Chuck's Favorite Mac and Cheese: Mac and Cheese Friday #2

This week was a more "classic" mac and cheese, yet still unique.

Chuck's Favorite Mac and Cheese
Courtesy of: allrecipes.com

1 (8oz) package of elbow macaroni

8 oz of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

12 oz container of small curd cottage cheese

8 oz sour cream

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and pasta, and cook until done; drain.

In 9 x 13 inch baking dish, stir together macaroni, shredded cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, milk, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. In a small bowel, mix together bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle topping over macaroni mixture.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden.

This was a very good mac and cheese. I wont lie...I felt my arteries harden a bit while making this. And worked out while cooking it. But it was worth it. I really was expecting it to be a heavy mac and cheese. It wasn't it was light and creamy. The cottage cheese is what drew me to the recipe in the first place and it was a very nice touch to the meal.
Do you grate your own cheese? I am really beginning to think that cheese that I have grated tastes better than the stuff out of a bag. I do get the stuff in a bag out of laziness some times. But I really do like doing it myself. Also it saves money!
On a side note, my apartment is so dark at night and the lighting is horrible. I have to figure out something so that I can give you some better pictures.

Painted House

So this last week Ryan and I took a quick trip to Bend to finish painting the house. The majority of the work was done, but we needed to paint the chimney. While we were painting the house my parents had some masonry work done and it needed 30 days to cure. We the 30 days were up and we were running out of nice weather days.

This house has been quite the project. Some day I should post before and after pics of the inside remodel. The majority of our time has been spent on the inside of the house and this summer we started working on the outside. Just painting the house made a HUGE difference! It's difficult to get alot of work done commuting back and forth from Bend to Portland. But we are making progress. We still need to replace the fence (which is a major eye sore) and do some landscaping. I am very happy with the progress made thus far. Ryan and I love going to Bend. It has become such a special place to us.


Macaroni and Four Cheese Gratin: Mac and Cheese Friday #1

I chose a very classy and grown up macaroni and cheese to start out...unintentionally I might add. I had recently gotten four mini cocottes from Le Creuset and have been dying to try them out. They came with a cookbook which contained this recipe:

Macaroni and Four Cheese Gratin

courtesy of: Le Creuset's Mini-Cocotte: 25 sweet and savory recipes

18 oz winter durum wheat macaroni

1 oz (1/4 stick) sweet butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 oz Gorgonzola

2 oz fontina

2 oz marscarpone

2 oz parmigiano reggiano
2 oz chopped walnuts

salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 430 F. Lightly butter 4 mini cocottes

Plunge the macaroni a good minute in boiling salted water. They should not be cooked through. Pass the pasta under cold running water to stop them cooking. Add several drops of canola or simple vegetable oil to keep it from sticking together.
Melt the butter in a small pan over a low flame. Add the cream, the gorgonzola, the fontina, the marscarpone, and the parmigiano reggiano (reserving 4 tablespoons for the top). Stir the cheese until all are well melted. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add the chopped walnuts.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and divide into 4 mini- cocottes. Sprinkle the rest of the parmigiano reggiano over each cocotte. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and crusty looking. On taking them out of the oven, let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.

So this recipe is totally yummy! Like I said earlier it is a very grown up mac and cheese. I actually felt like I was eating more of a pasta dish...not mac and cheese. Which is a nice change. The meal is a little on the spendy side coming in at around $20.oo. I go to Trader Joes for most of my cheese (other than basics). Any suggestions for a cheap place to get cheese? But this meal is worth every penny. And might I add, how cute are the little cocottes??? They are adorable to me. I am happy I got them. I was a little worried about how practical they would be. Honestly they are not practical at all, but they will be a fun to have. Ok, back the the meal. I forgot to get walnuts at the store so I didn't add them in. It still tasted great. If you don't have anything that is like the cocottes you could put it in a baking dish and it will turn out just fine. I had alot extra so I put some in a small baking dish and it was great.

Also have you ever had marscarpone cheese before? If not go buy some now and try it!! It is amazing. I had only had it in canolles before this. I ate a spoonful right out of the container. It was heaven. All sweet and creamy. Almost like a butter cream frosting.

Make this mac and cheese. You will not be disappointed. It will be a tough act to follow in the weeks ahead.


Confessions of a wanna be domestic goddess

*sigh* I'm having a love affair...her name is Flame.
Flame is a 6.75qt Le Creuset oval french oven. I love her. She was a gift from a very special man in my life who I love very much. I will say this she has been sitting on my stove waiting for her maiden voyage since I got her (a week yesterday). But it has been very warm and I have a special meal planed for her first time. It needs to cool down so I can spend a few hours in front of a stove. So keep your fingers crossed for some cooler weather!
I have learned over the past couple of years how much I love to cook. It isn't a chore for me. I like being able to be creative and try new things. I never thought that I would be this person, but I am. I now describe cheeses as "nutty" or "mild". I spend time trying to find the perfect wine to accompany my meal. I spend hours reading cookbooks trying to learn all that I can. My goddesses are Martha, Julia, Giada and many other lovely cooks. I hope that I can be even half the cook they are.


The Start of Mac and Cheese Friday

Do you like mac and cheese? Are you a fan of the blue box or homemade? Tomorrow I am starting mac and cheese Friday in search of the perfect mac and cheese. Each Friday I will try a new mac and cheese recipe in attempt to find the best. I will report back to you how each turns out and my personal rating. Please feel free to submit to me any recipes that you have for my quest!

And I'm Back!

1254 miles later we are home from vacation. British Columbia turned out to be fun and rainy. I ask you this, why is it that it can be in the 80's the week before and after our trip...but it rains the majority of the time we are there? I learned that Canada has great food (still don't understand why we can't have dill pickle chips here), really nice people and lots of Germans on vacation. It was a sobering experience learning how much Americans are disliked by others throughout the world. But this isn't a blog about politics it a blog about pictures. Enjoy!