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Monday, February 25, 2013

Mac and Cheese with Kale

Hi there!

This is a great dish. Despite its healthy points, it is fantastic. I can't lie- I don't think I ever had kale before age 18 when I went to college. Then, living and eating in a primarily vegetarian/vegan co-op, I ate so much kale and made so much kale- every which way. However, not until I was done with that did I discover this recipe, which would make a great co-op recipe- you still include a bunch of healthy veggies and yummy cheese and come out with a fantastic dish. Long story short- give kale a shot if you haven't. There are a million ways to make it, and you're bound to like one of them- especially this way! OK my stomach is rumbling- let's go!

Your ingredients- simple, regular mac and cheese ingredients, plus some delish fresh bright green kale.
Cut out the stems from the kale, then give it a rough chop- this will cook down to half as much or less.
Cook your pasta, and when almost done, throw in the kale so it gets cooked right quick. Strain.
Refer to a bunch of my other posts for how to make a roux, or just follow the directions- then add your cheese and you have your yummy cheese sauce.
Pour the cheese sauce over the penne and kale, then it's ready for the oven (covering with foil for first 15 minutes is optional)

Baked Mac and Cheese with Kale
-1 lb. pasta, I use penne
-1 lb. kale, roughly chopped
-2 tablespoons butter
-2 tablespoons flour
-2 1/2 cups milk
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-4 oz. goat cheese
-2 cups shredded cheddar
-salt and pepper to taste
-parmesan to top
Cook pasta until it has about 2 minutes left, add the kale, finish the cooking, and strain.
Melt your butter in a smaller pot, add the flour and whisk together. Add the milk and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Add cheeses and stir to melt.
Put your pasta and kale in a greased 9x13'' pan and pour the cheese sauce over top. Mix around a little if needed. Top with extra cheese, before and after baking.
Bake at 400 F for 25-30 mins. I like to cover it with foil for the first half of baking.

And here it is all baked up- crispy on top and full of cheesy goodness. This is the way to eat veggies!

Savor it!
love, rue

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chocolate and Cheesecake Cupcakes

Hey everyone!

I feel like I'm the last person to jump on the bandwagon and try the cheesecake-topped cupcake variety of dessert, and boy am I bummed I waited so long because these are excellent! I didn't get the results that many recipes and pictures show- a more dense cheesecake type layer with a smaller, flatter cake layer. Mine came out more as chocolate cupcakes with a sort of cheesecake layer as frosting. Fantastic! And I can't even count the number of ideas this is giving me for other desserts. Simple and delicious! Let's get going.

Your arsenal- simple ingredients that you probably already have sitting around.
Mix together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
Make a well in the middle and pour the wet ingredients in.
Whisk together until just combined.
Separately, cream together your cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla, and salt.
And you'll end up with a fairly liquid-y cheesecake type mixture.
Then fill about halfway with batter, top with a dollop of cheesecake mixture, and I threw a few chocolate chips on top for pretty. Ready for the oven!

Chocolate and Cheesecake Cupcakes
-1 1/2 cups flour
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1/4 cup cocoa
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 cup water
-1/3 cup veggie oil
-1 tablespoon cider vinegar
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 8 oz. block cream cheese or neufch√Ętel
-1 egg
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
-1/3 cup granulated sugar
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-chocolate chips
Combine dry ingredients. Create a well in the center and add all the wet ingredients, mix just until all incorporated.
Separately, whip up the cream cheese, egg, vanilla, sugar, and salt.
Fill muffin cups about 1/2 full of the cake batter. Put a dollop of the cream cheese mixture on top.
Feel free to top with a few chocolate chips or whatever else strikes your fancy.
Bake at 350 F for 25-30 mins.

Your finished cupcakes! They rise beautifully and I love the cracking effect that happens on the tops. Plus, these are completely delish- you must try!

savor it!
love, rue

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fancy Mac & Cheese

If you like bacon and caramelized onions, this mac and cheese recipe is going to literally blow your mind. It might anyway. It's that good. I've made this a bunch of times, and it is a huge hit every single time. And every single time I have to fight to not just eat everything before I'm done making/baking it!

