Sharing and enjoying my small-town life with my darling husband, family, friends,
faith, two adorable Ragdoll cats and one very sassy Yorkie!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day # 21 (A Favorite Recipe)

This was a hard one.  I love to cook and have SO MANY favorite recipes.   So how to choose?  A new favorite, or an old faithful "stand-by"?   A seasonal recipe, or a year-round one?  Sweet?  Or savory?  Light?  Or indulgent?  See, there I go again ... OVERANALYZING!  (It's a curse, I tell you!!!)

So I went through my files and decided to pull out a few recipes that (in both my opinion and my husband's) are true "10's".  That's as high as it gets around here, folks!  To earn a "10", a recipe has to not only be delicious, but also something a bit "different" from the *usual*, and a definite repeater.

So, in no particular order... here goes:

Refrigerated crabmeat from the seafood department is best, but canned crabmeat is a budget-friendly way to enjoy this meal any night of the week.  We LOVE this recipe either way!

1 1/2 cups diced plum tomato (about 3 tomatoes)
1/2 cup prechopped red onion
1/2 cup diced avocado (about 1/2 avocado)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups canned lump crabmeat (such as Chicken of the Sea)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 (10-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas (I use multigrain tortillas)
4 romaine lettuce leaves, trimmed

Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
Combine crabmeat, cream cheese, and cilantro in a small bowl (I also add chopped green onions); spread evenly down center of each tortilla. Place 1 lettuce leaf over crabmeat mixture. Spoon tomato mixture evenly over lettuce, and roll up.
~ Cooking Light

I am always looking for (different and unusual) chili recipes. (Hey, we have LOOONG cold winters here in PA!) Fans of buffalo chicken wings will LOVE this spicy, slow-cooked soup. Top individual servings with crumbled blue cheese to complete the flavor. (Freshly baked cornbread makes a nice side dish!)

2 1/2lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used chicken breast)
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium stalks celery, sliced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 cup chicken broth (from 32-oz carton)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce (from 12-oz jar)  (I use more)
Crumbled blue cheese

Spray 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In cooker, mix all ingredients except buffalo wing sauce and cheese.
Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8 to 10 hours.
Stir in buffalo wing sauce. Serve sprinkled with blue cheese.  YUM!!!

(PS:  I did not use a slow cooker; I used my dutch oven on top of the stove and simply cooked the chiliit'sit until the chicken was done and the flavors combined.  And oh, by the way -- it's even better second day!)

This is a delightfully fresh and delicious dessert; a great way to enjoy mangoes (my favorite fruit, BTW!)

To dress up the serving platter, garnish with a handful of fresh raspberries or blackberries.
4 cups sliced peeled (ripe) mango (about 3 pounds)
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh mint
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon honey

Place all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss gently to combine. Cover and chill 1 hour.
~ Cooking Light

There are a LOT of fish taco recipes out there, and I've tried 'em all!  This one keeps rising to the top!

3/4 pound mahi mahi or other firm white fish fillets
2 teaspoons fajita seasoning
2 cups presliced green cabbage (about 6 ounces)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 1/2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
1/2 avocado, pitted and diced
Bottled salsa
Lime wedges

1. Lightly spray grill rack with nonstick cooking spray, and preheat grill.
2. Sprinkle both sides of fish with fajita seasoning, gently pressing into flesh. Grill fish 3-4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Flake into pieces with a fork; keep warm.
3. In a small bowl, mix together cabbage, lime juice, salt, and cilantro. 
4. Wrap the tortillas in paper towels, and microwave 1 minute on HIGH or until they're warm.
5. Place taco ingredients on the table for assembly. Spread each tortilla with 1 teaspoon of sour cream mixed with chipotle and top with fish, cabbage mixture, and avocado. Serve with salsa and lime wedges on the side
~ Health magazine

Three desserts in one, this combines a cookie-style crust, sweet peach filling, and ice cream for one delicious dish. We love it because you can make all the components ahead and assemble at the last minute.  And what a fun idea to jazz up store-bought ice cream!

Ice cream:
4 cups good quality store bought vanilla ice cream, softened
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted  (I used more pecans)
1/4 cup bourbon (I used more bourbon!)  ;o)

2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup evaporated fat-free milk
2 large egg yolks

11 cups sliced peeled peaches (about 4 pounds)
1 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

To prepare ice cream, combine vanilla ice cream, chopped pecans, and bourbon in a bowl; cover and freeze mixture for at least 3 hours.

