Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

lobster1

Just in case you didn’t think that macaroni and cheese could get any more decadent…you come across this gut busting concoction! Seriously though – it calls for four cups of cheese and four cups of heavy cream…in order to redeem this a tad, this Momma is going to use half and half instead of all cream. That’s how I roll, folks! 😉 I can’t justify it, even if it is a rare dish in this house. I learned something about myself while making this: handling lobster tails gives me the willies! This was my first time handling raw lobster and the shell grossed me out. My daughter thought the spots on the shell were its eyes! That was kind of funny, but she is always wary of trying new things. I told her lobster is like a huge shrimp, but tastes even better. She ended up eating her entire serving and proceeded to ask if she can take some leftovers to school 😉

Verdict: This came out good, but it could use some more spice. Make sure to season well and taste the sauce as you go. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from The Neely’s

  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing dish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups shredded sharp white Cheddar
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere
  • 2 (8-ounce) raw lobster tails, defrosted if frozen, meat removed from shell, chopped
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves

lobster

Directions –
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and adjust racks to the middle. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with butter.

In a large pot of boiling salted water over medium heat, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve.

Add 4 tablespoons butter to a large pot over medium heat. Once the butter shimmers, add the shallots and garlic and saute until translucent. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the tomato paste and flour and stir to toast, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce, by half, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the cream, whisking well to remove any lumps. Add the paprika, cayenne, and bay leaf. Bring the cream up to a simmer and turn the heat to low. Let reduce until the cream is thick and can coat a spoon, about 5 to 10 minutes. When thickened, remove the bay leaves.

Stir in the grated cheeses, a handful at a time, combining well after each addition. Add the chopped lobster meat to the sauce and stir well. Add the pasta and stir. Add to the greased baking dish and sprinkle with the panko crumbs and parsley. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle individual servings with parsley.

Cheddar Biscuits

Quick Post: I made these to go with this salad. They were cheesy and delicious. The End!

Cheddar Biscuits – adapted from No More To Go

  • 1 ¾ cups King Arthur Self-Rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (*next time I will use less salt – at least 1/4 tsp less*)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup butter, cold
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

Butter:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon dried parsley

Directions –

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with canola oil.
3. Combine flour, salt, and garlic powder in a large bowl.
4. Using a pastry cutter, food processor, or just two forks, cut in the cold butter.Combine the butter using this method until you have pieces of butter no bigger than a pea.
6. Add cheese and milk and mix with your hands until just combined.
8. Drop using a ¼ cup measuring cup onto your prepared baking sheet.
9. Bake for 11-13 or until the tops of the biscuits are light brown.
10. While the biscuits are cooking, combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
11. When the biscuits come out of the oven, brush them with the butter glaze and serve

Cheddar and Mozz Mac

Quick Post: This is his fave mac n’ cheese, but now with a new cheese combination. This was a last-minute dinner decision, so I used what I had on hand for this, and thankfully it worked out. I know that cheddar and mozzarella isn’t an “outside the box” kind of pairing, but for someone who rarely steps outside a recipe, it’s blog-worthy 😉 This blog is as much about archiving as it is sharing with all you lovely readers out there. I always like being able to read what changes I made in the past, improvements, tweaks, recommendations, good, bad and ugly rather than try to remember it all! 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Panera Mac and Cheese

This is so rich and creamy! The kids loved the mild flavor of the cheeses and already mentioned wanting to eat the leftovers. Hopefully my picky husband will appreciate it – he’s hard to please when it comes to new macaroni and cheese recipes. His absolute favorite is this one, and no other recipe I have tried can hold a candle to it in his opinion!

His verdict: 7 out of 10! I’ll take it – besides, he ate two bowls and happily brought some to work the next day. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Panera’s Stove Top Mac and Cheese – adapted from Annie’s Eats via Panera Bread

  • 16 oz shell pasta
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half
  • 4 oz white American cheese, chopped or torn into pieces
  • 8 oz extra sharp white Vermont cheddar, shredded
  • 2 tsp – 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (adjust according to your tastes)
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce (like Frank’s)
Directions:
1. In a large stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain well.
2. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a 4-quart sauce pan over medium heat.  When the butter has melted and has started to bubble, whisk in the flour; cook for 1 1/2 minutes whisking constantly.  Gradually whisk in the milk until no lumps remain.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes.
3. Remove sauce pan from the heat and by the handful, stir in the cheeses allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more.  Stir in the mustard, salt, and hot sauce.  Return the sauce pan to the heat and stir in the pasta.  Be sure to stir up the sauce from the bottom of the sauce pan and thoroughly coat all of the pasta with sauce.  Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat until heated through.  Serve hot in bowls with spoons.

