Hey everyone! I know you all are thinking about Thanksgiving next week. Well, I am planning to make the best baked macaroni and cheese for dinner. I hardly ever make it because I’m always dieting but for Thanksgiving, it’s a must. Now this is not my recipe, this is Chef Resha’s recipe. She has some great recipes but this macaroni and cheese recipe is banging!
2 cups shredded fontina cheese, plus a few pieces cut into cubes
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Butter a 9×13 or 8×11 baking dish and set to the side. You can use cooking spray instead.
Boil your pasta in water seasoned with plenty of salt (about a tablespoon) for about 4 to 5 minutes. You want it undercooked because it will continue cooking in the oven when you bake it. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the macaroni and quickly rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Let it sit and drain while you make the cheese sauce. You may not need the reserved pasta water, but it’s good to have just in case your cheese mixture gets a little too thick and gloopy.
In one heavy bottom pot or large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. When it starts to foam and bubble, add the flour and immediately whisk so that it forms a paste. Allow this to cook for about 1 minute to get the “raw” flour taste out, whisking frequently.
SLOWLY add 2 cups of the milk (or half & half) while whisking constantly to remove any large lumps. Continue to whisk until smooth and thick, about 20 seconds. Add the remaining 2½ cups of milk (or half & half) and continue to whisk until smooth. Increase the heat to medium-high to allow the mixture to simmer and thicken, about 5 minutes. Season the mixture while it thickens and taste as you go. If the sauce is yummy alone, just imagine how incredible it will be once you add the cheese.
Once your mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add in the parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino and gruyere cheese and remove from the heat. Taste it again, season if you need to.
Toss the cheese sauce with the pasta, and taste to season if need be. Don’t panic if there’s more sauce than pasta, you’re going to spoon it into the baking dish, so you’ll be able to control the cheese sauce/pasta ratio. As you’re layering, it’ll start to thicken up even more. On the flipside, if your mixture is too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water to the sauce coated pasta to thin it out. You want it smooth and creamy, but not incredibly soupy and watery.
Ladle a layer of the coated pasta into your prepared baking dish, then sprinkle a layer of the remaining cheeses and repeat until all of the pasta and cheese is used up — lasagna style. This is where you can “eyeball” your cheese portions. Use more or less, it’s totally up to you. Too much cheese can be a problem because it’ll make it too oily and clumpy, so don’t go too nuts with the cheese.
Run a spoon thru the entire mixture just to lightly mix in the cheese throughout the entire dish. Smooth the mixture with the back of a spoon just until its relatively even on top, and sprinkle a thin layer of seasoned bread crumbs on top for an amazing and tasty crunch, if you’d like. The breadcrumb crust also acts as a barrier to keep the cheese from drying out by helping to keep it moist. But again, you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.
Bake on the center rack of your oven for about 20 to 35 minutes or until the center is bubbly and the entire dish is golden brown.
Let it cool for about 10 minutes before you dive into it.
Enjoy, and make this again and again until you nail it
So in accordance with my pledge to be “veggie-forward” last year I have adopted a few vegetarian recipes that I’ve made over and over again. One of them is sweet potato pierogis in a sage brown butter sauce. They are so good!
Now, I have to admit, it is a bit time consuming because you are making your own dough and sweet potato filling but since we’re all at home might as well give it a try. I’ve made these several times and they are really filling and tasty too. The recipe is from Food & Wine’s online magazine.
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
Filling and Finishing
1 pound sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
8 sage leaves, sliced
Additional kosher or sea salt, to taste
In a bowl, mix together the flour, sour cream, egg, olive oil and salt until the ingredients bind together. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple minutes, or until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot and fill with cold water to cover the potatoes. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain the sweet potatoes and mash. Allow to cool.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out 12-15 rounds. Brush the edges of each round lightly with water, then place 1 tablespoon of filling on one side of the rounds. Fold the dough over, making half moon shapes, pressing out the air. Press and crimp the edges to seal the pierogi.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pierogi for 3-5 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pierogi to the skillet with the butter and sear each side for about 1 minute or until golden. Remove from the pan.
Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Allow the butter to foam, then settle down. Add the sage leaves and continue to cook until the butter just begins to brown and develop a toasty, nutty aroma. Season with salt.
So I definitely gained some weight over the holidays and am trying to get it off now (like everybody else). So I decided to have a very vegetable-forwarddiet for a while. Notice I said vegetable-forward, not vegetarian. 🙂 Yea, I don’t think I could go all the way vegetarian or vegan but I have made vegetable dishes as the main dish for a few weeks. Have to share a recipe that I absolutely adore! You have to be a mushroom and spinach fan though. I find the more vegetables you eat, the more of a taste for them that you will have.
It’s actually from this great food site called saltandlavender.com which unfortunately is not a vegetarian recipe site but pretty good nonetheless. I had to actually go to an Italian market to grab the potato gnocchi but other than that, the ingredients are pretty easy to find. Check out the recipe below and definitely let me know if you make it!
Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Gnocchi
Creamy and delicious vegetarian mushroom and spinach gnocchi with a creamy parmesan and white wine sauce.
Add the olive oil to a skillet on medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. It’s ok if it becomes lightly browned.
Add the mushrooms, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes.
Stir in the Dijon mustard and white wine. Let it bubble for a minute or so.
Add the cream and gnocchi. Wait until it starts to bubble again, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in the spinach, cover the pan again, and cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in the parmesan and season with salt & pepper. Give it a taste; gnocchi should be soft. If not, continue to cook for another few minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately with more parmesan cheese grated over top if desired.
This makes 4 reasonably sized portions. If you’re feeding extra hungry people, I recommend serving this with a salad, garlic bread, and/or something else.
In honor of my late grandmother, I’m baking several Bacardi rum cakes this year for family and friends. I didn’t forget about myself, I’m also going to bake one for the house. Rum cake is absolutely delicious and one thing you can do is pour rum itself on the cake after its finished just to make it a drunk cake! I’ve been told this is a Caribbean thing but I do have family from the Bahamas.
Anyway, bake one of these for the Holidays and enjoy!
1 18 1/2 oz. package yellow cake mix
1 3/4 oz. package Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding and Pie Filling
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup Wesson Oil
1/2 cup Bacardi rum
1/4 lb. butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Bacardi rum
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour 10″ tube or 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of the pan. Mix all cake ingredients together and pour batter over nuts. Bake one hour. Cool. Invert on serving plate. Prick the top with a fork or toothpick. Drizzle and smooth glaze evenly over top and sides. Allow cake to absorb glaze. Repeat until all the glaze is used.
Glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum.