Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Macaroni and Cheese with Pancetta and Cauliflower

You will love this easy to make stove top mac and cheese.  If you don’t have pancetta, use bacon or ham. The cauliflower takes on the flavors of both the cheese and ham and adds texture. You'll love the addition. Plus you can say you ate your veggie today!  Tender cauliflower and pasta in a creamy cheese sauce topped with crispy bacon. recipe is easy, cheesy and delicious!

Macaroni and Cheese with Pancetta and Cauliflower

8 oz. pancetta, diced
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch florets
3 to 6 more tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded fontina, gouda or guyere cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream (add more cream if too dry)
16 ounce box elbow macaroni, cooked until al dente

In a 4-quart pot over medium heat, cook the pancetta (or diced bacon) until lightly brown and a little crispy, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Do not drain fat. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Bring another large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Break down the cauliflower head into small florets and add them to the boiling water. Bring to a boil, then pour off water to only about an inch. Reduce heat to simmer and cover pot allowing it to steam until it can be pierced with a fork but isn't mushy, 5 to 10 minutes. 

Use a slotted spoon to move the cauliflower into a colander. Drain well and return to the warm pot for a few minutes to draw out more moisture. Drain again and set aside.

In the same pot over medium heat, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. 



Whisk in cream and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the cheeses, nutmeg, salt and pepper and a bit of cayenne if using stir until well blended. Stir in the pasta, pancetta and cauliflower and mix well.  Serve and enjoy!


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Friday, November 22, 2019

Green Beans and Potatoes


Really, is there any other way to eat green beans?   It’s my favorite way to eat fresh green beans, hands-down.  I have eaten this dish many times as my main course and I even serve it at Thanksgiving.  Although I have to be careful because nothing else gets eaten when there’s a big bowl of fresh green beans and potatoes on the table!

Green Beans and Potatoes 

2-3 pounds fresh green beans
8 slices bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces and fried
1 large sweet onion, diced
4 large Yukon Gold potatoes (or any potato except Russet) 
4 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Wash and trim beans and break them into 2-inch pieces; set aside.

In a large skillet, fry the bacon pieces until crisp. Transfer bacon to plate when done but do not drain the fat from skillet.

Add onion and green beans to the bacon fat and saute just until onion is tender and translucent. Remove skillet from heat and set aside. Once again, do not drain the fat.


 In a large Dutch oven or pot, add chicken broth, butter, salt, pepper and stir. Cut potatoes into large cubes or chunks and add to the liquid. I use Yukon Gold but you can use any potato you like other than baking potatoes.  Russets get too mushy when you boil them.  

Add the green beans and onions, including the bacon drippings to the pot and bring to a full boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until potatoes are fork tender…..about 30 minutes.  Don’t overcook or potatoes will get mushy. Serve in bowls and top with crumbled fried bacon pieces.  OH YUM!

NOTE:  You can also make this recipe in a slow cooker.  Just follow the same exact recipe but cook on high for about 4 hours or until potatoes are fork tender.

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Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole

I like Cracker Barrel but I love their Hash brown casserole. I have made a lot of these in the past but this is my favorite.  There is something about the beef broth that truly brings this to a whole new level.

Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole

26 -30 ounces of shredded hash browns
2 cups of shredded cheese  (I use Colby Jack or sharp cheddar)
12 cup beef broth
14 cup finely diced onion
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon garlic salt
14 teaspoon pepper

Melt butter in microwave. Mix in milk, beef broth, garlic salt, pepper, and onion in large bowl. Set aside.


In large skillet heat the hash browns and fold in shredded cheese until melted.




Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Pour hash browns and cheese mixture into prepared pan.  


Next pour in the broth mixture and mix well. Keep flattening hash browns with the back of a spoon or spatula until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Bake in oven for 45 minutes.  Serve as
a side dish.  YUM!


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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Light and Fluffy Dinner Rolls

These dinner rolls are so easy to make you’ll never buy store bought rolls again. They are so soft and light and fluffy and you taste just a hint of sweetness from the added honey. Warning:  You may eat too many buttery rolls and not want dinner!

Light and Fluffy Dinner Rolls
2¾-3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup honey
¼ cup butter
1 egg
2½ teaspoons quick rise yeast
½ cup water
¼ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted (for brushing tops)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Once it reaches that temperature, turn it off.  This will give you a warm place for your dough to rise.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, yeast and salt. Set aside.

In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the honey, butter, water and milk. Heat in the microwave on high for about 90 seconds until the mixture is hot and the butter is almost melted. Allow the mixture to sit on the counter for about 4-5 minutes to cool slightly.

Stir the milk mixture and the flour mixture together and stir. Add the egg and stir until a soft and sticky dough forms. Place bowl on stand mixer and attach your dough hook.  Put mixer on lowest setting for 4 minutes until you see the dough becomes stretchy and elastic.  

NOTE:  If you do not have a stand mixer with dough hook, simply flour you counter or work surface with a little flour to keep the dough from sticking. Use very little four.  Turn the dough out of the bowl onto the lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 4 minutes until dough becomes elastic.

NOTE:  The dough should be soft and smooth but still slightly tacky to the touch. After a few minutes of kneading, pinch off  a small piece of dough to test to see if it needs more flour or not. It might leave a little bit of sticky residue on your fingers, but if you can roll it into a small ball without it sticking all over to your hands, it is good to go. If not, gradually add a bit more flour as needed.

Once the dough is the right consistency, cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to rest on the counter for 5 minutes. Once the dough has rested, cut it into 12 equal pieces.

Roll the dough into circles and place into a well-buttered 9 x 13 baking pan. Generously butter the tops and sides of each roll with the melted butter and then place a clean kitchen linen towel on top.  Set aside in a warm place to allow dough to rise. I like to use my warm oven that I had previously preheated.

Remove the rolls from the oven once they have risen.  Turn the oven back on to 375 degrees.  

Bake the rolls for 17-20 minutes or until lightly golden brown in color.  Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining butter. Serve immediately.

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