Thanksgiving Day Macaroni & Cheese

I make macaroni and cheese……like……a lot. An unholy amount of mac’ n cheese has been put into this body. I didn’t plan to make mac’ n cheese for Thanksgiving this year, but when the night came to make my scalloped potatoes I just couldn’t resist making one more thing. Over achiever much? The sauce for my scalloped potatoes was a base for mac’ n cheese so how could I really say no? This is what I refer to as “last minute mac” because I used penne in replacement for elbow noodles, because, hello, I didn’t know I was making this so of course I didn’t have the right pasta on hand. I threw in some spicy Jimmy Dean sausage because Kyle is constantly bitching at me that the freezer is too full….so I used something from the freezer, probably the smallest item in the freezer, but still counts!

Ingredients
1 box of penne pasta (or elbow if you’re smarter than me)
3 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
3 Cups of Whole Fat Milk
3 Cups of a three cheese blend or the cheese of your choosing
1 Stalk of green onion diced
1 package of Jimmy Dean Spicy Sausage
1 Cup of Panko
4 Tablespoons of Kerrygold Butter
4 Tablespoons of Flour
S&P

How To
Don’t be an idiot like me and wait until you are done with the sauce to boil the pasta – you should do that first. Remember the pasta trick with the water – your pasta water should look and taste like ocean water – more flavor!

I fried up my sausage next, and once it was completely cooked through I added the garlic and onions. Next, I added the butter (all in the same pan, sausage fat and all, this is Thanksgiving!), let the butter melt down over medium heat, and then add in the flour. Cook this mixture for about 3-4 minutes, and then stir in the milk and begin to whisk. Whisk until your arm falls off OR you no longer have lumps of flour/butter. Cheese, cheese, and more cheese, but only add one cup at a time and wait until it’s melted down into the sauce to add the next. At this point I also take a small ladle of the pasta water and place it into the cheese sauce. The starches released from the pasta while it bowls will help the sauce really adhere to the noodles.

Butter a casserole dish and mix your sauce and noodles all together. I bake this at 400 covered for 30 minutes, and then take it out, place panko all over the top, drizzle the panko with olive oil, and then broil for 5 minutes. Delicious! Last minute mac!

23768851_1871745686173560_1078350068_o.jpg

Advertisements

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Lord have mercy do not bring hummus as a Christmas appetizer unless your entire family is vegan. I about got voted off the island for bringing hummus a few Christmas’ back. You know what, though? I am a grown up(kind of) and have my own blog now so I am just going to publish the recipe because I am a loud and proud hummus lover!

Embarrassing Fact: A few colleagues of mine had a hummus war competition and it just so happened to be on the day I was interviewing for a management position at my work. Well, ALL afternoon my stomach would not stop sounding like a blue whale searching for its family and couldn’t tell if I was just nervous OR overdosing on too much hummus.

P.S plain hummus is boring – make some exciting flavors and share them with me! I know roasted red pepper is pretty boring, too but I love it!!

Recipe

2 Cups chickpeas drained and washed
1/2 Cup Tahini (just buy it – I know it’s expensive but it’s what makes hummus HUMMUS)
1 whole lemon squeezed
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Cup Roasted Red Bell Peppers (I roast mine on the oven – stick them in a ziplock once black- let them steam – take off the char and done)

How To

How easy is this? Throw it in the food processor and hit the Go button. Blend until smooth and the consistency you’d like – you may need to add additional olive oil. I crack fresh pepper on top one plated, a squirt of lemon, and a final drizzle of olive oil. Eaasy breezy beautiful snack. Pita chips, veggie sticks, naan bread. Gurl.

21014709_1780055008675962_936374690_o

Cornbread Muffins Two Ways – Green Chile & Cheddar and Blueberry Lemon

Who doesn’t like cornbread? Seriously. I could eat my weight in cornbread. I love that it’s flaky, buttery, and you can incorporate so many fun ingredients. I made these muffins for some quick grab breakfasts or snacks and they did not last long. Warm these babies up and put an extra slab or pound of butter on them and love yourself for making them and me for writing this out for you.

