HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 5 of 2019

WOW here we go into week 5, only 47 to go this year LOL 😀 This is always an emotional week for me as it is also the “anniversary” of my Ovarian Cancer surgery.  The first 5 years were the worst waiting for that “NED” (NO evidence of disease) designation each follow-up, but now at 8 years I’m feeling more comfortable that there will NOT be a recurrence!  I had my yearly check up last week and the blood work is all back and ALL is good til next year! 😀 Of course ALL the health issues that came after the cancer and because of the cancer are enough to deal with 😀

That said, I have been under the weather the past week  with some sort of fever and infection, but because of the issues from the stomach surgery last year I cannot take even Tylenol to get the fever down and just have to wait it out.  It is always such a fine line trying to get the proper nutrients and minerals, keep some weight on and get my energy up.  I’m hoping this week will be better.  On the up side my oncologist thinks the weight loss, no matter how it happened has made me healthier and even less at risk for a cancer recurrence 😀

Anyway on to this week:

Be sure to join us and link up with
Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday

and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING – We have had a few dry days and even a couple sunny ones, but we’re back to mostly gray and cloudy and the rain will be back by Wednesday.  Temperatures have been running in the 40’s during the day and 30’s at night.  I always laugh because it predicts our high will be say 49 degrees, but it doesn’t tell you that’s only for 30 minutes before it starts dropping again!  I have on Levis, a comfy lightweight teal blue hoodie and super comfy socks.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE – This morning is a bowl of peanut butter oatmeal with a banana and green tea.

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY – My 8 year cancer anniversary is Friday and I am ecstatic to report I had my follow-up last week and I am still NED (no evidence of disease)!!  Everything else may be falling apart and eating is STILL a challenge, but I am STILL cancer free! 😀

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA I didn’t get as much done last week as I would have liked because of not feeling well, but I did FINALLY get this project finished – the antique file (4 stacked units with oodles of drawers) sits on the wood floor and had old broken and flattened sliders under it that needed changed out.  Unfortunately the ENTIRE thing has to be taken apart piece by piece, drawer by drawer to get it apart and accomplish this job.  At least it is DONE!!

INSPIRATION

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS / APPOINTMENTS

  • LAUNDRY… just a load or two
  • LIVING AREAS… good and tidy, but do need to vacuum
  • KITCHEN… also good and tidy, but need to dust mop
  • YARD…hubby has been working on the moss that is making an appearance on the bricks and concrete
  • BLOG…I have a few NEW recipes lined up to post, but nothing much otherwise.  I did chop 2 more off my “Where I Like To Party” list 😀
  • PROJECTS…need to finish research on getting new tires for my car this week
  • APPOINTMENTS…I hate beginning and ending the week with appointments, but LOL that’s EXACTLY what this week will be 😀

CRAFTS / PROJECTS – NOTHING this week though I’m researching a NEW project working with alcohol inks that I’m excited about. 

I’M READING – Ava Miles Dare River #6 The Patchwork Quilt of Happiness  I really like reading multiple series.  By the time you finish book 6 of this series, book 12 is out on another series and you can jump back and forth without feeling like you really ever went very far. 😀The Patchwork Quilt of Happiness (Dare River Book 6) by [Miles, Ava ] SOMETHING INTERESTING I WATCHED – I finally got around to watching The Longest Ride with Scott Eastwood and Alan Alda – wow a REALLY poignant movie!  We also watched a movie on Netflix or was it Amazon, oh well either way it was good too with James Garner and Julie Andrews called One Special Night.  Then we switched to comedy and saw a cute one with Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant called Did you Hear About the Morgans? Oh, and did I mention Sam Elliot was in it? 😀

WHERE I’VE BEEN SURFING ON THE NET I really haven’t been surfing much at all.  I’ve been unplugging more and more, especially of an evening.  It just feels so refreshing to not be “attached” ALL the time.  I did watch a few you tube videos on the project I’m researching.

