Wednesday, July 24, 2013

International Potluck Day - more Mac and Cheese (baked)

When was the last time you made mac and cheese from scratch twice in one week?  This is a first for me.  I rarely make it, ever.  The crockpot mac and cheese was fantastic and I would have made it again for the potluck lunch but my crockpot still had mac and cheese in it. 

In reference to the title, at work, we have an annual International Potluck Day in which each person makes something from their country and shares it.  Everyone looks forward to this day each year.  The food is amazing.  Inevitably one wag brings in a platter of McDonald's hamburgers.  I opted to make the mac and cheese this year. 

Here is the recipe which I cobbled together from two recipes:

Mac and cheese:

·         16 oz (one box) uncooked elbow macaroni

·         4 tablespoons butter

·         About 12-14 oz grated sharp cheddar cheese

·         2 eggs, beaten

·         1/2 cup sour cream

·         1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup

·         1 cup whole milk

·         One tablespoon dry mustard

·         1/2 teaspoon black pepper

·         1/2 teaspoon salt


·         3 tablespoons butter

·         1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


·         Boil the macaroni until al dente, drain.

·         In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and mix in the grated cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. 

·         Add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well.

·         Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a large casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.  I forgot to set aside some grated cheddar cheese to put on the mixture but I had leftover grated gruyere cheese. 

·         Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chicken Salad with cherries and almonds (AKA the lightbulb came on about organization)

Good morning

In the quest to become more organized while cooking, and, not waste as much food, I had the brilliant idea this weekend that when I bought foods that lent themselves to the sous-chef treatment, I would pre-prep them the minute I got home and put them in containers. 

I have been so much better in the past year about buying non-processed foods.  I wasn't all that bad before.  For instance, I almost never would buy frozen packaged foods, but, I did buy more boxed food than I do these days.  I still buy canned foods but I figure those have minimal processing especially if you label read. 

However, buying fresh means you gotta start eating them right away.  And not lose interest in them.  My theory is that I'd buy all this good stuff, but since my food planning is non-existent - primarily "last minute" ideas, I'd open the fridge, see everything still in wrapping (like celery, cauliflower, rotisserie chicken) and pass it over in favor of something easy.

So, tada.  My Sunday afternoon, after a lovely brunch with friends, consisted of food shopping and when I got home, a glass of chardonnay and some food prep.  In addition to making my crock pot mac and cheese (posted yesterday) I also chopped and bagged the celery, chopped and stored the fresh mango, and shredded the rotisserie chicken.  All in containers, waiting to be used.

And just now, moments ago, I decided to make easy chicken salad for a sandwich at lunch.  Pulled out the chicken, ready to go.  Pulled out the celery, ready to go.  I buy dried cherries like they are going out of style, and I always have almonds and walnuts handy.  The almonds are toasting. 

A little fresh lemon, some mayonnaise (not from scratch, that will be another time), and it's all tossed together.  I'm hoping this organization will pay off - I hate wasting food. 


Rotisserie chicken, shredded
Chopped celery (as much or little as you like)
Handful of dried cherries
Toasted Almonds
Lemon juice

Toss it all together.  I imagine some onion would have been good, too.

For contrast, here was one item from the fantastic Sunday brunch at Orso:

Bacon Sticky Buns!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Warning - this is not low fat.  It is however sinfully good.

2 cups uncooked macaroni
4 tablespoonsbutter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheese (I used gruyere, which probably isn't all that sharp)
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard  (what's with all the mac and cheese recipes that use dried mustard?)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan until tender. Drain and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts.  Gruyere will be very goopy. 
In a crock pot, combine the cheese/butter mixture and add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well.

After all the above is combined, add drained macaroni and stir again.

Cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  I cooked it on low - second to highest setting.
 Soooo good but soooo bad for you.
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