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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

There are certain foods that come to mind when you say 'comfort food'.

Cheesy Baked Macaroni and Cheese probably comes to mind, doesn't it?

There's just something about a homemade, super cheesy, crispy topping macaroni and cheese. It screams nostalgia, it evokes love, it makes you feel all warm and cozy when you dig in. I had the pleasure of living in Charleston,SC for nearly six years...and let me tell you, I ate some really good mac n' cheeses in those years. The South definitely has the knack for perfecting certain foods, and comfort foods like mac n' cheese is one of those foods. I feel like this is one of those things that becomes a staple food that as a mom, I just have to know how to make. So naturally, I turned to my mom for the recipe she used when we were growing up.

She brought over a cookbook that was browned on the edges, The Good Housekeeping All-American Cookbook, the classic recipe I remember eating as a kid. Now, the food blogger in me of course made a few minor alterations, making it a bit cheesier If you want an easy, classic tasting baked macaroni and cheese this is for you. The next time it's rainy, or cold and snowy, or you're bit down in the dumps...dig out this recipe and make yourself some feel-good food.

I love this first scoop, breaking the crispy topping and pulling up the scoop of cheesy baked noodles.

-3 cups uncooked elbow noodle pasta
-4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
-5 tablespoons butter
-3/4 cup Panko crumbs
-1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
-1 and 1/2 cups milk
-Paprika for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook the elbow noodles according to package, and spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a small pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter, then pour over the Panko crumbs and stir to coat.

3. In the same pot, over medium heat melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, then stir in the flour, salt, dry mustard, and a few dashes of pepper...stir until everything is blended. Slowly stir in the milk, and cook until smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from heat, then pour in 3 cups of the shredded cheese.

4. Place the cooked and drained elbow noodles in your baking dish. Then, pour the cheese sauce over top. Gently stir together to make sure all noodles are coated, even the noodles on the edges of the dish. Top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese, then the Panko, ad finally sprinkle generously with paprika. Bake for 20 minutes.


Monday, July 15, 2019

Whipped Avocado

Whipped avocado makes a smooth and fresh topping to tacos, burritos, or any Mexican dish. 

We all love guac, don't we?
We pay extra for it. That gorgeous dollop of green sitting on top of a burrito bowl or taco. But what if I told you there's an avocado topping that's just as good as guacamole? I'm not making this up. Whipped avocado is going to be your new must-have avocado condiment. 

Whipped avocado blends together so smooth, so much zest from the lime, and will drape over your chicken burrito rice bowl or ground beef taco so perfectly. Oh an also, it takes like 5 minutes to make. So whip this up (pun intended) and fall in love with your newest avocado creation.

-1 ripe avocado
-1 lime, juiced
-1/4 cup sour cream
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/8 teaspoon pepper

1. Combine the avocado, the juice of an entire lime, and the sour cream, salt and pepper and blend until smooth with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer.


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Balsamic Reduction and Goat Cheese Pizza

 Balsamic Reduction Goat Cheese Pizza is an abundantly flavorful spin on pizza night. A sweet balsamic reduction drizzled over tangy goat cheese and smooth Mozzarella cheese then topped with fresh crisp arugula. Fast and easy to make but this tastes gourmet and complex.

I have to jump right in here and talk about this pizza.

I know, you're used to the whole "blog" thing where I talk about what I've been doing, something that's on my mind, or crack you up with my charming wit. But not today. You're going to want to get right to this to. Just look at that photo below. Do you see those glistening onions drenched in a sweet balsamic reduction? And the pools of tangy goat cheese all melty and ready to be eaten.

This is one of my favorite pizzas to make. It tastes and looks difficult to make but it is absolutely so easy. A few quick preparations and this comes together in less then 30 minutes. I think this would be great to make for a pizza party or get together with friends. Just imagine a spread with this pizza and a few bottles of crisp cold white wine. Trust me, everyone will be asking you for this recipe! And I won't make you wait any longer, here's the recipe. Now go make your shopping list and make this this weekend!

-1 thin crust Pillsbury pizza crust
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-1/2 tablespoon sugar
-1 large white onion, sliced thin
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-2 and 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
-4oz goat cheese (you won't use the whole thing but this was the smallest size I could find.)

1. Heat oven to 425. Lightly spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and unroll the thin crust pizza dough onto the sheet and stretch the dough until it fills the sheet. Bake for 8 minutes.

2. In a small pan, add the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Heat to a boil then reduce to low to simmer, about 7-8 minutes. Whisk occasionally to it doesn't burn. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl.

3. In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat the EVOO and add the sliced onions. Cook until dark browned and lightly crispy. If onions are sticking to the pan, add a drizzle of EVOO and adjust the heat to medium if needed. Cook about 10 minutes, don't over stir. You want the onions to sit on the heat to get browned before stirring them around too much.

4. Top the pre-baked pizza crust with the shredded Mozzarella cheese, making sure to leave an edge for the crust. Next add the onions, then lastly generously crumble goat cheese as much goat cheese as you like over top. I do about half of the 4oz block, so 2oz should be sufficient. But if you like more go ahead and add more! Bake for 10-12 minutes.

5. To garnish drizzle with the balsamic reduction and arugula.


Source: Eat Good 4 Life