Mac and cheese brings up nostalgic memories in a lot of people, as it certainly was a favorite food for a lot of us growing up. I’ve always wondered, however, whether adults remain as passionate about mac and cheese as when they were children, and for me the answer to that is YES! Except, these days I like to enhance my mac and cheese with funky additions, such as bacon and caramelized onions. Oh my yum! Don’t even get me started on how good bacon is in this dish. To go even further and make it even fancier, I often use prosciutto or pancetta in place of bacon – and that elevates this mac and cheese to another completely yummy level!
Also, I like to simplify things, just like when I was a kid, and this recipe is especially simple since I don’t use Bechamel sauce (and I did make a classic mac and cheese using Bechamel sauce once), I don’t make roux, and I also don’t use custard-based cheese sauce. I just simply mix milk, heavy cream, white Cheddar and Gruyere cheese (in just the right proportions to achieve the desired creaminess) plus spices – to make a very creamy and cheesy mac and cheese! I guess based on the cooking method I used I could call this mac and cheese – Fettuccine Alfredo, too!
Adding caramelized onions certainly makes this more of an adult mac and cheese, and what a delicious addition it is! Just make sure to caramelize onions for 30 minutes to make sure they brown thoroughly, without burning. In the end, you should have onions that are soft and sweet from all the caramelization process. Continue reading
A good basic Alfredo sauce has long been a staple in my kitchen. Not only is it delicious, creamy and cheesy, the sauce is simple to prepare, and it uses the ingredients that can be easily found in any pantry. This ridiculously easy Fettuccine Alfredo dish can be served plain as-is, or alongside some add-ins, such as leftover roasted chicken, grilled vegetables, bacon. It’s one of those great weeknight dinners that will take you at most 30 minutes to make, and what you get in return is a restaurant quality dish.
So, if you’re looking for a simple, straight-forward, not overly complicated recipe, without too many steps, a recipe that is practical for a weeknight after a long busy day, this recipe from Emeril fits the bill.
In addition to grilled chicken and roasted vegetables, this Fettuccine Alfredo also goes great with seafood: grilled or sauteed shrimp, scallops, or lobster. Definitely a keeper! Continue reading
I make a lot of “adult” mac and cheeses (with strong cheeses and funky add-in’s) to accompany steaks in our house. For once, however, I decided I wanted to make a “real” mac and cheese: very traditional, using regular cheese (such as cheddar), and using white sauce.
As I was looking for an easy homemade macaroni and cheese recipe, a lot of sources seemed to be pointing to Martha Stewart macaroni and cheese, so that seemed like a good place to start.
Martha’s recipe calls for 1 pound of elbow macaroni, which produces a huge amount of pasta, so I halved the recipe, using 1/2 pound of elbow macaroni instead of 1 pound, and halving the rest of ingredients. Even after I halved the recipe, it still produced quite a lot of pasta – enough to make 6 or 8 very rich servings. I also reduced the amount of cheese to sprinkle over top as the original amount called for in the recipe seemed excessive. Also, the recipe calls for Kosher salt, which is less salty than table salt, so because I used regular table salt, I reduced the salt amount accordingly. A reminder to myself: always pay attention to what salt the recipe calls for: Kosher or table salt. Continue reading
This week turned out to be quite busy again, and it’s during the weeks like this one that I love simple weeknight dinners, such as this Asian salmon and noodles. You might have noticed that this pasta dish is strikingly similar to my recent recipe for spicy Asian noodles with mushrooms and snow peas, including the trivia that I manually counted 60 snow peas. In fact, the only difference between these two recipes is the presence of salmon in our today’s dish. The fact that I am this non-creative with the today’s recipe underscores how tired and short on time I am this week.
The salmon and noodles cooked Asian style that you see on the photos are so flavorful, that this dish quickly became a favorite in and outside of our home! And, it take such a short time to make this that I’ve been feeding this dish to my family LOTS of times. I am surprised they are still not tired of it. So, I know your family will love this recipe if you like good Asian food! And, like it should be on a busy weeknight, the recipe is quick, easy and requires no mental power! Continue reading
Pasta carbonara is one of my favorite dishes to cook on weeknights, because it’s very easy to prepare and usually takes me only 25 minutes. I also like to make pasta carbonara when I am short on ingredients, since it requires such basic ones: bacon (or prosciutto for less fat), eggs, stock, pasta, and Parmesan cheese.
