Can I get

Three Cheese Swiss Chard

Mac & Cheese

mac_n_cheese

Sometimes it’s fun to be a bit indulgent, for example using three types of cheese to make mac & cheese.  I try to keep my dairy intake to a reasonable amount as I’m slightly lactose intolerant but sometimes have to just take a lactaid and enjoy the cheesiness of life!  In attempt to tease myself into thinking this dish is at all healthy, I added some swiss chard.  Regardless, it’s all 52weeksofcookings fault as they were the ones who posted a Mac and Cheese challenge – so totally blaming them for all the calories in this dish!

Can I get

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

1 lb small shells

2 tbsp butter

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp flour

2 cups milk

1/2 tsp yellow mustard

1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded colby jack

1/2 cup shredded monterey jack

2 cups swiss chard, torn

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the shells per instructions on box until just under al dente. Drain, rinse, then return to pot and set aside.
  2. While shells are cooking, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes before stirring in the flour. Slowly whisk in the milk, breaking up any clumps that form. Then add the yellow mustard and stir in.
  3. Begin adding the shredded cheese to the milk, allowing each bit to melt before adding more. Once all the cheese has been added pour over the pasta.
  4. Put the pasta pot with the cheese sauce over medium heat and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until pasta is fully cooked. Toss in the swiss chard and stir - allowing the leaves to wilt.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/03/can-i-get.html

This Mac&Cheese is so rich that we actually had leftovers for lunch the next day which is something that normally doesn’t happen.  I warmed everything back up on the stove, adding just a bit of olive oil as this dish did not need more diary.  Joe then topped his with Old Bay (shocker!) while I enjoyed mine as is.

Hot and Fresh

Mee Goreng: Malaysian Stir Fried Noodles

malaysian_stir_fry

This week’s challenge for /r/52weeksofcooking sent me back to Asia – this time to figure out a malaysian dish. I’ve always had a thing for noodles so was instantly drawn to the all the street noodle images popping up as I searched for recipes.  I also wanted something with a bit of heat, as I’m still trying to figure out how spicy I can get without it upsetting the little one.  I’ll admit that I’ve been avoiding spicy foods so happy this challenge came along to push me out of my comfort zone.

Street Noodles

Serves: Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb rice noodles

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic

2 carrots, chopped

1 lb bok choy, chopped - whites and greens separated

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp spicy chili sauce

1 tbsp black bean sauce

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Cook the noodles per instructions until al dente then rinse in cold water and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat, add the ginger, garlic, and scallions and cook for 5 minutes or until garlic turns golden.
  3. Add the carrots and the white part of the bok choy and cook for 10 minutes before adding the sauces. Stir in the sauces, then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid then add the cooked noodles, rice vinegar, and the green part of the bok choy stir well and recover for a final 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/03/hot-and-fresh.html

Even though we’re no longer around an Asian market my mom is, so I sent her on a shopping trip to get some ingredients for me.   I used Lee Kum Kee sauces for this dish as they are vegetarian and husband safe – the second part being more important!

Sweet Summer

Acapulco Tofu

acapuco_tofu_taco

Welcome to March’s Secret Recipe Club!  It feels so awesome to be joining the SRC again after taking my baby break – I missed the fun that comes with being sent a blog to explore.  This month I was given Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking, a blog I was very familiar with thanks to Facebook and previous SRC reveals.  I had a very hard time picking a recipe this month as Sid’s blog is stuffed to the gills with all sorts of recipes including retro favorites and Danish treats.  Two of the “finalists” were part of the Danish block: Baked Omelette and Cauliflower with Herbs.  In the end I could not get past her Chicken Acapulco recipe and decided that I had to give it a whirl.  I replaced the chicken with extra firm tofu and since I was unable to find the McCormick meat seasoning in the original recipe I made my own.

