A place for a young lady to cook, eat, and share her yummy adventures.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not so "Fancy" Mac and Cheese

This is an adaptation of The Pioneer Woman's Fancy Macaroni. I have become a huge fan of all pot luck type events, summer parties, my New Years party, bon fires, making my friends come over and eat the stuff I cook for them.

I just realized how easy my friends have it...

And, this is perfect for any occasion that involves hungry people and trying to impress someone with words like "fancy" and "cheese". I'm always impressed when someone says fancy.

The "fancy" comes in when you add bacon and sauteed onions to a regular cheese sauce, at least, I think so.

You will need:
  • 2-3 cups Macaroni
  • 8 Tablespoons (salted) Butter
  • 1 (or 2) whole Medium Onion(s), Cut In Half And Sliced Thin (half moons)
  • 10 slices Regular Bacon
  • 1 Tablespoon Bacon Grease (reserved From Bacon Slices)
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Whole Or 2% Milk
  • 2 whole Egg Yolks, Beaten
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup (or more) Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 cup (or more) Grated Jack Cheese 
  • ½ cups sour cream (light does NOT work for this)

Start by cooking the bacon. Make sure it's crispy enough to break easily but not burnt. If you make the whole package just remember to not eat at least 10 pieces. I never actually remember to count, but I love bacon, so I use a lot.

Next slice onions. You can either do half moon slices (which I personally prefer) or dice them smaller which the friend I was making this for prefers. I sautéed them in the bacon grease because I had never tried it before, it was pretty good, but they were dirty looking. I prefer nice white or clear onions. Do what you will, if you use butter sauté them in 3-4 tablespoons.


Sauté them till the onions are soft and clear-ish.

Set aside bacon and onions for later.

Now, for the cheese sauce,

Grate your cheeses.

When you grate your own cheese you make God smile. When God smiles the world is good. Make the world good, grate your own cheese.

Start by melting 4 tablespoons of butter in a pot over medium heat. Once it's melted whisk in ¼ cup of flour and the bacon grease you saved. You did save it, right??

So the flour doesn't burn whisk it for about a minute.

Turn the heat up to high (so you can melt the cheese) and add the 2% milk to the pot.

Grate pepper into the milk; whisk till everything is all mixed and warm and happy.

Here is where you'd add the eggs if you are into that sort of thing... I may or may not forget to do it every time I make this, but I can vouch by saying they aren't necessary. If you do decided to add them you must temper them. by this point the milk mixture is pretty warm and if you just plop the egg (yellows*) they'd scramble and you'd have weird stuff. Eggs are to make the cheese sauce more solid/stick to whatever you're coating them in. I personally have never noticed the difference.

How to temper an egg: Whisk the egg (yellows only in this case)
add a little of the hot liquid to them
whisk till combined and warm
throw whole bit into the hot liquid

By doing this you introduce the heat to the delicate eggs slowly, preventing them from doing that scramble business.

Next, add the cheese and sour cream, stir completely after each add.

Add the bacon and onions. Stir in completely. Save at least a handful of the bacon and onions because it'll be a garnish for the end.

It'll smell like Jesus himself made it and you'll want to just eat it with a spoon, but don't.

You probably should have magically made your pasta sometime in there when I wasn't paying attention, didn't photograph it, and didn't write about it.

Boil your noodles, make sure they are al dente, and drain them.

Oh, and your oven should be at about 350°. Do that too.

Stir the noodles into the sauce. I think there are too many noodles for how much sauce we made; if you don't use them all, don't worry.

Add it to a baking dish (or two) and then sprinkle the rest of the bacon and onions over the tops.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or till they are bubbly and brown and the onions on top are crispy. Heaven smiles on a crispy onion. I smile on it too.

Serve warm.

This will make people wish you were their roommate when they eat this.

* If egg whites are called whites... why aren't the yokes called "yellows"? I also think red onions have a stupid fucking name. They are purple; I call them the color they truly are.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sundae

We're about to embark on the simplest, most delicious recipe I've ever come up with... and by come up with I mean they used to make it at Damons where I worked, but I adapted it for my own kitchen and mouth purposes. We are once again going to use my Pyrex Custard Cups... I preach this often, they are awesome.

