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Archive for October, 2010

Homemade macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods.  Its is rich and cheesy and delicious.  It does take some time to prepare, but the preparation is relatively simple and well worth the time.  Served with a green salad or other vegetable it makes a complete meal.

Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded colby-jack or mozzarella cheese
  • Paprika (optional)

Cook macaroni according to package directions (be sure to add salt to water).  Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan or dutch oven over low heat: add flour, stirring until smooth.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Gradually add milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.  This can take about 10 minutes.  Stir in salt and cheeses, stirring until cheese melts.

Stir cooked macaroni into sauce and pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.  Bake uncovered at 350° for 25 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe can be halved and baked in a 2-quart or 11 x 7-inch baking dish.

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This quick salad is a great side dish for chicken or is great all by itself.  It’s fresh, light and satisfying.  Be sure to eat it the day its made or the next day because the yogurt separates and looks a tad unappealing. 

Cucumbers with Yogurt and Mint

  • 2/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups sliced peeled cucumber (about 3 medium)

Combine yogurt, mint, salt, cumin and pepper in a large bowl.  Add cucumber to yogurt mixture, and toss gently to coat.  Cover and chill one hour.  Makes about four one cup servings.

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I found this chicken recipe on epicurious a few months ago and just got around to trying it last week.  It’s fairly simple, the chicken has to marinate for at least 4 hours or preferably longer, and the mashed potatoes are very easy.  If someone in your house is lactose intolerant, like my husband, try using chicken broth in place of the milk in the potatoes.   

 Fragrant Orange Chicken

1 chicken cut up  (I can always find this at the grocery, sometimes it’s called “pick of the chick”)
Zest and juice of 3 oranges
1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons cilantro

Place the chicken in a large bowl.  Combine remaining ingredients and coat chicken. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours.  Remove chicken 30 minutes before cooking.  Preheat oven to 375°F.  Arrange chicken in a shallow roasting pan.  Pour 2/3 cup of the marinade into the pan.  Bake chicken for 1 hour.
Transfer to a platter. Serve with Scallion Mashed Potatoes.

Serves 4 – 6

 Scallion Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds russet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces on the diagonal (reserve 1/4 cup for garnish)

Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks.  Place in a large saucepan with water to cover.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, and simmer until very tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain well, then mash with the butter and milk.
Season with salt and pepper. Stir in scallions. Serve immediately.  Serves 4.

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My kids recently had a play date with some fellow preschoolers, so I took the opportunity to test a whole wheat version of chocolate chip cookies on them.  Of the 4 preschoolers and the third grade older sibling all but one asked for more, the other when begged.  So I don’ t think they noticed the whole wheat difference, and if they did they didn’t mind.  Now I understand that they still have butter and sugar and a lot of chocolate, but at least the whole wheat makes them slightly more healthy.  The recipe is from the back of the bag of Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour.  More of their recipes can be found at www.goldmedalwholewheat.com.

I prefer making bars over cookies because I think it is much easier.  There is one dish instead of multiple cookie sheets to wash and I always end up over baking at least one sheet of cookies when I forget to set the timer or some other distraction arises.  Bars also seem to stay moist longer.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag (12 ounce) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)

Heat oven to 350°F.  In large bowl beat sugars, butter, vanilla, and egg until well blended.  Using mixer, stir in flour, baking soda, and salt (dough will be stiff).  Stir in chocolate chips.

Press dough evenly into a lightly greased (I use the paper from one stick of butter) 9×13 pan.

Bake about 30 minutes on center rack of oven.  The cookie bars will be naturally darker because the dough starts off brown.  Be careful not to over bake. 

Makes about 40 1” bars.

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