Sunday, December 19, 2010

Quadruple Cheese Macaroni with Smokey Bacon

I personally haven't tried this recipe...
but it sounds so yummy good, I'll be trying it real soon!!

1 pound rotini pasta
1 pound Applewood smoked bacon
4 Tablespoons butter, divided
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon onion flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 ounces shredded mozzarella
8 slices American cheese slices
3 Tablespoon panko breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350o F. Spray a 3-quart baking dish that can also withstand the broiler with cooking spray. Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Cook rotini pasta according to package directions and drain.

Cook bacon until crisp and transfer to a dish with paper towels to absorb the fat. Pour of bacon fat drippings, reserving 2 Tablespoons in the pan. Add 1 Tablespoon butter.

Whisk flour into butter and bacon fat until smooth and cook for one minute to remove flour taste. Whisk in milk. Stir in onion flakes, garlic power, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering about 2 minutes. Toss together cheddar, Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheese. Remove sauce from heat and whisk in the American cheese and about 1-1/2 cups of the cheeses. Toss the bacon with the remaining shredded cheese.

Combine cooked pasta with the cheese sauce. Pour half of it into the baking dish. Sprinkle with a heavy-hand of the bacon-cheese mixture. Repeat with one more layer. Melt 3 Tablespoons butter and combine with 3 Tablespoons panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the top layer.

Bake for 20 minutes and then broil for 3-5 minutes to get the top nice and brown and crunchy.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Easiest Busy-day Soup

I almost felt like a bad mom when I started making this soup because it was so easy that I thought I was doing something wrong. :) I basically made it up as fast as I could from stuff I had around the house that I was trying to use. I thought I would have to add some sort of seasoning, but after having it simmer for 20 minutes, it was delicious! I thought I'd share with you just because it's SO EASY. Everyone in the family loved eating it with some hearty wheat bread and butter. Simple and yummy!

Busy-day Vegetable Onion Soup

1 pkg Lipton onion soup mix
4 cups water
1 can vegetable broth
1 small bunch celery, chopped (I like a lot, but you can do as much as you'd like)
3 large handfuls baby carrots, halved (again, as much as desired)
5-6 red potatoes, quartered (keep the skins on)

Put ingredients in a pot in order listed, and simmer until flavors meld. It really tastes simple and good for as easy as it is. Serve with wheat bread and butter.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Great Harvest Fruit Bars

I'm posting this recipe that Jenny sent me- looks good!

"Fruit Bars that are pretty darn close to the ones at Great Harvest.

I haven't been able to find a recipe online for the Great Harvest fruit bars! So I have combined a couple of recipes and think these come really close. I wanted to post, because I'll bet there are a lot of other people looking for the recipe!"

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 T milk
about 1 1/2 cups fruit- fresh or frozen (at Great Harvest, they seem to put in whatever is in season- peaches, berries, cherries, rhubarb...)

Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Add dry ingredients. Once mixed, stir in the milk. Spread into a 9x13 pan that's been lined with parchment. Then sprinkle on the fruit- all one kind, or a mix. Cook at 350 for 30-35 minutes- the center will be a little spongy, but not soupy. And, if you use frozen fruit, it will take a little longer.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Santa Snack Mix

The little santa hats in this snack mix might be the cutest thing to come out of my kitchen since the dump truck cake. Seriously, when I came across these on the internet, I just knew my Christmas could not be complete until I tried making them! They would make a cute addition to your holiday treats by themselves, if you didn't want to make the rest of the snack mix along with them, (although it's really good!) Such an adorable delicacy deserves to be shared with all the world, so unless you are totally immune to cuteness (Mark) you'll want to make these too! They're a little labor intensive, it's true, but not more than any other candy recipe and there's no thermometer or special, secret boiling point to worry about, so that was a plus for me! Here's the recipe. (and a lot of photos.)

For the hats you will need:

white candy melts
1 tbs. shortening to thin the coating
red candy melts (or add red food color to the white)
Wilton sugar crystals or white sprinkles
mini marshmallows
wax paper

Melt your red candy melts according to directions. Stir in 1 tbs. shortening. Dump your bag of Bugles in a bowl, and choose ones that are open on the bottom so they will stand up to dry. Dip all but the very tips in red coating, tap of excess on side of bowl, and set on a cookie sheet with wax paper on it to dry.

When they are dry, melt the white candymelts. (You will only need a small bowl of these.) Dip the bottom of the hats to form a white brim, dip in the sugar, and set them back on the cookie sheet to set.
Now you are ready for the tops- with your kitchen shears or a clean pair of scissors, cut about 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows into halves. (Cut them through their middles, not across the flat top). Dip the bare tips of the bugles back into the remelted red coating, and poke a half marshmallow onto the hat, holding on for just a second to let it set.

To assemble the rest of the snack mix in a large bowl stir together about

2 cups Rice Chex cereal
2 cups pretzels
1 cup peanuts
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 bag Christmas M&M's

Melt 1 bag white chocolate chips, pour over mixture and stir quickly. Chocolate will harden fast, so get everything coated evenly and pour onto another cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Put it back in the bowl when the chocolate is dry, add 1/2 to 2/3 of a bag of red and green M&M's. Add the santa hats. Almost too cute to eat!

And here is a link back to the original recipe.