Monday, November 28, 2011

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

 Macaroni and cheese is one of my FAVORITE foods of all time! I think I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A friend of mine gave me this awesome and super easy mac and cheese recipe that everyone is always crazy over. 

I had my sister over for dinner last week she asked me to make it for her. Try it out...I promise you will love it too :)

What you will need:

  • 1 lb cooked pasta
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 2+ cups of cheddar cheese (I mixed a white and orange cheddar!)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Panko breadcrumbs coated in melted butter
    • Crushed Ritz crackers would also be a yummy topping for this!

Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.

Cook the pasta in salted water until it is a little under al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water (in case you need to thin out the cheese sauce later). Put a little olive oil or butter on the pasta so it doesn't stick together.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan.

Whisk in 3 tablespoons of flour and allow to cook for 1 minute until a light roux forms (it will be bubbly and a light brown color).

Add the milk and heavy cream and whisk over a medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken.

Turn off the heat and add the cheddar cheese one handful at a time. Taste it to see if you need to add more cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Once all the cheese is melted add the cooked pasta. Add a little pasta water if the cheese sauce is too thick. Put the pasta/cheese mixture in a baking dish.

Top with the Panko breadcrumbs melted in butter.

Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes of until it is bubbly and the breadcrumbs have browned (cover with foil and continue to heat of the breadcrumbs start to burn).

**if you want to do individual servings just use small oven safe bowls and top each one with the Panko breadcrumb/butter mixture**

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful day with family, friends, and LOTS of food :)

I had to share these adorable cookies that my friend Jen made...she even won the cookie competition at the school she works at with these bad boys! Way to go Jen!!!!

What you will need:

- Oreo cookies

- Candy corn

- Mini Reese peanut butter cups

- Vanilla frosting

- Whoppers

- Orange decorating icing

- Black decorating gel

**Jen's tip: Put reeses in the fridge before you start. You have to cut them and it makes it easier if they are cold**

Take 1 Oreo and gently pry it open. Put a dollop of frosting at the top. Stick candy corn "feathers" into the frosting. 

On a second Oreo put another dollop of frosting right on top and place the "feathered" Oreo in it standing upright.  

Cut a round edge off one side of a Reeses so it can sit flat on the Oreo. Use frosting to glue Reeses against the Oreo base. 

Use frosting to stick a whopper against the feathered Oreo to use as a head. Cut the tip off a candy corn and stick it on as a nose using frosting. 

Put some frosting into a plastic sandwich bag and cut the edge off to make a piping bag. Pipe white icing onto the whopper for eyes. Put a dot of black gel onto the white for pupils. Use orange frosting as feet.

Thanks again Jen for sharing your super cute cookie idea :) 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baked Mashed Potatoes

I only make this mashed potato recipe at Thanksgiving because I'm not gonna lie, it's not good for you :) I tried to lighten it up with reduced fat ingredients but sometimes it's worth splurging on the good stuff!

What you will need:

- 8 to 10 potatoes
- 1 onion, peeled but keep it whole
- 2/3 of a bar of light cream cheese
- 1/2 of a container of reduced fat sour cream
- Salt and pepper to taste

Start with 8 to 10 potatoes

Peel them...

...and dice them into smaller pieces. Try to keep them around the same size because this will ensure they cook evenly and faster.

Cover the potatoes with cold water (another trick that will ensure they cook evenly!)
There is on step I forgot here but I usually peel an onion and boil it with the potatoes...whoops!

Once cooked, drain and add to a mixing bowl with butter sour cream, cream cheese and pepper to taste.
(Normally the onion would be in here too)

Mash until you get the consistency you want

Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle Paprika on top. Add a few slices of cold butter - Another step I forgot to take a picture of. I guess I wasn't on my game that day but you can picture what it will look like!

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes at 350 F

Done and done! How easy was that?

Skillet Cornbread

I got this cornbread recipe from my aunt and everyone always loves it! The sauteed onions give it a different flavor than other cornbread recipes. I use fat free milk and reduced fat sour cream to cut out some of the fat and calories.

