Saturday, July 24, 2010

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

This is what I had for breakfast - banana blueberry pancakes. And now I have a bag full of pancakes in the fridge, since I'm the only one here who usually eats breakfast, ready to be reheated and re-crisped in the oven for a few more days. They are great too, even for cheater pancakes. Yup, I used Bisquick. And I used the recipe on the back of the box for melt-in-your-mouth pancakes (to the regular recipe add 1 tablespoon each of sugar and lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon each of baking powder and vanilla). I also added my last handful of fresh blueberries and a chopped banana.

But you're not here for the pancakes... because I ate them. No, you're here for the creamy macaroni and cheese.

I used to make macaroni and cheese where I baked it after combining the pasta and cheese sauce, but I've found that to make it too dry. Although cutting a cold hunk of macaroni and cheese out of the dish from the fridge the next day and being able to eat it out of hand is always fun. I had a macaroni epiphany last winter while visiting with family and making dinner. The back of the cornstarch box had a recipe for cheese sauce that yielded something silky smooth and cheesy. Then I realized if I wanted a creamier mac and cheese, I should just skip the baking step, which is what I've done since.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

1 package of cooked pasta (I used bowties this time)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. cornstarch (or 2 Tbsp. flour)
Seasonings as desired
2 c. or more of shredded cheddar cheese

Get your pasta cooking in salted water. 

While the pasta is bubbling away, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat. If you're using flour, add it to the melted butter and stir with a wooden spoon or whisk constantly until golden, then add the milk. If you're using cornstarch, mix it with about 1/4 cup of the milk and add the cornstarch mixture and the rest of the milk. Stir until thickened, then add whatever seasonings you wish. I used salt, pepper, garlic, dry mustard, and crushed red chili flakes this time. Then add the cheese and stir until melted.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss with the cheese sauce. I like BBQ sauce and Sriracha sauce with my mac and cheese, as well as topping it with a little shredded Parmesan and sliced basil.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm Still Here!

So, that was a long blog break. I kinda lost my mojo for a while, and then looked at my Google Reader where I had somewhere between 400 and 500 unread posts, after which I threw my hands up in the air and just walked away.

But, I've since regrouped. I simply marked all of the unread posts as read without looking at them. I'm sure I've missed seeing some great things, but sometimes you just have to let go. And now I'm back posting here in my little corner of the world.

Here's some pictures from our trip for the 4th up to Mammoth. Hopefully I have other good stuff to put up soon too. Until then, enjoy and thanks for coming back!

Chris and Greg, and Greg's awesome truck that he drove through a creek

The hippopota-Willy

 Beers and a bulldog on the deck

 My two favorite guys

 The most patient lab ever - he didn't even try to take my sunglasses off

 Chris and I went up to the Main Lodge on the mountain and wandered around. It was completely empty, but everything was mostly how we remembered it from when we were kids skiing up there.

 We played mini golf just around the corner from Greg's place. It was actually a good little course too.

Pool and Big Game Hunter at Grumpy's, as well as Hefeweizen and jalapeno poppers

I took Ayla and Willy for a hike around Horseshoe Lake on our final morning

There was a snowboarder building a ramp over a bridge to jump - I can only assume he wanted to land in the lake and its ice-cold snow-runoff water
Willy sure likes it though

Ayla prefers to play fetch on the beach, but I didn't have her swimming vest so maybe she would have like swimming too... dogs are strange

Case in point

Mac loves that Ayla is forced to snuggle with him in the car