Do not make BOXED cornbread. It is so unnecessary – homemade cornbread is EASY. Boxed recipes tend to have a lot of sugar as well. I do not use sugar in this cornbread recipe because I do not think it needs it at all and we are adding blueberries to half the mix which naturally creates some sweetness as well. If I were not incorporating ingredients to this recipe I would add some honey for a tiny bit of sweet but no sugar.

Ingredients

3 Eggs
2 Cups All Purpose Flour (you can sub almond flour just check the ratio)
1 TBSP Baking Powder
1 TBSP Baking Soda
1 1/4 Cup Cornmeal
1 TSP Salt
1 Cup Whole Fat Milk (can substitute coconut, almond, soy etc.)
1 Cup Melted Butter
1 8oz can Green Chiles
1 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 1/2 Cup Blueberries
1 Lemon Zested

How To

Mix everything together except the chiles, cheese, blueberries, and lemon. Once your mixture is ready separate it in half. I toss my blueberries in flour so they do not sink while baking. One half of the mixture add your blueberries&lemon zest and the other chiles&cheese. I put these in muffin tins and got exactly 12 of each flavor but you can cook them in a cast iron skillet if you wish. Baked at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until the knife stuck in the middle comes out clean. I brought some of these to work for my team and boy did they go fast. Make sure if you try this recipe to tag us on instagram and Facebook!

21682475_1807234285958034_1263497489_o

Pesto & Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Meal Prep Alert!

I made these for this week’s lunches. They were easy, delicious, and can be either vegetarian or stuff them with chicken like I did this week. Let’s get started!

Ingredients
1 Box of Jumbo Pasta Shells
1/4 Cup Pesto (buy or make your own)
2 Shredded Chicken Breast
2 Cups of Alfredo sauce (buy or make your own)
2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella
2 Cups Chopped Finely Mushrooms
1 Cup of Ricotta
S&P

How To

The pasta shells need to cook about 8 minutes total and I lay them out on a sheet pan to cool. I already had shredded chicken but the recipe was just 2 chicken breast, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chicken broth, and throw in crock pot for 4 hours on high. Shred and set.

Filling: Mix ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, pesto, chicken, mushrooms, and salt&pepper. Once your shells have cooled stuff those bad boys up!

Bake: I lay a thin layer of alfredo on the bottom on my baking dish and then put the shells on top. Cover with some more sauce and let bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and then put the rest of your cheese on top and broil for 5 minutes. Done! These are pretty simple for meal prep, loaded with protein, and pretty damn tasty!

Mini French Dip Sandwiches – Shredded Beef

We ALL LOVE mini foods, am I right? Mini foods are perfect for parties, events, snacks, and they make you feel like eating a 1000 of them isn’t so bad. All hail the mini foods! I posted these on Instagram the other day and people LOST THEIR MINDS! I honestly didn’t think they were all that exciting and they were easy breezy beautiful cover girl so if you want the recipe to the world’s easiest sandwiches keep on reading!

The secret to these is the beef….always the beef. Let your beef cook for a good 8 hours which of course isn’t a big deal if you aren’t afraid of your Crockpot like me. I planned my whole day around these bad boys so I wouldn’t have to leave my house BUT Kayla wanted to go see IT….so I had to leave it ON. You guys, if I had not had cocktails at the theater I probably would have been stressed the whole time. I am paranoid about the Crockpot, okay?!

Ingredients

3lbs Chuck Roast
1 Package Kings Hawaiian Rolls – these are my favorite you can use what you’d like
Provolone sliced Cheese
Kerrygold Butter
S&P
Garlic Powder
1 Yellow Onion
Red Chili Flakes

THAT’S IT!!!!!

