Sunday, March 26, 2017

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

This is a recipe that I found on the New York Times cooking website and have adapted somewhat.  In this case it is not a healthier dish than the original but it is delicious and easy!

2 tablespoons butter (divided)
1 cup full fat ricotta cheese
2 cups 1/2 and 1/2
1/4 pound cream cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Pinch cayenne (these are both optional--I actually forgot them)
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (I used Hook's white cheddar)
1/2 pound elbow macaroni (I used 2 different whole wheat pastas and it came out fine)
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Use 1 tablespoon butter to grease a 9 inch square baking pan.  In a blender, puree ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 1/2 and 1/2, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, and pepper.  In a large bowl, combine all but 1/4 cup of the grated cheese, the liquid mixture and uncooked pasta.  Pour into the prepared pan.  Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for a few hours.

When ready to eat, preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake covered pasta for 30 minutes.  Uncover and top with a mixture of reserved cheese, bread crumbs and butter.  Bake for an additional 30 minutes.  At this point it should be brown and bubbly.  Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

I'm sure you could use other cheeses in this dish.  A few of the reviewers of the original recipe suggested Velveeta which I would not use, but I think any flavorful natural cheese would be fine.

Adapted from NY Times.com, recipe by Julia Moskin


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Cranberry and Apple Baked Oatmeal

This is a recipe I adapted from a PBS food blog Fresh Tastes by Adrianna Adarme.  My husband loved it and thought it made a great breakfast.

  • Apple Mixture: 
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced 
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Note:  I substituted 1-1/4 tsp. Oatmeal Spice from Just Spices (justspices.com)
  • Oatmeal: 
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds + a handful more for the top 
  • 1/3-1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups milk or almond milk (I used a combination of both)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (frozen is fine too)

Directions

  1. To make the apple mixture: In a small skillet, set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until apples have softened. Set aside. 
  2. To make the oatmeal: Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Set aside. 
  3. In a medium bowl, add the oats, slivered almonds, syrup, salt and baking powder. Whisk together the liquid ingredients.
  4. To the prepared baking dish, add the apples and the cranberries. Pour the oat mixture on top and then add the liquid ingredients. Stir slightly and then top with the extra almonds. Transfer to the oven to bake for 40 minutes--it may take longer, until the edges are set and lightly golden brown.