To prepare crust, lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor; pulse 2 times or until blended. Add coconut and butter; pulse 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine milk and egg yolks. Remove 1 tablespoon milk mixture; set aside. With processor on, slowly pour remaining milk mixture through food chute; pulse 5 times or just until blended. Gently press mixture into a 6-inch square on heavy-duty plastic wrap; cover with additional plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Roll dough, still covered, into a 14 x 10-inch rectangle.

Preheat oven to 350°.  To prepare filling, combine sliced peeled peaches, brown sugar, 6 tablespoons flour, nutmeg, and dash of salt in a large bowl; spoon into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Remove one sheet of plastic wrap from dough; place dough on peach mixture, pressing to edge of dish. Remove the remaining sheet of plastic wrap; brush dough with reserved milk mixture. Cut 6 (2-inch) slits in dough, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until golden. Let stand 30 minutes on a wire rack. Serve with bourbon-pecan ice cream.
~ Cooking Light

For a fitting end to a hearty autumn meal, serve this free-form tart featuring pears, cheddar, and caramel. You can make the galette a day ahead, but drizzle the caramel over it just an hour or 2 before you serve it.  And don't skip the cheddar cheese -- it MAKES this recipe!

1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded aged sharp Cheddar cheese
5 ripe Bartlett or D'Anjou pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch slices
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
(Or just use prepared caramel ice-cream topping -- still delish!)

Preheat oven to 400°.  To prepare galette, line a jelly roll pan with foil, and coat foil with cooking spray. Roll dough into an 11-inch circle; place on baking sheet. Sprinkle crust with cheese, leaving a 1-inch border.

Combine pears, juice, and nutmeg in a large bowl; toss well. Add brown sugar and flour; toss gently. Arrange fruit on dough leaving a 2-inch border. (Pears will be piled high on dough.) Fold edges of dough toward center, pressing gently to seal (dough will only partially cover pears). Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned (filling may leak slightly during cooking). Cool galette on a wire rack.

To prepare caramel, heat granulated sugar in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring as needed to dissolve sugar evenly (about 4 minutes). Cook 1 minute or until golden. Remove from heat. Drizzle over galette.
~ Cooking Light

The simplicity of this dessert belies its sumptuousness. It uses ingredients you're likely to have on hand. The easy procedure requires no mixer. If you don't have 2-ounce ramekins, you can make the dessert in a regular-sized muffin pan.  I LOVE this... ooey, gooey and oh-so-chocolatey!!!  YUM!

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white (I just use 1 whole egg)
8 teaspoons semisweet chocolate chips (Um, I MIGHT use more chocolate... !)
1 tsp instant coffee granules

Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly coat 4 (2-ounce) ramekins with cooking spray, and sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon sugar into each of the ramekins, shaking and turning to coat. Set prepared ramekins aside.

Combine 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, milk, and cocoa in a small saucepan, stirring well with a whisk. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook 30 seconds or until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add the butter and 1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate and coffee. Stir until the chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Cool chocolate mixture 10 minutes.

Add flour, vanilla, salt, and egg white to chocolate mixture, stirring with a whisk just until blended. Spoon 2 tablespoons chocolate mixture into each prepared ramekin, and top each with 2 teaspoons chocolate chips. Divide the remaining chocolate mixture evenly among ramekins, spreading to cover the chocolate chips. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until barely set. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Invert onto dessert plates. Serve warm.
(OH. MY. WORD.  To die for!!!! )

This is a wonderfully "different" enchilada recipe.  We serve with ALL the garnishes... they really make the meal!

1 (15 ounce) can low-fat or fat-free refried black beans or pinto beans
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
3/4 cup sliced scallions
2 teaspoons each ground coriander and cumin
1 3/4 cups prepared tomatillo salsa, divided
8 (6 inch) flour tortillas (I use corn tortillas)
1 cup crumbled queso anejo or farmer cheese
Chopped cilantro, sliced radishes, diced ripe avocado, sliced romaine lettuce, pickled jalapeno, sliced green onions, light sour cream -- for garnishes (optional and to taste)

Preheat broiler. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine beans, tomato, scallions, coriander, cumin and 1/2 cup salsa. Microwave until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon 1/4 cup salsa into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.

Spoon about 1/3 cup hot bean mixture down the center of each tortilla; roll up and place seam side down in prepared pan. Spread the remaining 1 cup salsa evenly over the enchiladas; top with cheese. Broil 5 to 6 inches from the heat until heated through and the cheese melts, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to warmed plates; garnish as desired.
~ Eating Well Magazine

Glistening like sticky buns, these unusual muffins are packed with wholesome ingredients--vegetables, fruit and whole grains--so you can feel good about serving them to your family. If you prefer to make simple carrot muffins for lunchboxes or breakfasts-on-the-go, omit the topping; sprinkle 2 tablespoons chopped nuts over the muffins before baking, if desired.

