28 January, 2014  |   7 Comments

Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

We also call this Mama's Mac and Cheese

I first made this macaroni and cheese recipe from the Gourmet magazine cookbook for bocce.

It was eaten in minutes.

Emboldened by its success, I made it for the first winery job potluck.

I’d put myself under some stress for that potluck. I mean, they have a work chef! I wanted to avoid embarrassing myself in front of all the culinary experts.

My nerves had been for naught. I had no idea the speed at which this cheesy, noodley casserole would be consumed. Coworkers congratulated me for the whole rest of the week, cheering my brilliant addition to the potluck table.

And now you can p0wn your next potluck table too.

Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Ingredients
16 ounces pasta shells (I like shells, some like the elbows)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 3/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
4 cups shredded cheese (I like sharp cheddar mixed with medium cheddar)
3/4 cup cream
1 cup reserved pasta water

Topping
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup shredded cheese

Directions
Boil water for the pasta.
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Shred the 5 cups of cheese,  set one cup of shredded cheese aside. Make bread crumbs.

In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour. Stir with a whisk. It will make a strange lumpy wad of a thing. This is the base for the roux. Keep stirring for 3 minutes.

In a thin stream, add the whole milk and the red pepper flakes, whisking all the while until the mix makes a thinnish sauce. Stir in the mustard, cheese and cream. Turn off the heat.

If the water’s boiling, cook the pasta. Save 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.

Add the pasta to the cheese sauce — stir through. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water and stir through — the whole thing should be a little loose. Add more water if the mixture seems too firm.

In a small bowl, put bread crumbs, melted butter, and stir through final cup of cheese.

Add the cheesy pasta to the baking dish. Sprinkle the buttery, cheesy breadcrumbs atop the macaroni and cheese.

Throw the whole dish into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, turning the dish once to ensure even baking.

This macaroni and cheese is the first thing to go at potlucks.

I like to make double and freeze it for James to toss in the oven when I’m working late in the oven. The kids go nuts for it and he gets super-supper bragging rights.

Now go grab YOUR super supper bragging rights!

 

26 January, 2014  |   Comment

Meal plan, January 26

What we're eating the week of January 26

This week we’re eating up the things in the fridge while we recover from Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. And we are also hugging more. And taking more baths.

Hugs + Baths = Last week of January

23 January, 2014  |   5 Comments

Frodo Risotto Recipe for a Hobbit Dinner

We love Frodo Baggins.We made a hobbit dinner the other night.
James and I love Frodo. Bilbo too. We are Hobbits at heart.

Secure in our snuggly Shire home, we welcome any old man with fireworks to entertain the children.
The barefoot, mildly wild children.

And they all eat Frodo Risotto.

This is Frodo Risotto. It's a baked risotto.

We served Frodo Risotto with local Shire greens.
And some roast game (chicken).

Adapted from a Donna Hay recipe, this risotto bakes in the oven while you catch up with cousin Frieda Baggins about what’s causing the rabbit shortage.

Ingredients
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and diced about 1/2″ (Probably about 2 cups diced squash)
3 cups arborio rice
7 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup white wine (For cooking, I like Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons butter, chopped
1 small onion, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Additional Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional:
Oil for frying the sage
10 sage leaves

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°.

Cate Blanchette, Lady Galadriel of Lothlorien, will try to scarysexy you into giving her your ring but don’t you let her.

Elvin Butternut Squash.

To avoid all risk, you probably should skin her and chop half of her into tiny bits.

Peeled Elvin (Elvish?) Butternut Squash.

You can mince Samwise Gamgee into tiny bits while you’re at it too.

Nooooooo Frodoooooo

Mix the first seven ingredients in a 9″ x 12″ baking dish.
Combine, being careful not to slosh.

Something lives beneath the surface of that salty lake.\

Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and put in oven for 1 hour.

30 minutes into the baking time, take off the foil and stir it. You will be disappointed by the lack of progress. But hold tight, little hobbit, your dinner is right on plan.

This is when I would fry up the sage.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium-high heat, frizzle the sage in there until crispy, only a minute or two. Remove and drain on paper towels

After an hour, remove the baking dish from the oven.
Stir through the two tablespoons of butter and Parmesan cheese.
Stir through 7 leaves worth of crumbled fried sage.

Garnish with the remaining 3 leaves.

Serve.
And watch out for fireworks.

Welcome all old men carrying fireworks

21 January, 2014  |   Comment

Meal plan, the week of January 19

What we're eating this week.

This week, we’re celebrating Grandpa’s birthday with chicken pot pies and birthday cake.
That’s all anyone could really hope for, isn’t it?
(That and a really good Helpie Selfie.)

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