The other night I stated that I was making macaroni and cheese for dinner. Arin yelled “yeah, we haven’t had that for years” and Adam looked at me with a raised eyebrow, “mac and cheese”? Not, the kind in the box, I replied, HOMEMADE mac and cheese! Now I got 2 raised eyebrows and an “oh darn”. Hmm, I was thinking, I hope this turns out.
It was kindda fun to put together and was super tasty, but for future, I would make it as a side dish instead of the main meal–too much cheese for a main meal. Everyone did love it though! This was adapted from one of my favorite Food Network Personalities, Ina Garten from her 2002 book Barefoot Contessa Family Style.
Mac ‘N’ Cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling slated water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 9-11 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute more or until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the bread crumbs and sprinkle on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on top.
NOTES: To make ahead of time, put the mac ‘n’ cheese in a dish, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Put the bread crumb topping on and bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
Adam is a lover of chocolate mousse and I found this recipe in a Taste of Home Delectable Desserts flyer. It is originally made to be a pie, but we like it just as a mousse, so feel free to do it either way you want. It’s super easy and super tasty!
Chocolate Mousse Pie
1 milk chocolate candy bar
16 large marshmallows
1/2 cups milk
2 cups whipping cream, whipped
1 pastry shell, baked, graham cracker or chocolate graham cracker
Place the candy bar, marshmallows and milk in a heavy saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cool. Fold in whipped cream; pour into crust (or bowl). Refrigerate for at least 3 hours
When I was in grade school I was a Girl Scout, albeit not a very good one, because it was the “thing” to do among my little friends. I worked hard to get all the badges-only because I wanted to fill out my sash, but I never took it very seriously. Until S’MORE TIME!! When I first tasted these delicious treats, I was hooked on roasting marshmallows over an open flame.
We still make s’mores a lot to this day, probably because I force them on anyone that comes over and hangs out around our little fire pit, but hey, I don’t hear any complaints either.
In the winter I make indoor s’mores in the microwave, but they aren’t really the same as you can imagine. Last week one day was National S’more Day and in researching that, I found out that s’mores were actually created by the Girl Scouts in the early 1900′s. Now, I’m getting the picture of why I felt I had to be in Girl Scouts so many years ago, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together! And to celebrate my new-found appreciation for the Girl Scout organization I made this super quick indoor s’more bar (and will look for a recipe to use Thin Mints since they are another reason to appreciate the Girl Scouts!)
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups miniature marshmallows
2 cups chocolate chips
Combine the crumbs, butter and sugar; press half into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Sprinkle with marshmallows and chocolate chips. Top with remaining crumb mixture; press firmly. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately press top firmly with a spatula sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cool completely. Cut into bars
NOTES: It’s best to refrigerate to cool, it makes it easier to cut apart
The funny thing about sharing recipes with friends is that you find your OWN recipe in unexpected places! I found this recipe in a church cookbook from our area, that was included by an old friend of mine. I probably gave her the recipe 12 or 13 years ago and there it was in “print”, how funny is that?? As is everything I cook, it is very easy to throw together and on those nights where you have too much to do, just mix it up, throw it in the oven for an hour and go about the rest of your duties.
Anne’s Spinach Quiche
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
3 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 stick butter, melted
6 slices Old English cheese, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
Mix cottage cheese, eggs and flour. Stir in spinach, butter, cheese, mushrooms and onions. Pour into a greased 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving to set.
What I remember about dried beef is eating it as a kid with a cream sauce and peas on toast, now doesn’t that sound yummy?? But there are so many other things you can do with dried beef as well and I have many appetizer recipes. This one is so easy and fast and can be whipped up quickly when unexpected guests arrive!
Dried Beef Appetizer
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (4 ounce) carton sour cream
2 Packages dried beef, shredded
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Mix together all ingredients, mold into a loaf or put in a decorative bowl and refrigerate. Serve with crackers or cocktail rye bread.