This isn't my recipe, it's from The Pioneer Woman- see here for original recipe- and I make the same recipe but make a few changes. I use penne pasta instead of macaroni, and I use about 6-7 cups of pasta (2/3-3/4lb.) instead of just 4 cups. I also caramelize the onions a bit longer- do these to taste, if you will. And lastly, the cheese. I have used a bunch of different kinds of cheese in this- I always use the 4 oz. goat cheese but the other 1.5 cups of cheese can be really whatever you like- I've used nice cheddars and hard parmesans and I've also used shredded cheddar out of the bag, all with delicious results. So don't feel like your wallet has to stretch too far for this one- you don't have to use expensive cheese, but do use the goat cheese. It adds a creaminess like nothing else.

But enough talk- let's get to the pictures from my latest batch.

Here's the full arsenal, with hidden salt and pepper shakers in that back right corner. Here you can see what type of cheeses I used and everything.
Cook your pasta as directed, but for about 3/4 of the time.
 Cook your bacon until it changes from this to that!
Slice your onions thinly, the caramelize until they look like...

THIS! A batch of caramelized onions like this takes about 15-20 minutes on low and can make almost any dish fantastic!
Start your roux off with the butter and flour...

Then add your milk and 1/2 and 1/2 and let boil for a few minutes to thicken.

Toss in your 1.5 cups of cheese- this is all cheddar.

Then toss in the goat cheese and wait for the angels to sing!

Add 2/3 of the bacon and caramelized onions and stir well to combine.

Then mix in the pasta and pour into a 9x13'' greased pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 of bacon and onions so they can get nice and crispy! If eating immediately, bake for 30 minutes uncovered. You can also stick it in the fridge at this point and when you bake it later, bake it covered in foil for about 20 minutes, then uncover and bake 20 more minutes.

And at the end of all of these steps you get... heaven. This is heaven in a dish, ladies, gentlemen, and everyone else! Nice and crispy on top with the onions and bacon, and creamy, cheesy, and fantastic on the inside. Dig in!!

I really hope you try this. It'll knock your socks off. If you're accommodating vegetarians, don't put any bacon fat in to do the onions, and use the bacon to garnish instead of baking it in. Or split into two dishes so the omnivores can get the whole package!
Savor it!
love, rue

Monday, February 4, 2013

Overnight Oats

Hey- these are good. These are quick. You make this the night before and stick it in the fridge, and in the morning, you pull out a nice tasty and healthy breakfast, all ready to go. I even bumped this post up to the top of the queue so that I could share it with you all sooner. Yes, this recipe (more like a method) has been making the rounds on the internet lately, but I only came across it recently and thought I must share- this is great and you can take it in any direction you like. I used strawberries and apples in this batch, then topped with walnuts. Make it your own with your fave fruits etc. Let's get started on this super simple recipe!!

All you need- fruit, milk, oats, sweetener, and a jar.

There's my mixed up oats ready for the fridge in the corner, and I ended up cutting the fruit up finer for it to fit in better with the oats and in the jar.

Overnight Oats
-1/4-1/2 cup oats (depending on how big you would like your serving)
-1/2-1 cup milk (double the amount of oats used)
-1/2- 3/4 cup diced fruit, berries, and/or dried fruit (I used maybe 1/5-1/4 of an apple and 2 strawberries for a small batch)
-brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc. to taste for sweetening
-optional: dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
-nuts, granola, sunflower seeds, etc. for topping
Put the first four/five ingredients in a jar, screw on the lid and shake well. Let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, take off the lid, top with your nuts/granola/seeds, and enjoy!!!
*notes on the jar: for a small batch, you can use a 1 cup/8 oz. jar or container, for a larger batch upgrade that to a pint jar or container.

Come morning, just pull out your oats, top, and enjoy!

This recipe would be perfect  for taking with you in the morning as a transportable breakfast, having for lunch at work, or whatever. I doubted the simplicity of this recipe/idea, but totally loved it once I made it- the perfect way for me to have my oats when it's too warm for oatmeal usually!

Savor it!
love, rue