You will need:
  • 3-4 Break and bake cookies per dish.
    I used 2 the first time, not enough. Then I used 4 the second time. It was delicious (said the boys I made these for) but I don't know if everyone would be as comfortable as I am eating 4 cookies and ice cream in one sitting. So go with three if you think you're fat or something.
  • Ice Cream (vanilla, or whatever)
  • Chocolate syrup

 Flatten the cookies out in the bottom of your dish, you'll be serving in the same dish so I don't suggest spraying it with cooking spray. Plus, if you use glass like this you won't experience any sticking and you'll be digging it out with a spoon. All will be fine if you don't grease the dish.

Bake according to the directions on the cookie package, but be aware that if you're piling 4 cookies together it will probably take longer that 8-11 minutes. Don't bake them till they are all they way done, that's never good. Bake them till they have about two minutes left (use your own judgement here, you know what cookies are supposed to look like) open the door and turn the oven off. I do this with almost everything I bake. You can leave it in the cooling oven for 5 more minutes.
 When you take them out they should not look like this. I was playing on the computer and lost track of time. Don't be like me. use a timer.

I never use one because I get lazy and always forget... so I spend way too much time watching cookies.

Ice cream, and a spoon

Finally zee chocolate sauce!

Serve it warm, but make sure you let the bowls cool off before you hand it to anyone. It's amazing. You'll love it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cranberry "Pie"

I don't think that there is much to be said about my love of all things pie. I love pie. I love desserts. I love pie. So so much.

Pie is easy once you know what you're doing, and the real variation comes in for the filling. I mean, the perfect pie crust needs no variation... other than how many I make in a week. Except, when I discovered this pie that wasn't really a pie at all. Because, well, no crust. At all.

If you like cranberries you'll love this pie. It's more like a cobbler, but since you can slice is I guess that's why it's considered a pie.

You'll Need:

Softened Butter, For Greasing
2 cups (heaping) Cranberries
¾ cups Pecans, Chopped (measure, Then Chop) (or just use less because I bought pre-chopped)
⅔ cups Sugar
1 cup Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
2 whole Eggs, Lightly Beaten
1 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract
¼ teaspoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar For Sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Start by buttering a standard size cake pan. Please use butter, not any sort of spray thing. You're cooking here, not being lazy. Butter the pan. Next you'll add the cranberries and smooth them out so they are in a single layer on the bottom. Oh, I forgot to mention something, this is the easiest pie/whatever you'll ever make. It tastes wonderful though, so people will think you're awesome.

Next, add the nuts. If you don't like nuts don't worry, you can't taste them really. Pecans are pretty good as far as nuts go. I really only like peanuts and pecans. Or candied walnuts. But not regular walnuts.

 This is where if I was one of those annoying bloggers who had music accompanying their sup par writing you'd be hearing "pour some sugar on me! In the name of love..." however I am not annoying and just write the words letting your inner voice sing it to you. You're welcome. Here you use the 2/3 cups of sugar, pour it on and you can shake it down or not, just try to get it everywhere.
 Time for the top part. Combine flour, 1 cup of sugar, melted butter, eggs, almond extract, and salt. Stir gently to combine.

 Pour it over the filling and smooth it out.

yup, that's my marching band sweatshirt. be jealous
Next you can either sprinkle it with the remaining sugar like I did or follow the directions and wait till there are only five minutes of cooking left  to do it. Either way finish it off with the sugar.
 Bake it for 45 to 50 minutes

Or until it looks like this! Hello lover, get in my mouth!

Eat this with nothing, whipped cream, ice cream, or whatever you think would be good. I suggest if you're bringing it to a family event hoard your can of boozy whipped cream and smother it. Boozy whipped cream is from heaven.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Zucchini Cakes

Food blog, you live?

How funny... I figured you'd have died from all my neglect. Please forgive me.

Today, I am sharing my favorite appetizer type dish. Zucchini cakes, from The Pioneer Woman and Pastor Ryan. I feel that if you use this basic form for any vegetable really you'll have good "cakes" and therefore happy eaters.

You will need:

1 or 2 Zucchini
2 cloves of minced garlic (1 tbsp)
1/2 cup (seasoned) bread crumbs
3 eggs
1/2 cup of Cheese (Romano, Parmesan, Italian blend, whatever)
salt and peppa to taste
enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a skillet

This makes enough for 4 people.
Start by grating the Zucchini. If, you were to say, be doing this for potato pancakes, I'd vote using frozen hash browns because that's just easier and you're frying it so does it really matter if it's fresh?

Well, I am the one who cuts potatoes when I am making chili cheese fries.. so I don't know what I'm talking about. Normally fresh is best, but grating this takes a long time. I don't think I would if it were potatoes.