How To

Now, you won’t actually need all 3lbs of beef just for the sandwiches. I used the rest for shredded beef burrito bowls. I placed my chuck roast in the crockpot with S&P, chili flakes, 1 cup of water, garlic powder, a butter, and the onion cut in half. Turn on low for 8 hours. Done. Beautiful.

Fast forward to 8 hours later and you shouldn’t even have to “shred” this meat it should be falling apart in its’ own juices at this point. Take some beef and put it off to the side – however much you’d like for sandwiches. Now, the au jus – very important for french dips. Take ALL your liquid and get yourself a fat skimmer thing…..looks like this 31SuItie7aL

This will get rid of the fat in your liquid….now this is basically your au jus, I like mine a tiny bit thicker so I add a tiny bit of flour and butter. Done. Seriously guys, that easy.

Sandwich assembly!!

I take out the entire 12 rolls from the packaging and cut them in half like one giant piece of bread, then I layer my meat, cheese, and place the top on. I brush these GENEROUSLY with my favorite Kerrygold butter and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the beef is hot. Once out of the oven and cooled for like….a minute I cut them into the sandwich size. Perfect. Ooey Gooey – delicious! Let me know if you make these!

21767228_1807234282624701_945790473_o.jpg

Bruschetta Style Chicken

Do me a favor and sing the Indiana Jones theme song while you read this. Why? I don’t really know but it’s what I’m doing currently. Bruschetta, bruschetta, bruschetta is most likely one of my favorite foods. Ironic, because I do not typically like tomatoes raw. I love tomatoes that have been cooked for about 60 seconds…it’s weird I know. You’re the one following this crazy blog not me! Bruschetta….the way I make it is perfect as the toasted bread makes the tomatoes the exact texture I like, and lets out all the juices and flavor, but we aren’t making just regular bruschetta today because we are replacing the bread with chicken!

I make this dinner at least once a week because it is fast, healthy, and I always have the key ingredients in my fridge. I may write a fun exciting blog but all my fun stuff is generally saved for the weekend, and during the week I eat healthy, fast, and convenient foods. Please try this!

Ingredients – 2 Servings

2 Chicken Breasts or Thighs…. you know I’m a the dark side of the chicken girl
4 Roma Tomatoes  – Diced
1/4 Red Onion – Diced
1/4 Cup Good Quality Balsamic Vinegar – I used We Olive Aged Balsamic
Basil – Now, I’m going to throw you a curve ball here because I am not a huge fan of fresh basil….yea yea whatever, I like the flavor I just don’t like the wilted leaves etc….I used basil infused olive oil in this recipe, but you are more than welcome to use what you please
Fresh in water Mozzarella – 2 Slices
Garlic Powder
S&P
I made a side of sauteed mushrooms and pesto potatoes 🙂

How To

So, I wanted to grill my chicken and most of the time for this recipe I do BUT it was too stinkin hot outside so I got some color on the chicken in a pan and then baked the rest of the way through. However you choose to cook your chicken isn’t really important for this dish.
While your chicken bakes dice your tomatoes and onions. Helpful hint: when making salsas, bruschettas, or even just salt and peppering tomatoes themselves the ingredients in which you are flavoring the tomatoes with sticks to them much better if you have an oil involved. I tossed my tomatoes & onions with the basil olive oil from We Olive…. salt,pepper, and garlic powder. I let this sit in the fridge to marinate.
Balsamic reduction. Easy peasy. Take 1/4 cup of good quality olive oil and place in a pan over medium heat. Stir as the vinegar slowly reduces down to a syrup-like texture. Once your balsamic coats the back of a spoon it is reduced enough.
During the last 5 minutes of your chicken baking/grilling place your lovely fresh mozzarella to melt over the chicken.
I plate this by spooning the tomato mixture over the hot chicken(that’s my jam) and then drizzling the balsamic reduction.
Finished!!! Easy, fast, and healthy!

