Oct 092012
 

Conversations With C

Last Saturday it was raining and I needed to run errands, so everybody hopped in the car and helped out. Ace Hardware for fertilizer [it's time to winterize, weed, and fungicide friends], Kohl’s for C’s bath mats, Sonic for Cherry Limeades and cheese sticks,  exploring model homes in a new master planned community [design ideas, y'all], Michael’s for Halloween/fall crafts and FINALLY Best Buy to purchase the Lion King on Blu-ray.

[After returning home]

C: I have so many things to do tonight, four things.

A: Oh yea? You’re a busy lady. What are you going to do?

C: I have to make my house and then eat dinner, make cake balls and the we’re going to watch the Lion King.

A: Wow! What’s for dinner? [We both already knew it was going to be my yummy mac and cheese because my recipe was sitting on the counter Friday after school.]

[Making Dinner]

C: I love Mac and Cheese.

A: I know you do, that’s why I make it all the time.

C: I think everybody should be given your recipe for mac and cheese when they are born… like, along with their birth certificate. It is delicious and everybody should have the recipe because it makes them feel good.

 A: Thanks babe!

Here’s the recipe [I am not sure where I got it from about a year ago, so if it is yours, let me know!]

“C Approved” Mac and Cheese [Serves 8-12]

Bread Crumb Topping:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and pepper

Pasta and Cheese Sauce:
1 lb. pasta shapes
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dry mustard
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
6 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
3½ cups milk
1 lb. Colby jack cheese, shredded
8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Ground black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 400˚ F.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta to the water and cook just until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and leave in the colander.
  • Bread crumb topping - Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in the panko and cook, stirring frequently, until the bread crumbs are a light golden brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Set aside to cool.
  • Return the empty pasta pot to medium-high heat and melt the butter. Stir in the garlic, dry mustard, and cayenne, cooking just until fragrant, about one minute. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken broth and milk and continue to heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens slightly, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheeses, whisking until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir the drained pasta into the cheese sauce.
  • Pour the pasta and cheese mixture into a 9 x 13″ baking dish [or two 9" square baking dishes if serving 4, you can freeze/save the other dish for later]. Sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. Bake 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden brown.

We like to enhance our Mac experience with crescent rolls to sop up the remaining cheese sauce… if there is any ;)

P.S. Here is the house C built. Isn’t it magnificent?

C Halloween House

P.S.S. We love the Lion King right now, I am a big fan of Rafiki because he wacks Simba on the head and said “Who cares? It’s in the past!”

P.S.S.S. There are A LOT more ”likes” in this conversation, I spared you, you’re welcome.

 Posted by at 11:00 am
Jul 292012
 

Breakfast of Champions

Welcome Champ,  our United States athletes are doing pretty awesome in the Olympics this far, right? I am amazed at the sheer talent each competitor has, they are inspiring!

This week I am making breakfast ahead because it is sure to be one of “those weeks”, being it is the first of the month, beginning of a new quarter, and accruals are due. That’s right, I went there, big working-girl talk. Eggs and English muffins always make me happy, and since the Olympics are being held in London this year, it seems fitting to share my quick and healthy breakfast recipe utilizing English Muffins. Do you know the Muffin Man?

Breakfast Tools

What you need now:

Eggs [I prefer Eggland's Best brown eggs, they have a better tasting yolk]

Spinach

Salt/Pepper to taste

What you need later:

English Muffins

Cheese [optional]

Bacon [optional]

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:38 am
Mar 172012
 

St. Patrick's Day Crescent Cinnamon Rolls

I was on Pinterest [it's kind of like "What had happened was..." of the blogger/crafter world].

I was on Pinterest and saw a yummy picture of crescent cinnamon rolls, however, it was not linked to the recipe so I did some digging around the interwebs and found it here and repinned it for future use… today!

As you can see, I added 1-2 tablespoons of green powder tint to the icing to make it extra special for St. Patrick’s Day. I also used salted butter and reduced fat crescents, you have to give a little and take a little ;)

C loved them, I believe she would have scooped all 8 crescents up if we had left the kitchen for even a second after they were ready to eat. If she loves something, you know it’s good!

I hope you are having and EXTRA lucky day today! Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the H Family!

St. Patrick's Day Crescent Cinnamon Rolls

Clean Plate Club on Frugal Stepmom

 

 Posted by at 2:58 pm
Aug 302011
 

Orange Glazed Pork Chops + Rice and Chickpeas

We are having company tonight, so it’s time to bring out the class. Kidding, he’s only 7 [which means this meal is kid approved] and has homework to complete.

We have spent the last few weeks cooking through our meat stocked up in the freezer, this week we have pork to conquor – I love pork, it is so yummy, versatile and cooks up very quickly. 

There are a couple of important items to note before heading out on our dinner journey:

1. Make sure to use a pan that can go from Stovetop  to Oven, it helps with the creation of the orange sauce and saves cleaning another pan, you’re welcome.
2. If you are placing a pan in the oven with a long handle, it still gets REALLY hot…even after 15 minutes of sitting after cooling… just saying, use great caution!

