Tag Archives: Onions

Moving Out Bacon Mac & Cheese

6 Feb

Today starts the first day of my moving out meals!  I’m moving apartments this Saturday, and will be writing recipes that help me use up the food in my kitchen (read allow me to procrastinate instead of pack).  

My first recipe of the week also happens to be my favorite meal.  Tonight I made a creamy Mac & Cheese, and topped it with crunchy and salty bacon.  I just ate a plate of it, and already my mouth is watering at the thought of leftovers. 

Moving Out Bacon Mac & Cheese (serves 3-4)

  • 6 tbs butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 1 1/3 cup Mexican blend of cheeses (includes cheddar, Monterrey jack and Colby cheese)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1 tbs black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs ground mustard
  • sprinkle of nutmeg
  • 4 cups dry pasta like gemelli or penne
  • 4 strips of bacon

In a large saucepan melt butter over medium low heat.  Add onions and saute for 3 mins.  Whisk in flour and let cook over medium low heat for 2 minutes.  Add a sprinkle of pepper.  Your quick rue should look like the picture below.

Put a pot of water on to boil. 

While the water is coming up to temperature, gradually whisk in the Mexican blend of cheeses to your onion and butter mixture until smooth.  Reduce the heat on your cheese mixture and slowly whisk in a cup of the milk to the mixture.  Add the salt, ground mustard, and the remaining pepper to the cheese mixture and stir.  Now gradually whisk in the mozzarella cheese and remaining milk.  The cheese mixture be will thick and pale in color.  Add a dash of nutmeg to your sauce and turn down the heat to low.  Stir sauce periodically as you prepare the rest of the meal.  

Add pasta to your boiling water and cook for about 6-8 minutes.  While the pasta is cooking, spray some non-stick spray on a pan and throw on your bacon over medium high heat.  The bacon should take about 4-5 minutes to crisp up.  Transfer bacon to a paper towel-covered plate.

Drain the cooked pasta and add it directly into the cheese sauce.  Stir until combined, then crumble crisp bacon over top.

This was the ideal dinner.  The onions and nutmeg gave the mac & cheese a hint of sweetness, the cheese and ground mustard added a nice tang, the pepper gave it a hint of heat, and the bacon some salty crunch.  Tonight my procrastination was rewarded.  Remind me of that tomorrow, when I’m buried in boxes!

Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

9 Nov

I love Indian food.  Love it!  The combination of thick comforting stews and curries with rich flavors and a little heat.  Sign me up! 

I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs and had to try it out.  Let’s just say it was WAY more labor-intensive than most crock pot meals.  Let the record also show this was absolutely incredible, and had the depth of flavor you would expect from a fancy Indian restaurant.   Make this, now.

Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala from Eatliverun.com

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 9 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 tbs Ground Coriander
  • 1 tbs Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Yogurt
  • 4 tbs Butter
  • 1 whole Jalapeno Pepper, pierced a few times with a knife

FOR THE SAUCE:

  • 4 tbs Butter
  • 1 whole large Onion, peeled and diced
  • 6 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbs Kosher Salt
  • 3 tbs Garam Masala
  • 1 piece Fresh Ginger, about 2-3 inches, peeled and grated
  • 4 cups crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 tbs Sugar
  • 2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 1-½ cup Heavy Cream

Cut the boneless, skinless chicken thighsinto 1 and a half inch pieces. Sprinkle the coriander, cumin and salt over the chicken, then stir in the yogurt until all the pieces are evenly coated. Cover lightly and let sit for 10 mins before proceeding.

Melt 1 tbs of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Raise the heat to medium high and quickly brown about 1/4 of the chicken. Transfer browned chicken to the crock pot as it is finished, using 1 tbs of butter per batch, and repeat until the chicken is all in the slow-cooker. Throw the pierced jalapeno in on top of the chicken.

Prepare the sauce. Return the pan to the heat and melt the butter over medium high heat.  Add the onions, garlic, and kosher salt, then stir. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to lightly brown around the edges.
 
