Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's the cheesiest...

Thanks goodness she's not allergic to cheese.

Now that I’ve made it know that I’m a total food snob. I will be giving you a recipe for Mac and Cheese. Ha! What can I say, I’m two-faced. I’ve tried several times to make mac and cheese to no avail. And now I know the secret… Don’t use whole wheat pasta or 1% milk. Go for the real deal. Enriched noodles (the cheaper the better,) whole milk, all of the butter. All of my dairy, products were hormone-free and this is very important since I used some of the most fattening dairy products available. Hormone is more concentrated in fat.

The only few changes I made to this recipe were…

Ziti subbed for elbow macaroni

Fine homemade bread crumbs baked on top

½ tsp of dry mustard added to the sauce

I am going to try a combo of sharp white cheddar and Gruyere (I don’t even know what this is, but Rachel R. likes it) and I’m going to add a dash of paprika (because Martha’s mom always added it to her mac and cheese.)

We served it with steamed broccoli and sliced oranges and even had enough for me, the boy and the baby for lunch the next day. This is amazing because Dex doesn’t do leftovers. I don’t fight him over it though because I LOVE leftovers.


The Everyday Macaroni and Cheese

From Tillamook

8 oz. dry elbow macaroni

2 tbsp. Tillamook® Unsalted Butter

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 1/2 cups (10 oz.) Tillamook® Medium Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly butter a 2-quart shallow baking dish.

In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 ½ teaspoons salt and macaroni. Cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally. Pasta is done when it is slightly chewy to the bite or al dente. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside.

Prepare sauce while pasta is cooking. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook 3 minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually add milk and bring just to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking often, until sauce slightly thickens, 4-5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and 2 cups of cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Remove pan from heat and fold in pasta. Pour into prepared baking dish then sprinkle top with remaining cheese. 

Bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and top begins to brown. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I love to cook.

More importantly, I love to eat.

I have loved it my entire life.

Hamburger casserole was my special dish at age 12.

I moved to college.

I was on a very limited budget.

Semi-homemade meals from cheap, prepackaged, frozen, processed foods were at one time inspiring to me ☹

I had a baby.

Much to my family’s dismay, I became a label reader.

My husband was a medical resident; I was still on a very limited budget.

I moved to Michigan and started shopping at Trader Joe’s. (click here to send them an email and strongly encourage that they come to Utah.)

Labels in our home typically DO NOT include…
MSG (monosodium glutamate)
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Autolyzed yeast Extract
Artificial flavor or color
Preservatives (this is hard to get away from)
Hydrogenated Oils
Dairy products with hormones
High Fructose Corn syrup
I do 90% of my grocery shopping at Neighborhood Walmart and Costco.

The other 10%; Albertson’s, Good Earth, and Trader Joe’s imports.

I had a couple more kids.

The baby seems to be allergic to eggs and peanut butter.

Now, I’m so glad I learned to be a label reader.

I live to eat; the doctor eats to live.

I skim recipes; I change, substitute, alter, and disgard ingredients constantly.

That being said, I don’t bake often. (Only if I really have to.)

We’ve never eaten the exact same dish twice in 11 ½ years. ☺ My claim to fame!

I want to share my exciting new and old recipe with YOU. Sorry if it was once your recipe and I altered it.

If you try my recipe, tell me about it. Did you like it, hate it, change it; how and why?

Since the doctor could live off of oatmeal, scrambled eggs, and chips and salsa, I want someone to be excited with me about food and about cooking.I saw half of the movie Julie and Julia (before I fell asleep) and thought it was inspiring. Not inspiring enough to cook fattening French cuisine for a year, but enough to get excited about sharing my thoughts on food.

I love photography, but I don’t usually click photos of our food. I love hot food. But I’ll try to post a few images here and there.

A friend recently shared a recipe for No Knead Bread. One of my hobbies for the last several years has been perfecting my sourdough bread recipe from my homemade start. Well, I thought it was perfect (and perfectly easy) until this came along. I’ve made it once or twice a week for the past several weeks. There are about a gazillion of these recipes online so find one that works for you. So with out further adieu…
No Knead Bread
3 cups flour
or 1 cup whole wheat flour and 2 cups white flour

1/4 tsp. instant yeast

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups water

Mix together the dry ingredients.
Mix in water until the water is incorporated.
Cover with plastic and let sit 8-18 hours. (the longer the better)
Transfer to well floured surface, coat with flour, cover with floured towel and let rise about 1 ½-2 hours.
After 90 minutes of rising, preheated a cast iron pot or soup pot to 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
Bake covered for 30 minutes.
Remove cover; bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
Let cool completely on rack.
Consume bread, be happy.
Further notes: This method of baking is quite forgiving if you alter the ingredients and proportions. One of the great things about a bread recipe that is so easy and involves just one loaf at a time is you don’t feel like you’re risking a lot if your experimenting goes awry.
P.S. The photo of the bread is my sourdough bread NOT No Knead Bread...