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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Labor Inducing Mac and Cheese

I spent several nights a week and a half ago at my sister and brother-in-laws to help them out.  They needed the extra help because Megan was pregnant and due any time, and I was staying in case she went into labor in the middle of the night so I could stay with my niece.  On Wednesday night I made home made mac and cheese and she went into labor a few hours later around 2 am!  My niece was in a VERY big hurry, and they actually didn’t even have time to make it to the hospital and my niece was born in the garage!

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11078/1133160-54.stm

http://www.wtae.com/news/27239646/detail.html

1 pound pasta noodles (I used whole wheat penne)

1 pound cheese (I used about 1.1 pounds, 6. of sharp Wisconsin cheddar and .5 English cheddar with caramelized onions)

4 TBS flour

1/2 – 3/4 stick of butter

1 1/2 -2 cups milk

1/2 TBS ground mustard

salt and pepper to taste

1 onion (I used red)

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Boil the penne noodles in salted water.  Melt the butter in a heavy bottom pan and make a rue by adding the flour.  Add the flour 1 TBS at a time, until a paste like consistency forms.  Cook it over medium heat until it becomes a golden color.  Whisk constantly and slowing add in the milk a little bit at a time, making sure not to add too much.  The sauce should be a fairly thick.  Add in the cheese, stirring to melt and incorporate.  The sauce should be drizzle off of the whisk.  Add the sauce to the cook noodles.

In a skillet caramelize the slices of onions.

Pout the cheesy noodles in a greased pan, sprinkle with the caramelized onions and spread with panko crumbs.  Bake in the oven at 350 for about 20-40 minutes, until the cheese is nice and bubbly and the top is golden brown.

My sister and I both agreed that  if you are using the onions, you need to really go for it and also add bacon.  Next time I will definitely be doing that!

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Stuffed Chicken Breast

This is a combination of a couple of recipes I came across recently.

1 chicken breast per serving

1 small log herb goat cheese (I think it was 2.5 or 3 oz)

2 TBS sun dried tomatoes

2 TBS fresh basil, chopped

Butterfly the chicken breast (slice horizontally through the middle of the breast being careful not to slice the whole way through).  Place the breast flat between 2 pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound the chicken very thin.  In a bowl mix the goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes and basil.  Spread about 1/2 -3/4 TBS on each chicken breast and wrap .  Secure with tooth picks to hold together, if needed.  Heat extra virgin olive oil with a bit of oil from the sun dried tomato oil from jar in a large skillet.  Brown the chicken, about 3 minutes per side.  Once it has good color to it, cover the skillet and let the chicken finish cooking for about 10 minutes over medium heat.  Remove from the skillet and take out the tooth picks. and serve!

This recipe was quite tasty, but the goat cheese has  a strong flavor.  In the future I will probably use cream cheese or another soft more mild cheese.  This also works great if you are entertaining and have guests who are vegetarian.  A friend texted me the night before I was serving this to let me know that she was not eating meat for 21 days, so not to be offended if she didn’t eat much but also not to go to any trouble.  I’m not one to invite someone over and not let them sit at my table and not eat a good meal!  So, I picked up large portabello mushroom caps and used the same stuffing on top of the mushroom and backed it at 350 for about 12-15 minutes.

I forgot to take pictures of the chicken actually in the pan, but I’m sure you can figure that part out!

Curry Chicken Tenders

These curry chicken tenders have a great flavor and are a quick, simple dinner to throw into the regular line up when things get boring!

Chicken tenders (depends on how many you’re serving, I would suggest maybe 3-4 tenders per person depending how big the one you buy)

1 egg per 3-4 tenders

Approximately 1/2 cup on flour

Curry powder to taste (about 1 TBS)

1/2 – 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Pinch of salt and pepper

Set up 3 bowls to drudge the chicken.  In the first bowl put about 1/2 cup of flour, and add a pinch of salt and pepper and about 1/2 tsp of the curry powder.  Stir to combine.  In the second bowl lightly scramble the egg(s).  In the third bowl combine the panko bread crumbs and about 1/2 TBS of curry powder.

First dredge chicken in the flour, then dip in egg and then in the bread crumbs.  To get a nice crunch, dip it back in the egg and once again in the bread crumbs.

For cooking there are a few methods that would work.  I cooked them in a little Ready Set Express grill (a Christmas must have on my list to Santa this year!) which is basically a George Foreman grill without the ridges.  I cooked them for about 8 or 10 minutes total.  You could also bake them at around 350 for probably 25 minutes or until they look nice and crisp and the juice runs clear when you cut into a piece.  You could also cook them in a skillet in a little bit of oil, for about 5-7 minutes, turning to get every side nice and brown.

I had it with some Trader Joe’s garlic parmesan fries and salad.

Jalepeno Popper Dip

If you love jalapeno poppers, you will absolutely love this simple dip!

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup mayonnaise

1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained

2 ounces canned diced jalapeno peppers, drained

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

Stir together cream cheese and mayonnaise in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in green chiles and jalapeno peppers. Mix the cheese and breadcrumbs in a bowl.  Pour mixture into a oven safe serving dish, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumb mixtures.  Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350 then place under the broiler under the topping is golden brown and crisp (about 3-5 minutes, but as with anything under the broiler, keep a close eye on it!)

Serve with baguettes, crackers or even tortillas chips (my favorite is mini toast crackers).

The bowl will be licked clean when serving this at a party!

Fudge

This is really simple to make.  I actually just use the recipe right on the back of the Jet Puffed marshmallow creme jar.  It takes about 25 minutes or so to make and is creamy and delightful!

3 cups sugar

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine

1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate

1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme

1 stp vanilla

Grease a 9 inch pan (you can also line the pan with foil with flaps over lapping the edges).

Bring sugar, butter and milk to full rolling boil in large saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil for about 4 minutes or until 234 F on candy thermometer (but you really don’t need the thermometer to make this), stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

Add the chocolate and marshmallow creme (I alternate them in batches while incorporating and melting).  Stir in vanilla (you can also add nuts if you like them).

Pour into pan.

I thought I would mix it up, and press mini pretzels into the fudge while it was still very warm thinking that the sweet with the salty would be a great mix.  I didn’t like how it turned out, so I ended up picking them all off.