WHAT IS ON THE DVR OR LIST TO WATCH – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

FEATURED PARTY LINKS FOR THIS WEEK I’m adding this category to show which recipe links are being shared with “WHERE I LIKE TO PARTY” sites now that I have considerably narrowed down this process and the number of sites I participate in 🙂

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

BREAKFAST

LUNCH

DINNER & DESSERTS

MONDAY – FRIDAY

HOT TEA,

BANANA OATMEAL

& YOGURT

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

MONDAY 

R.E.D. recipe experiment dinner

TUESDAY

CHEESY SOUR CREAM CHICKEN

WEDNESDAY

C.O.R.N. clean out refrigerator night

THURSDAY

SLOW COOKER RIBS & BAKED BEANS

FRIDAY

KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN

SATURDAY

BACON & EGGS

BEEF LETTUCE WRAPS

SUNDAY

PANCAKES

CHICKEN ALFREDO PIZZA

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

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CREME BRULEE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

CREME BRULEE FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE – serves 6
I found this make ahead casserole that lets you spend your weekend with your loved ones instead of slaving in the kitchen over at Marilyn’s Treats. I’ve made a few changes to adjust to our taste palette, but it still tastes like it was made in a 5 star restaurant.  AND THIS IS SO GOOD ALL BY ITSELF THAT YOU CAN SKIP THE SABAYON SAUCE IF YOU WANT TO MAKE IT EVEN SIMPLER.

FRENCH TOAST
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons QUALITY honey
1 pound bread French, challah, or croissants, torn into 1 inch cubes
8 large eggs
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
1¼ cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon PURE vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon salt
sprinkle of nutmeg
sprinkle of cinnamon
FRESH sliced fruit, strawberries, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, mandarin oranges

  • In a small saucepan cook the butter, brown sugar and honey over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until smooth and tawny colored.
  • Pour the mixture in an even layer into a 13×9 baking dish.
  • Add all the bread on top of sugar mixture and press lightly so the bread compresses, but don’t squish more than about ¼ of the air out.
  In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, almond extract and salt until combined well and pour evenly over the bread.

  • Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon.
  • Cover the casserole with cling wrap and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

 

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Bring casserole to room temperature.
  • Bake casserole, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes. The simplest method to check for doneness is with a digital thermometer. The casserole is ready when the internal temperature is 160.
  • Serve hot French toast immediately with FRESH fruit, butter, Sabayon sauce, favorite syrup or whipped cream.

SABAYON SAUCE – is a French name for the traditional Italian custard sauce originally known as Zabaione
6 large yolks
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
4 tablespoon of Marsala wine or Coconut or Pineapple Rum (see notes)
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest optional
1/2 cup whipped cream or 4 tablespoons whipped Mascarpone cheese **optional

  • First, fill a large bowl with water and ice and set this aside.
  • Set up a double boiler on your stove top and make sure that the bowl that is sitting on top is not touching the hot water below in the pot.
  • Add the yolks to the bowl and turn the heat on medium high and start whisking. The yolks will slowly get warmer, so keep on whisking and add a little sugar at a time until it is all incorporated. Continue to whip until the sSbayon is very pale and registers 160°F on your thermometer. Make sure you continue whisking so as not to cook the yolks. Cook at this temperature for a few minutes and then carefully remove the bowl from the double boiler and set it into the larger bowl that you have set aside that is half filled with ice water. Continue to whip until completely cool and ribbons form as it falls from the whisk.
  • Add the Marsala wine or liquor of your choice, zest and the vanilla.
  • Fold in the whipped cream and serve immediately.

NOTES:

  • It looks the prettiest when the pieces are served upside down.  You can also invert the entire casserole onto a slightly larger platter or cookie sheet for serving a large group.
  • Traditionally, Sabayon is made with Marsala wine, but you can use whatever you like. Many people use rum, brandy, cognac, grand marnier etc… Whatever you use, just make sure that the flavor of the liquor will compliment the fruit you are using. I like a pineapple rum with strawberries. 😀 This batch was made with Marsala, blueberries and oranges.
  • Using the whipped cream in the Sabayon sauce lightens it up just before serving.

CHEDDAR CHICKEN POT PIE

Making this recipe as individual pies you can taste the homemade pastry and rich cheddar flavored sauce in EVERY bite. You can make this as rustic or as elegant as you’d like by cutting the crust into cute little decorative shapes or leave it as a single layer. We like to invert the individual pies so the crust is on the bottom absorbing all the yummy gravy.

