Saturday, August 23, 2014

LaCaille Family Macaroni and Cheese

Cammy, this is for you!

First things first, this recipe needs to start with a little love. This mac and cheese is the essence of our childhood, and most likely the reason we weren't the skinniest of kids! :) Both of our grandma's were amazing cooks but Grandma Esther made the mac and cheese that we dream about. My uncle's favorite dish is mac and cheese. My cousin's favorite dish is mac and cheese. Our go to comfort meal is mac and cheese. Today we are going to give you the base recipe for the masterful dish. It isn't fancy at all but delicious to the max. The BEST thing about this recipe is how easily adaptable it is. Add tomatoes. Add a protein. Add herbs. Add all of the above. Check our our adaptations of Cheesy Irish Beer Bake or Cornbread topped Apple Macaroni and Cheese. It is a no fail, awesome recipe that you and your family will love for generations.

LaCaille Family Macaroni and Cheese

2 cups elbow macaroni
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk (sub half and half, 1% or 2% milk)
2 cups shredded cheese, any flavor
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions to al dente. Drain.

In the meantime, in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the butter. Once the butter melts completely, add the flour and stir to combine. Keep stirring and cook the "roux" until very lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Slowly stir in the milk, whisking constantly as to not create lumps. Slowly add the cheese, stirring to incorporate as you add each handful. Once all the cheese is incorporated add the cooked noodles and season with salt and pepper. Pour into a casserole dish and bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until bubby and lightly brown on top.

This can feed a family of 4 to 5 or one very hungry cousin and uncle. :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Caesar Pasta and Lettuce Salad with Apple

This is an oldie but a goodie in our house. When Melis and I first started out, we found recipes that were not only interesting, but easy. We weren't into the complicated or the fussy; just good food that peaked our interest and didn't take too much effort. This recipe fit the bill perfectly. There is a great bookstore here in Seattle called Elliot Bay Book Company. It used to be down in Pioneer Square in a unique, old building with lots of little rooms and a quirky attitude. Roaming the "halls" one day, we stumbled across a pasta book. We don't typically buy pasta books because that was the one thing we actually knew how to cook well, but this one caught our eye. Not only did it have the traditional pasta recipes readily found in other books, it had strange, albeit, delicious sounding recipes that we would have never thought of on our own. The recipe today is a case in point. It takes a traditional Caesar salad and turns it into a pasta-lettuce combo with apples. Yes, you read that right, apples. Who would have thunk that Caesar dressing would work with fruit? It turns out, it does really well. The two of us started making this dish when we were 22 and even though we are just a few years older, we still reminisce and crave this salad from time to time. Give it a try. It will shock you how flavorful , interesting and fabulous this dish is to taste.

Caesar Pasta and Lettuce Salad with Apple

4 oz pasta (we used farfalle but tortellini work well too.)
3 cups lettuce, chopped
1 apple, diced
Caesar dressing, preferably homemade
Black Pepper
Parmesan cheese.

Cook the pasta, drain and toss with remaining ingredients. We will let you decide how much of the dressing, pepper and cheese to add! This dish is great warm, room temp or cold so take it anywhere.

Yields 2 servings.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Dip

I was just at a work conference this last week and I heard a funny analogy. Jeff, was talking about a boring but rather useful product on the market and acquaited not having it to Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Dip. Bare with me, it will all make sense in a minute. You see, he was so thrilled to be using a product that he hadn't had access to in the past that he said: "it's like your have been eating your family's famous appetizers your whole life and then one day someone brings Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Dip and you feel like you have been cheated all this time." The analogy made me laugh and then it made me hungry.

What is not to love about Buffalo chicken, beer and cheese? Nothing. It is perfection in a bite. Add in some corn chips and it is appetizer nirvana. This is suitable for Superbowl parties, birthday parties, potlucks, breakfast...anything! So thank you Jeff, for the lovely chat and the great idea. Now dig in!

Buffalo Chicken Beer Cheese Dip

2 Tbsp olive oil
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
8 oz sour cream
16 oz neufchatel cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup Parmesan
3/4 cup Mozzarella, plus ½ cup mozzarella for top
1/3 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
2/3 cup beer
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbs cornstarch
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
Corn chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat, add the chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.

In a food processor, add the sour cream, cream cheese, Parmesan, 3/4 cup mozzarella, Franks Red Hot, beer, garlic powder and cornstarch; process until well combined.

Pour into an oven safe dish and stir in chicken pieces. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and bake in the preheated oven until warm and cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with blue cheese and serve warm with corn chip and celery

Yields 1-12 servings.


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