Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bacon Mac and Cheese!

I had this sudden urge to make home made mac and cheese. I have never made it before; yes crazy I know.. degree in Culinary and Pastry Arts and I have never made mac and cheese! Anyway.. it just sounded so good and here my family just loves that damn little addictive blue box of mac and cheese. I went on line looking for Cooking Light recipes because well I love Cooking Light and if I am gonna make it I may as well pick a semi healthy recipe to try! I came across a list of 12 mac and cheese recipes from Cooking Light and sponsored by Myrecipes.com; I picked out 3 I wanted to try and Mom picked from there.  It was decided on Bacon Mac! How can we go wrong with bacon and mac and cheese!
First let me tell you how so easy it was to make!!! I was expecting so much more work! It was wonderfully simple to make; even grating the cheese cause well yay for a food processor ;).  My only issue was the green onions.. they were a bit strong and almost.. almost overpowered the awesomeness of the recipe.  Either way it was an amazing recipe and I fully expect to make it again most likely once I am moved and can make it for my future husband ;).

Bacon Mac:
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 12 ounces strozzapreti or penne pasta (I used corkscrew as I was feeling screwy!)
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
  • 2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided (I used an 8 oz block of sharp and long horn cheese)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (I left this out.. mom was being picky)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used 3 because well bacon is awesome)
  • Cooking spray 

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Bring 6 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add pasta; cook 8 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add 1 cup milk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until it cools to 155°. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, onions, hot sauce, pepper, and bacon; stir. Add pasta; toss. Spoon into a 2-quart broiler-safe dish coated with cooking spray; top with 1/2 cup cheese. Broil 7 minutes.

I would definitely follow the directions as is.  I stirred the pasta and cheese sauce together and let it sit a bit while I finished my chops and the 7 minutes under the broiler didn't heat up what had cooled down. So I would next time put directly under the broiler or just mix and put in a heated over for a good 30 min. or so.  I also took the cheese that went on top and mixed it with some bread crumbs so that I could have a little extra crunch.. mmm So damn yummy!!! 

Pan Cakes........

So every now and then I get this craving for pancakes... but I am one lonely person and well I do not want to make a huge batch for just me. Yes I know there is the ability to freeze and heat up later and so on and so forth but.. nope I just don't wanna do that. So I went on a search and came across this little blog Chocolatecoveredkatie.com and there were tons of pancakes just staring at me! I clicked the blueberry picture and looked at the recipe... YAY serves 1!!! Well.. I didn't have any blueberries but I did have strawberries so thought what the heck lets test this out!

I have since made three variations using this wonderfully simple recipe; a recipe that will be my mainstay as a single serving forever! Super glad I came across her blog!  I have made my strawberry pancakes, I have thrown in mini chocolate chips and today I poured the batter over some lefter over bacon! I definitely will not cook the bacon to crisp when planning to reuse it in bacon pancakes ;) but it was damn tasty!

Enjoy this super easy recipe for a single serving of pancakes, again I thank you Chocolatecoveredkatie!

The recipe as was in the blog/site:

Blueberry Pancakes
(Serves 1)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup flour (ww pastry, white, spelt, or even Bob’s gluten-free)
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp sugar or 1 packet stevia (omit if you don’t want sweet pancakes)
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice
  • Unless you like the taste of fat-free pancakes, add 1 tbsp oil and reduce milk by that amount.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, then add wet. Mix, but don’t overmix. Cook on an oiled (or sprayed) pan, on low-medium, flipping each pancake once.

I left my pancakes fat free and Mine did not come out nearly as tall as hers, but They are extremely tasty and I am grateful for having the recipe!  I used a few sliced strawberries in my first batch, a handful of mini chocolate chips in the next batch, and 3 slices of bacon in the 3rd.  I have made them as just basic pancakes as well.. love that I have a basic single serving recipe!!!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Swordfish!

I have never actually grilled or well cooked swordfish ever.  Though I love fish I just do not get to play with it all that often.  Mom brought it home and I thought sweet! I instantly went to the grill! It was a pretty basic night, a simple salt free herb seasoning and the grill. 
I generously seasoned the swordfish steaks and heated my grill to medium high, about 350 degrees.  Having no idea how long to grill them for I started with about 5 minutes per side.  It took closer to 7 with a carry over cooking time of about 10 min.  They were awesome! Super tasty, moist and flaky! I was so happy and can't wait to make them again!
Don't be afraid of the grill or of fish! Well.. firm fish at least!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sunday Ham..


