Home Made Macaroni and Cheese

Fall is upon us – and what’s better than a little bit of comfort food?

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What You’ll Need:

1 Pkg elbow noodles (rice, corn, or regular)
5 Tbsp butter or margarine, divided
2 Tbsp flour (rice flour, spelt flour, or regular)
3-4 Tbsp bread crumbs (gluten free or regular)
1 Tsp seasoning salt – season to taste
1 tsp garlic powder – season to taste
1 Tsp onion powder – season to taste
14 Oz. skim milk (or 1 can light coconut milk)
1 White onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
1.5 Cups shredded parmesan cheese
Medium baking dishimage1

What you’ll do:

– Pre-heat oven to 350°
– In a large saucepan, cook your noodles – turn burner off when noodles are ‘al dente’ to avoid over cooking in the oven
– In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt three table spoons of butter. Cook the onion, stirring for 5 minutes or until lightly browned
– Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for three minutes or until lightly browned
– Stir in the milk and seasoning salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly
– Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until blended. Add pepper, seasoning salt, garlic and onion powders to taste. Pour into baking dish and blend with noodles
– In a small bowl, combine remaining butter with some more cheese and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over the casserole
– Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling and lightly browned
– Enjoy!


Serves: 6

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Summer Sausage and Arugula Pasta

A quick and easy Summer meal idea!

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What you’ll need:
– Pasta
– Olive oil
– Garlic. minced
– Red pepper flakes
– Fresh basil, torn
– Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
– White onion, chopped
– Arugula
– Mozzarella cheese, grated
– Sausages, spicy or regular Italian

In a pot:
– Bring water to a boil
– Cook Pasta
– Drain
– Toss in olive oil

Meanwhile, in a frying pan:
– Cut sausages out of casing and put into pan with a bit of olive oil
– Once sausages are cooked, throw in onion and minced garlic
– Once onions have started to brown, add tomatoes
– Simmer until tomatoes have softened
– Use red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to season to taste

In a large bowl:
– Combine pasta and sausage mixture
– Tear up basil leaves and mix
– Add olive oil as needed for “saucier” result

To plate:
– Top with a handful of fresh arugula and grated Mozzarella cheese
– Enjoy!

Warm Winter Salad

I find one of two things happens in the winter: 1. You stop cooking entirely, turning only to take out and/or meals cooked by others or 2. You start cooking only comfort food – things that are baked, cheesed, and ultimately terrible for you.  OK, two of two things happen. Let’s be honest.

As the temperatures have begun to drop, I have decided to take a summer staple, the spinach salad, and add a bit of a winter twist: warm potatoes and grilled steak. You get that same warm in your belly feeling without the giant brick in your belly feeling (and no baked on mess – hurrah!) The beauty of this recipe is that it is fast, it can be quickly modified for different group sizes without much extra effort, and an easy clean up makes it perfect for weeknight entertaining. In addition, adding the strips of steak as you plate your salad is a great way to provide the same meal option for vegetarians as well.

salad 1

What you’ll need:

Small, oven safe dish
Salad Bowl
Butter/Margerine (1 large “dollop”)
Olive Oil – about 2/3 of a cup
Fresh Garlic – 1 large clove, pressed
Dijon Mustard – 1 tbsp
Spinach
Red Onion – diced
Cherry Tomatoes – halved
Goat Cheese – crumbled
New Potatoes – halved
Flank Steak or Striploin

Preheat oven to 400° – place butter in dish and melt. Place sliced potatoes in melted butter, coat, and place back in oven, turning periodically

Toss spinach, tomatoes, cheese, and onions in a bowl; In a measuring cup: mix olive oil, garlic, and dijon mustard

salad 2

Check on your potatoes – when you feel that they are about 20 minutes from being done (browned, but not crispy) preheat your BBQ

Grill steak to medium rare (about 15 minutes) and slice against the grain – this will ensure your steak is not tough

Taking potatoes out of the oven, toss them into your bowl and mix

Lightly coat your salad with dressing – the taste is strong so you will not need a ton

Plating your meal, top each serving with a few strips of steak, serve, and enjoy!

salad 6

 

Watermelon Cake: Prettier on Pinterest…

CAKEThe inspiration (photo used with permission)

Last week was my fiancé’s birthday and each year since we have been together I have made him something special for dessert. This year, with our wedding in September, my future mother-in-law has taken to reminding everyone that “we want to be wedding ready” – aka watch what you’re all eating so you don’t panic in August! While my family has always been a fruit for dessert – if anything – kind of bunch, Bobby’s has more of a sweet tooth. I was cruising around Pinterest in the weeks before, racking my brain for a delicious but healthy recipe that would allow him to literally have his birthday cake and eat it too. I saw the most beautiful cake made entirely from watermelon, berries, and icing – “how hard could it be?!” I said to myself, “quick and easy!” I said to myself, “you’re a genius!” I said to myself. Well…as it turns out: harder that I had originally thought but just as delicious as I had hoped. Below is my step by step process for how to make your very own Watermelon Cake – cautionary commentary and suggestions included!