If you don't have a cast iron skillet just use a 8" x 8" baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

What you will need:
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 12 ounces of corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of creamed corn
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (plus more for topping)

Preheat the oven to 425 F

Sautee the diced onion in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil until the onion is translucent. Remove from the heat and let cool. Reserve a little bit of the onions for the topping.

Mix together corn muffin mix, egg, milk, creamed corn, sour cream, salt and 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Season with pepper to taste. Add the sauteed onion (minus the reserved onion for topping). Pour the mixture into a cast iron skillet.

    ** I ended up making a 2nd batch of the mix and pouring it on top to have a thicker corn bread

Top the mixture with extra cheddar cheese and the rest of the sauteed onions

Bake at 425 F for 30 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

4th Annual Girls Thanksgiving - The Food!!

Finally I got my act together and got some pictures uploaded of the delicious food we had during our Girls Thanksgiving! We each make the same dishes every year and I must say I have some very talented friends who can really cook!!
My dishes are the skillet cornbread and mashed potatoes (I will post these recipes separately).

The Spread!
My old roommate Tamar and her
lovely Cesar salad
Let's take a closer look...

Sara prepping her veggie platter


Spinach and Artichoke dip

Just sitting by the Yule Log <3

Jaime making hard was SOOO good!

Turkey cooking away...Yes, it's wrapped in BACON!

The finished product - the bacon makes it so you don't
have to baste the turkey throughout cooking and the meat
comes out just perfect!

All the sides heating in the oven

Some of the ladies around the table
Peanut butter pie with a pretzel crust
Pumpkin whoopie pies
(I could have eaten
100 of these)


I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this week and I look forward to seeing some of your favorite recipes!! <3 Emily

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

4th Annual Girls Thanksgiving - Table settings

I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I like to celebrate it throughout the month of November - just wait till I post pictures from our work outing we call "Turkeyesta". We take it seriously as you can see in the picture below :)

My friends and I have gotten together the past 4 years to have an early Thanksgiving celebration at my house. We each make a different dish, drink wine and play games. It's a really fun day and something we look forward to every holiday season!

Each year one of us takes turns making the place settings and this year it was my turn. I had a lot of mason jars laying around so I figured they would be a cute item to use and we could have drinks in them (wait till you see the delicious hard cider that my friend Jaime made...soooo yummy!!!)

For the name tags I cut leaves out of orange and yellow construction paper, drew the lines on with permanent marker, outlined the leaves with a gold glitter pen and then wrote everyone's name on with glitter glue. After the day is over everyone can take home their own glass as a cute little reminder of our fun day!

Here's a picture of the set table before everyone arrived. More pictures of the food we made are to come! There was so much of it it's taking me a while to get everything organized :)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Asian Turkey Meatballs

I was reading one of my favorite blogs, The Girl Who Ate Everything, and I found this recipe for Asian Turkey Meatballs with a Lime Dipping Sauce. I thought they would be a really great meal to make for our Tuesday girls night and I was right...They were a huge hit! I served them on top of brown rice and sauteed some green beans. 

Makes 12 meatballs; Serving size 3 meatballs (229.1 calories)

1/4 cup Panko crumbs (I didn't have Panko so I just used regular breadcrumbs)
1-1/4 lbs (20 ounces) 93% lean ground turkey
1 egg
1 tablespoon ginger, minced  (I bought minced ginger from the grocery store)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Lime Dipping Sauce 
4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
1 chopped fresh scallion

Preheat oven to 500°F.

Mix ground turkey, panko, egg, salt, scallions, ginger, cilantro, 1 tbsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp oil and mix with your hands until combined well. Shape 1/4 cup meat mixture into a ball and transfer to a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining mixture. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

For the dipping sauce mix together lime juice, water, soy sauce, and remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in a bowl. Add scallions.

Transfer meatballs to a serving dish. Stir sauce, then drizzle meatballs with 1 tablespoon sauce. Serve meatballs with remaining sauce.

For my green beans I just sauteed them in a pan with olive oil, minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Once the beans were cooked but still slightly crunchy I added lemon juice and toasted slivered almonds.

Last, we washed it all down with some delicous Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon. I never used to drink red wine before I tried this kind!