We were not doing much for Easter, in fact we were not even going to cook.  At the last minute though we decided why not get a ham it would be pretty tasty! Well we hit the store and grabbed a spiral sliced ham, some asparagus and a simple tub of the only potato salad I like.. Stater Bros. Deviled Egg Potato Salad.. if I could figure out how to make it I would! BUT.. this post is not about the pre-made potato salad about about the yummy ham I made! We had some stone ground mustard in the fridge and well let me state that I HATE mustard.. except I guess as a glaze ;).. I took some of the Orange Marmalade that I had made and canned last year and mixed it with the mustard, thinned it out with some OJ and yowser!!! So.. without going on and on.. here is my simple but amazing glaze!

Spiral Sliced Ham with Orange Mustard Glaze:

1 c of your favorite orange marmalade (I chose my own of course!)
1/3 c stone ground mustard
about 1/4-1/3 c OJ
about a 9 lb spiral sliced ham

1. Whisk together the marmalade and mustard until well blended.  Slowly add in OJ to thick pouring consistency, I poured until it looked like what I wanted basically.  I slowly poured 1/2 the glaze over the ham, separating the slices slightly so glaze got all over it. We baked it according to package directions.  At the 45 minute mark I poured on the rest of the glaze and we finished baking for about 30-40 minutes. 

This glaze was so good!!! I Think it will be my new standby, I say standby because well I like to try crazy things and rarely make the same thing often ha-ha! But This was good enough that I am pretty sure it will be made and I may even put it on pork loin and grill it! Also in the above picture would be my most awesome asparagus! Simple and oh so good!!

Grilled/Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch Asparagus, snapped at the natural break
Pam cooking spray (or olive oil)
Kosher salt and spicy pepper

Heat oven to 425 (or heat grill if you choose to grill, both ways are awesome)
Line a small sheet pan with foil and lay the asparagus in a single layer.  Coat with Pam cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil (I recently tested the Pam spray and it came out just as good and saves on the fat though with olive oil you get good fats!). Sprinkle with Kosher salt and Spicy pepper to taste.  We like the heat of the spicy pepper!
Roast for about 15-20 min or until tender to liking.  I like the little snap in mine so I keep it at no more than 20 min! If grilling I still place the veggies on the foil and place on the grill, I then make a few holes in the foil so the flames and heat come through more and grill about the same amount of time.
Remove and enjoy!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A New Ragquilt

My Step-Grandma had been out last November and I was showing her the blankets I had made.  She had commented that she would like one.  We went shopping and she picked out all these pretty browns and pinks.  With school and work and the Holiday's it was hard to get it all done quickly. I was able to slowly work on it. Well she was coming up to visit suddenly Easter Weekend so I spent all day Friday and the morning of Saturday to get it done. Oh it is so pretty and I am so proud! She loves it and seeing the finished product reminds me of it's worth going through the process.
It is not hard to make, her blanket took 5 prints at 2 yards each. I used 8 inch squares and that was it. Just a matter of getting the time in to make sure it was all done.  I am taking on one for my Mom's king sized bed next, I have 7 months to get it finished so here is hoping I succeed!!

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

I have been seeing this Banana Pudding Poke Cake all over Pinterest and Facebook and since my family loves Banana Pudding I knew it was going to have to be made.  I looked at several links and felt there were could of things missing and determined that well a a recipe was definitely not necessary. 
Easter Weekend was coming and my family is quite non traditional, since we were going out for lunch on Saturday I could bring the cake for desert!
We like lots of banana's in our pudding and lots of Nilla Wafers so I added an extra layer of them between the pudding and the Cool Whip but I figure anyone that can make a boxed cake mix and whip up some pudding can easily throw this cake together and I am pretty sure that there are many possible variations to this as well!

