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, 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.
You may have caught on by now, but I LOVE kale! At our house, we have kale about 5 nights a week. So I need lots of different styles and flavours to keep it from getting boring. Tonight I made a salad with almonds and pomegranate. Yes, pomegranate seeds can be a pain to get out, but it’s so worth it!
Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Almonds
- 1/2 pound kale
- 1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (I didn’t have any on hand, but they would be wonderful!
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- 5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- Wash and shake off extra water from the kale. Remove the center ribs and stems; discard. Chop the leaves until fine but still a little leafy.
- Combine the chopped kale, pomegranate seeds, sunflower seeds, and sliced almonds in a large bowl; toss to combine. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar, and olive oil over the kale mixture while continuing to toss. Enjoy!
This is a recipe that, as far as I know, Husband just came up with one day by working off a basic coconut rice recipe. He’s one of those sickeningly awesome people who can smell something and just know what it goes with. So he took coconut rice and added mint and marjoram. It is so yummy!
Minty Coconut Rice
- jasmine rice
- 1 can coconut milk
- mint to taste
- marjoram to taste (1/4 – 1/2 as much as mint, usually)
- Pour the coconut milk into a pot. Add 1 cup of rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.
- Add mint and marjoram to taste. Butter, too, if you wish.
Ta da! Simple and very tasty. We get compliments every time we make this =]
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.
I wanted to make a healthy dinner, but also one that tastes good. I am good with salad or kale most evenings, but husband prefers a bit more… substance. So tonight we had a blackberry and kale salad, brown rice, and butter pecan sweet potatoes. Here’s the potato recipe! Easy, yummy, and healthy. What’s better than that?
Butter Pecan Sweet Potaotes
- 8 medium sweet potatoes (5 lbs.), or one per person
- Olive oil
- 2 tbs butter
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1/3 cup pecan pieces
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel potatoes and quarter lengthwise; slice crosswise 1/2 inch thick. On a baking sheet, toss potatoes with olive oil ); season with salt.
- Cook until potatoes are tender, tossing occasionally, 25-30 minutes.
- Sprinkle with butter, brown sugar, and pecan pieces, dividing evenly. Bake until sugar is carmelized and hard, about 10 minutes. Toss gently; serve immediately. Serves 8.