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 🙂

 

Twice Baked Potatoes

I was inspired to make these while watching The Pioneer Woman’s show on Food Network yesterday. Now, I wouldn’t mind trying her recipe, but I’d rather stay away from all those extra goodies and try to make these a little more healthy for my family. I’m adding broccoli and cooked chicken to mine, while my husband will have lots of cheese, butter and sour cream on his to go along with his rib eye steak tonight. I’m serving mine with a green salad. The kids aren’t fans of mashed or baked potatoes (cause they’re a little weird – I still love them, though) so hopefully the leftovers will heat up nicely for a quick dinner later on this week.
Verdict: These were so tasty and well worth the wait. I have all kinds of add in ideas now that I will have to try soon. My favorite thing about this is the skin on the bottom of the potato. It became crisp almost like a chip because of the olive oil – it was perfect!  Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Twice Baked Potatoes – adapted from Natalie’s Killer Cuisine
  • 4 large Russet Potatoes
  • Olive Oil to coat (*and kosher salt if you’d like)
  • 4 TBSP Butter
  • a splash of half and half
  • Heaping spoon of Sour Cream
  • Paprika to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded – plus more for top
  • 2 cups cooked Broccoli Florets
  • 1 cup cooked chicken
Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes well and poke a several holes in the potato with a fork. Coat in olive oil and bake uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Let cool at least 30 minutes before handling.
2. Slice off top quarter of potato. Scoop out as much of the potato as you can without breaking the skin and place in a bowl.
3. Add the butter, sour cream, half and half, broccoli, chicken, and cheese to the mashed potato, and mash until everything is melted, and smooth. Add the paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Spoon your mashed potato mixture into the potato skin – be really generous here. Sprinkle the tops with extra cheese if desired.
4. Bake for 3o minutes at 350 degrees until cheese is melted.  I turned on my broiler for a few minutes after they were finished baking, just to brown the tops a little – keep a close eye on them. Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Oh, this is too good! While searching for a recipe to use up leftover roasted chicken, I came across this. I had to buy the cheese but I had everything else on hand which is always good:) While reading through a few of the comments, I noticed that several people wrote that this recipe makes “a ton” but they successfully halved it. Well, that sounded like a good idea to me because I didn’t have enough chicken to make three cups anyway. The recipe also doesn’t seem so decadent when you halve the amounts of cheese and butter;) Everyone enjoyed this, but M still prefers this one over all others I’ve made. Honestly, I’m looking forward to eating leftovers;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese – adapted from Food Network

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup hot sauce (preferably Frank’s)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound yellow sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (I used Gorgonzola)

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add 1/2 cup hot sauce and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 more minute.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and mustard with a wooden spoon until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, then add the remaining 1/4 cup hot sauce and stir until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, then whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

Spread half of the macaroni in the prepared baking dish, then top with the chicken mixture and the remaining macaroni. Pour the cheese sauce evenly on top.

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko, blue cheese and parsley. Sprinkle over the macaroni and bake until bubbly, 30 to 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.



Alfredo, Shells, Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese!

This is a recipe my sister gave me years ago – I don’t know what its official name is, so that explains why this title is so long!;o) It also leaves no questions as to what is in it. My family has always enjoyed this and it couldn’t be easier to throw together. Thanks for reading!

Ingredients –

  • 1 pound box of shell pasta
  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds bone-in skin on chicken breast
  • 1 – 14 ounce bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 – 16 ounce jar alfredo sauce
  • 1  – 8 ounce block of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt, pepper and olive oil for roasting chicken
  • lemon pepper

Directions –

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts then season them well with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Let the chicken cool until you can safely handle it, then shred it  and set it aside.

2. Put a large pot of salted water (at least a gallon) to boil. Once it’s come to a rolling boil pour the pasta into the pot, stir occasionally to prevent sticking and to ensure even cooking. Once it’s finished, drain pasta and set aside.

3. Steam the broccoli in the microwave by dumping the bag in a microwave safe container. Add a little water then cover tightly with plastic wrap – don’t forget to poke a few holes to let steam out. I cooked mine for 4 minutes – they don’t have to be completely cooked through.

4. Get a large bowl out add pasta, shredded chicken, cheese, broccoli and alfredo sauce, then season well with lemon pepper. Spray a 13×9 baking dish with Pam and pour the pasta mixture then sprinkle the top with more cheese. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes, or if you like your cheese to brown and bubbly, you can place it under the broiler for a few minutes instead. Enjoy!