So, for the past week or three I haven’t felt well. At all. So tonight, being Tuesday, is pasta night, and I just didn’t feel up to doing anything complicated, and I did want something comforting. So, homemade mac and cheese! Perfect.
The original recipe comes from Big Oven. I found it on Pinterest. I made a few small alterations. Here ya go. This makes 6-8 side servings, or 2-4 main dish servings.
Homemade Baked Mac and Cheese
- 2 cupsElbow macaroni; uncooked (I used bow tie pasta, as that is what I had on hand)
- 1/2 cupButter; (1-stick)
- 1/4 cupAll-purpose flour (I used freshly ground flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
- 1/4 teaspoonDry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoonWorcestershire Sauce
- 2 cups milk (I used soy)
- 2 cupsSharp cheddar cheese; (8-oz), grated
- Bread crumbs. I used Italian, but use whatever you like/have on hand
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
- While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in a heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Stir in cheese and cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.
- Drain macaroni and gently stir into cheese sauce. Pour into ungreased 2-quart casserole. Top with bread crumbs. Bake uncovered until bubbly, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving
Serve it up with some salad, or as a side dish to your favourite meal. Nom nom!
Monday is salad night. So tonight we went tropical. Reminded me a bit of our week in Jamaica, actually. Or perhaps our time in Mexico/Honduras (2 days… 1 in each place. Cruise.) I found this recipe on Pinterest. Big surprise, right? It’s from a website called The Fit Cook. And because I am me, I added kale. Here’s my altered recipe (click on the recipe title to go to the original page). This serves 4-ish.
Tropical Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup dried quinoa
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- about a cup of kale, sliced finely (or in larger pieces if you prefer)
- 1 red onion, diced (I didn’t have an onion, so I skipped it. Still good, but the onion would have been better)
- 1 can corn
- 1 – 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained (I used dry beans and soaked them)
- 1 lime (I just used a very generous amount of juice from a container.)
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 1 mango (I think I would use 2 mangoes next time)
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- To cook the quinoa, bring two cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the quinoa, plus a pinch of salt, and reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for about 10 minutes, or until the water is absorbed
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a pot or a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, kale, onion, corn and black beans, and cook for 5 minutes, until the onion and bell pepper are lightly caramelized and slightly soft. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the lime (or lemon, if you don’t have lime) juice, the remaining olive oil, and the agave nectar. Whisk together and season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the bell pepper, onion, corn and beans to the bowl. Add the mango and the cooked quinoa to the bowl and toss. Refrigerate until cooled. Add the cilantro, and serve.
The end! It’s sweet, healthy, and tropical. Perfect one dish dinner.
So Fridays have switched from “whatever” night to “sandwich” night. Partly because I love sandwiches, and partly because Saturdays and Sundays are also “whatever” days. So tonight I made an apple and cheddar grilled cheese sandwich with a side of kale, apple and onion salad.
So, for the bread Husband decided he would make some home made quick bread. He makes really good bread. However this bread, while tasty, didn’t rise very high. Maybe an inch and a half? This made for very tricky sandwich art. Especially when it came to flipping it. So my suggestion is to get nice wide bread. Home made is wonderful, just… wide.
Apple Cheddar Grilled Cheese
- 1/2 onion, thinly sliced into rings
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 slices good bread of your choice (the lady I got this recipe from suggest sourdough, tho I used Husbands home made whole grain, and it tasted wonderful)
- 4 slices cheddar cheese
- 1 Fuji apple, thinly sliced
- mustard of your choice
- Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes (or until very soft).
- Spread the mustard on one piece of bread and top with cheese, apples, and shallots. Top with another piece of bread.
- Cook in a skillet with a little melted butter until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden and crisp.
(I cook mine in a dry pan on medium heat. Cuts a few extra calories and keeps the bread from getting soggy. However, either way works wonderfully)
Friday night is “whatever” night. It’s my one week night that I get to cook whatever I want! Weekends are also whatever nights, but often Stephan isn’t home so I eat raw kale, or just have a late lunch and skip dinner, and when he is home he sometimes likes to cook.