Sweet Summer

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

1 lb tofu, cubed and well pressed

1 packet meat seasoning

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp water

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 jalapeno, diced

2 cloves garlic, iced

1 Spanish onion, diced

3 roma tomatoes

1 tsp gourmet garden cilantro (or 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, diced)

1 cup Monterrey jack cheese

1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Place the cubed/pressed tofu in a deep bowl. In a small bowl i together the seasoning, olive oil, water, and vinegar then pour over the tofu. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes, flipping the tofu over halfway.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the jalapeno, garlic, tomatoes, and cilantro - set aside.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu. Cook for at least 5 minutes on each side, tofu should be a light golden color. Add the tomato mixture (Pico de gallo) and turn heat to low. Allow to cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Slowly stir in the cheeses being careful to not over crowd the pan. Once cheese has melted, serve on a warm tortilla or over yellow rice.
  5. Eat and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/03/sweet-summer.html

Fantastic!  The spices and the cheese went together perfectly and by giving the tofu enough time to drain it was really able to soak up all the flavors.  We enjoyed ours taco style for dinner and as a burrito bowl the next day with some Spanish style rice – adding some fresh avocado and green pepper each time.  I had never heard of acapulco chicken (or tofu!) before finding this recipe but now it will be on regular rotation.  It might require a number of bowls but it comes together super quick.  For a real short cut, pick up some fresh made pico de gallo at the grocery store.  Another great recipe thanks to the Secret Recipe Club!!!

So Save

Minestrone

minestrone_soup

Spring it starting to make it’s appearance, and with that soup season is slowly coming to an end.  We had a chilly blast this past weekend so I decided to do up a batch of minestrone – which is about as simple as it gets.  The ingredients are ones I almost always have on hand, if anything just have to buy the tomato juice.  Which makes it perfect for the “it came from a can” challenge over that /52weeksofcooking.  Instead of using frozen vegetables, just use a can of each: peas, corn, carrots, lima beans, etc – the point of this soup is to show that simple can be tasty.

Minestrone

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

2 sprigs rosemary, diced

1/2 tbsp fresh thyme

1 bay leaf, crushed

1 lb bag of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, etc)

3 cups V8

2 cups vegetable stock

1 can crushed tomatoes, Italian style

1/2 cup acini de pepe (or other small pasta)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Add the herbs and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring to prevent the herbs from burning.
  2. Add the mixed veggies, V8, stock, and crush tomatoes and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta and continue simmering for a final 20 minutes, or until pasta has cooked. Season to taste with salt/pepper.
  4. Serve and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/03/so-save.html

Nothing like a dish that comes together in record time and only requires one pot.  I know that some people aren’t a fan of cooking pasta in soups but I love how doing so gives the pasta some extra flavor.  Plus the smaller pasta holds it shape better than the larger guys and don’t get as mushy.  However, for those who want more of an al dente taste – cooking the pasta per instructions and then place in the bottom of a bowl before pouring the soup over top.  For a real protein punch, add some garbanzo or great northern beans when adding the pasta or use lentils in place of the pasta.

Money, Money, Money

Honey Muffins

honey_muffin_crop

Bonus SRC post!  Not only is today Lead Day it is also the 5th Monday of the month which means a bonus themed Secret Recipe Club post.  This month is all about spring recipes, which is much needed given that winter does not want to leave.  To me spring is about early berries, greens, and flowers – and insane amounts of rain!  When I saw Emily of Life on Food‘s Honey Muffin post I knew I had my perfect spring recipe.  If not for bees there would be no spring so hello, honey!  For the honey, I used some Killer Bee Honey from The Bee Folks which I pick up on a yearly basis at the MD Ren Faire.  I normally walk out with Killer Bee Honey (sticks) and something fun because I have a true honey issue.

Honey Muffins

Serves: Yields 12 Muffins

Ingredients

1 egg, at room temperature

1 cup 2% milk, at room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a muffin tin with papers or lightly oil.
  2. Beat the milk and egg in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking power, and salt. Pour in the melted butter along with the honey and then quickly beat in the egg/milk mixture until just mixed.
  4. Spoon a 1/4 cup of batter into your muffin tin (about 3/4 full)
  5. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/02/money-money-money.html

After you’ve enjoyed your muffin I suggest using any extra honey to top off some kosher pickles for a real sweet/sour treat.  Or you can just make another batch of muffins – no wrong answer!!!  While not a “spring” recipe I also have to mention Emily’s Bailey’s Milkshake because boozy milkshakes are my thing and I’m looking forward to having one sometime soonish.