Chocolate Pudding

My husband let me know on more than one occasion, that he wanted chocolate pudding. I was over the “man nagging” so I made it. Now I understand why there is a market for “instant pudding”, because this took at least 40 minutes to make! Here’s hoping that it was worth the work 🙂

Verdict: This was ssuuupppppeeerrrr sweet – way too sweet for me. I used semi sweet chocolate chips and all the required sugar, so next time I will use bittersweet or dark chocolate. The chunks you see in the spoon are the leftover pieces of chocolate chips that didn’t melt completely. Next time I would melt the chocolate before adding to the pudding, but other than those problems, it was tasty. If you have a craving for pudding, you’ll have to wait a while before you can eat this! It needed at least four hours in the fridge to firm up properly. My first time making pudding wasn’t a complete disaster and now I know what to expect for the next time 🙂 The kids loved it and my son asked when I’m making it again cause it was the “best dessert ever”. My son is notorious for “laying it on thick”, so I don’t know how good it is to him. He would have said that about anything 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Double Chocolate Pudding – adapted from Sophistimom

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup good quality chocolate chips, like Guittard brand, plus a small handful for garnish
  • whipped cream (recipe follows)

1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk almost to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow, smooth, and it falls in ribbons. Whisk in cocoa powder and corn starch.

2. Whisk in hot milk, a half a cup at a time until mixture is warm to the touch. Pour entire mixture back into the saucepan and whisk constantly until pudding starts to thicken and it coats the back of a wooden spoon.

3. Pull off the heat and add in cream, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour in chocolate chips and allow to rest for a minute. Stir the mixture to incorporate the melted chocolate. Pour into a bowl or into individual cups. Serve warm or cold and with a dollop of whipped cream. Chop a handful of chocolate chips and sprinkle on for a garnish

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Oh, TG leftovers, how I appreciate you! It’s so nice having leftovers that are easily turned into a whole new dish. Take the ham bone for instance – it doesn’t seem like much, but it lends rich flavor to this soup. I chopped up some leftover ham and added it to the pot towards the end of cooking right after using my stick blender to puree some of the soup. The flavor is warm and comforting and this may become a new Thanksgiving leftover tradition for my family 🙂 It’s so cheap to make too, and all I needed to buy was the navy beans because I had all the stock, veggies and herbs I needed for this. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Navy Bean and Ham Soup –

  • 1 pound navy beans, soaked for 6 to 8 hours
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • thyme, rosemary, bay leaf – tied with kitchen string
  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 2-3 cups diced ham
  • 8 cups chicken stock or water

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven combine the beans, herb bundle, ham bone, onions, and garlic with the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and adjust the heat so the soup cooks at a gentle simmer, about 1-1/2 hours.

Add the chopped vegetables and beans. Cook for another hour, until the vegetables are soft, the beans are completely tender, and the ham meat easily pulls away from the bone. Pull the meat off the bone and discard the bones.

Turn off the heat and remove the ham bone. Cool slightly. Remove the meat from the ham bone, discarding the bones, fat, and skin. Cut the meat into small cubes. Remove the herb bundle and discard.

Puree about 3 cups of the beans with a some of the liquid in a blender or use your stick blender. (For a smoother soup puree all the beans.) Stir the puree and diced meat into the soup along with the chopped ham. Heat the soup and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.

My Favorite Pizza Dough, Re-Post

Quick Post:  We love pizza and this is always my go-to recipe for pizza dough. I have yet to find another that I enjoy as much 🙂 This time I made it, I used the “00” flour this called for, which I found at one of my favorite grocery store. I didn’t feel like taking the extra time to roast some chicken or the desire to spend extra money on smoked Gouda to make M his fave pizza, so pepperoni was what I used. For the cheeses I  like using fresh mozzarella, Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheeses if I have them.  Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pizza Dough Ingredients – adapted from Jamie Oliver

  • 5 cups “00” or bread flour
  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Directions –

If you’re using active dry yeast, get it started proofing in about 1/2 cup of your lukewarm water, all the raw sugar and extra virgin olive oil. While waiting for the yeast to wake up, measure out all your dry ingredients – by weight for the flour is best, then combine them in a large mixer bowl. Measure out 2 cups of lukewarm water, I always use bottled from our water cooler because of the added chlorine in tap water . Add the proofed yeast mixture and the 2 cups of water to the flour. I stir the mix with my dutch whisk, (you can use your hand or a wooden spoon) then once I have formed a rough dough, I hand knead for about a minute until it becomes a little smoother. Using your standing mixer with the dough hook, knead the dough for 5 to 7 minutes on low until the dough is smooth and springy. Place the kneaded dough in a large, lightly oiled container to rise, then lightly cover the container. Let rest until doubled in bulk – about 1 hour. Weigh and divide the dough as needed. I use Ziploc quart sized bags with a little extra virgin olive oil poured in to prevent sticking. It’s also helpful to write the date and weight of the dough on the bag.

