Kerrygold Mac and Cheese

No, I haven’t gotten back together with ATK.  But I still have some of their recipes floating around my kitchen which need to make their way to the blog.  Like this stovetop mac and cheese.  I’ve had it in my life for almost four years and yet I haven’t yet shared it with you.

And that’s just wrong.  Because in the world of quick and easy cooking, it doesn’t get much better than this.  In the time it takes to get your water to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente, the sauce is ready to receive the macaroni and coat it in its luscious, creamy goodness.  I think that should be enough motivation to put this on your menu soon.

Confidential to Jenna…I know you didn’t exactly hit it off with the last stovetop mac and cheese I raved about.  I hope you’ll have a better experience with this.

Kerrygold Mac and Cheese

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

BAH Note: The recipe I worked from was actually a “lighter” mac and cheese that used low fat this and light that.  I personally don’t eat pasta often.  So when I do, it’s a big deal and I go all out.  If you find you’re making this on a regular basis, you may want to consider using the reduced fat versions of milk, evaporated milk, and cheese.  Also, ATK didn’t name the recipe Kerrygold Mac and Cheese….that was all my doing.  Do yourself a huge favor and try it at least once with Kerrygold Cheddar…and you’ll see why.  But note that the blocks of Kerrygold are only 7 ounces.  That missing ounce didn’t make any difference in my sauce.

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup milk or half and half
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • kosher salt
  • cayenne pepper or chili powder (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the package directions until it is al dente.  If your pasta is done before the cheese sauce is ready, drain the pasta and leave it in the colander while the sauce finishes.

Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of the milk or half and half in a small bowl until dissolved and set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk together the evaporated milk, the remaining 1/2 cup milk or half and half, and dry mustard in a pot or dutch oven and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat slightly and whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Continue to simmer, whisking often, until the sauce thickens and is smooth, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.

Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and add the grated cheese.  Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.  Stir in the pasta, taste for seasoning, and add kosher salt as desired.

Let the macaroni and cheese sit for about 5 minutes before serving, garnished with a very light sprinkle of cayenne pepper or chili powder.

{printable recipe}

Fish Piccata

I love gummi fish..but not gummy fish piccata.

If you’ve been hanging around these parts for a while, you’ve seen the name Melissa d’Arabian once or twice before.  She was the winner of The Next Food Network Star a few seasons back who now has her own TFN show.  I was pretty much in her corner from the beginning.  I loved that she was a home cook competing with professionals and that she carried herself with confidence.  It was very much a Rocky moment for me when she won.

So I’ve been watching her show, Ten Dollar Dinners.  To be honest, I don’t manage to keep my food expenditures down to $2.50 per person.  Not even by shopping sales, cutting coupons, and using my store “loyalty” cards.  It’s a lofty goal and I give her mad props for showing that it can be done without sacrificing quality and that weeknight meals don’t have to involve canned this or microwaved that.

This is not to say that all of her recipes speak to me.  Black bean brownies?  Thank you, no.  But the ones that I have gone online and printed out have won me over.  Pot Roast CarbonnadeCrispy Skinned Orange ChickenBraised Pork?  All her recipes.  And now it looks as though Fish Piccata has earned a spot on that list.  This could quite easily become a regular weeknight meal at our house.

Fish Piccata

Adapted from Melissa d’Arabian

BAH Note:  This is a quick cooking dish.  Be sure to have all your ingredients prepped and ready before you start cooking.  Don’t be tempted to dredge the fish in the flour and then let it sit on a plate while the oil heats.  You’ll end up with gummy fish.  While I personally enjoy gummi or swedish fish, you want to avoid gummy fish piccata.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 small fillets of tilapia or sole
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed if you prefer
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  While the oil heats, dry the fish with paper towels and season with salt.  Once you are ready to cook, dredge a fillet in the flour, shake off the excess, and place in the pan.  Repeat with remaining fish fillets until all are in the pan

Cook about 4 minutes on each side, until the fish is browned and just cooked through.  Transfer the fish to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Use the white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.  After about a minute, add the lemon juice and capers and whisk to combine.  Whisk in the butter.

Serve the fillets topped with the sauce.

{printable recipe}

Overnight Chicken

Call me quirky but I think that’s one sexy picture.  I love how the chicken is a lovely shade of golden browned and the cutting board is covered in succulent, dijon/curry/soy goodness.  The only thing I would change about this meal is deciding to pair it with some overly aggressive ginger glazed carrots.  They completely overpowered the chicken.

Overnight Chicken

Adapted from Baked Bree

BAH Note:  As long as you remember to prep the chicken the night before, this recipe will treat you just fine.

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 bone in chicken breasts

In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, dijon, curry powder, and soy sauce.  Transfer the liquid to a large bowl or plastic bag and add the chicken.  Refrigerate overnight.

When ready to cook, heat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the chicken and marinade in a large baking dish, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 1 hour.  After an hour, increase heat to 375 degrees, remove the foil, and baste the chicken with the juices.  Bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

{printable recipe}

Pam Anderson’s Perfect One Dish Chicken Pot Pie

Today we’re going on a journey of the imagination.  Look at the photo above.  Now close your eyes and imagine quick and easy drop biscuits topping that bowl of appley, chickeny goodness.  That, my friends, is some simply delicious pot pie.