Prep: 6 minutes
Cook: ~40 minutes
Total: ~50 minutes

4 Pork Chops
1 T Olive Oil
Salt + Pepper
All Spice
Ground Cloves

1/2 C Orange Juice
2 T Brown Sugar
2 T Orange Marmalade
1 T Vinegar

Rice
Orange Juice
Water
1 Can Chickpeas, drained

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 5:00 pm
Jul 122011
 

Caramel Chicken

Dark brown sugar makes me happy, how about you? Tonight I want to share with you one of my favorite recipes – Caramel Chicken. Really, caramel anything makes me happy.

I posted on my Facebook page [which you "Like", right?] that one of my friends offered up her green tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers before heading out for vacation this week – this dish makes for easy incorporation of fresh veggies… perfect!

You will need:

Cucumber, julienned
Red Onion, sliced
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Short grain rice [Sushi rice]

1 pound chicken breast, cubed [pork will work too!]
1 onion, chopped
1 cup green bell peppers
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 can anchovy fillets, chopped/minced [I keep the juice for extra flavor]
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3-4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Jul 052011
 

Octopus in the Mac n Cheese Sea

I know you have been on the edge of your seat, waiting for the new recipe I told you about last week. Well, here it is friends!

Your IngredientsOctopus in the Mac n Cheese Sea [serves ?]

Some Hot Dogs

Mac n Cheese [I used Annie's Homegrown]

Prepare Mac and cheese as according to the package.

Boil water for hot dogs.

1/4 Octapus

Cut hot dog down the center about 2/3 from the top [this makes two tentacles].

Turn hot dog 1/4 and cut down the center about 2/3 from the top, again [this makes 4 tentacles].

1/2 Octapus

Cut each of the four tentacles down the center to make a total of eight tentacles.

Octapus Eyes

Poke two eyes with a tooth pick or slits with your knife. A smile is nice too.

Octapus Boil

Toss into boiling water until the tentacles are nice and curled.

Plate your mac and cheese in a bowl and top with your perfect hot dog octapus. 

What an easy way to please the family and your kiddos are sure to enjoy!

Clean Plate Club on Frugal Stepmom



 Posted by at 8:29 pm
Jun 022011
 

WooHoo, I finally found the time to make my family a home made meal! We have been so busy with Memorial Day weekend and C completing the 6th grade, we have hardly been at home much longer than sleepy time.

This past weekend we had the most amazing smoked pork butt and corn on the cob, thanks to my cousins, Heather and Dennis. Another thanks to them for being on the Forks Over Knives persuasion and handing over all the leftover yummy goodness!

Pork In My Pocket

I’m going to call this creation “Pork in my Pocket” because it just seems right.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 8:00 pm
May 192011
 

I whipped up a quick dinner tonight for B and I – it was amazing and I knew it would be [because Cassity said so] so I took pictures along the way to document the greatness. I have switched it up a bit from her ingredients, but it’s a delightful variation.

Pasta + Salad

Everybody’s at the Party Pasta [serves 4-6]

1 Garlic clove, minced
1 lb Ground Pork

1 Zucchini, sliced and quartered
1 Yellow Squash, sliced and quartered
1/2 cup Mushrooms, sliced
1-2 cups Spinach, torn
Drizzle Olive Oil

2 cups mixed Pasta [I used penne and spiral]
2 Cups Cottage Cheese
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Cook pasta according to package directions [or check after 7 minutes of boiling and determine if you want to cook it any longer]

Cut veggies and toss them into a bowl, add salt and pepper and drizzle the oil on top. Set aside.

Cold Veggies

Brown ground pork and garlic in a nonstick sauté pan. Spoon pork into a bowl with paper towel lining [to catch the excess grease].

Cooking Meat

With remaining pork fat in the sauté pan, add the veggie mixture and sauté until softened [about 4-6 minutes on medium-high heat]. Remove from heat. [I spooned the mix into its original bowl for next step.]

Cooking Veggies

[On low heat] Add cottage cheese, parmesan cheese and about 4 tablespoons of the boiling pasta water, mix well. Use a slotted spoon to move the done pasta to the cheese mixture, stir. Add veggie mixture, stir. Add the pork, stir.

Mixing Pasta

HOORAY! Everybody made it to the party!

I also made a refreshing side salad with:

1 Cucumber, de-seeded, sliced and quartered [I am saving the seeded part for tomorrow's try at a cucumber/strawberry smoothie, completely inspired by the amazing cucumber-mint ice treat I had on Sunday by Yeti Sunshine]
1 cup Strawberries, sliced
Romaine lettuce, chopped
2 tablespoons shelled sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons Marzetti Spinach Salad Dressing

Combine and serve.

Salad

The meal was just delicious and I am super excited for tomorrow night when these left-overs hit the table again; pasta always tastes better on the second day!

Clean Plate Club

PS – Ground pork has very little fat, so the remaining amount was about 3-4 tablespoons after scooping out the meat. Feel free to switch it up a bit if you feel so inclined!

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 Posted by at 5:00 pm