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

What a perfect Fall breakfast! I only wish it felt like Fall here – I had to set the air conditioner yesterday…something is very wrong about that! Where is our cold front? 😉 I have lots of apples here for our Thanksgiving deep dish apple crumble pie and also for the turkey. I’m sure I can spare one or two for this.

Turns out I had no apples to spare after learning that the deep dish apple pie requires 5 pounds! Thankfully, my neighbor and new friend had plenty to share 🙂 This oatmeal was really yummy and satisfying. I kept it in the oven about 5 minutes longer than suggested to let the oatmeal absorb more of the milk. Once I took it out of the oven to cool, the oatmeal continued to thicken. I added a little maple syrup to sweeten this. I loved the apples and raisins in this because of the different textures and sweetness, and next time I may add a handful of chopped walnuts to this for added crunch. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Baked Cinnamon-Apple Oatmeal – adapted from Simply Scratch

  • 1 medium-sized Apple, cored and diced {like Cortland, Jonathan or Rome}
  • 1-1/3 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 cup Golden Raisins
  • 2 tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon Fresh Nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 cups Whole Milk

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the apple, oats, raisins, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in the melted butter and pour the mixture into an oven safe dish. Pour the two cups of milk over top and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until most of the milk is absorbed. Sprinkle with a little extra cinnamon, drizzle with a little bit of milk and serve!

Honey Ham

I have been making this for at least five years now – it’s always a hit! My husband loves this and would probably disown me if I didn’t make it – even when it’s just the four of us. Thankfully the leftovers are amazing – especially fried up the next day with a side of scrambled eggs 🙂

Years ago before I was bold in the kitchen, we used to buy Honey Baked Ham, but that is expensive. I was determined to have those flavors at a fraction of the cost. I found the recipe at Allrecipes, but modified it slightly to suit our tastes. First, I omit the corn syrup and substitute it with brown sugar. Then up until a couple of hams ago, I left out the cloves because I wasn’t very daring with my seasonings. Now I always add them and it really adds a nice flavor to the ham. Last year I tried cooking this – or warming it through, in my crock pot. I needed all the oven space for the turkey and I was pleased with how the ham turned out. It’s nice not to have to watch it closely and open the hot oven to baste it every 15 minutes. I just keep the glaze on a double boiler and brush the ham with it every 15 or 20 minutes. It wont caramelize nicely like it does in the oven, but you can always place it under the broiler for a few minutes when the oven becomes available. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Honey Glazed Ham – adapted from Allrecipes

  • 1 (5 pound) ready-to-eat ham
  • 1/4 cup whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups honey
  • 2/3 cup butter

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Score ham, and stud with the whole cloves. Place ham in foil lined pan.

In the top half of a double boiler, heat the corn syrup, honey and butter. Keep glaze warm while baking ham.

Brush glaze over ham, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Baste ham every 10 to 15 minutes with the honey glaze. During the last 4 to 5 minutes of baking, turn on broiler to caramelize the glaze. Remove from oven, and let sit a few minutes before serving.

Re-Post: Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy and Brioche and Sausage Dressing

My husband suggested I repost the recipes that I made for Thanksgiving last year. This post has had a major spike in popularity 🙂 This is the turkey we’re having this year – it’s so worth the effort and ingredient list! I’m also making the brioche and sausage dressing because it was amazing, and again well worth the effort and wait. I hope you all have a Thanksgiving full of family, friends and great food! Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy – adapted from Anne Burrell

Brine –

  • 7 quarts water
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 head garlic, cut in 1/2 equatorially
  • 1/2 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey

Herb Crust –

  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh sage, leaves finely chopped
  • 3 sticks butter, room temperature
  • Kosher salt

Gravy –

  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 quart chicken stock, divided
  • 2 cups apple cider, divided
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Special equipment: butcher’s twine

To brine the turkey: Combine all of the ingredients for the brine in a large container. Add the turkey and let it brine in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

To prepare the turkey for cooking: Remove the turkey from the brine the night before roasting and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels. Combine the rosemary, sage, and butter for the herb crust in a small bowl. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Work the butter under the skin of the turkey and massage it into the breasts and the legs. Massage the bitter on the outside of the skin as well. Tie the legs together over the breast so they will protect it during cooking and help keep it moist and juicy.

