Monday, April 11, 2011

Stove-top Mac & Cheese

Two of Kyah's favorite things are noodles and cheese. But, I don't feel too great about making her the boxed mac & cheese- I feel like very little of anything real comes inside that blue box. So, today I just made a little cheese sauce with the cheese I had in the fridge, and mixed it in with some noodles - she loved it! 

Stove-top Mac & Cheese


Ingredients:
3 cups cooked pasta
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk
2 cups grated cheese (I used half medium cheddar, half monterey jack - next time I will try all sharp cheddar)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
2. Melt butter in pan over medium heat, then wisk in flour. Heat, stirring constantly until sauce bubbles then very slowly wisk in milk. Heat until sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon.
3. Stir in cheese, and continue to stir until it has completely melted, then add in noodles.

Great served as-is. Or, fill a small ramekin with the mac & cheese, sprinkle some grated cheese on top, then place under the broiler until bubbly. Yum!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Minestrone

We've all been down with a little cold and combined with the SNOW that is still falling, I've made quite a few soups this week. Minestrone is probably one of my favorite soups, and really can be made with just about any vegetables, a can of beans, and some noodles. Here's a base recipe that I scratched up.

Minestrone



Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 potatoes, diced
1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 yellow squash, quartered and sliced
1/3 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup corn, frozen or canned
1/4 cup ditalini pasta (or any other kind of pasta), cooked to al dente
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can petite diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in onion and garlic, and saute until tender.
2. Pour in the broth and and Italian seasoning and bring it to a simmer. Add in green beans, and simmer until soft, but still slightly crunchy.
2. Add in potatoes, and continue to boil until softened, but not quite done. Then, add in zucchini, yellow squash, and carrots and continue to boil until all of the vegetables are soft.
3. Stir in corn, canned tomatoes (with the liquid), beans and cooked pasta and salt and pepper to taste. Bring back to a simmer to heat the soup through.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Eggplant Caprese Rolls

These are one of my new favorite appetizers. So simple, and so good!


Eggplant Caprese Rolls


Ingredients:
eggplant, sliced into 1/8-1/4 inch strips
tomatoes, cut into thick slices
fresh basil leaves
fresh mozzarella, cut into thick slices
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Heat griddle or frying pan to medium-high heat. Spray, or lightly drizzle with olive oil. Cook one side of the eggplant slice until it begins to soften and brown.
2. Flip the eggplant, and place a thick slice of fresh mozzarella in the middle. Continue to cook until second side is done and brown and cheese begins to soften.
3. Remove from heat, and top cheese with a thick tomato slice, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a few basil leaves.
4. Wrap the eggplant around the toppings, and salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Black Bean Brownies

I have been wanting to try these for a long time now. While I still prefer my staple brownie recipe, these are actually pretty good considering they are gluten-free (and much lower in fat!). They taste more like a cake brownie to me, and are a great alternative if you have cut out gluten from your diet, or are just looking for a healthier alternative to satisfy your sweet tooth. Next time I try these, I am going to substitute the eggs for egg whites only, the oil for applesauce, and the sugar for honey - which will cut down the calories even further. I'll let you know how it goes!

*Update* These went from four stars to five after they had completely cooled overnight. SO good!!

Black Bean Brownies


Ingredients:
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tablespoons oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Lightly grease an 8x8 inch baking dish.
2. Combine all of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a blender or food processor. Blend until batter is smooth. Mix in the chocolate chips.
3. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top looks dry.

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