The other night I was looking for an easy pasta carbonara recipe that was a bit different from my usual way of preparing it, and I found an interesting recipe on Pioneer Woman that uses 3 additional ingredients: lots of garlic, onion, and quite a lot of fresh parsley. I happened to have several bunches (!) of fresh parsley (due to my recent obsession with the Chimichurri sauce), so I was especially excited to use up the parsley instead of throwing it away.
This recipe takes a little bit more time to prepare than the 25 minutes I usually spend on pasta carbonara – but still under an hour – due to all the chopping and incorporating of additional ingredients. I also halved the recipe because I do not like to reheat the egg-based pasta sauces the next day – the texture can really suffer. So I just cooked what I needed – half a pound of pasta, which makes perfect 4 servings. Continue reading
For the last several weeks, these spicy Asian noodles and mushrooms became my staple dish on Monday nights (or any other days that are similar to my hectic Mondays). It’s very easy to prepare; takes at most 40 minutes from start to finish, and it’s very tasty. The dish is versatile – you can eat it as a vegetarian version, or you can add already cooked fish or meat to it.
This is my perfect recipe for Monday nights. If your Mondays are anything like mine (busy from 9 to 5 with reports and excel spreadsheets at work, plus everybody is trying to catch up with me at the same time), then you will thank me for this recipe. It’s mindless, simple, you can do this dish on an auto-pilot, because this recipe does not require much thinking or fiddling. And, in the end, you’ll surprise yourself with the dish that’s quite excellent in flavor. Continue reading
Pumpkin ravioli was the first recipe idea that came to my mind after I found an unopened can of organic pumpkin sitting in my pantry, leftover, forgotten and unused from this past Thanksgiving / Christmas season. I’ve already posted two ravioli recipes on this site, and both of them involved cheese and greens. I thought it would be a nice departure to make ravioli without any cheese in the filling – somewhat different from the norm. The use of the brown butter and toasted pecans as a ravioli sauce is also not as common as the white cream sauce or the red tomato based sauce that usually accompany ravioli.
To make ravioli filling, I just used organic pumpkin puree straight from the can, with only a couple of spices added, and the filling was more runny than what I was used to. I used my ravioli mold again and was pleasantly surprised how well the mold worked (once again!) even with a more watery and runny ravioli filling, such as pumpkin puree. Thanks to the mold, I was able to make perfect shapes, and none of ravioli burst or opened up during boiling/cooking. It’s key, though, not to overfill the holes in the ravioli mold with too much pumpkin filling – put just enough filling so that it’s at the same level as the top of the mold. Continue reading
Do you need a recipe for a simple and delicious weeknight meal that is easy to make? Enter this very flavorful garlic shrimp and asparagus pasta. Of course, nothing is wrong with using this recipe for a nice meal on the weekend, too: it surely looks and tastes sophisticated, with shrimp coated in colorful spices and looking all scarlet next to the white short pasta and green roasted asparagus.
I cooked the shrimp in a shell, mainly because I was curious of the outcome. Cooking the shrimp in a shell certainly has advantages: it’s harder to overcook the shrimp, the presentation is nice, and the flavor is seemingly better. There is just something about cooking shrimp in a shell that adds dimension to the flavor. I am not surprised that in many restaurants, after the shells are removed from the shrimp, the chefs actually save the shells and cook them separately for the sauce or some kind of stock. I’ll try that someday. Continue reading
My ravioli mold proved once again that 26 bucks I spent on it was not a waste of money. After I posted my first recipe for ravioli in a red, tomato-based sauce, I got obsessed with the thought of making the ravioli in a different type of sauce, this time – white, creamy, and cheese-based. And, I didn’t want ravioli to be filled just with cheese as most store-bought ravioli seem to be: instead I wanted a veggie and creamy ravioli filling, and goat cheese and spinach proved to be a perfect match for each other. I am very happy to present you with this simple recipe for ravioli with goat cheese and spinach filling in a light Parmesan cream sauce with mushrooms. Continue reading
I’ve always looked at those large pasta shells (manicotti) on store shelves with great longing, vividly imagining that stuffing any kind of cheese or vegetables into that large tube-like shape would undeniably result in something very delicious, pretty-looking and very Italian. Besides, my husband had a very nice Italian wine (you can see it in the photo below – it’s Aiola Chianti Classico), and he, in turn, was anxious to pair this wine with a good traditional Italian pasta dish. The stars seemed to be aligned for me to finally tackle the recipe for stuffed manicotti pasta shells. I decided to go the traditional route and stuff the shells with ricotta cheese and chopped spinach filling, accompanied by a red tomato sauce. Continue reading