Page Links

1.24.2015

Creamy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach


I have made a couple small changes to my diet to feel better and be healthier. One being I have reduced how much dairy I am eating. I have really noticed how bloated and heavy I feel after eating something cheesy or drinking a glass of milk.  I swear since reducing my dairy intake my gut is half the size. 
The little kangaroo pouch I always joke about since having 3 kids? Gone. So I really think I am on to something.... me + dairy = not so good. 
A few weeks into my little bloated belly challenge, I got a mad craving for pizza.... and then Cabot sent me one of their spectacular goodie boxes filled with SO MUCH CHEESE.  What was I supposed to do? Suffer I guess, because obviously I had to make some mac n' cheese the day after I binged on pizza. 
This recipe is great because it is made in one pot, no dirtying a second sauce pan for the cheese, and no need for a colander to strain the pasta. Everything gets tossed in one pot. PLUS if you like to do a baked variation, if you use a dutch oven or other cook top/oven safe pot you can toss it in to bake too!  Fewer dishes makes this busy mom super happy. 
Creamy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach

Ingredients:
  • 4 cups uncooked pasta (I use jumbo casserole elbows)
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (one carton) 
  • 1 tbs yellow mustard
  • 8 oz Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature 
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/4-1 cup milk (optional) 
  • Cherry tomatoes for garnish (optional)
Directions:
  1. In a large dutch oven add uncooked pasta, chicken stock, and salt together. Bring to a boil
  2. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer, string occasionally to keep pasta from sticking together. 
  3. Simmer, while stirring occasionally for about 15-20 minutes or until the stock has almost been absorbed completely and the pasta is tender. 
  4. Remove from heat. 
  5. Mix yellow mustard, cheddar, cream cheese, sour cream until it is all incorporated.
  6. Once the cheese is melted, and everything is smooth, add in additional milk 1/4 cup at a time IF NEEDED. 
  7. Mix in spinach and allow to sit for about 5 minutes before serving. I like my spinach wilted, but not completely limp and slimy. 
  8. Serve with fresh chopped cherry tomatoes. Or add a cracker topping and place in the oven at 400 for about 15 minutes or until it is bubbly and browning. 

(Disclaimer: Cabot sent me free cheese to enjoy with my family. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are 100% my own. P.S. I LOVE CABOT!)
Photobucket

1.16.2015

Maple Berry Marshmallows

We have an unspoken rule that for Christmas the husband and I do not purchase gifts for each other. The holiday for us is about spending time with our family and making it a fun day for the kids. This year however, he broke this unspoken rule and surprised me with a gift card to get a new tattoo. 
Does he know me well or what?! For real you guys, this was the best gift ever.  

I emailed my tattoo guy and made an appointment right away. Is it weird that I now have a "tattoo guy"? For this tattoo, since Stevie gifted it to me, I figured I would get one for him. He totally thinks girls with waist/side tattoos are hot so I figured I would get one in that spot for him. (I love them too) I chose to do a single rose because every year on our anniversary (for the last 14-15 years) Stevie has given me a single stemmed red rose. 

My mirror always has toothpaste splats on it... just ignore. 
I feel like between all the new ink in the last year, my newish black hair, and my new big black truck, that naturally I need to buy a motorcycle or some other bad ass mother toy. Seriously WHO am I?! I do not even recognize myself anymore.  I bet you would never guess that I spend my days listening to Boys II Men and making pinkish marshmallows? 


I have avoided making marshmallows at home for years. I have eaten homemade ones on many occasions (made by others obviously) and they are the bomb, but for whatever reason I have always thought of them as being too fussy and messy to make at home with three kids under foot. 

Clearly I was misinformed, they are not fussy at all. In fact they are so easy to make it is not even funny. But messy? Yes, yes they are messy. I think most normal people could make them at home without spreading cornstarch and powdered sugar all over the kitchen. I also think most normal people are capable of turning the mixer on low to ensure hot burning  liquid sugar does not splatter all over the place. 


I am not normal though. I did those things, which did equal a sticky disaster of a kitchen. So If you are fairly confident in the kitchen, and capable of following directions, these mallows are easy as pie. Or maybe that is not a good comparison since so many are not capable of baking pies. But do not fret, even if you can not bake a pie, I think you can make these. Just don't be a hot mess in the kitchen... like me.