CHEDDAR CHICKEN POT PIE – serves 6
CRUST
1 cup soft flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons cold vodka

  • 5 minutes before you begin the crust place the vodka and butter cubes in the freezer.
  • Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Cut in butter until crumbly.
  • Gradually add vodka, mixing until forms a ball.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate AT LEAST 30 minutes.

FILLING
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups cubed peeled potatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 can petite peas, drained WELL
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup Wondra flour
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 cups diced rotisserie chicken
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Bring the broth to a SLOW boil over medium high heat in a large saucepan.
  • Add vegetable and simmer 10-15 minutes until tender.
  • Whisk together the milk and Wondra flour.
  • Stir milk mixture into broth mixture and simmer 10 minutes more or until desired thickness.
  • Stir in cheese and chicken.
  • Fold in peas.
  • Season to taste.

ASSEMBLY

  • Spoon filling into baking dish(es). Set aside.
  • On a floured pastry mat roll crust 1 inch larger than baking dish.
  • Ease crust over dish, sealing the edges to the side of the dish.
  • Make several slits in the dough for steam to escape through.
  • Bake uncovered, for 40 minutes or until golden.

NOTE: DO NOT forget to cut slits in the crust to allow the steam to escape.

GRILLED HULI HULI CHICKEN a.k.a. TERIYAKI CHICKEN

Huli Huli is a cooking method of roasting chicken on a spit and serving it with a teriyaki-like sauce. Huli is the Hawaiian word for turn and as it cooks people would shout HULI as the chickens turned on the spit.

This tasty recipe has succulent chicken, delicious teriyaki, and sweet pineapple to recreate the VERY best of the HULI HULI experience. I bet you might even hear the waves lapping up on the shore, the Hawaiians shouting TURN or the sizzle of the drippings hitting the open fire.

GRILLED HULI HULI CHICKEN
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce
1/4 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup frozen pineapple juice concentrate
2 cloves garlic, minced

  • Whisk together all ingredients except the chicken.
  • Place chicken in a large ziplock bag.
  • Pour juice mixture over chicken, turning chicken pieces to coat well and seal bag.
  • Marinade in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • Heat grill to low-medium
  • Drain the chicken and discard the marinade.
  • Grill chicken until juices run clear and chicken is cooked through, but DO NOT OVER COOK!
  • Serve over rice with grilled pineapple slices.

 

DINNER is meant to be DINNER, in a SINGLE pan when possible :D – PORK TENDERLOIN with GREEN BEANS & ROASTED PEARS

DINNER is meant to be enjoyed, and cooked in a SINGLE pan whenever possible 😀  I want to make JUST ONE  fantastic dish that is so flavorful and satisfying that it can stand alone or simply be paired with a salad or FRESH rolls.  Now to be honest this takes 2 pans UNLESS you use a LARGE cast iron skillet which is my weapon of choice 😀 or at least an ovenproof skillet of some sort.

PORK TENDERLOIN with GREEN BEANS & ROASTED PEARSserves 2-4
2 pound pork tenderloin
1/2 pound green beans, washed, trimmed and cut
1-2 BOSC pears, cored and sliced
1 shallot, chopped
5-6 large mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH thyme sprigs, trimmed and chopped
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1+1 tablespoon butter

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Heat avocado oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • When sizzling, add shallots and green beans. Stir 3-4 minutes until beginning to soften and cghar.
  • Season with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Add mushrooms and pears, sauteing 2-3 minutes more.
  • With slotted spoon transfer to sheet pan.

 

  • Pat tenderloin dry and generously season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Add tenderloin to the still hot pan and quickly sear on all sides.
  • Transfer tenderloin to sheet pan. RESERVE PAN and EVERYTHING IN IT for sauce.
  • Roast 13-15 minutes (140°).
  • Remove from oven and tent with foil.
  • Rest 5 minutes.

  • Return pan to medium heat.
  • Add garlic and thyme, cooking until fragrant.
  • Whisk together the chicken broth and cornstarch until lump free.
  • Add teriyaki sauce and chicken broth to pan, simmering until begins to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of butter.
  • Season to taste.
  • Plate and ENJOY!

