Sunday, December 30, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:
2-3 Tbl butter or margarine
2 cups elbows macaroni (uncooked)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 cups milk
Salt & Pepper
Optional: breadcrumbs, ham, etc.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°
 
Melt butter in 7x11 glass baking dish. Place macaroni into melted butter and stir to coat. Sprinkle cheese over the macaroni and pour milk on top. Throw in some salt and pepper and you're good to go.

Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of ~ the Queen B herself, my mother!

Now, this is honestly the easiest macaroni and cheese ever, in life. You don't even have to cook the macaroni first!!! A few tips/caveats:
  1.  I usually use butter- I always use 3 Tbl but then it gets a little greasy on the bottom. I think with margarine you're ok to use 3 Tbl but if using butter, 2 is probably best. To save time, I actually throw the butter in the dish, and put it in the oven while it is pre-heating. By the time it's melted, and you have everything put together, the buzzer should be going off that you're at 350° and ready to go!
  2. One bag of shredded cheese is two cups. This is enough cheese for sure, but if you want it to be cheesy I would say to use a little extra. I also reccomend using regular cheese as opposed to reduced fat. I know, I know, this is not the most health conscious recipe... but what M&C really is? RF Cheese just doesn't melt the same way and if you want it to be ooey and gooey, it is worth the extra caloric intake.
  3. Optional ingredients are just that! I sometimes will add breadcrumbs for a little extra seasoning, or if you are in the mood for meat, ham is a great addition. I suppose you could throw in peas/bacon if you were so inclined too, maybe different cheese flavors too- the possiblities are endless. I find that it usually takes the full 60 mins to cook through, so plan accordingly. I would put the breadcrumbs on top maybe at 35-40 mins.
If you're in need of an easy weeknight meal, this is it. While it does take a little while to cook, it literally takes 5 minutes to put together. And it tastes great!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Stan's Disappearing Buffalo Chicken Dip

Ingredients:
2 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken (I used a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken)
1/3 cup Franks hot sauce
1 cup mayonaise, regular or light (I used Hellmans, light)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbl finely chopped green onions, optional (I used them)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss chicken in hot sauce. Stir in remaining ingredients except the blue cheese. Turn into a 1-1/2 quart shallow casserole dish, and sprinkle with blue cheese.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until bubbling. Serve with celery and/or other dippers.

Recipe courtesy of ~ Hellmans and my friend Stan.

When my friend Taryn told me that this dip was good, I believed her. But I didn't know just how good it was going to be. Quotes like "I just made this for my work holiday party and I think I made 400 new friends" or "my sister said she'd like to climb into a vat of this stuff and eat her way out" - I still didn't quite understand.

She said trust me, bring this to Christmas Eve, and it will be great. Make some pita chips (um, you can make pita chips?!), and it will become a new staple in your Christmas Eve appetizer spread. Let.me.tell.you.somethings: first of all, hey all you strapping young gentleman~ Taryn is going to make an amazing housewife someday. She cooks (and more importantly bakes), she is quick witted, charmingly sarcastic and one of the most caring people you could ever meet. (I wonder why we're friends?!). And secondly... she doesn't lie. This buffalo chicken dip does not disappoint.

Make it, love it, share it, just make sure to give me...er...her credit.

BONUS RECIPE: Homemade Pita Chips
Cut up pita pockets into triangles (I made each one into 8 pieces) - toss in a little olive oil, S&P and garlic powder. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 until brown (appx 10-15 minutes).

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rosemary-Balsamic Turkey Cutlets

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Leaves from 2 stems fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 turkey cutlets (Double the recipe, and eat later in the week on a salad or whole-grain bread)

Salt and pepper

Directions:
In a shallow dish, whisk olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, rosemary, and Dijon. Season cutlets with salt and pepper, and marinate at least 15 minutes.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add turkey cutlets, and cook about 12 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through.

