Sunday, January 29, 2012

Baked Mac &Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese 
Adapted from The Food Network by Tyler Florence 


  • 4 cups (1 pound) elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 tsp garlic salt 
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups grated Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup toasted Pank Crumbs 
  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water until done, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and toss it with 2 tablespoons butter; set aside.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat a large baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter and set it aside. Put the milk into a saucepan and add the thyme. Warm over medium low heat until the milk starts to steam, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the flavors infuse while you make the roux. In a large pot over medium heat add 2 tablespoons butter and the flour. Cook, stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes; don't let the roux color. Strain the infused milk onto the roux, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until the sauce is thick. Remove from the heat and add 2 cups of the grated Cheddar; stir until it is melted and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour this over the macaroni and mix with 2 cups rotisserie chicken until well blended; put this into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Cheddar and toasted Panko crumbs over the top. Bake until the top is golden and crusty, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

French Onion Scalloped Potatoes

French Onion Scalloped Potatoes 
Courtesy Betty Crocker

This recipe was part of our Christmas dinner.  I was looking for sides that I could prepare before hand and pop in the oven.  I had high hopes for this recipe and it didn’t disappoint.  Everyone at dinner went back for seconds.  It was THAT good.  Add this recipe to your list, you’ll thank me later!


  2 boxes (4.7 oz each) Betty Crocker® scalloped potatoes
1 package (1 oz) Hidden Valley® The Original Ranch® salad dressing and seasoning mix (milk recipe)
3 1/2 cups boiling water
2 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 can (2.8 oz) French-fried onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, if desired

Heat oven to 400°F.
In 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish, stir together both Sauce Mixes (from potato boxes), the dressing mix, boiling water and half-and-half with wire whisk. Stir in both Potatoes pouches and the bell pepper. Bake uncovered 35 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Top with onions; bake 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle with parsley before serving. Let stand 5 minutes before serving (sauce will thicken as it stands).
Makes 8 servings

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Traditional Southern Deviled Eggs

Traditional Southern Deviled Eggs

                                                          Recipe Courtesy Paula Deen

7 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
Salt and pepper, for taste
Paprika, for garnishing
Sweet gherkin pickles sliced, for garnishing
Pimentos, for garnishing

Halve 7 eggs lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl.

Mash yolks with a fork and stir in mayonnaise, pickle relish, and mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Fill egg whites evenly with yolk mixture. Garnish with paprika, pickles and pimentos. Store covered in refrigerator.

*I didn’t add the pickle and pimento garnish because I didn’t have them at home.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christmas Card Album

Last year, I started this Christmas Card Album.  

It was our first year as a married couple, therefore our first Christmas card picture sent out together. I decided to save one card of ours each year that I will add to the album.  I love the thought of all our Christmas cards through the years being in one place for us (and future children and grandchildren) to look through.  What a perfect way to see how our family grows throughout the year.  
Here's the finished/started project:

I bought an 8x8 red photo album from Michael's.  I printed one of our wedding pictures for the front cover of the album.  After all, I can't think of a better representation of "the beginning" than a wedding picture.  I used some scrapbook paper to match our Christmas card, a little glue and then I typed up a little paragraph highlighting our year.  I LOVE the way it came out.  I showed it to D, he looked at it, then flipped through the (blank) pages.  Then, he made the comment "So, you think we'll only be together for the next 20 years".  I proceeded to explain that you can add pages to these books and they only come with 10 f/b pages to start.  I can't wait to pass this on to our children one day and hope they will then pass it down to their children.

*I am a little behind on adding our picture from 2011 to the album!*

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pretzel Rolo Brownie Bites

This is another Pinterest inspired creation.  
I think the ones I saw on Pinterest were blondies, but I was too lazy to make anything from scratch.  So this is what I came up with.  