HONEY ORANGE PINEAPPLE CHICKEN ala SLOW COOKER

HONEY ORANGE PINEAPPLE CHICKEN ala SLOW COOKER serves 6-8

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup orange pineapple juice
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup QUALITY honey
1/4 cup apricot pineapple preserves
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce
1/4 cup Heinz Chili sauce
8 ounce can crushed pineapple
1 small can Mandarin orange segments, drained WELL
1 small onion, finely chopped

1 cup sliced carrots
Prepared rice
chopped green onions for garnish

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together orange pineapple juice, lemon juice, chicken broth, honey, preserves, brown sugar, cornstarch, teriyaki sauce, Chili sauce, Country Bob’s sauce and crushed pineapple.
  • Spray slow cooker insert with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Place chicken breasts in slow cooker in as shallow a layer as possible.
  • Top with onion and carrot pieces.
  • Pour juice mixture over top.
  • Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
  • Cover and cook 1 hour more.
  • Top with Mandarin orange segments, turn off heat, cover and let sit 5 minutes.
  • Serve over hot cooked rice. Top with fresh chopped green onions.

MEXICAN TORTILLA BAKE a.k.a. FOLD OVER TACOS

Your favorite taco in a casserole – perfect for potlucks!

FOLD OVER TACOS
1 pound ground beef
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
1 cup red enchilada sauce
1 can re-fried beans
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon FRESH ground black pepper
12 6 inch tortillas
6 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature 30 minutes
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat cook beef until crumbled and pink is gone.
  • Drain off excess fat.
  • Add tomatoes, sauce and seasonings. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Pour half of the meat and sauce into the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish.
  • Top with half the beans.  Set aside.
  • Stir together the cream cheese and one half of the re-fried beans.
  • Spread cream cheese mixture on each tortilla and top with a spoonful of the sauce.
  • Fold each tortilla over and arrange in baking dish partially overlapping.
  • Pour remaining meat sauce over top of tortillas.
  • Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with cheese and bake 5 minutes more until cheese is melted.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 4 of 2019

GOOD MORNING! Here we are beginning week 4 of 2019 and I find myself wondering where the first 3 went?  I’m having such a tough time getting all my energy back – so much so that I already feel behind for the year 🙁  Oh well, onto this week’s Monday post as I pray to find some energy.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING Welcome to the Pacific Northwest where the weather is almost always wet at least some of the day and ever changing at this time of the year.  When I looked at the weather yesterday there were supposed to be having several days of sunshine later this week and now today there aren’t any forecasted  🙁  We’re supposed to be a bit dryer this week which won’t take much since we were SUPER wet last week with flash flood watches and such.  The highs are supposed to be in the mid 40’s and the lows in the mid 30’s.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE Peanut butter Banana Oatmeal and Lemon Green tea

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA Our favorite munchkins spent a rainy Saturday night with us and after an uneventful game of CLUE we landed on a game of Monopoly that still sits waiting to be finished next weekend. 😀

INSPIRATION

SOMETHING INTERESTING I WATCHED The NFL playoff games were on yesterday and kept us entertained through a rainy Sunday.  We’re long time RAMS fans and were thrilled that they are advancing to the Super Bowl!!  We REALLY wanted the Chiefs to beat the Patriots, unfortunately it just didn’t happen.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS / APPOINTMENTS

  • LAUNDRY… Just a couple loads to get caught up on
  • LIVING AREAS… clean and tidy
  • KITCHEN…clean and tidy, but need to add felt stops to the self-closing cabinet doors
  • YARD… nothing
  • BLOG… still need to write up a few more new recipes and I’m still adjusting the party links to downsize the ones I participate in.   Three weeks into the new year and I have eliminated yet another 3 party links bringing it up to 16 gone.  There are at least 5 more on the chopping block for this week.  So many blogs have become too commercial and the ads as well as the layer of pages to get to the content have become just too much to bother with.
  • CRAFTS/PROJECTS… working on some garland for next year’s Christmas tree – I’ll post about it if it works out the way I’m hoping
  • APPOINTMENTS… oncology follow up that is also a day away with shopping and food 😀
  • TO DO… some paperwork, cable comparisons for my mom to get her bill to a manageable price, phone calls and still working on my cookbook cross reference system for upcoming recipes I want to make.

