I have been making some fun recipes that I thought would be nice to share with a little review.
First it must be noted that I live in the South and Mac & Cheese consumption can be very serious business. I am a Yankee so I have been told countless times since we have resided here (for about 5 years now). So brace yourself for a non-southern rendition of Mac & Cheese ala Martha.
Please try this!! The Gruyere cheese was amazing. Just a note it can be tricky to find non-smoked Gruyere. Publix carries it in the hard cheese section. It can be a bit pricey (about 10 bucks for 5 ounces). Another substitute would be a nice white cheddar. I also think Kale would be a yummy substitute for this dish.
1. Spinach Mac & Cheese
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1/3 cup all purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, room temperature
Salt & Pepper
2 bunches curly or flat leaf spinach (about 1 3/4 lbs total), trimmed washed, and cut cross
wise into 1/2 inch strips (I eyeballed when I thought there was enough–used about a 9 oz bag of pre-washed flat leaf spinach)
5 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (2 cups) (or substitute whatever cheese you like)
3/4 lb elbow macaroni, cooked according to package instructions (I used the whole box about 1 lb)
-In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium. Add onion and cook until translucent (6 minutes or so).
-Whisk in flour and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden and has a slightly nutty aroma, about 2 minutes.
-Whisking constantly, add 2 cups milk. Add remaining 2 cups milk, raise heat to medium high, and whisk until smooth, season with salt and pepper.
-Cook, whisking constantly, until sauce comes to a boil, (8-10 min)
-Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 13-15 minutes
-Add spinach and cook, until wilted. Add cheese and stir until melted (about 2 min).
-Add cooked macaroni and stir to combine.
From Everyday Food (April 2011 issue)
2. Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower &Chickpeas
1 whole chicken (3.5-4lbs), cut into 8 pieces
1 pt grape or cherry tomatoes
1 small head cauliflower, cored and cut into 2-inch florets (I used 2 bags of pre-washed cut cauliflower because they were on sale that day)
1 lg red onion (I used a white/sweet onion)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Seasoning, with garlic and other herbs you enjoy
-Preheat to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and middle thirds. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
-Place on rimmed baking sheet (I put tinfoil on mine–would highly recommend for easy cleanup) with skin side up and roast for 20 minutes.
-Remove chicken and transfer to another rimmed baking sheet with the tomatoes.
-Add Cauliflower, onion and chickpeas to the drippings on the first sheet (season with S&P and other herbs)
-Roast Chicken and veggies on middle rack until golden and cooked through (approx 30 min)
This recipe boosted by confidence in the kitchen. Can you say helllloooo Top Chef? I cut a whole chicken down to 8 pieces in about 5-8 minutes (really should have timed it accurately). It was so easy! I used the Chow.com tutorial for guidance.
Another perk whole chickens go on sale and are much cheaper when you buy the organic/free range variety as a whole bird.
The combination of cauliflower, chickpeas, onion, tomatoes was delicious. I will definitely be doing this as a side in the future (oh and P.S. John liked it!!!).
From Everyday Food (April 2011 issue)
3. Raspberry Cornmeal Crumble Bars
3/4 cup natural almonds
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks butter, melted
10 ounces frozen raspberries
Vanilla bean ice cream for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degree. Line a 8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper (I used a Pyrex 9X13 dish).
In food processor, pulse almonds until finely ground (about 1 cup).
In a large bowl whisk ground almonds, cornmeal, flour, sugar, and salt. Add butter and stir until dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Press about two-thirds the dough into the dish. Scatter raspberries over top and crumble remaining dough over raspberries.
Bake until top is golden brown (35-40 min)
Ok–I doubled this recipe (everything X2). This recipe did well with equal doubling (when you bake you need to be carefully on doubling–doesn’t always work out like regular cooking) and I figured it would..not a whole lot of rising etc. But..do not add 4 sticks of butter–too greasy. I would say 3 tops…in fact I really think you could get away with 2.5 sticks. I need to keep tweaking.
I think this recipe would be awesome with some fresh blueberries or blackberries…or whatever your heart desires here. It was pretty good. Will definitely keep in the rotation (with some minimal tweaking).
From Everyday Food (April 2011 issue)–I think you get the idea.