Monday, August 29, 2011

Fannie Farmer Macaroni and Cheese

I've been feeling under the weather the past few days, and Mr. Ommy Noms has been taking great care of me.  He's been requesting homemade macaroni & cheese for awhile, and I made it tonight as a "thank you" for all the medicine- and blanket-fetching he's done.  I found this recipe on Mocha Me, but it actually hails from a 1946 Fannie Farmer cookbook.  I enjoy trying old recipes, so I decided to give it a go.  It turned out so good!  I'm looking forward to having it again tomorrow night with some seared tilapia!

I didn't really know what "buttered breadcrumbs" was supposed to mean, so I just double-toasted a couple slices of bread and crunched them into crumbs.

As seen on Mocha Me; originally from the Fannie Farmer Boston Cooking-School Cookbook, 1946 edition

1 (8 ounce) package macaroni
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup cream (I used half & half)
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese (buy the block and shred it yourself)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs, buttered

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cook and drain macaroni according to package directions; set aside. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until well blended.

Pour milk and cream in gradually; stirring constantly. Bring to boiling point and boil 2 minutes (stirring constantly).

Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) 10 minutes.

Add shredded cheese little by little and simmer an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Turn off flame. Add macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce. Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Skillet Chicken with Peppers and Peanuts

This was a throw-together meal that turned out so tasty I cooked it again the following week.  The marinade gives the dish a nice Asian-inspired flavor.  The first time I made it, I marinated the chicken for a full 24 hours and thought the meat tasted a little too salty.  If you're going to marinate it for that long, I'd recommend using low-sodium soy sauce.

This would make a great after-work dish because the bulk of the cook time is hands-off.

From How Sweet It Is
Serves 3

*  Gluten-free diners should ensure that their soy sauce is gluten-free.  Kikkoman now produces a gluten-free soy sauce that is clearly labeled.  Additionally, double-check your peanuts for gluten sources.  Diamond Nuts brand peanuts are gluten-free.  You may opt to substitute plain peanuts for the dry roasted ones.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used large ones)
1 each: red, green, yellow pepper, sliced into thin rings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

For the marinade:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup sherry wine (I just used a couple tbsp of vermouth)
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced

2-24 hours beforehand, combined marinade ingredients in a baking dish. Add chicken to the marinade and let marinate for 2-24 hours, turning occasionally to coat.

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to skillet and add pepper slices with a pinch of salt. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Remove peppers to a plate and turn heat up to medium high. Add chicken breasts and sear on each side until well browned, about 5 minutes. After the second side has seared, top the chicken with the pepper slices and add the entire skillet to the oven uncovered.

3.  Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and top with peanuts. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.  Serve over rice.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oreo Cheesecake Bars


Sorry for going MIA on y'all- I went back to work on Monday and I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Even though I've been getting to school early and staying late, it's SO hard to get everything done!  I'm probably not going to be doing a lot of cooking in the next couple weeks, but I've got a backlog of summer recipes all queued up and ready to share!  This is one of my recent favorites.

I get together with a group of coworkers to play Bunco about once a month, and we take turns bringing an entree or dessert to share with the group.  When I saw these Oreo cheesecake bars on Annie's Eats, I knew I couldn't go wrong.  (After all, the law of women states that chocolate + cheesecake = happiness!)  They tasted amazing and were gone in a snap.  I think next time, I will break up a few more Oreos to put in the cheesecake portion to get even more of that delicious Oreo-ness in every bite.

As seen on Annie's Eats; originally from You Made That Dessert? by Beth Lipton 

For the crust:
23 Oreo cookies
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. sour cream, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
12 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped


1.  Preheat the oven to 325˚ F.  Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with foil.  To make the crust, place the Oreos in the bowl of a food processor.  Process, pulsing, until the cookies are finely ground.  Add in the melted butter and pulse until the cookie crumbs are moistened.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan.  Press the crumbs into an even layer over the bottom of the pan.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then set aside and prepare the filling while maintaining the oven temperature.

2.  To make the filling, add the cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the sugar until well combined.  Blend in the sour cream, vanilla and salt.  Beat in the egg and egg yolk on medium-high speed until incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Stir in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula.

3.  Pour the cheesecake batter over the prepared crust, smoothing the top with a spatula.  Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cheesecake is set around the edges but slightly wobbly in the center.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool about 1 hour to room temperature.  Cover the pan and refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.

4.  To cut the bars, pull the cake from the pan by lifting the foil up out of the pan.  Place on a cutting board, peel away the foil, and slice into bars.  Clean the knife blade between each slice to keep the edges neat.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chop Steak & Gravy

First of all, let me just say you can't judge this meal by its picture.

This chop steak and gravy was a country girl's dream.  It was super flavorful and tasted great with a heaping helping of mashed potatoes from a box.  My gravy didn't get as brown as I expected it to, although I think that may have something to do with the fact that I used mega-super-lean-endorsed-by-the-American-Heart-Association ground beef.  (I'd like to say I used it to cut down on fat and calories, but the real reason is that it was the only thing left in the store at 10:00 last night.)

Next time, I plan to use my standard ground sirloin to allow for a browner (Is that a word?) gravy.  I also plan to cook the steaks and veggies in separate batches.  My pan was pretty crowded with the onions, mushrooms, and meat cooking at the same time.

Adapted from Allrecipes
Serves 4

1 lb ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
6 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups beef broth

1.  In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, pepper, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Form into 4 balls, and flatten into patties. 

2.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the patties and cook until well-browned, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the beef patties to a plate, and cover with foil to keep warm.  

3.  Saute the onion and mushroom slices in the drippings until onions are translucent, adding more oil if necessary.  Sprinkle flour over the vegetable mixture. Stir well, scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  

4.  Gradually add the beef broth, stirring well after each addition. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the gravy thickens. 

5.  Turn heat to low and return patties to the gravy.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Adjust seasonings to taste and serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.
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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rice Pudding

My Mom will tell you, I've always been a pretty adventurous eater.  As a kid, I'd eat pretty much anything as long as it didn't involve:

A)  Sweet pickles
B)  Olives
or C)  School cafeteria pig-in-the-blanket (Sausage should *NOT* be slimy.  Blech.)

But rice pudding was one of those things that never sounded appealing to me.  Rice + pudding just didn't seem to jive.  I ordered it for the first time a couple years ago at a local South American restaurant.  (They were out of my beloved coconut sorbet, and I don't do cappuccino.)  One very cautious bite later, I was hooked.  Since then, I've eaten it at several different restaurants and loved it every time.

As you can see, I finally got around to making it at home a few days ago.  It was SO good!  This recipe doesn't take a lot of time or effort, and it won't totally trash your diet.  The original recipe doesn't specify which type of rice to use, but pudding is best with a short grain white rice.  I used Arborio, and the finished product was wonderfully creamy.

Adapted from
Serves 4

3/4 cup Arborio rice
2 cups milk, divided
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
Cinnamon, to taste

1.  In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. 

2.  In another saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups cooked rice, 1 1/2 cups milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk and beaten egg. Cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Garnish with cinnamon.  May be served warm or chilled.
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