I’M READING Five Years gone by Marie Force

WHAT IS ON THE DVR, I LIKE OR ON THE LIST TO WATCH Not much on the DVR, we’re pretty caught up for now and I’m just NOT getting very excited about TV except for a couple cooking shows.

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

BREAKFAST

LUNCH

DINNER

DESSERT

MONDAY – FRIDAY

GREEN TEA,

BANANA & YOGURT

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

MONDAY

KOREAN FRIED CHICKEN

TUESDAY

SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

PORK EGG ROLL BOWL

FRIDAY

FRENCH ONION PENNE PASTA

PINEAPPLE

RAISIN

TAMALES

OR

BLUEBERRY

COFFEE CAKE

SATURDAY

PANCAKES

CHICKEN LASAGNE

SUNDAY

BACON & EGGS

OUT

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

 

BAKED CRANBERRY MEATBALLS

This recipe is the result of 3 recipes combined together. The flavor profile is so unique, it’s actually hard to describe. They are tangy, they are sweet and they are purple! 😀 BUT, they are delicious!!!!

BAKED CRANBERRY MEATBALLS makes 50+ meatballs
1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce (use this link for the homemade sauce recipe or see notes)
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut
12 ounces Heinz chili sauce
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
2 pounds ground beef
2 LARGE eggs, lightly beaten

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl mix together the soup mix and bread crumbs.
  • Crumble beef over top.
  • Pour eggs over top and gently mix with your hands JUST until combined.
  • Shape into evenly sized meatballs and place in baking dish.
  • In a large saucepan combine the chili sauce, cranberry sauce, sauerkraut, chicken broth, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Heat JUST to a boil over medium heat stirring to dissolve all the sugar.
  • Pour over uncooked meatballs.
  • Baked covered 1 hour.
  • Uncover and bake 15-20 minutes more until cooked through and sauce is thickened.

NOTES: I like to use homemade cranberry sauce, but you can easily use a can of Ocean Spray whole berry sauce.

JALAPENO BBQ MEATBALLS aka TANGY SMOKEY MEATBALLS

JALAPENO BBQ MEATBALLS aka TANGY SMOKEY MEATBALLS

MEATBALLS
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 LARGE egg, beaten
1 cup quick cooking oats
6 ounce can evaporated milk
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Line a large jelly roll pan with foil. Use 2 pans if necessary.
  • Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

 

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • In a large bowl combine eggs, oats, milk, onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder until well blended.
  • Add the ground beef and mix thoroughly.
  • Shape meat into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet 1 inch apart.
  • Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes.
  • While baking, prepare sauce.
  • At 30 minutes, pour off grease and combine meatballs onto a single tray.
  • Pour sauce over meatballs, turning balls to coat.
  • Return pan to oven and bake another 20 minutes.

SAUCE
1 cup jalapeño ketchup
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • In a saucepan whisk together sauce ingredients.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Simmer 5 minutes.

BUFFALO MAC & CHEESE NESTS

BUFFALO MAC & CHEESE NESTS
2 cups elbow pasta
2 cups small chopped rotisserie chicken pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/3 cup BBQ sauce or Frank’s Original hot sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Wondra flour
3/4 cup milk
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
slices thin provolone cheese
finely chopped red onion for garnish (optional)
finely minced crumbled crisp bacon for garnish (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cook pasta al dente’ per package directions.
  • Spray mini-muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.

 

  • In a saucepan melt butter.
  • Add Wondra and combine until golden.
  • Whisk in milk until smooth.
  • Add Colby Jack cheese and stir until smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add pasta and stir to coat.
  • Press 2 tablespoons into each muffin tin.

 

  • In a mixing bowl combine chicken, garlic, shallot and BBQ sauce.
  • Spoon a small amount over each pasta mound.
  • Add a small thin slice of provolone over each mound.
  • Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes.

SAUCE
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce or Frank’s original Hot sauce
1 cup bleu cheese dressing
2 tablespoons half and half

  • Blend all together a dribble over each prepared nest.