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The beginning of your process is the same as that part from any cooking show you watched as a kid, when the host says “for this portion of the project you’re going to need an adult…”. I am clearly not an adult and sure as heck hate knives (again – what made you think this was a good idea?!) Enter Bobby.

To start, you (or your adult) are going to prepare your watermelon:

– Cut off two ends of your rind to form a *very* flat top and bottom for your cake. Trust me, you will need the stability when icing – she’s a slippery one.

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Next, you are going to skin your watermelon and decide on your cake’s shape. Feel free to keep it round or cut the sides down into more of a rectangular shape. Heck, get crazy, cut that rectangle in half, and you’ve got yourself two square cakes!

– Carefully cut the rind off in sections, pointing the knife away from you, in a downward motion (safety!)

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– Ensure that you are cutting off as much of the white rind as possible, maintaining the desired size and shape of your cake.

Once you’ve got your perfectly pink watermelon all ready to go, it is time to ice!

– Place your cake on a decorative plate or cake stand before beginning to ice
– Using a spatula, spread the icing over the top and sides of your cake, covering any pink areas completely

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Now…I’m going to be honest – this is where it all fell apart for me. I have two recommendations for you at this stage in the game: The first is to freeze your melon before you try and ice it. Fun fact: watermelons are juicy! Obviously. But that is legitimately something I didn’t even consider when I undertook this project (sigh) and is an uphill battle when it comes to this dessert.

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My second recommendation (although, it’s more of a shot in the dark that I’ve never tried but I assume it would help) is to try using Cool Whip instead of icing. I found that once the melon and icing began to warm to room temperature,  your sides become a bit of a shloopy mess – to use a technical term. Cool Whip, being lighter and having a different texture, could be the answer to icing the sides of your cake.

To finish your cake:
– Cover the iced sides of your cake with shaved almonds, sprinkles, or leave them plain
– Top your cake with berries or other sliced fruit for a bit of decoration
– Refrigerate your cake before serving, slice, and enjoy!

2014-06-15 19.41.01The result

Ta-daaaaaa! As you can tell, I was unable to keep the icing from sliding down the sides and resorted to simply piling the icing on top and hoping for the best. #fail

But, at the end of the day it was a hit with everyone at the table – and who doesn’t love a sweet treat in the summer!?

Best Summer Salad

Summer is a super busy time, making it hard to prepare fast and healthy meals. Not to mention the sweltering heat of using the oven in an apartment with no A/C! One of our favourite things to have for dinner in the Summer (and all year, really) is a cold plate. Various fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses laid out for us to pick at while we watch TV, or sit and read, or – as I have found the case to be this summer – craft. There is minimal clean up and it is a much healthier alternative to barbecuing whatever is in the freezer and tossing a side of chips on your plate. My personal favourite component of any cold plate we’ve made this summer is the caprese salad: a fast and easy (and filling!) way to get your daily veggies and a bit of protein.

last caprese

 

What you’ll need:

– Fresh, ripe tomatoes
– Buffalo mozzarella cheese
– Fresh basil
– Olive oil
– Sea salt
– Cracked pepper
– Baguette or crackers (or not)

first caprese

 

Cut your tomatoes into slices, then halve your slices.

tomato

 

Cut your buffalo mozzarella into slices, again, halve those. Place the cheese on top of your tomatoes – you can make this more of a mixed up salad or you can try placing a piece of cheese on each tomato.

cheese

 

Tear your fresh basil and sprinkle over your cheese – you can also put small sections on top of each piece of cheese if you went that route. Use as much or as little as you’d like.

with basil

 

Crack your pepper and sea salt over top of your creation – season to taste. Finally, drizzle some olive oil over top, adding balsamic vinegar if you want to shake it up a bit, and enjoy!

What is your go to Simple Summer Meal?