Banana Pudding Poke Cake: 
1 box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients for it
2 small boxes instant banana pudding, plus ingredients ( I couldn't find the small boxes so I used 2 5.1oz packages which left me a little bit to make a couple individual banana puddings)(I used Skim milk to make the pudding and it came out great.)
1 tub Cool Whip ( I used Fat Free)
1 box Nilla Wafers
banana's to slice

1. Preheat oven based on the directions on the cake mix, Spray a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.  Prepare cake mix as instructed on box.  Bake as directed.  Let cool completely.
2. Once the cake is cool you will use the end of a wooden spoon and poke holes all over the cake. You need many holes so that the pudding will get all through the cake. 
3. Prepare the pudding as directed per box instructions. Mix until just beginning to thicken. It should not be fully set but not runny thin either!
4. Slowly poor the pudding mix all over the cake. I took a rubber spatula and spread it into every corner and then added more. I wanted a nice coating of pudding to cover the cake. Chill the cake in the refrigerator until fully set and the cake has soaked up pudding.
5. Fill a plastic bag with Nilla Wafers and crush. 
6. Take the chilled cake and top the pudding with a layer of banana's, I do a single layer all over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with a light layer of crushed Nilla Wafers.
7. Carefully take the Cool Whip and top the cake. Carefully covering it (at this point I feel I would definitely have added another half a tub of Cool Whip for a thick layer but I didn't have it!). 
8. At this point you can chill the cake over night, which is what I did, then top it with the rest of the crushed Nilla Wafers just before serving. Or serve right away topped with the wafers.

This simple twist on a great comfort dessert is so good! The family is strongly considering replacing our standby with this version! And my Grandpa, whom never knows what he likes anymore sadly, Loved it so that meant so much to me!!





Monday, February 18, 2013

Seriously Good Burger...

You know I don't need to post about this but I am! I just made and enjoyed the most grub burger.. we all know how to make a hamburger! I took two patties, grilled with sliced cheese, bacon and grilled onions. I made it even better and topped it with an over medium egg!! Holy smokes it was amazing! And just for that reason I felt the need to post pictures of it! I am not sure I would do much more to a burger than what I did tonight, it was beyond tasty!! Everyone should try a nice runny egg on a basic bacon cheese burger! My tummy is very grateful right now ;)

Smokin’ Honey Glazed Pork Chops



Mom pulled a recipe out of a paper insert called American Profile.  I had made this a few weeks ago and for some reason keep forgetting to post about it.  I fully admit that my blog has taken a back seat; I am not always in the mood to cook or bake so I don’t do pictures or try new things.  I am hoping that soon that will change and I can get back to awesome blogging.   We enjoy all kinds of meats in our home and pork is definitely on that list. The recipe is Smokin’ Honey Glazed Pork Chops and they were so good! I have come to love honey and I enjoy anything with a smoky or spicy flavor as well.  I took the chance and made them and damn they are good!! Definitely a recipe I will be making again! Easy and quick and so very tasty!!

Smokin’ Honey Glazed Pork Chops:
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. black pepper
1½ Tbsp.  canola oil
4-6 thin pork chops (breakfast chops) (I actually used nice thick boneless chips)
¼ c. honey
1.       Mix spices in medium bowl. Add oil and stir to blend.
2.       Preheat broiler.
3.       Rinse pork chops and pat dry with paper towels.  Place 1 pork chop in bowl and toss until evenly coated with spices.  Set aside.  Repeat with remaining pork chops.
4.       Place pork chops on a broiler pan or wire rack set over a baking sheet, leaving space between.  Broil 2 – 3 minutes.  Turn and cook 2 – 3 minutes.
5.       Brush with honey and cook 1 – 2 minutes or until lightly caramelized.  Flip chops and brush honey on the other side, cook 1 – 2 minutes. 
6.       Remove from oven and let stand 3 – 5 minutes before cutting.
Super tasty!! I served them with homemade mashed potatoes and sautéed Brussels sprouts.  Was definitely a great meal!

Pork Loin and Scalloped Potatoes!



