Tag Archives: cheese

Mac and cheese whiz

I knew I had a winning mac and cheese recipe. I had lost to my sister-in-law before with my lobster mac and cheese, and wanted a rematch.

She opted out of this competition, so it wasn’t a rematch per say, but rather, Mac and Cheese, Part Two.

I still had a stiff competitor, though. I actually lost by a half point. We’ve never done half points before – pretty sure my brother-in-law bribed someone to change their score so we could have a winner.

Photo credit: Melissa Severson
Photo credit: Melissa Severson

So basically we tied, but I got an awesome crown.

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My sister-in-law made this crown essentially at the last second right before the competition. 

I wouldn’t recommend competing against her in either cooking or crafts.

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Jalapeno popper mac and cheese

This recipe hails from The Mac + Cheese Cookbook, written by two ladies who own a mac and cheese restaurant in Oakland called Homeroom.

This is one of those cookbooks where you actually want to read the additional information besides the recipes. I’d highly recommend it. Also, clearly their life is macaroni and cheese, so let’s just say they know what they’re talking about.

The jalapeno popper mac and cheese is a fairly simple recipe, combined with “mac sauce” – a bechamel-type sauce in the beginning of the book that is included in most of the recipes; it takes some work to make it. But it’s beyond worth it. 

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups mac sauce**
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced jalapeno pepper, plus extra for garnish*
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

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* I’ve made this with fresh jalapenos, jarred pickled jalapenos, and a combination – it’s all good.

*Mac sauce:

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp table salt or 2 tsp kosher salt

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Cheddar, chive, and bacon muffins

I’ve made this recipes several times – chives are my favorite herb.

These savory muffins hail from the Kitchen Aid blog, and they’re a filling addition to any breakfast meal.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter*
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked until crispy, and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup finely diced fresh chives

*Plus more for greasing, unless you’re using a Pam spray, as I did.

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Feta and bacon stuffed chicken breasts

A few weeks ago, the husband and I were fortunate enough to have dinner with friends we don’t normally see, who literally moved to Maine yesterday. They served us this chicken, and I had to get the recipe.

Not surprisingly, it’s from the reputable AllRecipes.com here, and it’s very highly rated.

Also, even if we take out the bacon and feta (or don’t have it on hand), the oil mixture here is fantastic, as is the method of cooking chicken – super moist all the way through. I will definitely be using this technique in the future.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 oz feta cheese
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Note: The feta and bacon are stuffed in the breasts (obviously), but then I sprinkle some over the chicken as well. You probably don’t need more than what I listed here, but feel free to have some extra feta on hand, or cook up one more slice of bacon just in case.

Also note: You will need toothpicks to hold the stuffed chickens together. 

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Chicken parm casserole

This is an excellent dish I first tried a few weeks ago, and we ate it outside on one of the first actual nice days of the year.

This chicken parm recipe is brought to us by GimmeSomeOven.com.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz uncooked penne pasta
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken (about 2 small chicken breasts)
  • 1 (24 oz) jar pasta sauce of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • about 1 tbsp dried basil (or 1/4 cup fresh, roughly chopped)

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Smoky mac and cheese

This macaroni and cheese recipe is adapted from SteamyKitchen.com, where it was originally a lobster mac and cheese.

I prepared the lobster mac and cheese for our most recent Game Night Food Competition – and I lost by just five points.

Cayenne pepper and nutmeg come together to create a perfect smokey flavor.

Add the lobster if you can. I didn’t just because, well, it’s expensive. But it is just as excellent without it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked elbow pasta
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese*
  • breadcrumbs (optional)**
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

*Please note for local folks: The Gruyere I used here is from Trader Joe’s, and I much preferred the Hannaford brand I used when making this recipe before.

**The breadcrumbs I used here, just to sprinkle on top, are Italian seasoned breadcrumbs; Panko breadcrumbs are used in the original recipe, because they’re for coating the lobster. Do use Panko if you’re cooking with the lobster.

Side note: Someone please buy me a cheese grater for my next birthday. It is the one kitchen item I did not receive as a wedding gift and I desperately need it, because this cute but laborious baby is what I’m currently using.

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