Bad Ass Mac & Cheese

Sometimes you just have to kick it up a notch, and this mac and cheese recipe does just that. It has a little bit of chedda, some truffle oil (YES! Bc we’re still obsessed with it), some bacon, and it has some…wait for it…whiskey. If this isn’t a bad ass, mans-man mac and cheese then I don’t know what is.

  • 1 box of elbow macaroni
  • 3 tbsp truffle oil
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Sauce

  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half 
  • 1 tbsp whiskey (I used a little Jack)

Topping

  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Cook the macaroni to your liking and drain. (I prefer al dente.). Add the macaroni back in to the pot and mix in the truffle oil, basil, salt, and pepper. While the pasta is cooking you can start on the sauce. But before you do, turn on your broiler to high.

Using a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add in the bacon, garlic, and thyme. Add in the flour, half & half, and whiskey and bring it to a boil. After roughly 3 minutes of stirring, reduce to a simmer and add in 2 1/2 cups of the cheddar, mixing until sauce thickens. Then pour it over that delicious smelling truffle macaroni and mix until it’s fully coated. On to the topping. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, 1/2 a cup cheddar cheese and melted butter. Oil up your ramekins (I used eight 8oz ones) or a baking dish and distribute the macaroni. Sprinkle on the topping and a dash of fresh basil for some color.

Broil the dish for about 3 minutes. Keep a close eye on it as you don’t want it to burn.

 Truffled Mac & Cheese

Happy Eating, XO.

 

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Stove top macaroni and cheese

We are way too grown up to still be doing easy mac from our good ole friends at Kraft. As enjoyable as that was in college, its time to realize an orange powder may not be the best thing to put into our bodies. This is just as quick, but with fresh ingredients. Oh and speaking of watching what we put into our bodies, this recipe is figure friendly because there is no butter and no heavy cream. Just simple, clean, and tasty.

  • 14 oz. of macaroni elbows
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar (get creative and do 1 cup fontina and 1 cup Gruyère or 1 cup of the cheddar and 1 cup of Monterey jack)
  • 1/2 to 1 tbs. crushed garlic (if doing fresh that’s 3 cloves)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard (umm so I did tablespoon not teaspoon because apparently I don’t know how to read and it was noticeably too tangy so don’t rush and read the measurements properly, lesson learned).
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes (I just add this to almost any recipe I can because I think the little green flecks just brighten up a dish, in other words “optional”).
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Boil elbows. Drain pasta in colander while reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Return macaroni to pot and mix in the remaining ingredients over low heat (including the pasta water). Fold gently to melt and mix all ingredients.

I may throw in some pancetta next time to add another element slash make it more entree worthy vs. side dish. Plus let’s face it, pancetta would make it the grown up version of the throwback, when mom’s across America cut up hot dogs for us when we were kids & threw it in our mac & cheese.
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Happy Eating, XO.

Turkey Meatloaf

What a bad rep meatloaf has. Often referred to as: cafeteria cuisine or diner drab, meatloaf is known as dry & un-flavorful. Plus if you take away the fat of pork or beef, you are setting yourself up for failure. FALSE! The old myth that only fat=flavor is debunked with this recipe. Not only is this meatloaf delish, its a great example of comfort food done right.

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1.5 cups of mirepoix mix (you can chop your own or buy the pre chopped stuff. Its just diced celery, carrots, and onions so don’t be fooled by the fancy French name. Note it can be equal parts of each or adjusted based on what you like. I personally decrease the carrots and increase the onions, but to each his own).
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (I lied its actually a total of 2 tbsp. 1 will go in the dish and 1 will be used as a glaze: see cooking instructions below).
  • 1 tbsp. bbq sauce (any brand of the bottled stuff, don’t need home made on this one).
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (I do the Italian seasoned ones, but if you have plain lying around don’t sweat it).
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic (keep a jar of this in your fridge, upwards of 5 recipes on the blog use it).
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (I add a few pinches of red chili flakes too, but I love spicy).

In a non stick pan, sautee the mirepoix, olive oil, salt pepper, garlic, and chili flakes. Once the veggies are softened (and cooled! don’t add hot, straight from pan. you will end up cooking the egg versus using it as a binder) add to the meat, along with the egg, sauces, and breadcrumbs. Mix well. Pour in meatloaf pan and take the same portions of the sauce (1 tbsp. worcestershire, 1 tbsp. bbq, and 1 tbsp. ketchup, mix and pour glaze on top of the meatloaf (I spread it with the back of  a spoon to coat evenly. Trust me on this, not only does it hold in the moisture, but it adds a great crust of flavor since the sugars will caramelize when baking). Throw into a pre heated oven at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes based on how deep your loaf pan is. Comment below if this hasn’t changed your mind about meatloaf. Note, I served with the pantry gravy (recipe under sauce boss) when my dad came over for dinner. Also note, word on the street is there is a great variation on this using dry French onion soup mix, stay tuned for more on that.

Happy Eating, XO.

Aunt Cindy’s Crock-Pot Beef Stroganoff

Now that the weather is getting cooler and I no long need to worry about squeezing in to a bathing suit, I gladly welcome the season of comfort food! I kicked it off recently with a crock pot recipe from my Aunt Cindy. Super simple ingredients and super easy to make. I usually throw it together a few minutes before leaving for work and come home to the house smelling like moms cooking! Dust off your crock pot and let’s get going.

  • 1 family size package beef cubes
  • 1 can family size mushroom soup (Any brand you want works. I tend to go with whatever’s on sale/cheapest)
  • 1 envelope of Lipton beefy onion mix (I highly suggest keeping this in your kitchen at all times. It’s gotten me out of a jam many a times.)
  • 1/4 cup flour (if you want thicker gravy, feel free to add more)
  • 1 medium can of mushrooms
  • 1 bag extra wide egg noodles

With the exception of the noodles, put everything in the crock pot. I suggest cooking it on low for 8-10 hours to get the meat the most tender and flavorful, but for those who need something a little quicker use the high setting for 4-5 hours. When you’re ready, boil the noodles and viola! You have a tasty, comfy meal.

Happy eating, XO.

Beef Stroganoff