Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baked Mac 'n Cheese

I LOVE Mac 'n Cheese. Always have and I probably always will. Several months ago when we were out eating dinner at Ruby Tuesday, Josh had a side dish of baked Mac 'n Cheese. He then fought to keep me out of it. It was so GOOD. Since then I've been trying to find a recipe that is just as good. I've had a few failed attempts, but finally found something a recipe I like. It made enough to fill a casserole dish and I was worried that with only two of us, some of it would go to waste. But it was so good we ate the entire pan in just a few days.

Baked Mac 'n Cheese
2 cups dried elbow macaroni (4 cups cooked)
1/3 cup grated Cheddar Cheese
1/3 cup grated Swiss Cheese
1/3 cup grated Jack Cheese
1/3 cup grated Colby Cheese
1/3 cup grated Muenster Cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
Nonstick spray

Topping:
1 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
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Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large pot, bring water to boil. Season water with salt and cook macaroni until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain pasta and place in a large bowl and while pasta is still hot add all the cheese. In a separate medium bowl, using a whisk, combine the sour cream, butter, eggs, salt, pepper, and milk and add to the macaroni mixture. Spray casserole dish with nonstick and pour macaroni mixture into the dish.

For the topping, in a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the paprika, butter, and the Parmesan. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the macaroni and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30-45 minutes
Top with additional cheese, if desired

Monday, July 4, 2011

Spinach Strawberry Salad

Another recipe I got from a friend at work. Its so nice to work with amazing women who are also amazing cooks. This is one of the very RARE times I make something without exact measurements. 


Spinach Strawberry Salad
Spinach leaves
Strawberries, sliced
Three blend cheese
Toasted almonds
Poppy seed dressing
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Mix all ingredients together and serve. I don't like dressing, so I left it in the bottle to the side of the bowl and let people pour on their own. 

English Muffins

A few years ago a friends husband was watching the news and during their cooking session, they did English Muffins. I believe he talked her into making them that night. She raved about them and I made them soon after and took them to a family breakfast. They are a little bit of work, but they are so good that its worth it.
English Muffins
1-2/3 cups 1% milk
2-1/2 Tbs. butter
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 heaping Tbs. sugar
1/3 cup warm water
1 large egg
1 Tbs. cider vinegar
5 cups unbleached flour
Cornmeal
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Scald the milk with the butter and than allow to cool to about 100 degrees. in a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast, water and sugar. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes. Combine the milk mixture with the yeast mixture. Add the egg and cider vinegar, along with half the flour and mix together. Add the salt and remaining flour and mix well. The mixture will be sticky. Cover and allow to raise for about 1 hour.

Dust work surface with cornmeal and roll dough out to about 3/4 inch thick. Sprinkle dough with cornmeal to keep it manageable. Cut into 3-1/2 inch rounds with a cookie cutter.

Place newly formed muffins onto a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Lightly cover with a ling free cloth. Allow muffins to double in size.

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-low heat. Place the muffins on the griddle and cook for approximately 7 minutes on each side or until golden brown. You may need to adjust skillet heat. Transfer muffins to a cooling rack and allow to cool.

*Notes, in copying the recipe down a few times, I lost the amount of salt. I went with 1/2 tsp. Also, when I made these last night, I skipped the part of cutting them out and letting them raise. Instead I put them right on the skillet as I cut them out and they still doubled in size.