Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Paula Deen's Creamy Mac and Cheese

Okay, so the mac n' cheese was a huge hit. The kids liked it (I think in their minds, though, it paled in comparison to the gigantic chocolate birthday cake) and we loved it (even got to eat it for dinner the next night). So, here's the recipe for those of you who appreciate the joys of butter and cheese and are ballsy enough to not count fat or calories (at least for this meal). Its worth it.

Creamy macaroni and cheese (from "Paula Deen Celebrates")
-3+ cups uncooked elbow macaroni
-2.5 cups (about 10 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-3 eggs, beaten
-1/2 cup sour cream
-One 10.75 ounce can cheddar cheese soup
-4 TBL butter, cut into pieces
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup whole milk
-1/2 tsp dry mustard
-1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. Boil the macaroni in 2-quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. Return the drained macaroni to the saucepan and add 2 cups of the cheese. Stir until the cheese melts while the macaroni is still hot. Add the eggs, sour cream, soup, butter, salt, milk, mustard, and pepper and stir well. Pour into prepared dish. Smooth top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. Bake for 40 minutes, until browned and bubbly. Serves 12.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The walking wounded

Given that I just experienced my first cooking wound of the week (stuck my hand in a soup can in the process of washing it, sliced my thumb, now its bandaged and needs a break) I've now got a little bit of time to talk about what I've been up to lately.

Lets see, I've just finished a wonderful book (so wonderful that I'm now feeling a bit lost without it).... "Julie and Julia." Its a wonderful, entertaining, and pretty hilarious book about a young woman who for some crazy reason decides to cook every recipe in Julia Child's cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in one year, and the adventure that ensues. She blogs about her experience (check it out)....giving the reader insight into not only her pretty hilarious life, but also into Julia Child's life and love of cooking. Not that I think my blog will ever be as cool as hers or that I'll get a book deal, but she definitely inspired me to see what this blogging thing is all about.

Now, back to my injury. The soup (the infamous soup that led to the can that led to the wound that led to the bandaid that led to my taking a break from the kitchen) was one of the ingredients in the Macaroni and Cheese that I was making this morning for my little guy's birthday dinner tomorrow. He's turning one, so I'm making macaroni for our family birthday dinner. Its a new recipe, one I've never tried, but its one of Paula Deen's recipes and honestly every single recipe of hers that I've ever made always turns out amazing. You know how sometimes you don't want to risk trying a new recipe when having people over or making a casserole for someone who's just had a baby...well, I don't ever worry about that with Paula Deen.

Anyway, I'll let you know how it turns out....and if its good, I'll post the recipe. Crap, the dog just heard one of those imaginary sounds, barked really loud, and woke the baby! Until next time...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Beef Pot Pie

My favorite, easiest comfort food: Beef Pot Pie

1 package of two pre-rolled, ready to use TJ’s piecrusts

1 TJ’s potroast

1 bag TJ’s frozen vegetables in butter sauce (carrots, peas, cauliflower)

Warm potroast according to package instructions, and shred or chop. Cook vegetables according to directions. Mix all ingredients together, season with salt and pepper. Pour into piecrust, top with remaining pie crust. Seal and crimp edges, cut 2-4 slits in top of pie. Bake at 375 for 40-60 minutes until crust is nice and brown.

Trader Joe's Favorites

Well, its Thursday morning and I actually have a moment to myself. My oldest is at preschool and my youngest is napping - I feel almost human, freshly showered, sipping my coffee, without any small people trying to climb my chair or demanding a snack 15 minutes after breakfast has ended.

Anyway, if you haven't figured it out already, I'm a huge fan of Trader Joe's. When we moved out here to Cali last year and before I had any friends, my weekly grocery shopping trip at TJ's was probably the highlight of the week. Now I have friends and a routine and a second child, and shopping there usually involves taking the baby in the backpack, the toddler in the cart, and an arsenal of snacks. Nevertheless, I still enjoy shopping there, trying new products, dreaming up ways to cook with their products, and of course, eating their food.

Here is my list of Trader Joe's favorites by section:

-Produce section: Goddess Dressing. When we have this salad dressing in the fridge, I pretty much find any and every excuse to have a salad. I've also mixed a little bit into pasta sauce (per TJ's suggestion) and its amazing. Also good on sandwiches or as a dip.

-Sauce section: Red Curry sauce, Punjab sauce (both are great with a bag of their frozen veggies served over brown rice)

-Prepared Foods/Deli/Cheese section: Potroast, Pork Carnitas, Any of their pizza doughs, Chimichurri Sauce

-Frozen foods: Mandarin Chicken (chicken pieces with yummy chinese orange sauce), Balsamic Vegetables

-Bread section: Flat bread, whole wheat tortillas, focaccia buns

Anyway, I'll post some of my recipes soon!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

here i am

I love food and cooking. I love to eat and cook and shop at Trader Joe's and dream up yummy dinners that don't take a lot of work or time. Today, though, on this special day of my first blog posting, I reached an all time low of scary lunches. Started with pita and hummus (so far so good), then some spagghettio-s (leftovers, needed to be eaten or thrown out, and somebody had to do it), a diet coke, and 3 handfuls of m&m's. Aaaah, yes, I am soo gourmet! More riveting tales of great meals to follow...