Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Spinach Mac and Cheese

Alas, a recipe that doesn't involve sugar.

I decided it was time to do something other than bake.

When I was making this, I was reminded how much I hate our stove. Of the four burners, the two big ones, you know that you use for almost everything, have one temperature. High. Hot. Hot. Hot. It's fine if you're cooking pasta. The water boils in about 2 minutes, you ready to eat in 10. Not so fine when you're trying to thicken a milk-cheese sauce at medium low heat.

But it's not the first time we've dealt with faulty appliances. Last year our oven cooked things in half the time, which in theory sounds dandy for us impatient ones, but really throws you off when you're trying to bake and constantly have to check to make sure your creation hasn't become a dry mess.

Anyway this mac and cheese is super simple to make, super cheesy and takes no time at all to make. Perfect for a weekday meal.

Spinach Mac and Cheese
source: Everyday Food

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, minced
/4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, room temperature
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 bunches of spinach (about 1 3/4 pound) cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick strips
5 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
3/4 pound elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions

1. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 6 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring frequently until mixture is pale and golden, about 2 minutes.
2. Whisking constantly, add 2 cups of milk. Add remaining 2 cups of milk and turn heat to medium-high, whisking until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, whisking constantly until sauce comes to a boil, 8-10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, 13-15 minutes.
3. Add spinach and cook, stirring constantly until wilted. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add cooked macaroni and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

M&M Cookies

I'm not sure why but this year it seems as though the only times I'm in the kitchen crafting something new is when I'm baking. Usually my baking is getting sent off or hand delivered to Maine (last week someone got two treats in one week....)
Tonight I had to run some errands (aka go to the liquor store and buy wine..for real people,like not for me to consume before a night out..that was a fun sight, me wandering like a lost puppy at the never ending selection of wine. And go to Wegmans, for the second time in 3 days..sorry daddy :-) and I decided I wanted to bake cookies because why not!

These whip up super quick, especially when you have a cute little helper named Tree. Who likes to eat the batter by the spoonful until she gets a tummy ache............

M&M Cookies
slightly adapted from: Dinners, Dishes, Desserts

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups M&Ms

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Cream together butter, shortening and sugars until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs.
3. Beat in flour, baking soda and salt until well mixed.
4. Using a spatula fold in chocolate chips and M&Ms
5. Scoop small balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden brown around edges.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

The Monday after my birthday celebration I was about to walk out the door to ship J his thank-you treats when I got a text from him saying I'm employed I'm a real person! I was so excited for him I think I told everyone I know. I was so excited and it wasn't even me, when I become a real person it will clearly have a week long party to follow the news at this rate.

I wanted to do something for his first day but had no idea what and I just so happen to be going to visit Friday and his first day was Monday so it would be silly if I showed up Friday with a good luck at your big kid job a week in. I found the cutest idea but still was iffy on sending something if I'd be there so soon and Tess reminded me you only start your first job once so it's a must.

I found a fun little idea on Pinterest of paper bags dressed up with a tie and bow tie, and even though J doesn't have to wear such clothes to work, business casual clothes wouldn't have had quite the same affect.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
slightly adapted from: My Baking Addiction

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old fashion oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup craisins

1. Preheat oven to 350, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
3. In a large bowl, cream  butter and sugars until fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla.
4. Add flour mixture and white chocolate chips and craisins and mix until well incorporated.
5. Drop rounded teaspoons on baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes!

These were super easy to make and so, so good. Super soft and the perfect combination.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sausage Puttanesca with Bocconcini

Thursday I went home for the night to get my laundry done for a doctor's appointment Friday morning, naturally the first thing that was discussed when I decided to come home was what's for dinner. Since it's open house season, catching my mother at dinner time was impossible so it was just me and daddy-o.

He's been trying to perfect his italian sausage recipe all summer and he thought he found a jack pot and wanted me to try, now I'm not a huge fan of italian sausage plain so I thought we should have it in pasta. We sent emails back and forth of recipes and decided on said recipe, and it's a darn good thing we did because it was delicious. So delicious. Puttanesca is one of mom's best dishes and she makes it with shrimp and scallops so I was intrigued to see how this one varied. The sauce was definitely thicker but paired with the italian sausage it was perfect.

