Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best "Dern" Mac & Cheese Ever

Oh my, oh my...this Mac & Cheese is so "dern" yummers!  Get ready to have your mouth fulfilled with cheesy goodness.

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup asiago cheese, grated
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 cups elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
1/4 cup fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs (optional)

Preheat the oven on the broil setting.  Heat a large pot to medium and add the heavy cream.  When the cream begins to bubble around the edges, add the grated asiago and shredded Monterey Jack cheeses, stirring constantly until they are completely melted.  Fold the cooked macaroni into the creamy cheese mixture and combine until thoroughly incorporated.  Add the diced jalapenos and crispy bacon crumbles.

At this point, the cheese mixture should be nicely blended and melted to the point of being stringy.  In fact, when you pull out your mixing spoon, the cheese should have the consistency of glue.  If the mixture appears too dry, add more heavy cream, 2 tablespoons at a time.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Pour the mixture into a large baking dish and distribute evenly.  Top with shredded cheddar (and bread crumbs if desired).
Place the baking dish under the broiler.  Watch it closely.  The casserole is done with the shredded cheese on top begins to bubble and the top layer of macaroni starts to brown around the edges. 

Reata Cookbook

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pizza, Pizza....PPPPIZZA!!!

If you are tired of Pizza Hut, you should definitely try this little number.  Hubby snarled his nose until he tasted some of this goodness!!!  All I said was, "hmmm don't under estimate the chef!"

Balsamic Pine Nut Pizza
Any kind of Pizza Crust
Tomato Sauce
Red Onion
Mozzarella Cheese
Goat Cheese
Pine Nuts
Balsamic Vinaigrette


"A little salt & a little sugar didn't hurt anyone!"

Here is a snack that is out of this world good!  So easy and cheap too.  Enjoy Peeps!

Rolo Pretzels

small pretzels
Rolo candies - one bag has about 55 candies
Pecan halves - or optionally peanuts, cashews, and m&m's
Optional: almond bark or white chocolate for drizzling

This is easy as can be! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place pretzels on a parchment lined baking sheet. Unwrap your Rolo candies and place one on top of each pretzel like a cute little hat.
Place pan in the oven for 3-4 minutes. Any longer is probably too long. You just want the chocolate on the outside to look glossy and melty, but they should still hold their shape.

Remove pan from oven and take a pecan and gently press it right into the center of the chocolate candy.

If you want to get fancy you can give them a little drizzle of almond bark or white chocolate. Just melt some in a plastic baggie and nip the corner off to drizzle. A little goes a long way; I used a half a square of almond bark for half a batch and had plenty left over.
Now definitely do yourself a favor and eat a few of these babies warm off the pan. Mmmm... Wait for the rest to cool and harden before you pack or plate them up. I pop them in the fridge because I stink at the whole patience thing.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The land of the "Islands" part two!

Crisp Salad Greens with Walnuts and Mango Mint Vinaigrette

1 medium ripe fresh mango, peeled, pit removed, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 (1/2) tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
1 (1/2) tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1.  For the Vinaigrette: Place the mango in the work bowl of a food processor, process until smooth.  Strain through a sieve to remove any fibrous matter.  Rinse out the work bowl, then add back the strained mango puree; add the vinegar, honey, salt and cayenne pepper, and pulse to combine.  (This process is AWFUL, if you can find mango puree go for it)

2.  With the motor running, drizzle in the oil until creamy and emulsified; transfer to a small bowl, and stir in the fresh mint.  Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed with vinegar, honey, salt and cayenne.
6 cups chopped romaine lettuce, crisped
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
12 grape or teardrop tomatoes (I left these out)
3/4 cups walnuts

3.  For the Salad:  Place the crisped greens and grated carrot in a salad bowl; toss with just enough dressing to lightly coat, then season to taste with salt and pepper.  Gently toss in the avocado and tomatoes to combine. (I left the tomatoes out, GROSS!)

The land of the "Islands!"

