Ultimate Mac-n-Cheese

Ultimate Mac-n-Cheese

Ultimate Mac-n-Cheese

My husband, Cody loves Mac-n-Cheese, he would probably eat it everyday if he could. I normally only make it for special occasions, but Cody wanted it for dinner and what Cody wants, Cody gets. So here is my ultimate Mac-n-Cheese recipe. Beware, its so delicious people will fight over the last serving.

Ultimate Mac-n-Cheese

1 box (14-16oz) of your choice of noodles (I used rotini)

1 stick of butter

1/2 cup of flour

3 cups of milk

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of fresh cracked pepper

1/2 tsp ground mustard

4 cups of fresh grated cheddar cheese

1 pound of bacon, cooked and crumbled

2 whole chicken breast sliced really thin

1 1/2 cups of buffalo sauce

Cook the bacon and reserve the grease in the pan. While the grease is still hot toss in the chicken and toss it around until its fully cooked. Use tongs to take the chicken out of the grease. Put the chicken in a large bowl and toss it with the buffalo sauce and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400. Cook and drain the pasta until al dente and set aside.

In a large pot melt the butter and whisk in the flour, salt, pepper and ground mustard. Whisk until there are no lumps. Pour in the milk and cream and bring to a boil. Keep stirring and Let it boil for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to med-low, keep stirring and cook 8-10 minutes. Add the cheese 1 cup at a time and stir until its all melted. Turn the heat off and add in the pasta and toss it until all the pasta is covered in the cheese mixture. Stir in the chicken.

Butter a large baking dish and pour the Mac-n-Cheese in and top with a drizzle of buffalo sauce. Cover it with the bacon crumbles and bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

mmmmmm

mmmmmm

This can be made and stored in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to cook it. Its delicious! Happy Cooking!

Jumpin Jambalaya

Jumpin Jambalaya

Jumpin Jambalaya

Yesterday was a stormy grey day and we had a ton of errands to run. Jake and I headed out to get his Chinese money exchanged to dollars and buy the things he needed to settle back into living in the US. We got caught in a couple of major downpours and came home soaking wet and freezing cold. After changing into dry clothes Jake needed a nap to help combat jet lag and I started making dinner.

Jambalaya is one of my favorite foods and this recipe is pretty simple. Its perfect with some french bread and a salad with ranch dressing and a sprinkle of cajun seasonings.

Jumpin Jambalaya

2 pounds of shrimp, cooked, peeled, deveined and tail removed ( the  seafood counter at my grocery store has them, but they also have them frozen, either one works)

1 pound of smoked sausage chopped into bite size pieces. I like Zumos brand, but you can use any kielbasa or smoked link your grocery store has to offer.

1 large onion chopped

1 big poblano pepper deseeded and chopped

4 stalks of celery chopped

3 cups of okra chopped

3-4 roma tomatoes chopped

3 Tbs tomato paste

2 cups of uncooked rice ( I used brown rice)

4 cups of chicken broth

2 tsp cajun seasonings

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (use 1 tsp if you want it more spicy)

2 tsp paprika

2 Tbs hot sauce (I like Louisiana brand)

Cover the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven with olive oil and add the onion, poblano, celery and okra. Turn heat to med-high and stir to coat the oil on the vegetables. Cook until they are tender, but not brown. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and the sausage, then add the rice and broth. Cover and turn heat down to med-low. Let it simmer for about 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Add in the shrimp, hot sauce and all the seasonings, stir to combine. Once it is heated all the way throughout serve with toasted french bread and a salad. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!

Prideful Pot Roast

Prideful Pot Roast

Prideful Pot Roast

I cannot believe I have gone so long without doing a blog post. I got sick, got busy, went out of town and life has just been a whirlwind. Things have finally settled down a bit, so I am back at it.

Last night my super cool cousin, Jake flew in from China. He spent two and a half years there teaching English and studying Mandarin. He is staying with us for two months while he settles in and finds a job, car, apartment etc. I love having him here and I know its going to be a fun two months.

Last weekend Cody and I went to Lubbock to go to Texas Tech’s homecoming football game. Cody graduated from Tech so it really was like going home for him. We had a wonderful trip and it was nice to have some one on one time with each other.

The night before we left I made a pot roast and invited my siblings over for dinner and instructions on how to care for our high-maintenance dogs. My brother, Justice absolutely LOVES my cooking, he loves food in general like I do and he really appreciates quality food. I love having him over, because he is the most like me of all my siblings and who can resist another foodie?

My pot roast can be made in a slow cooker or in a dutch oven and baked, whichever you prefer. I used a slow cooker this time because I was running around busy all day and slow cookers are ideal for busy days. Warning, this recipe may not produce leftovers….its that good!