Now, you may have mixed feeling about pot pie.  Those frozen hockey pucks with cardboard crusts and thin, bland filling.  Dear friends, make no mistake, that is not potpie.  If the prepackaged variety is all you’ve ever known, this recipe may change your mind, and your life.

Before you start saying “I can’t make potpie, it takes too much time” or “I love potpie but I have an irrational fear of making dough”, take a moment.  Imagine a potpie that doesn’t require a rolled crust or an all day commitment.  Does that sound too good to be true?  Believe me when I say that it’s for real.

If one recipe could justify the purchase of a cookbook, this is it.  Because if you never made anything else from Pam Anderson’s Perfect One Dish Dinners, her Chicken Pot Pie alone is worth the list price.  With a minimal number of ingredients and the tiniest amount of effort, you too can enjoy potpie as it should be.  Rich and creamy, hearty and filling, in no time flat.  Just imagine the possibilities.

Chicken Pot Pie

Adapted from Pam Anderson’s Perfect One Dish Dinners

BAH Note: I halved the amount of chicken Pam calls for in her recipe because I prefer a high ratio of sauce to chicken in my potpies.  But that’s just me.  I also reduced the amount of flour in the sauce by half because I kept ending up with lumps.  That could have just been me also.  Please don’t be tempted to substitute onions for the leeks.  It just won’t be a good trade off.  I was quite wary of the leek for the longest time…until I used them in this recipe.  What I learned is that the leeks provide a subtle flavor and are the perfect complement to the apple and sage.  I also learned that when you don’t have the ingredients on hand to make the quick drop biscuit topping, you leave it off and call it Chicken Stew. I made this in a 5.5 quart dutch oven.  You could also bake it up in a 9×13 baking dish or two 9 inch pie plates, but I like keeping the number of dirty pans to a minimum.

BAH Tip: Leeks are deceptive.  They may look clean on the outside while the inside is full of gritty sand.  You don’t want that in your dish.  To remove the sand, cut the dark green tops off the leeks and then slice the leeks in half lengthwise.  If there isn’t much sand inside, place the halves under running water and separate the layers to rinse the sand away.  For particularly sandy leeks, fill a large mixing bowl with water, slice the halved leeks, and place the slices into the water.  Use your hands to swish the slices around so that the sand falls to the bottom of your bowl.  Use a slotted spoon or your hands to carefully remove the leek slices from the water, leaving the gritty sand in the bowl.

Base

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 large leeks, washed thoroughly (see tip above), light green and white parts only, chopped
  • 2 large apples, quartered, cored, and sliced thinly (Granny Smith is especially nice for this)
  • 2 to 3 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken or turkey
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage

Biscuits

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 stick of butter, frozen
  • 1 cup buttermilk, cold

Place oven rack in lower middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

Microwave the chicken broth and evaporated milk in a large microwave safe bowl for 3 to 4 minutes until it is just steamy.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the leeks and apples and cook for 7 to 10 minutes until they are just tender.  Transfer the leek and apple mixture to a large bowl.  Add the shredded chicken or turkey to the bowl and set it aside.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in the now empty skillet set over medium heat.  When the foaming subsides, whisk in the flour and sage and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until golden.  Slowly add the warmed milk, whisking until smooth, and simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens.  Add the chicken mixture back to the pot and stir until it is combined.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.  Top with biscuits and bake until the biscuits are golden brown and the filling bubbles, approximately 30 to 35 minutes.

To make the biscuit topping, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cheddar cheese in a medium bowl.  Using the coarse side of a box grater, carefully grate the frozen butter into the flour mixture and mix quickly with your fingertips to blend evenly.  Mix the buttermilk into the dry ingredients with a fork until the dough just comes together.  Use your fingers to pinch small rounds of dough and place on top of the filling.

{printable recipe}

Abby Dodge’s S’mores Bars

So remember how I gushed about the people I met at the Big Summer Potluck, how warm and welcoming they were, how genuine and down to earth everyone was? None of that has changed.  They are all lovely people.  What I didn’t realize going into the event was exactly WHO some of these folks were.  At the risk of having BAH shut down by the food blog police for gross ignorance, I am oblivious to the vast majority of the food world. Continue reading “Abby Dodge’s S’mores Bars”

Chocolate Double Spice Cookies

Chocolate Double Spice

Don’t you just want to reach out and grab one of those cookies up there?  I really wish you could because they are freaking fantabulous.  Chocolaty, but not overly sweet, with a nice hit of spicy heat.  In a moment of either sheer genius or outright madness, I dug into the spice cabinet and pulled out a secret weapon to really turn up the heat because I’m a sweet/spicy freak.  How else would you explain that I used a Chili Spice Rub in cookie dough? Continue reading “Chocolate Double Spice Cookies”

That Was Easy

One thing I left off my “Perfect World” list was an Easy Button.  Or maybe I just assumed that because it was a Perfect World, that it would automatically come with both an Easy Button and an Undo Button.  How great would that be?  Like that time when I was 17 and I asked the wife of my brother’s friend when her baby was due?  I totally could have used an Undo Button right then.  Or the earth could have opened up and swallowed me whole.  Either one would have been preferable to my size 7 Sebago firmly lodged in my big, fat, stupid mouth. Continue reading “That Was Easy”