Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stove Top Mac-n-Cheese

I made this last night in an effort to put dinner on the table FAST. I've used various mac-n-cheese recipes over the years, but thought I would try something different and I knew I had pinned a few recipes on Pinterest. They all, however, called for cream cheese or cream, of which I had neither. I also wanted to avoid the lengthy second step of many recipes that call for baking in the oven. I needed FAST. After spending too much time looking for a recipe, I turned to good ol' reliable google.

"best stove top mac and cheese"

This recipe popped up on top of the list, so I glanced through the ingredients. Hmmmm... interesting. It called for eggs. No flour roux, no cream, no cream cheese. I figured I might as well give it try.

I used this pasta
and doubled the recipe, planning for summer-day-lunch leftovers.

Bill's comment: "I think this is the best mac-n-cheese you have ever made."

Shilo's comment: "I need this recipe for college. This is so good."

Mauri's comment: "I ate more than I thought I would." (She had just had a pancake an hour before dinner - go figure.)

I didn't snap a pic of my final product, and figured a pic of the refrigerated leftovers might not do it justice. Imagine cheesy, creamy deliciousness. Next time I make it I'll try to remember to memorialize it.

The Best Mac-n-Cheese I Have Ever Made (a la Alton Brown)

1/2 lb. elbow macaroni (I used Cellentani, and doubled the recipe)
4 Tbs. butter
2 eggs
6 oz evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. hot sauce (I used Cholula)
1 tsp. kosher salt (I used slightly less)
Fresh black pepper
3/4 tsp. dry mustard
10 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded (I used medium cheddar, since that's what I had on hand)

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta al dente, then drain. Return to the pot and melt in butter (I pre-melted the butter in the microwave to speed things along). Toss pasta to coat.

Whisk together eggs, milk, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese. Stir over low heat until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy and smooth, at least 3 minutes.

Note: This was super creamy and rich, which my family {loved}. My personal preference (from growing up on milkier/runnier mac-n-cheese) is a slightly "looser" texture. In my double batch next time I'm going to try eliminating one egg, and slightly increasing the milk quantity. I'll post the update.


Happy family.

Gotta love that.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Best S'mores Bars EVER

I work with a fabulous baker in the Young Women organization at my church. She seriously makes the best treats EVER. A few months back she made these for one of our Priest/Laurel activities and I couldn't get enough of them (not good for my not-really-a-diet-but-I-need-to-lose-weight regime). I had texted her for the recipe, then asked her in person a week or two later, and finally sent a text a week or two later that I wanted it NOW, if possible (obviously my first two attempts were too gentle).

It was a Sunday evening, and I was craving something sweet, and Bill wanted to take some treats to a couple of families in our ward. My friend Kristen responded in a very timely manner (so sweet of her to take time out to do it for me), and I started to whip up a double batch. Since she has an iphone and I have an android, the texts came in all jumbled (could somebody fix that, please?), so I was trying to decipher the recipe while using what I had on hand.

They still turned out seriously so good!
These went a little long under the broiler, but my family thought they were more "s'mores-y" with some dark brown anyway (thankfully no BLACK). YUM!

I told Kristen I was posting the recipe so I could share it with my family and friends (and, selfishly, so I can access it wherever I may be at any given moment without having to figure out the text puzzle).

Here it is:

Kristen Jorgensen's S'mores Bars

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (I used salted)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (I used regular brown)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (very close to 1 full sleeve of graham crackers)
1 bag of mini marshmallows (I only had large, so cut them in fourths)
3 to 4 full-size Hershey chocolate bars broken into pieces (I used Guittard milk chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla, salt and baking soda; mix well. Mix in the flour and graham cracker crumbs until the dough comes together.

In a 9x13 pan, press the dough evenly on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 13 minutes. Take pan out of the oven and spread enough mini marshmallows to cover the top of the dough. Stick small pieces of the Hershey chocolate bar all over the top in between the marshmallows. Bake for an additional 3 minutes. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before attempting to cut into bars.

Kristen's notes:  It is better to let it cool before cutting into bars. (My note: if you are serving out of the pan, they are divine served warm!!) I also put mine under the broiler for just 30 to 60 seconds for a little browning of the marshmallow. If they don't start browning quickly, pull them out before they start getting melted completely. Also, when you pull the bars out after 13 minutes (before putting the toppings on), it will look jiggly in the middle but set up around the edges - that's how it should be.

I only had these cake pans to make the bars in that we were giving away, so I divided the dough in half and baked everything at the same time. I think they worked out perfectly. Obviously I didn't broil at the same time, and didn't intend to get our pan so dark, but they were still delicious either way.

If you like s'mores, I promise you will LOVE these!