“Easy Peasy Mac and Cheesy”


The title was my husband’s idea and my homage to Rachel Ray.  I love her.  She is so much fun to watch simply because she loves what she does.  Rachel Ray is actually the first television chef that I followed regularly.  “30 Minute Meals” is the best show, but I digress. 

If you haven’t already guessed it, today I will share with you a mac and cheese recipe that I tried making last weekend.  We had a nice ham dinner last Sunday and I wanted to make mac and cheese from scratch.  I LOVE most macaroni and cheese.  Not all are created equal, however.  Kraft “blue box” mac and cheese is good.  I also like Wal-Mart’s no-name brand; the Kraft knock off.  The Velveeta shells and cheese I don’t care for on its own.  I will actually doctor it up as a semi-homemade side by adding shredded cheese and bread crumbs.  I will also use it in a throw together meal that I make by adding Rotel, grilled chicken, corn, and black beans. That meal I will share with you at another time.

To me, homemade macaroni and cheese is one of those super ultimate comfort foods.  It reminds me of being a kid when mom would come to tuck you in all snug in your blanket at bedtime.  You feel safe.  There are some of you who will read this and will no doubt get that “one eyebrow raised” look.  You know the one.  The look that says, she is crazy.  To you this is just macaroni and cheese.  Then there are those who will totally get it and know exactly what I am talking about.  Either way, neither can deny that macaroni and cheese is dang good.

And just like the title suggests, this recipe is easy.  I found it at my favorite website, Allrecipes.com.  It is actually a recipe that was posted by Nestle Carnation.  This is not diet friendly.  For those of you concerned with carbs and calories, I am sure you can easily adapt this recipe to your preference.  The only thing I did differently with this recipe is that I mixed breadcrumbs into the cheese that you reserve to sprinkle on the top.  That is the way my mom and memom made theirs.  That is totally optional and doesn’t change the outcome of the dish.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!

 Traditional Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups dry, small elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can NESTLE® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

 Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 2-quart casserole dish.
  2. Combine cornstarch, salt, mustard and pepper in medium saucepan. Stir in evaporated milk, water, and butter. Cook over medium-heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted. Add macaroni; mix well. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and light brown.

Food Fact Fridays!


Garlic Bulbs

Image via Wikipedia

Garlic

 I love garlic.  Anything I can put garlic into and get away with, I will.  My husband will tell you that in the early months of our marriage he worried that garlic would show up in the pancakes or cookies.   Unless I am baking, if it calls for salt, I reach for garlic salt.  Two things I am never without; minced garlic in my fridge and garlic salt and powder in my spice cabinet.

 An interesting bit of information I found is that China is the leading producer  of garlic.  The U.S. is number 5 on the top 10 list.  For those who are curious, Italy was not on that list.  Here’s a bit of trivia: garlic is grown in 49 of the 50 states.  Alaska is the only state that does not grow garlic.  The self-proclaimed “garlic capital” of the world is Gilroy, California where much of the garlic in the states is grown.

Garlic, kin to the onion, is pretty easy to grow, is very hardy, and is rarely attacked by pests and disease.  For those of you who have a “green thumb” and grow your own vegetable gardens might consider planting garlic to protect your veggies.  No. Not from vampires; from rabbits and moles. That’s good news for those who choose to stay organic and not use pesticides.

There are a lot of claims stating that garlic is very beneficial to the body.  Supposedly it helps with lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, preventing cancer in the stomach; however, none of these claims were supported with clinical studies.  In fact, some lab tests have proven that there was no evidence found to support the claim that consuming garlic or garlic supplements regularly will drop cholesterol.  Just remember, you should always consult your physician before making adjustments to your diet or medication.

Garlic, while it might not be beneficial to your health, per say, it is beneficial to your tummy! Okay, well, maybe my tummy.

 Hope you are having a great week and please, have a wonderful weekend!

Sources:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garlic

Wasting away again in Margaritaville…


It wasn’t until I moved to Texas that I really acknowledged Cinco de Mayo.  And although I don’t have full knowledge of the reason behind the holiday,  I do know  it is a holiday celebrated in the U.S. and not Mexico.  It certainly doesn’t take much of an excuse to celebrate a holiday and whether it’s at home or in the local Mexican restaurant, you can always find a fiesta on this day.

 A few years back, in the office I worked in before, myself and the other front desk clerk, Gracie, were the unofficial party planners of the building.  She enjoys cooking as much as I do.  In fact, if you remember, she is the one who gave me the recipe for the hot sauce I posted about before.  Anyway, a few years back we planned a Cinco de Mayo potluck.  Because no Cinco de Mayo party is complete without margaritas, we began searching for margarita recipes sans tequila.

 The recipe I am going to share is the one we decided to try.  Even if you are not a margarita fan, but love the lemon-lime combination, you will love this.  It was a HUGE hit at the party.  In my new office, I shared this at a bridal shower we had last summer.  Again, it was the talk of the party.  In both occasions there were multiple requests for a copy of the recipe.

 I suggest doubling the recipe.

“Frozen Mock Margaritas

 Things you will need:

  • Blender
  • 4 Liter container (Be sure it has a lid. I save the ice cream containers that are the plastic buckets with a handle, works great)
  • Punch Bowl (For the day you will serve)

 Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of ice (divided)
  • 1 Cup Confectioners’ sugar (divided)
  • 1 Frozen Limeade concentrate, slightly thawed (divided)
  • 1 Frozen Lemonade concentrate, slightly thawed (divided)
  • 1 Liter of Club Soda (Keep chilled in fridge until ready to serve)
  • Lime wedges
  • Coarse salt or sugar

 Directions:

The night before or the morning of the party/gathering:

  • Place 3 cups of ice, ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, ½ each of the limeade and lemonade.
  • Use the “ice crush” setting or whatever setting is comparable on your blender and mix until smooth.
  • Pour into storage container.
  • Repeat with the remaining half of the ingredients just used in steps above.
  • Place container in **freezer until ready to serve.  (if you wanted to add tequila, this would be the time to stir-in one cup)

**Please note, the mixture will become firm and will not freeze solid.

 For the party/gathering:

  • Remove the container from freezer 30 minutes before serving.
  • Rub rim of glasses with lime.  Place salt or sugar in a saucer and dip the glass rim into salt or sugar.
  • Transfer lemon/lime mixture to punch bowl.
  • Stir in club soda until it becomes slushy.
  • Pour into prepared glasses or allow your guests to serve their selves.

 What is so nice about this recipe is that you can make a batch to keep in your freezer and scoop out enough into a glass and add club soda for a single serving.   It’s great to have on hand to enjoy on a hot summer day or when unexpected company arrives.

 Gracias por parar cerca. ¡Tenga una gran semana!

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