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, or pecans (optional)
1 10-ounce can pineapple slices
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons pineapple juice, or orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, (not drained)
1 cup grated carrot, (1 large)
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup raisins, chopped
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans (optional)

1.Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.
2.To prepare topping: Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar into each muffin cup. Sprinkle nuts, if using, over the sugar. Stack pineapple slices and cut into 6 wedges. Place 2 wedges in each muffin cup.
3.To prepare muffins: Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
4.Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in oil, juice and vanilla. Stir in crushed pineapple. Make a well in the dry ingredients; add the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in carrot, oats, raisins and nuts, if using. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups (they'll be quite full).
5.Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and firm to the touch, 15 to 25 minutes. Immediately loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a baking sheet. Restore any stray pineapple pieces and nuts. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve upside-down, either warm or at room temperature.

~ Eating Well Magazine

My daughter and I LOVE this!
These next 3 recipes would make an excellent "breakfast-in-bed" for someone you love!!!

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in a splash of water
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 - 1 tsp. cinnamon
8 slices stale white bread or 6 slices thick cut stale bread (we love crusty round sourdough loaves for this)
Butter, for griddle pan
Warm maple syrup, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar and/or fresh berries for topping

(Serve with Three Berry Compote  -- recipe follows)

Preheat nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat. Beat eggs very well, add sugar and beat again. Add cornstarch in water and beat that in, then add milk and nutmeg. Coat bread thoroughly in egg-milk mixture. Lightly butter hot pan with butter nested in paper towels. Add bread to the pan and cook slowly, 3 or 4 minutes on each side, 2 to 3 slices at a time. Serve hot with your favorite toppings or Three Berry Compote

(NOTE: I have used frozen berries and had excellent results!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup water
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey

Combine sugar, lemon and water in a small sauce pot. Over moderate heat, dissolve sugar into water. Stir in fruit, coating it in sugar water and bring the fruit and water to a bubble. Reduce heat and simmer 7 or 8 minutes. Remove fruit with a slotted spoon to a serving dish and add maple syrup or honey to the pan. Thicken syrup 5 minutes and pour over fruit. Serve with French toast, pancakes or waffles.



1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil

Combine salt and pepper, fennel in the bottom of a bowl. Add pork and mix to combine spices. Pour 2 tablespoons maple syrup over the pork and work the meat again to combine the maple syrup. Form meat into patties, 2 to 3 inches round. Cook patties in 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat 4 or 5 minutes on each side. Drain sausage patties on towel lined plate, then serve.
~ Rachael Ray, Food

Try baked oatmeal for a unexpected morning treat. It's a mix between an oatmeal bar and traditional creamy breakfast oatmeal. Mmmmmmm!

2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats (I like mine more rustic and hearty - I use "old fashioned" oats instead)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup raisins (craisins are delicious, too!)
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (I use more than that, I LOVE walnuts!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp. cinnnamon
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine the milk, applesauce, butter, and egg. Add milk mixture to oat mixture; stir well. Pour oat mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Serve warm.
~ Cooking Light

A recipe originally shared with me by one of my dearest friends, Leah.  One of my husband's favorite foods on the planet.  EVER!

1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoonsful peeled, minced fresh ginger (I use more than that, we love ginger!)
1 teaspoon (or less) crushed red pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoonful fresh lime zest
1 cup long-grain rice
3/4 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 large mushrooms, quartered
14 oz can coconut milk ("light" OK)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoonsful fresh lime juice
4 green onions, sliced
Fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in heavy pan over medium heat.  Add ginger and red pepper flakes and saute until aromatic, about 1 minute.  Add stock and lime zest.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in rice and onion, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer until rice is very tender, about 20 minutes.  Add shrimp, mushrooms, coconut milk and cook until shrimp are opaque, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in lime juice.  Garnish with green onions and cilantro.

Thanks, Leah!!!  (xoxo!)

This is a very popular dessert in our family. We LOVE it, and (although it doesn't LOOK like it was) it is so easy. We get frequent requests for this, and we are always happy to oblige!