Gravy preparation: Put the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, apples, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and thyme in a roasting pan and season with salt. Arrange the turkey on top of the veggies and refrigerate overnight UNCOVERED! Yes, that’s right, uncovered. This will help the skin dry out and become really brown and crispy. Make sure that there is no raw food near the turkey in the refrigerator. After refrigerating overnight, the turkey is ready to go in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Put 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup apple cider in the bottom of the roasting pan. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until the skin gets really nice and brown, about 40 minutes. Lower the oven heat to 350 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so and add more stock to the roasting pan, if needed. Cook about 17 minutes per pound. Once it gets to the proper color, tent the turkey with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too dark.

Remove the turkey from the oven when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the turkey registers 160 degrees F. Make sure that the thermometer is not touching a bone when doing the reading. When the turkey has reached the proper temperature, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Strain all the veggies over a bowl to separate them from the stock/mixture. Discard the veggies. Skim off the fat and add it to the roasting pan. This is the fat for the roux. Put the roasting pan over 2 burners and over a low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1 cup apple cider, remaining chicken stock and the stock/cider mixture. Cook until the mixture has thickened and reached a gravy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into a serving pitcher or bowl.

Carve the turkey, transfer to a serving platter and serve with the gravy.

Cook’s Note: Don’t fight over the drumsticks.

Give thanks for such a great turkey!!!

*Basic Brioche – The Bread Bible

Dough Starter –

  • 2 TBSP room temperature water
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg

*Make the starter one to two days ahead. In a mixing bowl, add ingredients and mix until very smooth. Cover with plastic wrap.

Flour Mixture –

  • 5.5 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 TBSP room temperature butter

1. Combine first four ingredients and pour on top of the starter, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. Using a standing mixer, add eggs and mix on low speed for about a minute until evenly moistened. Raise speed to medium and beat for two minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with an oiled rubber scraper, then continue beating for five minutes longer or until the dough is smooth and shiny but very soft and sticky. It wont pull away from the bowl completely.

3. Add the butter one TBSP at a time until all incorporated. The dough will be soft and sticky. Lightly oil top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

4. Chill – refrigerate for one hour, then gently deflate with rubber spatula, then return it to the refrigerator for another hour.

5. Deflate/Chill – turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Press or roll into a rectangle, flour as needed. Give the dough a business letter turn, brushing off excess flour. Rotate 90 degrees so the closed side faces left. Make a second business turn and round the corners. Dust it lightly on all sides with flour. Wrap loosely but securely with plastic wrap and place in a large ziploc bag. Refrigerate of at least six hours and up to two days.

6.  Shape/Rise – remove from fridge and gently press down to deflate. Roll/press into a 7 1/2″ by 5″ wide rectangle. Roll down from top in three turns, being sure to brush off the excess flour. Place seam side down in a prepared 8×4 inch loaf pan pressing down firmly. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan – about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack on the lowest position of the oven and place a baking stone or a baking sheet on the rack.

8. Glaze/Slash/Bake – glaze the top of the loaf with a mixture of one egg yolk and a splash of cream or milk. Slash the top of the loaf 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep lengthwise down the loaf, making sure to leave 1″ at each end. Set on hot stone and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees.

9. Cool – un-mold loaf to cool on a wire rack at least two hours before cutting.

*Sausage Brioche Dressing – adapted from Food Network

  • brioche loaf, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound pork breakfast sausage
  • celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cross cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 cups stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread the brioche on a baking sheet and put it in the oven until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the sausage and break it into pieces with a spoon. Cook until browned, then transfer it to the bowl with the brioche. Add the celery to the sausage drippingsand cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Put the sausage into the brioche bowl. Stir in the stock and sage and mix until the brioche absorbs most of the liquid. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the dressing to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and bake until golden brown on top, another 20 to 25 minutes.

Dinner Rolls

Quick Post: I needed two dozen rolls for my daughter’s kindergarten class, and this recipe made the perfect amount. These are so easy to make and don’t require any special ingredients, and my only modification is that I used about 4 cups all purpose flour and 2 cups white whole wheat flour. They baked up light, soft and fluffy and they remind me of a Hawaiian roll – just less sweet. I’m hoping that the kids like them 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Big Batch Quick Dinner Rolls – adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 cups warm milk ( 100 – 110°F)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons yeast, instant preferred
  • 6 to 7 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Directions –

1) Combine the water, milk, butter, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir well and let sit for 6 to 8 minutes, or until you see the yeast begin to foam.

2)Add 5 cups of flour and mix by hand or with the paddle attachment until the dough forms a rough, shaggy mass. The dough will not form a ball at this point, but will be just shy of coming together.

3) Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time and blend with the dough hook until a smooth ball begins to form. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes, or by machine for 4 to 5 minutes until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly tacky to the touch.

4) Lightly spray your work bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Spritz the top of the dough with spray as well and cover lightly with plastic wrap or a shower cap. Let rise for 20 minutes at room temperature or until the dough is full and puffy.

