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Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Who has time for complicated meals this time of year?  Not us and probably not you!  When we came across this recipe from the divine Gail Simmons,  we knew it was the perfect busy bee recipe!

Three-cheese mini macs

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 packed cup)
  • 4 ounces deli-sliced American cheese, chopped
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain, shaking off the excess water.
Brush four 12-cup, nonstick mini muffin tins with butter. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano; tap out the excess.
In a large saucepan, melt the 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until boiling, about 5 minutes. Add the cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted. Off the heat, whisk in the egg yolk and paprika. Fold in the macaroni.
Spoon slightly rounded tablespoons of the macaroni into the prepared muffin cups, packing them gently. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano on top.
Bake the mini macs in the upper and middle thirds of the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden and sizzling. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using a small spoon, carefully loosen the mini macs, transfer to a platter and serve.
Serving Size

Thursday, December 6, 2012


As promised here is the much anticipated follow up to our previous "savory" post!  As we said last week you can give homemade culinary gifts to your friends, loved ones, or even that office secret Santa that require little to no effort to assemble.  In today's post we will feature several no-cook savory ideas for those on your gift giving list!

Peppermint Bark (Not really "No Cook" but damn easy)

2 -12 oz. bags of of white chocolate chips
1 cup peppermint candies or candy canes

Line a small baking pan with foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.  Next, place chips in a large glass bowl and microwave at 60% power for 1 minute, stir.  Repeat, stirring until smooth.  Place candies in a large releasable bag and crush with a meat mallet or heavy sauce pan.  Fold half the crushed candy into the melted chocolate.  Pour onto prepared pan spreading to approximately 1/4 inch thickness.  Sprinkle the remaining candy on top and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).  Break into pieces.

Flavored Butters

Honey Butter

1/4 cup honey
1 cup butter
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Blend together and package in an airtight container or canning jar. Refrigerate.

Maple Butter

1 cup butter
1/2 cup REAL maple syrup

Blend together and package in an airtight container or canning jar. Refrigerate.

Orange Butter

1/2 cup of soft butter
1 1/2 sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed.

Cream butter and sugar together.  Slowly add concentrate.  Package in an airtight container or canning jar. Refrigerate.

Homemade Coffee Liqueur

4 cups of fine sugar
2 cups of boiling water
1 cup good instant coffee
1 bottle (750ml) vodka
3 Tbs vanilla extract

Mix sugar and coffee together and then stir in 2 cups of boiling water. Stir until it all dissolves and then let cool.  Pour through cheese cloth into a large pitcher and add 750 ml of vodka (about 3 cups) and 3 tbs good vanilla.  Stir and then pour through cheesecloth again into bottles. (An extra bottle is needed as the resulting drink is more than enough for the vodka bottle).

Hot Buttered Drink Mix

2 3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted, softened butter
3 tbsp REAL maple syrup
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients with an electric mixer until well blended. Package in an airtight container or canning jar. Refrigerate. Give with following serving instructions.

"Stir 1 1/2 tsp drink mix into 6 oz. of hot cider or juice.   For hot buttered rum, add 1 oz rum to cider mixture."

Mocha Sugar

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1-2 packet(s) of instant hot cocoa mix, to your taste
3 tbsp coffee-flavored liqueur such as Kahlua
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

In a small bowl stir all ingredients together until well blended.  Package in an airtight container or canning jar. Give with following serving instructions.

"Stir desired amount of sugar into coffee"