Recipe courtesy of ~ Cosmo

I bought turkey cutlets at Stop and Shop the other day, not really thinking about what came next. The good news is, there is always Google. I looked up options, and the most common one was parmesan crusted...but my thought is that is overdone. When I saw this idea, I got excited and plan to make this tonight for me and tt for dinner, probably with either quinoa or cous cous (whatever I have in the pantry) and a salad tossed in lemon juice and olive oil. Yum!

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Everything Lo Mein

Ingredients:
For the sauce:
   3 rounded Tbl hoisin sauce
   3 Tbl dark soy sauce
   3 Tbl water
   2 tsp hot sauce

For the Lo Mein:
   1 lb spaghetti
   Salt and black pepper
   1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
   2 large eggs, beaten
   3 chicken breast cutlets, thinly sliced into strips «
   3 thin cut pork chops, thinly sliced into strips «
   2 tsp ground coriander «
   2" fresh ginger, chopped or grated ((if using the spice, 1/2-1 tsp will do the trick)) «
   4 cloves garlic, finely chopped «
   6 scallions, cut into 3" lengths, then sliced lengthwise «
   1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, chopped «
   1 red bell pepper, cut into quarters, seeded, then sliced «
   1 small can sliced water chestnuts
   Either: 2 cups fresh bean sprouts or 4 generous handfuls of shredded cabbage

Directions:
Mix together sauce ingredients and set aside.

Bring salted water to a boil for pasta, then cook to al dente.

While pasta cooks, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil over high heat in a large, non-stick skillet. When oil ripples, add beaten eggs and scramble them to light golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Season the meat with S&P and coriander. Heat the remaining vegetable oil to a ripple, then add meat and stir-fry for 4 minutes. Push meat to the side and add ginger, garlic and veggies. Stir-fry veggies for 2 minutes, then drain and add pasta and eggs to skillet. Pour sauce over the noodles and toss to combine. Turn off pan and toss an addtional 30 seconds to let liquids absorb.

Recipe courtesy of ~ Rachael Ray

So I haven't made this in forever, but I have made it a few times and it's a really good meal. I promised my friend Stan I would post it for her to hopefully assist with some of those week night cravings for a good noodle (without the guilt trip that comes along with that little white carton).

I have a « next to a few of the ingredients. I will make you aware that I am not 100% sure why they are marked on my recipe, but I am pretty sure that they are the items that I felt were necessary. If you go to the website, there are a bunch of reviews of the recipe (which I always love reading, btw- this is how I end up making half of my recipes because of other people's trial/error!) - everyone suggests of course using whatever vegetables you like, etc. I would recommend that as well, but really feel that these few ones are must-haves. Also great news about this one - is you can make it vegetarian so easily!

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Eggplant "Meat"balls

Ingredients:
Eggplant
Olive oil
Italian style breadcrumbs
Romano cheese
Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried parsley

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel eggplant and chop into 1-2" pieces (I cubed it). In a saucepan, heat oil, then add eggplant and cook down until mushy. Remove from heat and mash with potato masher if needed. Eggplants will cook down a lot, so use at least 1 large or 2-3 smaller eggplants to feed more than 2 people.

Add breadcrumbs and cheese (a decent amount of both..), then spices. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Using a medium sized ice cream scoop, scoop out the sticky mixture and put onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of ~ My dad's boss

Notes:
These taste AMAZING. However. My recommendation would be to either scoop the mixture into your hands and form into  balls. I did it as it states above, and ended up with little eggplant cakes rather than eggplant meatballs. Also, make sure you use enough of the breadcrumbs- my mixture was very wet and I think this is part of the reason why it spread out while cooking.

You will notice that there are no measurements on this recipe. This is how I received it... and being the "on the fly" cook that I am, I eyeballed everything, but this may be part of the problem as well. I loved them so much that I will for sure make them again, and can add in measurements if I am able to perfect them, but based on the first try, just make sure you add enough dry ingredients, and form them into balls before baking.

I served them with my favorite marinara sauce and whole wheat penne.

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