Prideful Pot Roast

1 boneless chuck roast or beef shoulder (mine was 5 pounds)

3 russet potatoes diced into 1 inch cubes

1 big onion sliced

4 large carrots chopped into 2 inch segments

3 cups of dry red wine or if you do not want to use wine, use 3 cups of strong brewed unflavored coffee

3 cups of beef broth

1tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 tsp garlic powder

Arrange all the ingredients into your slow cooker and cover it with the liquid. Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours. When its done, ladle off some of the broth and put it in a small saucepan. Whisk in flour 1 Tbs at a time until desired thickness. Serve with yummy fresh baked rolls and tossed salad.

These rolls are surprisingly simple and really impressive. Everyone had at least two with dinner.

Petite Brioche

Petite Brioche

Petite Brioche

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup of butter

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup of sugar

2 packages of yeast

1/4 cup of hot water

4 eggs beaten

zest of 1 lemon

5 cups of sifted all-purpose flour

in a medium saucepan scald the milk and stir in the butter and salt. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large mixing bowl mix the hot water with the sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top. Once the yeast is foamy add the eggs, lemon zest and the milk mixture. Add the flour one cups at a time and combine between each addition. Knead the dough lightly until it is smooth. Spray a large mixing bowl with nonstick spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rise for about 2 hours. Once the dough has doubled in size punch it down and turn it out on a well floured surface and knead lightly. Spray 2 muffin tins with nonstick spray and set aside. Pinch off sections of dough and roll into balls. Place the balls of dough in the muffin tins and let rise again until they have doubled in size. Brush with melted butter and Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool on a rack, serve with butter. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!

Dinner Time

Dinner Time

Not your average spaghetti

Spicy marinara and spaghetti

Spicy marinara and spaghetti

I have been sick lately, so dinner has been kinda lame. The last thing I have been wanting to do is smell cooking food while my stomach has been churning. Last night I was feeling a bit better and I was in the mood for some comfort food. Growing up, my mom would make two giant pots of spaghetti sauce and we would eat that for dinner for up to a week. I did not get my love of cooking from my mother, but she did teach me how to make some pretty amazing spaghetti. I have adapted her recipe a bit and made it more my style, its spicy and and hearty.

Spaghetti

1 pound of organic ground sirloin

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 Tbs of olive oil

1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 28 ounce can of pureed tomatoes

1/2 cup whiskey

1 small handful of fresh oregano, chopped

1 Tbs italian seasonings

1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

2 Tbs garlic powder

1 box of your favorite pasta

shaved parmesan cheese to top

In a large pot combine the onions and olive oil, toss to evenly coat them all. Turn the heat to medium high and add the ground sirloin. Keep stirring it around to make sure all the meat is cooked through. Once the meat is done, add the whiskey and let it cook for about 3 min. Add in the tomatoes and seasonings and turn the heat down and let it simmer.

In another large pot bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. The water should taste like the ocean, thats how you know it is salted correctly. Add the pasta and cook until its al-dente.

Serve with shaved parmesan cheese, garlic bread and ceasar salad. Enjoy!

Happy cooking!

Not Breakfast Waffles

Chicken and Waffles

We moved into our house in April and the stuff we do not use on a daily basis I put in our awesome walk in attic space. I was trying to find something in the attic last week and I found our big Belgian waffle maker in the process, and I knew I needed to make some waffles. We are really not big breakfast eaters. I normally have some fresh juice or some greek yogurt and Cody skips breakfast all together, so our waffle iron goes unused for months at a time. While I was planning my weekly menu I remembered my waffle maker and decided I need to make a delicious savory waffle.

I have heard of Chicken and Waffles before, but I have never eaten it, so I thought I would make something like that. Cody likes the dark meat of the chicken so I bought some boneless/skinless thighs and he was pretty impressed. This recipe is really easy, even though it has a few steps to it. You can always take a short cut and use a waffle mix and just add the seasonings in the recipe.

Savory Chicken And Waffles

For the Waffles

2 cups All Purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1tsp salt

4 large eggs, separated

1 Tbs Garlic Powder

1 Tbs Italian Seasonings

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

4 Tbs butter, melted

2 cups milk

1 cup of shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)

non-stick cooking spray

Preheat your waffle Iron. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk the egg yolks with the italian seasoning, pepper and garlic powder, add the melted butter and milk and whisk to combine, add the cheese and stir. Mix the egg mixture with the flour mixture and stir to combine. With an electric mixture beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, gently fold the egg whites into the  batter and stir gently. Spray your waffle iron well and pour batter into iron and cook according to your waffle irons instructions.

