Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Comfort and Joy- Mashed Potatoes and Mac and Cheese

I got a new issue of Simple and Delicious magazine and I bet you can guess the theme..."Classic Comforts!" I usually find one or two recipes to try in each magazine but this time I found seven! The first two have been moderate successes, so I thought I would share them with you.

Recipe number one was "Crunchy Mashed Potatoes." I will admit that it had me at "1 and 1/2 cups cheddar french-fried onions." I love those things. This recipe was so easy that it actually came together too fast. I barely had time to get everything together. I also try to clean as I go and put away ingredients that I've already used (a habit of cooking in a small kitchen for five years) but there was not a second to spare. Once the three cups of chicken broth came to a boil it was non-stop action for all of 30 seconds. I'm not joking. I added 1 cup of milk, 1 pressed garlic glove, 1/4 tsp of pepper, 3 cups of potato flakes, and 1/4 cup sour cream and whisked until it was smooth. Then it went into a casserole dish, got sprinkled with the french -fried onions and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, and went under the broiler for about 1 minute. I didn't even have enough time to zap hot dogs in the microwave. Fancy dinner huh? I joke, but Brett was soooo happy to have hot dogs.

It tasted good, but Brett and I concluded that it needed butter. I also conferred with my mom (the queen of potato flakes) and she uses evaporated milk instead of regular, which adds creaminess.

The second recipe that I tried was called "Spirals and Cheese." This one used a lot of pots, which I don't like, but was very easy, which I do like. While 3 and 1/2 cups of rotini were cooking to just underdone, I melted 3 T of butter combined it with 3 T of flour and gradually added 3 cups of milk. When that had thickened after a couple of minutes, I added 2 cups of cheddar cheese, 1/2 a cup of parmesan cheese, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper.

I drained the pasta, and poured it all back into the same pot and then added the cheese sauce. It was very thin. So thin that I thought I had done something wrong. I poured it all into a baking dish and crossed my fingers.

In yet another pot I melted 1 T of butter and added 1/2 cup of dry bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese. This only took about 10 seconds of stirring and then I sprinkled it all over the noodle mixture.

It went into the 400 degree oven for 20 minutes and came out perfect. It did taste good, but it was a little bland. We think it could have used some cajun seasoning or bacon... or both. Three pots and one casserole dish later I was starting to think how much I like Kraft macaroni and cheese.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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