22171568_1820469291301200_811271746_o.jpg

 

Bacon & Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

How did eggs get the name “deviled”? Hold on. I need to Google. “The term “deviled“, in reference to food, was in use in the 18th century, with the first known print reference appearing in 1786. In the 19th century, it came to be used most often with spicy or zesty food, includingeggs prepared with mustard, pepper or other ingredients stuffed in the yolk cavity.” Today we learned! You are welcome!

Okay, so, let me get real with you. I am famous for my deviled eggs…..seriously. My grandmother calls me before EVERY event and that is all she ever wants me to bring. I can make panna cotta, bruschetta, stuffed mushrooms, garlic bread, and a wide range of appetizers, and yet I am always called on for deviled eggs. Krystal, does it make you famous for something if only your grandma is asking for it? Um, yes, Internet, thank you. I will tell you why. My grandma is SASSY. Well, all my grandmas are sassy they are the ladies I get a lot of my own sas from but the grandma that loves my deviled eggs has the other two beat when it comes to honest opinions. We would often go to little diners for lunches or dinners growing up with my grandma, and if she didn’t like something she didn’t eat it anyways and remind herself not order it again, but send it back, and I always remember my parents being so embarrassed that she was sending food back or critiquing service. I didn’t really know what to think of it as a child, but as an adult I love her for it. You shouldn’t have to eat something you do not enjoy and you shouldn’t have to lie about something just to not hurt someone’s feelings. My grandma tells ME when she doesn’t like something I’ve made, in fact she is probably my best critic for my food because she doesn’t sugar coat. My deviled egg loving grandma is honest, blunt, and one of my biggest supporters in life. You bet your butt I make deviled eggs when she asks, and they ARE the best.

Now, let us discuss a can I cannot close once I open it. Mayonnaise. Deviled eggs, potato salad, pasta salad, and all other recipes requiring mayo are to be made with MAYONNAISE and NOT Miracle Whip…… I can’t believe I even typed its name it’s like saying he who shall not be named from Harry Potter. No, no, noooooo. First of all IF we are going to call MW food it is technically labeled as a salad dressing(vomit) so it has no business in these recipes. MW is sugar. Soooooo much sugar. MW is NOT mayonnaise so please do not disgrace yourself by using it! #endrant Please remember I am German…..I take my mayo very seriously.

I have yet to decide if I am going to share my OG recipe with y’all, but I do have many variations that I make. Hint: Grandma does not like the variations. My latest variation was Bacon & Jalapeno Deviled Eggs….make them. Yesterday.

21767193_1807234922624637_766022612_o

Ingredients

However many eggs you want to make – I made a snack so I used 6 eggs BUT I am giving your the recipe for if you were making 12
1/2 Cup GOOD mayo
1/4 Cup Dijon Mustard
S&P
4 Strips of Bacon (add a little bacon fat to your filling)
1 Jalapeno sliced in rounds then cut in half again (moons) – pickle these quickly in some red wine vinegar OR go to We Olive and get some pineapple balsamic because I pickled them in that real quick
Dash of your favorite hot sauce
Dash of a good quality olive oil (I used garlic)

How To

I wish I could tell you I am an expert hard egg boiler but I am not. I follow instructions via the internet – Place eggs in pot and cover one inch with cold water, bring water to a boil, cover and remove from heat for 8 minutes. They turn out nice and soft for me I just cannot ever get them to peel beautifully but other than that the egg itself turns out yummy! I do let the eggs chill for about an hour before peeling/preparing.

Okay, take the eggs yolks, mayo, mustard, oil, hot sauce, and S&P and throw them in a food processor. I prefer my filling to be smooth because I like to pretend I am fancy but you can ALWAYS mash the yolks with a fork and incorporate the filling that way. I throw the filling into a ziploc bag to pipe back into the empty shells, because fancy? Garnish with your crumbled bacon, slivers of jalapeno, and I added tomato and ALWAYS fresh cracked pepper or paprika or red chili flakes OR ALL! I hope you enjoy these!

21767341_1807234782624651_590021720_o