 Grate the zucchini (after you've cut off the ends thankyouverymuch) and put it in a towel.

This stuff is wet, you need to basically ring out the towel with the zucchini in there. Use a not white towel, because the liquid is green. Once it's drained throw all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix it till it's thick enough to form cakes. Start out with two eggs, and, if things aren't getting together like they ought to then add the third. I've always needed the third egg, but, you never know.

The cheese choice is sort of important. I used pre grated and the crap Parmesan in the green tube because I get too tired after grating all that zucchini to bother with doing the same for cheese. Fresh cheese is always better, but, I'm not super in love with grating so I won't get mad (for this recipe only) if you use the stuff from the store. Here, this time I used Romano and Parmesan and I love what Romano does to it. It's good with the Italian seasoning in the bread crumbs.    

Once the mixture looks like this you're set.

Make the patties about two inches in diameter and a centimeter thick.
Heat the oil over medium high heat. Using olive oil makes this healthy.. and counter acts the cheese or something. Basically it's calorie free and you can eat it on all those diets we're all about to start come January one.

When everything is hot and bothered add the cakes to the oil, and let them cook on each side for about 5-8 minutes

Till they look about like this. On each side of course.

Serve them with ranch. If you like things with a bit of a kick you can sprinkle red pepper flakes over the top, I, however, hate red pepper flakes so I don't do it. But, that doesn't mean I won't encourage you to do so, I'm all about adversity here in my Kitchen. As long as you clean up when you're done.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan is one of my favorite things to eat. And it's really easy to make too. This was by far the best I've ever had, and I think it was the sauce (Ragu... who'd-a thunk?).

So, to make the dish you'll need:
2 eggs, whisked
5 medium sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about a pound and a half)
3/4 cup of bread crumbs (Italian seasoned is good)
1/3 cup (or as much as you need to cover the bottom of a skillet) canola oil
1 1/2 cup pasta (I used bow tie which also was an excellent choice, but you can use whatever as long as it's not whole wheat, I do not condone cooking with whole wheat pasta. Ever. Thank you)
2 cups of spaghetti sauce. I used a Ragu kind that I know had garlic and onions in it, which I think made the dish, you should use whatever kind you love.
Provolone or Parmesan Cheese (technically you can use (6) slices, or ( about a cup) grated cheese)

Preheat your oven to 350°F

Start by making sure all the chicken is about the same thickness through, if you put it in a large plastic bag you can pound the heck out of it without fear of coating your kitchen in a  thin layer of germs and grossness. I haven't got one of those meat pounder things... so I used a rolling pin and beat them into submission. Do whatever you think is best ;)

After they are about uniform thickness dunk them in the eggs, then in the bread crumbs and set aside till they are all done.
Next heat your oil over medium to medium high and cook them on both sides.

Most recipes say you're just browning, but the idea of uncooked chicken scares me, so I think the best thing to do is cook them for about 3 or 4 minutes on each side till nice and brown, and cooked most (or all) of the way through.
Cook your pasta like regular (al dente please, its better) and warm your sauce in a sauce pan.

In a casserole dish put the pasta, then the sauce, then the chicken, then the cheese.  I didn't stir the pasta in the sauce because I thought it would be more delicious if I just let it all figure it out on it's own, and like I said this was the best chicken parm I've ever had.

bake for 15 minutes or till cheese is melted and brownish but not burnt. Serve directly out of the oven, but make sure to blow on it or you'll burn your tongue. Makes 5 servings.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Via facebook the other day I was completely put in my place. As you can see, everyone and their mother knew about chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, except me, and now I look like a boob. I have a cooking blog for someones sake. So, out of the goodness of her heart my dear friend Ellen has offered to not only make them for me but to do a guest post while I recuperate from having my ego crushed.

Lets all give her our undivided attention.

1/2 shortening (a.k.a.- butter!)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 brown sugar (packed)
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup flour
1 cup quick oats (uncooked oatmeal)
1 package of chocolate chips (8 oz.)
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup coconut

Ok, heat your lovely little oven to 350 degrees while you are mixing up your cookie dough. Mix each ingredient in order until smooth. 

On a cookie sheet, place a dollop of dough on the sheet about an inch apart. (You don't need to grease the sheet or put anything on them. These cookies don't stick!!) 12 should fit on each cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. When done, place on a cooling rack. I usually double the batch, and that makes about 4 dozen cookies.

These will be delicious!!! Enjoy them!!