NOTE: When using a soft cheese like Mozzarella in a recipe of this type there is a secret to keep it from just melting into a GLOB of gooey mess in your pasta.  The secret?  Cut it into very small pieces and freeze it for 30 minutes before adding it to your sauce.  It will incorporate into your pasta perfectly after that.

I have MANY MANY versions of mac & cheese.  One for every mood 😀

ALTERNATIVE FLAVORS for the MAC & CHEESE:

CAJUN MAC & CHEESE slow cooker version – serves 8
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs*
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning (I like Slap your MAMA)
1/2 teaspoon Frank’s original hot sauce
1/2 pound andouille sausage, halved and sliced into half moons
1 small red pepper, seeded, stemmed and diced
1 LARGE shallot, diced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 1/2 cups bowtie pasta
1/2 cup shredded gouda cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
+/- 1/3 cup milk

  • Combine chicken, Cajun seasoning and hot sauce in slow cooker, tossing to coat chicken well.
  • Add sausage, red pepper, shallot and broth, stirring to combine.
  • Cover and cook on low 6 hours or high 3 hours.
  • Stir in pasta Cover and cook 20 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn off slow cooker and remove insert from heat.
  • Top with cheeses (DO NOT STIR IT IN), recover and let sit 5 minutes until melted.
  • Add milk and stir to desired consistency.

NOTE:

  • 2 cups diced rotisserie chicken can easily be substituted for the chicken thighs. If using rotisserie chicken, add pieces at the same time as the pasta.

BUFFALO RANCH MAC & CHEESE #2 SLOW COOKER version
1 pound rotini pasta
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 small onion, finely diced
1/2 cup Frank’s original hot sauce
1 ounce Hidden Valley Ranch dressing powder
4 cups chicken broth
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
milk

  • Combine the pasta, celery, carrots, onions, hot sauce and ranch dressing mix in the slow cooker.
  • Stir in broth, cover and cook on high 1 1/2-2 hours or until liquid is absorbed.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Top with cheese DO NOT STIR IT IN)and let sit until melted, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in cheese, adding enough milk to reach desired consistency.

NOTE: Rotisserie chicken makes a nice protein for this dish. Add it during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

TEX MEX MAC & CHEESE serves 4
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
1 small green pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon avocado oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 pound ground beef
2 cusp beef broth
2 cups tomato sauce
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 small can chopped green chiles
1 can Green Giant shoepeg corn
FRESH ground sea salt & black pepper
2 cups shredded Jack cheese or Mexican blend
2 tablespoons FRESH cilantro

  • Heat oil in large skillet/saute’ pan.
  • Add onion and bell pepper, stirring occasionally and cooking until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and chili powder, cooking until fragrant.
  • Crumble beef into pan, cooking until pink is gone.
  • Add beef broth, tomato sauce and pasta, simmering over medium heat 9-12 minutes until pasta is tender.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in corn, chiles and half the cheese.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese, cover and let sit 3-5 minutes until melted.
  • Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

CHILI MAC & CHEESE
1 pound ground beef
16 ounces penne or bowtie pasta
2 tablespoons Wondra flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt
4 cups beef broth
2 cups salsa
1-2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

  • In a large skillet brown beef over medium high heat.
  • Drain off fat.
  • Add beef to slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle flour, salt and chili powder over beef and toss to coat.
  • Add pasta.
  • Stir in beef broth, cover and cook 1 1/2-2 hours or until liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally.
  • Stir in salsa.
  • Top with cheese DO NOT STIR IT IN) cover and let sit until cheese is melted.
  • Stir cheese in gently.

CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD – Chocolate makes EVERYTHING better!

CHOCOLATE BANANA BREAD
2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 LARGE eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium)
1 teaspoon butter vanilla emulsion
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray large (9×5 inch) loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In another mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar until creamy.
  • Add eggs and mix well.
  • Add bananas, vanilla emulsion and milk, blending JUST until combined.
  • Fold in nuts and chocolate chips with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake 1 hour or until tester comes out clean.
  • Let cool on rack 30 minutes before slicing.