Dinner is served! It has been some time since I was feeling actually ambitious in the kitchen but we had a pork loin out and I have been quite proud of my ability to grill them so I was on a mission! I acquired The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and figured that is where I will find whatever I wanna make.  Not sure why I wanted Scalloped potatoes but I did, kind of craving them.  I have tried some recipes before but they never quite came out as I wanted, took too long to bake or not creamy; something was always off.  I found an interesting one in the book and decided quite quickly that I was going to make them! I then went to grilling and wanted a dry rub and a glaze and I found both.   I will say dinner that night was awesome! My pork loin was so juicy and flavorful! I will not hesitate to make it like this again and the scalloped potatoes were tasty too.  I will do some tweaks but it is definitely my go to recipe!
This book had a page just of Dry Rubs as well as Wet Rubs; plus the page of Glazes that I was looking for.  I have been keeping Pure Maple syrup on hand and we had some stone ground mustard so I was obviously looking to use them.  I chose to do the Three-pepper dry rub with a Maple-Mustard Glaze.  It was so amazing!
Dry Rub: Three-Pepper Dry Rub:
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. white pepper
1½ tsp. coriander
1½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ tsp. cinnamon
Mix together and set aside.
Maple-Mustard Glaze:
2/3 c. whole-grain mustard (I used stone ground)
½ c. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Whisk glaze together and set aside.
**My pork loin was just over 3lbs so I made only half of my glaze. 

The Pork Loin:
1.       Preheat grill.  Rinse and dry pork loin.  Take dry rub and rub it into all parts of your pork loin.  You want it covered and well rubbed down!
2.       Place loin on grill.  At this point I turn my loins every 5-10 minutes.  I have learned that doing this keeps them well balanced in their cooking.  After about 20-30 minutes of cooking, depending on the size, you will begin to glaze.  Glaze and rotate your pork loin every couple of minutes for about another 10 minutes. 
3.       Take your loin off the grill and cover it with foil to rest for 10 min.  Slice and enjoy!



Scalloped Potatoes:
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped finely
1 tbsp. minced fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ¼  tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 ½ lbs. russet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 c. heavy cream (I actually used Skim milk because it is all I had)
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded (1 c.) (I just used our shredded Mexican Blend)
1.       Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425.  Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the potatoes, broth and cream.  Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.
2.       Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch square baking dish.  Gently press the potatoes into an even layer and sprinkle with cheddar over the top.  Bake until the cream is bubbling around the edges and the top is golden brown, 15-20 min.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
I had no problem with the skim milk; I will definitely try it with the cream as I am sure it will be much creamier.  I would next time omit the thyme and use green onions/or chives.  The thyme was a bit strong for us but I did enjoy it. I definitely want to play with the cheeses as well.  Either way it was a great basic recipe that I will use from here on out! 

I definitely LOVE grilling pork loin! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

PB-Oreo-Brownie-Cups?

Yea I really don't know what to call these babies but I can call them Yummy!!!! I wanted to make something for Valentines Day for my girls at work. I was completely set on some kind of cupcake but when I logged onto Facebook there was a picture of this brownie filled with Oreo cookies and Peanut Butter!  There were minimal instructions but I figured heck I can try this! There was no link just a picture that was linked to the Facebook page for Kiser Supply, Inc., so I can at least give them that credit for this very awesome suggestion! The instructions were pretty minimal so I winged it and now I have something to work with and oh the idea's flying through my head for these tasty treats! Definitely gonna try something with some Thin Mints! and I need to figure out a Blondie variation! I will say that it is important to find a good cupcake wrapper, I was told to try a foil one so they do not stick. Mine did have a few issues with the paper sticking but they were worth the fight! I will also pass on to make sure and bake for only 20 minutes! I think every minute after that may bring over baking. But seriously so easy and so damn good! I will also mention how much I love Instagram! I love playing with my phone to create pictures, some day I will pull off some awesome professional like pictures. Until then I am stuck with what I got ;).  I also went simple and did creamy peanut butter and basic brownie mix.. this is definitely gonna change ;)


 PB-Oreo-Brownie-Cups:

1 package Oreo cookies ( I actually went generic ;) )
Favorite creamy Peanut Butter
Favorite Brownie Mix

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Line 1 12 cup muffin tin as well as 6 of another pan with foil cupcake liners.
3. Take 1 Oreo top with PB and another Oreo and more PB.  See Picture.  Place the stack in the middle of each cupcake liner. (I did this all before making the batter).
4. Mix brownie batter according to package directions.  Using a medium scoop top each Oreo stack with a scoop of brownie batter. I tried to make sure they were fully covered but not so full that they would make a mess.
5. Place pans in a 350 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes. NO MORE! over baking can affect the texture and make the cookie bottoms very hard!
6. Cool and enjoy.. SO GOOD! 
So many possibilities.. I can't wait to try more!