My father was in charge of getting the ingredients and made the mistake of asking if I needed anything. Well, yes thank you for asking. Bread? Garlic tuscan. Dessert? Anything chocolate. Pie or Cake? You pick. Pasta shape? Fettucine or anything thick. I was deemed needy. But I think he already knew that :-)

Sausage Puttanesca with Bocconcini
adapted from: Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound italian sausage (removed from the casing)
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 anchovies, mashed
1 tablespoo dried italian seasoning
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 cup pitted olives, chopped (mix of kalamata and green)
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pound pappardelle
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
8 ounces bocconcini, chopped in half
Parmesan cheese, grated

1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat; add sausage, onion, garlic, anchovies and italian seasoning. Break apart the sausage as it cooks into bite size pieces.
2. Once sausage is browned, add tomatoes, capers and olives. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes.
3. Cook pappardelle according to package directions. Mix fresh herbs and bocconcini into sauce and toss immediately with drained spaghetti. Serve with plenty of fresh parm.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I'm still slightly in disbelief that I'm actually 21. I feel as though September 19th would NEVER come. But sure enough it came and went in the blink of an eye. Celebrations started Tuesday, well technically Sunday when I met momma at the outlets for some shopping and then dinner with Al and Mrs. G. Happy day to see best friend. And load up on homemade goodies from momma including sauce for Tuesday's birthday dinner. Mariah made pasta and meatballs, pretty sure t polished off 10 in one sitting. Then that was followed by the best.chocolate.cake.ever with salted caramel buttercream. Drooling thinking about it. (blurry pics because I was tooooo excited to eat)

Wednesday night was so surreal. We went to Faegans which I had never been to, they are rather strict with the whole ID thing so we just stayed away. Kitty dropped us off and first thing the bouncers said when we walked up was "Whose got the fake??" naturally, as obnoxious as possible I yell IT'S MY BIRTHDAY and flash my ID. Wednesdays at Faegan's is flip night so essentially you order, the bartender flips a coin, you guess heads or tails, you get it right free drink, you guess wrong ya gotta pay. I'd say 2/3 isn't too shabby.

Probably one of my favorite nights thus far this year.

Thursday was the longest day of classes ever because the whole time I knew J was on his way and I was so excited for him to be here. Poor kid did not know what he was in for, he's only been here with 3 as maximum girl capacity, surpirse all 6 of us are here now. Thursday night was mom-dad-daughters night. J and I unoffically- officially became parents to Taylor this summer, and newly adopted Teresa and us three girls love to tell him this and he freaks out.


Friday was just even more exciting because Kevin came, and we were all anticipating that so much. I think everyone had a countdown to when Jared and Kevin were going to be here, we're all a bit in maaaaaajor withdrawal from our boys. Me, t, Mariah, J and Kevin went out to dinner (where I ordered my first legal drink at dinner, woohoo!) and then continued on with birthday festivities. (with a little pin the tail on the mariah left over from her birthday)

Saturday momma and daddy came and cooked everyone a feast and everyone was more than loving life being waited on and eating their hearts out. thanks momma & daddy!!!
and more festivities saturday..
Sunday we went out to breakfast before the boys had to depart.

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect birthday and I am so, so, so grateful for everyone who made it so wonderful. I love, love, love alllll of you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Oddly enough I have been wanting fall to be here for a few weeks, coming from the girl who lives for the sun and warmth. September 1st marks the beginning of 1. my birthday month (SO close to being legal) and pumpkin season! I think I love pumpkin so much because pumpkin bread was (and still is) my absolute favorite. When I eat it now it reminds me of my momma and home and my childhood. We used to cut slices and slather them with butter then cut them in half and devour. yummmmmmmmmmmmmmy.

Last weekend I took a spontaneous trip to Maine to spend some time with J because it's been like foreverrrrr and I just did not want to wait until he comes here next week for my birthday so spontaenously bought tickets to see him without him knowing, then surprise hi! see you friday. Obviously needed to bring treats and since it was September I deemed it appropriate to make a pumpkin flavored treat.

It's a miracle any made it to Maine with the hungry little mouths in this house.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
source: Sweet Pea's Kitchen

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 sticks butter, softened
1 large egg
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Cream butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and beat until combined. Add the pumpkin purball, ee and beat at medium speed until combined.
3. Add dry ingredients and beat at low until just combined.
4. Place remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon for rolling in a shallow bowl.
5. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into 1 1/2 inch ball, roll the ball into the sugar mixture and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing about 2 inches apart.
6. Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes until soft and puffy.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Honey-Mustard Salmon

I think this was the first meal I cooked in forever this summer. One weekend I was here alone, Tay and Kitty deserted me to go home and I had to work so I was stuck here all alone. My mom, dad and Lootie came for a visit and came bearing the new Everday Food so obviously I had to check it out and snap pics of recipes I wanted to try. Super easy and quick weeknight meal!

Honey-Mustard Salmon
source: Everday Food

2 teaspoons honey
4 teaspoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons champagne or white-wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 pound boneless, skinless salmon filet, cut into 4 pieces

1. Preheat oven to 450.
2. Whisk together honey, mustard, vinegar and oil. Season with salt and pepper.
3. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss onion with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette and bake 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, stir 1 tablespoon vinaigrette into breadcrumbs. Coat fish wih 1 tablespoon vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Top the fish with breadcrumb mixture and add to sheet. Bake until fish is cooked through, about 7 minutes.