I adapted this recipe from a fairly well known candy recipe floating around on the internet, I made some strawberry puree ( you can use whatever berry you would like) and instead of using corn syrup I used maple syrup for no other reason than the fact that I never have corn syrup on hand. Here in New England we sweeten all things with maple syrup.


Maple Berry Marshmallows
Recipe adapted from about.com
Ingredients: 

1 1/4 cups water, divided
1/2 cup fresh berry puree ( I used strawberry, if you do not like seeds, press through a fine sieve before using)
4 envelopes plain gelatin
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup ( I used grade B) 
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
Non-stick cooking spray ( I use a coconut spray found a Trader Joe's) 

Directions:

Line a 9x13 baking dish with aluminum foil and spray generously with non-stick cooking spray. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add half of the water and berry puree with the 4 packets of gelatin. Whisk gently just until the gelatin is mixed in evenly with the water and puree. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile, add remaining water, granulated sugar and maple syrup to a sauce pan and bring to a low boil stirring occasionally. 

Once the sugar has completely dissolved, remove from heat. 

Turn the electric mixer on low speed and slowly whisk in the hot maple and sugar mixture. 

Once the entire mixture has been added, slowly turn your mixer to high. Careful not to do it too fast and splatter hot liquids. (Remember, do not be a hot mess like me!) 

Allow the marshmallow to whip on high speed for about 10 minutes or until it has stiffened and become shiny. 

Pour marshmallow into your prepared baking dish and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours, if not overnight. 

To cut the marshmallows, sift powdered sugar and corn starch together onto a clean workspace, evenly coating the surface(I use my kitchen counter.)  Reserve some of the sugar and starch for the top of the mallows and your knife. 

Turn pan upside down onto the coated work space and carefully peel foil off the bottom of the marshmallows. 

Dust the top of your marshmallows and a sharp knife with any remaining sugar and starch.  Cut into desired shapes. 

The marshmallow are best if eaten the same day, however they do last in an airtight container for up to one week. 

My friend Amy from Very Culinary is also posting fun Heart Shaped Marshmallow recipe on her blog today. You should go check it out... because one can never have too many mallows right?! 

Also for those of you in New England looking for a great tattoo artist, be sure to check out Jef Lessard at Top Shelf Tattoo Gallery in Manchester NH

1.07.2015

15 Minute Tangerine Beef and Broccoli



Dinner is typically a drag in our house. Come five o'clock I do not feel like cooking for anyone. Stirfries tend to be a go to dish because they are quick, easy, plus filled with protein and vegetables. When served over a whole grain like brown rice, quinoa or farro it is the complete package! 
With little prep work you can have this dish done in 15-30 minutes start to finish. AND it is a dish that will please all the picky eaters in your house. While you are at it, save some money on takeout night and make your own fake out dish! It is healthier and way tastier!

15 Minute Tangerine Beef and Broccoli
Ingredients:
For the beef:
1 lb stir fry beef (this is typically thin cut strips of flank steak)
2 tsp sesame oil 
1 egg
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs fresh squeezed tangerine juice (or orange) 
2 tbs Peanut Oil for frying
For the sauce and broccoli: 
1 tsp minced ginger root
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup tangerine juice (or orange) 
2 tbs Sriracha (Thai chili sauce) 
1 tbs honey
2 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs sesame oil
2 cups brocoli floretts 
Directions:

In a mixing bowl whisk together 2 tsp sesame oil, egg, corn starch, soy sauce and 2 tbs tangerine juice. Toss beef  in the mixture. 
Add 2 tbs peanut oil to a large fry pan and heat over high heat. Add beef to the ban and stir fry for about 3-5 minutes, or until the beef has browned. 
Remove from pan and set aside. 
In the same pan, add an additional 2 tsp sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Whisk in beef stock, tangerine juice, Sriracha, honey and cornstarch. Constantly whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Add in broccoli florets and bring to a low boil.  
Mix in the beef you previously fried, mix until coated in the sauce and serve over your favorite grain. 
Additional sesame seeds or tangerine slices for garnish, optional. 
Photobucket