near future.
-heat up your skillet to medium and fry the cut bacon on one side. when it's nice and crispy and brown, flip it over and swirl the fat around. don't you dare drain any of that fat.
-arrange your bacon so that you can place the holey bread on top of the bacon and still see the bottom of your frying pan. press lightly.
-crack the egg into the hole and sprinkle with a dash of salt.
-let the egg fry for a minute or until the white is... white, on the side touching the pan.
-with a spatula, lift up the bread and swirl the bacon fat around. flip the bread/egg/bacon, then top with cheese and additional piece of bread.
-after another minute, flip one more time to toast the intact bread and melt the cheese a bit more.

Monday, February 16, 2009

perhaps the best lasagna ever.

this makes a LOT of lasagna: 3 pans, to be exact. feel free to halve or quarter. this started as pioneer woman's "the best lasagna ever", but, with all respect to PW, she only called for basil and parsley, and hardly any garlic and i can't fathom lasagna without at least oregano. so the original recipe has been doubled from hers and then heavily doctored.

3 lbs ground beef
2 pounds hot italian pork sausage
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
2 12 oz. cans tomato paste
2 tbsp dried basil
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp dried rosemary, crumbled
1 tbsp oregano
2 9 oz. packages no-boil lasagna noodles
2 tbsp oil
6 cups cottage cheese
4 eggs
1 cup parmesan cheese (the powdered kind)
another 2 tbsp dried basil
2 lbs shredded mozzarella

in a large skillet, combine beef, sausage, and garlic. cook until brown and drain off half the fat. pour in tomatoes, tomato paste, dried herbs, and 1 tbsp salt. mix together and simmer, uncovered, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

white meet is cooking, mix together cottage cheese with 4 beaten eggs, the kraft parm. cheese, the other 2 tbsp dried basil, and 2 tsp salt.

layer your ingredients as follows: noodles, cottage cheese mixture, mozzarella, meat mixture, and repeat ending with meat mixture. top generously with more kraft parmesan. bake at 350' for 30-45 minutes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

martha's macaroni and cheese 101

this is HANDS DOWN the best homemade mac and cheese i've ever had. the fact that it was made by my mom didn't hurt!

8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for casserole
6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn into ¼ to ½-inch pieces
5½ C milk
½ C all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt, plus more for water
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
4½ C (about 18 oz) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 C (about 8 oz) grated Gruyère cheese or 1¼ C (about 5 oz) grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 lb elbow macaroni
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Melt 2 T of butter and pour over bread in a medium bowl; toss. Set bread crumbs aside.

Warm milk in saucepan over medium heat. Melt remaining butter in high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Whisk flour mixture constantly, while adding hot milk a little at a time. Continue cooking and whisking until mixture bubbles and thickens, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, peppers, 3 C cheddar cheese and 1½ C Gruyère cheese (or 1 C Pecorino Romano cheese). Set cheese sauce aside. Cook macaroni in large pot of boiling salted water until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain macaroni under cold running water. Stir macaroni into cheese sauce and pour mixture into buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheeses and bread crumbs over top. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.

Transfer disk to wire rack for 5 minutes Serves 12.

Note: For lots of crust, bake in a broad, shallow casserole dish. Recipe divides easily in half (use a 1½-quart casserole dish).

***the only change i would make to this recipe would be to add some ground mustard! i can imagine this with really crispy bacon mixed in... yum!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

mom's shrimp scampi pasta

i've been home visiting and mom made this for dinner tonight. as promised, it was delicious. you can't go wrong when garlic, white wine, and shrimp are together!

1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb peeled & deveined shrimp
5 + garlic cloves, put through a garlic press. IMO, the more garlic, the better
1/2 tsp dried hot red- pepper flakes
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 lb angel hair pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

bring large pot of salted water to a boil.

meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over med. high heat until hot but not smoking, then saute shrimp, turning over once, until just cooked through, about a minute on each side. transfer w/a slotted spoon to a large bowl. add garlic to oil remaining in skillet along with red pepper flakes, wine, salt, and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. add butter to skillet, stirring until melted, and stir in shrimp. remove skillet from heat.

cook pasta in boiling water until just tender, about 3 minutes. reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain pasta in a colander. toss pasta well with shrimp and parsley in large bowl, adding some of reserved cooking water IF NECESSARY to keep moist.

the only changes i would make to this recipe would be:
-more shrimp
-saute the garlic slightly before adding the shrimp, to take the harsh bite off the garlic
-more salt

Monday, January 19, 2009

triple layer mud pie

i usually make this for thanksgiving as the 'chocolate option', along with eggnog pumpkin and bourbon pecan pies. i'm making this for my brother's birthday celebration, because he loves oreos and chocolate pudding. here's a tip if you try it though: leave out the pecans; they get gummy.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

tonight's bean and sausage soup

1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. hot italian sausage (out of it's casing)
1 lg. can crushed tomatoes
1 lg. can diced tomatoes
1 can each: kidney, cannellini, red, pinto, great northern (all drained and rinsed)& spicy refried beans
4 cups water
salt & pepper to taste

saute the onion until translucent. add sausage and brown. add garlic, and remaining ingredients in order. bring to a boil and simmer at least 1/2 hour before serving.

i love beans.

LA Times Gingerbread People

(i haven't tried these- just posting for my own reference!)

3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1 egg
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking soda.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the molasses until incorporated, then the egg. Mix in the grated and ground ginger, allspice, cinnamon, pepper, cloves and cardamom until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least two hours -- and up to one week.

3. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Take half of the dough and roll out on a floured work surface to slightly less than one-fourth inch. Using cookie cutters in the desired shape, cut out the dough and place the shapes on a cookie tray lined with parchment, about 1 inch apart. Bake about 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies begin to color slightly. Do not over-bake. Cool cookies thoroughly on racks before frosting.

Royal icing and assembly

2 egg whites
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 recipe gingerbread cookies
Decorations, as desired

1. Place the egg whites and lemon juice in the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a mixing bowl, if using a hand mixer) and mix until combined. Gradually add in the sugar, mixing until well combined. Pipe onto cookies with a piping bag (remember to cover the unused portion of the icing with plastic wrap to prevent drying out). Garnish the cookies as desired with decorations, then dry at room temperature until the icing is hardened. Store in airtight containers for up to 3 weeks at room temperature.

Each of 42 servings: 118 calories; 1 gram protein; 21 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 4 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 14 mg. cholesterol; 126 mg. sodium.