1 1/2 cups brewed strong coffee
1/4 cup Kahlúa (coffee-flavored liqueur), divided
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) mascarpone cheese
1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
24 ladyfingers (2 [3-ounce] packages) *** See note, below
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa, divided

Combine the brewed coffee and 2 tablespoons Kahlúa in a shallow dish, and cool. 
Combine cheeses in a large bowl. Beat at high speed of a mixer until smooth. Add sugars and 2 tablespoons Kahlua, and beat until well-blended.
Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise.
Quickly dip 24 ladyfinger halves, flat sides down, into coffee mixture; place, dipped sides down, in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish, slightly overlapping ladyfinger halves. Spread half of cheese mixture over ladyfingers; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cocoa. Repeat procedure with remaining ladyfinger halves, coffee mixture, cheese mixture, and 1 teaspoon cocoa.
Place 1 toothpick in each corner and 1 in the center of tiramisu (to prevent plastic wrap from sticking to cheese mixture); cover with plastic wrap. Chill 2 hours.
~ Cooking Light
*** NOTE:  Sliced angel food cake or slices of pound cake can substitute nicely for the lady fingers if you can't find them!

I just LOVE this. IMHO, a perfect dessert.   (In fact, I could eat the whole 8" x 8" pan of this myself.  I am NOT kidding you!!!)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups blackberries
3/4 teaspoon powdered sugar

Preparation:  Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl; add the buttermilk, lemon rind, lemon juice, butter, and egg yolks, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth.

Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into the buttermilk mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Fold in blackberries.

Pour the batter into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Place in a larger baking pan; add hot water to larger pan to depth of 1 inch. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until the cake springs back when touched lightly in center. Sprinkle cake with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

An unusual pizza, and one that is truly divine!

NOTE:  Turn this into an easy weeknight dinner by using your favorite premade pizza shell!  Hey, I won't tell!  ;o)

3 cups bread flour
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons bread-machine yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sliced green onions (about 2 bunches)
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
6 tablespoons (about 3 ounces) mascarpone cheese
6 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon
1 tablespoon capers
6 lemon wedges

Preparation:  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Follow manufacturer's instructions for placing flour and the next 4 ingredients (flour through salt) into bread pan, and select dough cycle; start bread machine.

Remove dough from machine (do not bake). Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for 30 seconds. Cover dough; let rest 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°. 

Divide dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 9-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper, and place dough rounds on pans. Lightly coat top of dough with cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 15 minutes or until puffy.

Divide the onions and pepper evenly among dough rounds. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Remove from oven; drop 3 teaspoonfuls of cheese onto each round. Arrange 1 ounce smoked salmon on top of each pizza, and divide capers evenly among pizzas.

Bake the pizzas an additional 8 minutes or until the cheese melts. Serve pizzas with lemon wedges.

This is such a fun recipe... a cross between a souffle and a pancake.  A preheated cast-iron skillet enables the batter to start cooking immediately and causes it to puff.
Cook the bananas while the Dutch baby is in the oven, so they'll be done at the same time.


3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (as usual, I use more!)
3 large firm bananas, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup coffee-flavored liqueur (Kahlúa)
Whipped cream
Preparation:  Preheat oven to 450°.
Place a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in a 450° oven for 15 minutes. Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in preheated pan until browned, swirling to evenly coat pan. Add batter; sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until puffed and browned.

Cut banana halves in half crosswise. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bananas; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Add liqueur; simmer 1 minute. Serve with Dutch baby; top with whipped cream.
~ Cooking Light

And here's my last recipe for this post. This is a recipe that my daughter made for a family dinner recently, and it was a HUUUUGE hit. Everyone LOVED it. It is soooo yummy... comfort food at its finest! This recipe makes a ton, so invite your friends or family over to share it with you... and bon appetit!!!

7 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided x 3), plus more for the dish
Kosher salt
1 pound elbow macaroni  (I used whole wheat elbows)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 garlic cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank's)  -- I used LOTS more!  We LOVE Frank!!!  ;-)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dry mustard (regular Dijon works fine, too!)
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 pound yellow sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.
Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
~ Food

I'm telling you, this is 100 ways of wonderful.  It's also quite indulgent... but as you can see, MOST of the recipes posted here were quite healthful as I do most of my cooking from Cooking Light and Eating Well magazines.  But there are some things just "worth the splurge"... and trust me, this mac 'n' cheese is one of them!


So there you go... I hope you have enjoyed this small glimpse into our kitchen and some of our favorite meals. Perhaps you have even been inspired to try something new, which would simply tickle me pink!

If you do try one (or more!) of the recipes posted here, please think of me while you are enjoying it.  And OH, I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Wow! What a nice collection of recipes. I have fond memories of the chocolate chip Dutch baby, the tiramisu, tomatilla enchiladas,and espcially the peach cobbler with vanilla bourbon icecream. Super yummy.
    Thank you so much. I am going to try to make a lot of these. I think I will start with the shrimp soup (from Leah.)

  2. I thought of you, too, when I was posted many of these recipes! xoxox Haven't we had fun, cooking together at the beach? The best part of making good food is enjoying it with someone you love. I LOVE YOU!