5) Gently deflate the dough and pat out to a rough rectangle about 8 inches by 12 inches. Cut the dough into 4 long strips, then cut each strip into 6 portions for a total of 24 dough balls. Shape into round balls as you would shape meatballs, using your cupped hands to roll the dough. Spritz your hands with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

6) You can place the rolls into any of the following pans, well greased or lined with parchment paper: One half-sheet baking pan or 2 quarter-sheet pans. Two 13″ x 9″ x 2″ pans. Four 8″ or 9″ round baking pans OR a combination of any of these pans.

7) After the rolls are in the pans, cover again with your plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until well rounded and full looking. If you are baking now, preheat the oven to 350°F.

8) Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and an internal thermometer reads 190°F. You can brush the baked rolls with melted butter if desired. Serve warm, store leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.

9) If you want to freeze the unbaked buns, place in the pans as described in step 6 and allow to rise for 10 minutes. Wrap airtight and freeze for up to 4 weeks. To bake, thaw overnight in the fridge, then unwrap and bake as directed.

There-Is-Entirely-Too-Much-Halloween-Candy-In-This-House-Cookies!

The kids hit the mother load in our neighborhood! I knew I was going to have to find a use or I would eat too many myself. I started my search for uses a few days before Halloween and I came across this recipe. I like the fact that only one stick of butter is needed and this isn’t going to be a huge batch of cookies. The occasional batch of cookies isn’t a bad thing, but when the batch made over 50 cookies – well, that’s just way too many for me to avoid! 😉 I’ll make sure we will pass some of these out to our lucky neighbors – that is if M decides to be generous and share. He loves Reese’s cups! The kids are still counting their booty as I type this! And before they knew why I asked for their M&Ms and Reese’s cups they whined (thinking I was going to eat them), but once I revealed the true reason they were more than willing to give them up! 😉 We discovered that they have 15 KitKat’s so I may have to find another recipe for those – unless of course I take some for myself 😉
Candy Cookies – adapted from For the Love of Cooking
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 “Fun Size” packages of M & M’s (about a cup)
  • 7 full size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, cut into bite size pieces
Directions: 
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray or line the cookie sheet with a silpat baking mat.
In a large bowl, mix the butter, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy and smooth. Slowly beat in the eggs. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt together thoroughly. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixtures until well blended. Add most of the M&M’s and most of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and mix carefully.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls on cookie sheets. Add the remaining M&M’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup pieces to the top of the cookies.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool before moving them to a wire rack. Enjoy

Re-Post: Ham and Potato Soup

Quick Post: This soup is perfect when the temperature dips below 70 here, and I always look forward to the cooler weather to make some of my Fall favorites. The last time I made this was last December, posted here.

Ham and Potato Soup – adapted from Allrecipes.com

  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 pound diced cooked ham
  • 3 1/4 cups chicken stock (like this one)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk

Directions: 

Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.

In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.

Triple Cheesy Pasta

Cheese + Carbs= my kryptonite. I know I’m not the only one 😉 I came up with this because I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store, and I always feel good when I am able to use what is available in my pantry and fridge. Macaroni and cheese is a great meal to make when you’re short on time and ingredients because it’s made with ingredients most of you probably have on hand. The cheese blend is gooey, melty and slightly spicy. Also, the ratio of cheese sauce to pasta is about 2 to 1! I could have cooked up at least 3/4 of a pound for the amount, so if you need to feed about 8 people, I recommend boiling up more pasta. We all enjoyed this and the kids and I love adding ketchup to any mac and cheese recipe – this is no exception. I love the tangy sweetness that it gives to the rich, cheesy pasta. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Triple Cheesy Pasta – 

  • 8 ounces dry pasta
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne and paprika (optional)
  • 3/4 pound of shredded cheese ( I used cheddar, mozzarella and pepper jack) reserve about 1 cup for the topping
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Directions:
1.  Preheat oven 400 degrees, and bring a large pot of water to boil. Once it’s at a rolling boil, season with salt and pour in your dry pasta. Cook to package directions, preferably a little underdone. Drain and set aside.
2. While the pot is heating up, place a 2 quart sauce pan over medium heat and melt the butter. Once your butter is melted sprinkle the flour and seasonings into the pot. Cook for a few minutes or until the roux smells slightly nutty. Slowly pour in the milk/half and half while whisking to create a smooth bechamel. Cook over low heat until slightly thickened. Add the cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted.
3. Pour the cooked pasta in a 13×9 inch baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over all and stir to combine. Mix the panko and reserved cheese then sprinkle over top all the pasta. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is browned and bubbly! Enjoy 🙂