So, I love spinach and avocado dip (I don’t eat it often because it’s all cheesy and wonderful and fattening), and both Husband and I love grilled cheese. It’s our favourite comfort food. So I did another gourmet grilled cheese tonight, this time mixing the dip and the sandwich!
I found this on Pinterest, but the recipe is from a site called A Couple Cooks
Spinach and Artichoke Grilled Cheese
- Fresh spinach – enough for about 3 cups chopped
- Canned artichoke hearts – about 6 oz
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1 cup shredded cheese (I used mozzarella)
- 4 pieces bread
- Kosher salt
- Butter or more olive oil
- Dice the 2 cloves garlic. Chop the artichokes. Wash and stem the spinach, then chop it coarsely.
- Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Then add the spinach and a pinch of kosher salt, and saute for a few minutes until just limp. Add the artichokes and saute for another minute or so, until heated through. Drain off any liquid from the pan. Stir in 2 tablespoons sour cream and another pinch of kosher salt.
- Spread butter (or olive oil) on one side of each of the 4 bread pieces. Heat a griddle pan to medium high heat. Place 2 pieces of bread on the griddle, buttered side down. On each piece, spread someshredded cheese, the spinach artichoke filling, some more cheese (1/2 cup cheese per sandwich), and the other piece of bread. When the bottom bread is browned, flip the sandwich and cook until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.
So, I have made a weekly dinner schedule. You know, to help me keep things a bit more organized, make grocery shopping easier, and because husband likes schedules. Nothing too strict, but a nice guideline. Thursday is rice night. Any meal involving rice as the main dish. So, to continue with my 5-days-a-week (or so) of kale kick, tonight we had Kale Fried rice. It was quite good. Husband loved it, I liked it. I will be making this again, but not every week. I got this from a site I discovered today called Erin’s Food Files.
Kale Fried Rice
1/2 lb kale, thick stems discarded
1-1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled & finely minced
3 scallions, trimmed, thinly sliced on diagonal (if you don’t have scallions, an onion will work)
2-1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1 Tbsp soy sauce (So I have this great citrus soy sauce, which goes great with the kale, since kale just begs for citrus! If you are using regular soy sauce, add a generous spritz of lemon juice)
- Cut the kale leaves in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into very thin ribbons (chiffonade). Steam the kale for 7 minutes
- Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, being careful not to brown the garlic. Raise the heat to medium and add the steamed kale and scallions. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the rice and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring. Add the soy sauce and cook for 30 seconds more.
Yep, another kale recipe! I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com while searching for new and different kale recipes. Husband LOVES pasta (seriously, he would eat it for every single meal and be perfectly happy), so mixing kale and pasta is a great way to eat more kale and also make Husband very happy (tho he does like kale, just not as much as pasta). As always, my recipe was slightly altered. Also it served 2 very hungry people, or 4 people with normal appetites.
Sweet Pepper and Kale Pasta
- 1 (8 ounce) package uncooked farfalle (bow tie) pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup roughly chopped kale
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 can diced tomatoes (or fresh, if you have them!)
- 1 pinch dried basil
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in red pepper, yellow pepper, kale, tomatoes and garlic. Season with basil, salt and black pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender. (as always with kale, don’t cook until it’s pea-green and mushy. That makes it quite gross)
- In a large bowl, or the pasta pot, toss cooked pasta with skillet mixture. Sprinkle with feta cheese to serve.
There are a lot of wonderful ways to prepare kale. I usually saute it with onions and garlic, but tonight I thought I’d try something a little different. I like raw kale, so I found a recipe for a Lemon Parmesan kale salad. So, I tossed in some blackberries and tada! It was excellent.
Blackberry Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad
- 3 cups chopped fresh kale
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- pinch of salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan
- a handful of blackberries (as many as you’d like)
In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper. Add kale, blackberries and Parmesan, and toss until the kale is evenly coated. Serve immediately.