Stir in the garam masala and ginger and cook until fragrant (about 1 min) before raising the heat to high and adding the crushed tomatoes and sugarStir well, scraping the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil.  Pour over the chicken in the crock pot.
 

Cover and cook on Low for 5 hrs, or until the chicken is very tender.

Use a fork or whisk to stir the cornstarch into the heavy cream until smooth. Pour into the crock pot and stir gently until the color is even. Replace the lid and let cook for 10 mins or until bubbly around the edges.

The traditional way to serve this would be over rice and with some naan.  I laugh in the face of tradition and served it of a curried carrot fettuccine I got recently from Pasta Valente.  Either way, I promise this dish will not disappoint!

My 10 Essential Ingredients

30 Oct

Whether you are an accomplished chef or a novice cook, everyone has a list of their must-have staples for the kitchen.   These are my 10 essential items that I cannot live without in my kitchen.

1. Fresh HerbsThese can add woodsy flavors in the background, or serve as a light, bright touch on the top of a dish.  I use a lot of rosemary, sage and thyme in the kitchen, so I generally purchase the poultry blend as it’s a cost-effective way to get all three.

2.  OnionsI love them sautéed in pasta sauce, caramelized on a pizza (or on anything), and fried on top of burgers.  I buy a these in bulk and store then in a dark, dry place.  Make sure you wash them carefully as they grow in the ground!

3.  Chicken, Veg or Beef StockThese stocks provide a depth of background flavor to any dish and all you need is a few cups.  Making your own stock is a long process, why not take a short cut?

4.  Red or White WineWine is perfect for de-glazing pans aka getting the browned yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.  It’s essential in risottos and excellent in sauces.  Plus a bonus sip or glass for the chef!

5.  ButterPaula Dean is no fool, and there’s a reason why she’s the butter queen.  Butter is an essential fat and I need it for both my savory and sweet creations.

6.  Garlic. Garlic is used in almost all cuisines from Italian to French and even Asian meals.  Plus who can resist that smell?  It brings everyone into the kitchen.

7.  Soy Sauce.  Soy sauce is great for marinades, stir fry, and I even use it in my satay sauce.

8.  Olive Oil.  Most if not all of my recipes start with a base of butter or olive oil.  It’s relatively healthy and can be used to cook meats, to finish salads, or in salad dressings.

9.  Lemons.  Again, I use these in a variety of savory and sweet dishes.  I love the citrus flavor with fish or chicken, and I frequently use the zest in my baked goods.

10.  Balsamic Vinegar or Balsamic Salad DressingPerfect with my favorite tomato and burrata salad or drizzled over roasted veggies.

What are your essential ingredients?

Roasted Squash and Carrot Soup

18 Oct

This recipe smells, looks and tastes of Fall!  It started off with my standard roasted squash recipe.  I take an acorn squash and a butternut squash and cut both of them in half.  Then brushed the halves with a combination of brown sugar, rosemary and olive oil, and roast it for 35 minutes at 300 degrees. 

Usually I’m happy just eating the roasted squash on its own, but after two days I needed another way to use up my leftovers. 

So I decided this was the perfect time to try out my new immersion blender (my new one true love) and whip up a fallish soup.  This soup has it all, sweet and savory with a hint of spice.

Roasted Squash and Carrot Soup (serves 6)

  • 1 roasted acorn squash (see recipe above), chopped
  • 1 roasted butternut squash (same), chopped
  • 2 lbs carrots, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 qt of chicken stock
  • 2 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbs garam masala
  • 2 tbs olive oil

Heat olive oil over medium high heat and add chopped onions and carrots.  Season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium high heat for 20 minutes.  Add squash and garlic to the pot with your onion and carrots, cook for five minutes.  Add chicken stock to pot and reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Check to make sure your veggies are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork.  If so, take out your fabulous immersion blender (or let cool a few minutes and pour into regular ole blender), and puree mixture gradually.  Stop periodically to stir the soup in between rounds of blending. Once the soup is completely blended, season again with salt and pepper and then stir in garam masala