My 1st year anniversary present was a huge success!  My wonderful husband gave me tickets to Milestone Viking Cooking School.  I invited one of my girlfriends to tag along to learn how to make some fabulous dishes!  These two dishes are a little long, I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a lot of spare time on your hands.  Enjoy!
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Skewers
2 whole habanero chiles, seeded
2 bunches of green onions, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 (1/2) teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fine salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 (packed) tablespoons dark brown sugar
1.  For the Jerk Sauce:  Place all of the ingredients in a food processor, and blend until smooth; taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and chiles.
2.  For the Chicken: Lightly pound the chicken breasts to an even 1/4-inch thickness.  Cut each breast lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices, about 5 to 6 strips.
3.  Rub the chicken strips with the sauce, and marinate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
4.  Thirty minutes prior to grilling the chicken place the bamboo skewers in a flat dish, cover with water.

5.  Thread the marinated chicken strips onto the soaked skewers.  Preheat the grill (or a grill pan) to medium-high hear; oil the grill (or grill pan) to prevent sticking.  Season the chicken skewers with salt, then grill until cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
Here is the finished project!  OMG it is so tasty!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Soup, is a Woman's Bestfriend!

Picture problems again, so I only have one picture! Dang it!

Baked Potato Soup

2 Tbs butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C flour
4 1/2 C low-fat or skim milk
1 14oz can chicken broth
4 medium baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds) baked*
2 C grated cheddar (or sharp cheddar) cheese, divided
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 C  light sour cream, divided
1/2 C chopped green onions, divided
8 slices
bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided

*don't have time to bake potatoes in the oven?  Just pierce them with a fork a few times and then pop them in the microwave.  Cook in 5 minute intervals until a knife easily pierces through them.  It usually takes 5-10 minutes.  To bake in the oven, pierce each potato with a fork and place directly on oven rack.  Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes.

Melt butter in a stock pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.  Add flour to pan.  Slowly add milk a little at a time while whisking constantly to eliminate lumps.  Whisk until smooth and then add chicken broth.  Bring soup just to a simmer and heat until thickened, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

Once soup is thickened, turn heat down to medium-low.  Cut potatoes in half length-wise and use a spoon to scoop out potato flesh into the pot.  Use a wooden spoon to smash potatoes, breaking up large clumps.  Add 1 1/2 C grated cheese and salt and pepper and stir until cheese is melted.  Remove pan from heat and stir in 3/4 C sour cream, 1/4 C green onions, and 4 strips of the crumbled bacon.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with each serving with the remaining sour cream, onions, cheese, and bacon.



Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Fall Ya'll

This dessert is sooo yummy!  I am not a big pumpkin fan, but this dessert left my mouth watering for more.  Watch out peeps, this could pack on the pounds and quick!

"Pumpkin Crisp"
1 boxed yellow or white cake mix
1-2 sticks butter
1 16 oz can pumpkin*
2 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t ginger
1/8 t cloves
1/8 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1/3 C chopped pecans
1/2 t additional cinnamon for topping
I apologize about the quality of the pictures.  I have a new camera, and obviously I don't know how to work it.
Preheat oven to 350.

Place 2 C of the cake mix in a bowl. Cut in 3 T chilled butter. Just use your fingers to crumble the butter until it's in small crumbly pieces. Place mixture in a 9x13 baking dish and press flat with your fingers.

Mix pumpkin, eggs, sweetened condensed milk, and spices until smooth. Pour on top of the cake mixture in the pan.
Now take the rest of the dry cake mix and mix in 1/2 t cinnamon. Sprinkle it all over the top of the pumpkin mixture. Use a measuring cup so you have a rough measurement of how much you're putting on.
Next sprinkle on the chopped pecans. You'll have 3 distinct layers now:

For every 1 C of cake mix you sprinkled on top, you'll need 3 T of melted butter. Drizzle it right on top.
That butter is going to combine with the cake mix and make magic in the oven. Pop it in your 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or so. A knife should come out without globs of pumpkin on it and the topping should be nice and golden.

Let me know what you think!  DELISH!