These bad boys are easy to make.  All I did was make a boxed batch of brownie mix, following the directions on the box.  I used my small Pampered Chef scoop to scoop the brownie mixture into a greased Pampered Chef mini muffin pan.  I cooked them for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick came out clean.  I immediately pressed a rolo into the middle of the baked brownie.  As soon as the rolo was slightly melted, I pressed the square pretzel on the top.  I let them cook a bit in the pan before I moved them to a cooling rack.  

I personally loved the sweet and salty combination.  YUM!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Creamy Crab-Filled Potato Nests- Pampered Chef

This is another NYE appetizer.  Hubs prepared this dish.  It was very tasty.  If I could change one thing it would be to cook the potato cups longer.  But, there weren't many left at the end of the night so that is always a good sign! Enjoy!

Creamy Crab-Filled Potato Nests
3 cups (750 mL) shoestring potatoes (see Cook’s Tip)
1 egg white
1/2 medium red bell pepper
3 green onions with tops, divided
1 lemon
1 can (6 oz/175 g) lump crabmeat, drained
1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1/4 cup (50 mL) light mayonnaise
1/2 tsp (2 mL) Dijon mustard

1.  Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Spray cups of Deluxe Mini-Muffin Pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place shoestring potatoes into large resealable plastic bag; gently press bag to break potatoes into smaller pieces. Place into Classic Batter Bowl; add egg white and toss to coat using Small Mix 'N Scraper(R). Using large Adjustable Measuring Spoon (about 1 tbsp/15 mL), divide potato mixture evenly among cups of pan. Press tops with Mini-Tart Shaper to make indentations; bake 3–5 minutes or just until edges of nests begin to brown. Remove pan from oven to Stackable Cooling Rack.

2.  Meanwhile, on Cutting Board, finely chop bell pepper using Food Chopper; blot dry with paper towels. Slice green onions, reserving green tops for garnish. Cut lemon in half crosswise; using head of Stainless Whisk as reamer, juice lemon to measure 1 tbsp (15 mL). In clean batter bowl, combine bell pepper, onion bottoms, lemon juice, crabmeat, 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the cheese, mayonnaise and mustard; mix well.

3.  Divide crab mixture evenly among nests using clean large Adjustable Measuring Spoon (about 2 tsp/10 mL) and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5–7 minutes or until crab mixture is hot and cheese is melted. Remove pan from oven to cooling rack. Garnish with reserved green onion tops.

Yield:  12 servings

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cheesy Artichoke Cups- Pampered Chef

These little cups were made for our New Year's Eve party.  I've said it over and over again, I just love bite sized appetizers.  Well really, bite sized anything.  I picked out this recipe because I love the green olive/ artichoke combination.  It's the first time I've used the wonton wrappers in a recipe and it was much easier than I imagined.  I make the filling earlier in the day and kept it in the fridge.  All I had to do was use my small pampered chef scoop to fill each cup and popped them in the oven.  This recipe did not disappoint. Enjoy! 

Cheesy Artichoke Cups
24  small wonton wrappers (3-inch squares)
2  jars (6.25 ounces each) marinated artichoke hearts
1/4  cup chopped red bell pepper
1/3  cup sliced ripe pitted olives
1/4  cup (1 ounce) fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1  garlic clove, pressed
1/2  cup mayonnaise

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Press wonton wrappers into Deluxe Mini-Muffin Pan using Mini-Tart Shaper. Drain artichoke hearts, reserving marinade for later use. Pat artichokes dry with paper towel. Chop artichokes and red pepper using Food Chopper. Slice olives using Egg Slicer Plus®. Grate cheese using Deluxe Cheese Grater. Press garlic using Garlic Press.
  2. Combine chopped vegetables, olives, cheese, garlic and mayonnaise in Classic Batter Bowl.
  3. Fill prepared muffin cups with artichoke mixture using Small Scoop (1 scoop per muffin cup). Bake 12-14 minutes. Let cool in pan 2 minutes. Carefully remove and serve warm.
Yield: 24 servings

Nutrients per serving: Calories 79, Total Fat 6 g 

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