For the Chicken:

6 boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast, whichever you prefer

salt and pepper

olive oil

Cover the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and heat it over med-med high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Once the oil is hot put the chicken in the pan and cook only turning once. The outside will get a nice golden brown color.

For the Gravy:

3 Tbs of flour

2 cups of milk

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp crack black pepper

In the same pan the chicken was cooked in with the same oil whisk in the flour over medium heat and create a roux. If it is all crumbly add a bit more oil, stir until it starts to smell like pancakes and is getting a bit bubbly. Maybe 3-4 min. Whisk in the milk and keep whisking. Turn the heat to medium low and add the salt and pepper. Keep stirring until desired thickness is reached, the longer it cooks the thicker it gets. If it is not thickening you can whisk in some more flour a little at a time.

To serve

Top the Waffles with the Chicken and pour gravy on top. Serve with some green beans and fresh fruit salad. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!

Guy Food

Aunt Sue's Pizza Crust

Aunt Sue’s Pizza Crust

Football season has finally arrived and from Texas Tech games on Saturday to Monday Night Football our meals are football friendlily. Pizza goes with watching football, and its one of Cody’s favorite meals. Whenever we order pizza I am amazed at how expensive it can be. Its at least $40.00 for the three of us and thats not including any extra dipping sauces or a side of hot wings.

I have an amazing Aunt Sue who is one of my major role models and she is a magnificent cook. She gave me a wonderful pizza crust recipe and taught me how to make the dough many years ago and its the best. This dough is fool proof, and super easy.

Aunt Sue’s Pizza Crust

1 package of yeast

1 cup of warm water (120 degrees)

1 tsp sugar

2 Tbs oil

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups flour

in a mixing bowl mix the sugar with the warm water and then sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow the yeast to “grow” for about 5 minutes, when they get all foamy looking they are ready. If your yeast has been in the refrigerator it might take a little longer. Add in the rest of the ingredients and beat it vigorously, you can even mix it in with your hands.

Cover the bowl with some plastic wrap and get all your pizza toppings out, grate some mozzarella cheese, and preheat your oven to 425.

Dust your pizza stone or baking pan with cornmeal and pat out your pizza crust. Cover with your favorite pizza sauce (I like to use leftover spicy marinara), layer on your toppings, your favorite cheeses and sprinkle some italian seasoning on top. Bake for 15-20 min or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled…I made 4 batches last night. Divide it up and freeze some for next time or make some cheesy garlic bread. Last night I braided three “snakes” of dough together and stuffed spices, cheese, melted butter and garlic between the braids and we had delicious pizza, cheesy bread and enjoyed some Monday Night Football. Enjoy!

Thank you Aunt Sue for this wonderful recipe, I want to be like you when I grow up.

Happy Cooking

Steak and Onions

Tasty Steak Sandwich

Tasty Steak Sandwich

Cody’s mom and step-dad came into town for a nice long weekend visit and after spending the entire day cleaning house I needed something quick for dinner. I had 3 bone in ribeye steaks in the freezer so the night before last I set them in the fridge to thaw. Before I started my cleaning frenzy I needed to get the steaks marinating so they would be nice and delicious for steak sandwiches for dinner. I had hired maids to come clean my house because I had a million other things to do, but of course the had to cancel so I was stuck cleaning the house, running errands, going to an appointment and getting everything ready. Oh and taking care of a puppy who still has not mastered the art of potty training. After my busy day I still ended up with about 15 minutes of downtime to relax and enjoy my clean house before everyone arrived. Dinner was a huge hit, my father in law kept complimenting it and Rasmus our exchange student even went back for seconds.

Tasty Steak Sandwiches

3 ribeye steaks (about 2.5 pounds) sliced thin and most of the fat removed

3 Tbs Grub Rub (or your favorite meat tenderizing seasoning)

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbs season salt

1Tbs olive oil

1 big red onion sliced

6 Ciabatta rolls

6 slices of Horseradish cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese)

In a gallon size freezer bag put the steak, seasoning, salt and the Worcestershire sauce in an shake it all around and put in the fridge for at least 3 hours (you could even do it the night before).

Get a large cast iron skillet or a nonstick skillet and put the olive oil in the bottom and toss in the onions over medium high heat. Once the onions start cooking and smelling delicious add the steak mixture and toss it around to get all the flavor on the onions. Slice the Ciabatta in half and toast in the oven at 400 until desired toasting is reached.

Pile the cooked steak and onions on the Ciabatta rolls and top with the cheese. Serve with fresh fruit and french fries. Enjoy

Happy Cooking!