Chicken Noodle Spaetzle Soup

The real question of the day is what do you do with the dried spaetzle your opa buys for you? I thought it would skip over making schnitzel and try to incorporate into something I love. So naturally I wanted to to add it to soup.

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There's something really special about homemade soup, especially when you make the stock as well. This soup was created on a day when I felt horrible and logically I should have mixed up some campbells soup but I thought nah let's make homemade stock with this soup. Classic me.

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So it's cold out, like really cold out. You need some warm soup to fill you up.

Chicken Noodle spaetzle Soup

Ingredients

Stock

  • One whole chicken (with some meat left on it)
  • 2 carrots (cut in quarters)
  • 1 onion (cut in quarters)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3  sticks of celery (cut in quarters)
  • 3 bay leaves

Soup

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic ( minced)
  • 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary
  • Half a bag of dried spaetzle (alternatively you could make fresh just decrease the cooking time)
  • Remaining chicken from stock
  • Stock
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. To make the stock: Add whole chicken vegetables, bay leaves in a large stock pot. Fill the pot with water just enough to cover the chicken. Bring it up to a boil and then turn down and simmer for at least an hour ( if you can simmer it for longer the taste will only get better). Strain the stock to remove chicken and vegetables. Discard the veggies, put the bay leaves aside ( you will use them again). When chicken has cooled down a bit remove all the meat from the bones and shred into bite sizes.
  2.  Heat large stockpot  to a medium heat with olive oil. Once heated add vegtables except for garlic and cooked for 5 minutes until softened. Then add rosemary and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add stock, spaetzle, chicken and bay leaves from the stock to the vegetables. Cook for 10 minutes or until dried spaetzle is cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4.  As always serve with a nice loaf of bread.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

 

Potato Latkes with Tangy Dill Sauce

Okay lets be real about a few things. I may have cooked this recipe tonight, screwed it up a few times so here I am at 8:30 with your daily ( not so on time) blog #realtalk

Okay I had dream this week and it was to combine dill and potatoes. I know I am not the first person to think of that combo, and then I remember experimenting making latkes a few months ago. That experiment went well because i'm pretty sure I ate 9 in one sitting.

Then potato latkes with dill sauce was born.

 10 points for garnish

10 points for garnish

Yeah it's a fresh twist to latkes which are traditionally served with sour cream or apple sauce. They are addictive fritter/pancakes. Make them for friends or family but I would strongly recommenced making them for yourself so you don't have to share ( kidding?? I think??)

Okay lets get this party started.

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Grate about 3 to 4 large potatoes. Put in a sieve and rinse. This removes some of the starch. Then grate half an onion and add to the mixture.

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Line the outside of a bowl with a towel. Then dump mixture into the bowl. Wrap the towel around and squeeze as much moisture you can get out of it. This will ensure your latkes are crispy.

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Add eggs, flour, salt and pepper and mix together until combined.

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Add oil and heat pan to medium high heat so the oil is hot but not smoking. Add latke mixture to hot pan in little pancake sizes. Cook on each side for 5 minutes until golden brown.

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While cooking latkes. Lets make your fancy dill sauce. Simply add sour cream, lemon, dill, salt and pepper and mix. Put in the refrigerator until latkes are done.

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Once latkes are cooked set them on a paper towel lined plate.

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Then top with dill sauce and forget about all the problems in your life.

 Get it girl

Get it girl

Potato Latkes with Tangy Dill Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 medium potatoes (washed not peeled)
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Tangy Dill Sauce

  • 1/3 cup of dill (chopped)
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1.  Grate potato put into a sieve and rinse to remove some of the starch. Grate onion and add to sieve.
  2. Line a bowl with a kitchen towel. Put potato and onion mixture into lined bowl. Wrap towel around mixture and squeeze until no more moisture comes out.
  3. Discard potato water and rinse bowl. Add potato mixture back to bowl as well as the beaten egg, flour and salt and pepper. Mix together until combined.
  4. Heat a frying pan with oil on medium heat until very hot but not smoking. Scoop 3 or 4 small 3 inch size dollops into the frying pan.
  5. Cook on each side for 5 minutes until golden brown. Once cooked transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.

Tangy Dill Sauce

  1. Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined.
  2. Put in refrigerator until ready to use.

Top your latke with a generous amount of dill sauce and enjoy!

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

 

Life Changing Eggplant Parmesan

You know who sucks at reading instructions?

*points to self*

Ironically enough I write a blog with instructions on how to cook things. Anyways I am TRYING to get better at it, I truly am.

SO  yes I *may* have forgotten to read all the directions for this recipe. Not realizing it took four hours I made it for Nick's early birthday at his dad's house last year. This was such a great experience considering I don't think I have ever made eggplant before. This dish has an incredibly meaty texture and can satisfy and skeptical carnivore.

 I made almost a year ago, but that was one of those meals where you smile eating it because it feel like it reaches into your soul and gives you a hug also known as comfort food. Eggplant Parmesan seemed like a meal that is extra in all the right ways, oh and it was.

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 Yeah this guy is totally worth the best eggplant parmesan

Yeah this guy is totally worth the best eggplant parmesan

Don't be intimidated by this long list of instructions. It will take a bit of time so pour yourself a glass of wine, and maybe call in sick to work.

Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients

12 Servings

Marinara

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves crushed
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ cup dry white wine or apple juice
  • 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • ¼ cup torn basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt

Eggplant and Assembly

  • 4 pounds Italian eggplants (about 4 medium), peeled, sliced lengthwise ½–¾ inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups finely grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 1⅓ cups olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped basil and parsley, plus basil leaves for serving
  • 6 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, grated (about 1⅓ cups)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Preparation

Marinara

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil in a large heavy ovenproof pot over medium. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add onion, anchovies (if using), and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, breaking up with your hands, and their juices; add basil and oregano and stir to combine. Swirl 1½ cups water into one tomato can, then the other, to rinse, and add to pot; season with salt. Transfer pot to oven; roast sauce, stirring halfway through, until thick and tomatoes are browned on top and around edges of pot, 2–2½ hours.

Let sauce cool slightly. Pass through the large holes of a food mill or process in a food processor until mostly smooth. Taste and season with salt.

Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Method

Lightly season eggplant slices all over with salt; place in a single layer on several layers of paper towels inside a rimmed baking sheet. Top with another layer of paper towels and more slices; repeat as needed. Top with a final layer of paper towels, then another rimmed baking sheet; weigh down with a heavy pot. Let eggplant sit until it has released excess liquid, 45–60 minutes. This step gives the eggplant a creamy texture when baked.

Meanwhile, pulse panko, oregano, pepper, and ¾ cup Parmesan in a food processor until very finely ground. Transfer to a shallow bowl.

Preheat oven to 350°. Place flour in another shallow bowl and eggs in a third shallow bowl. Working one at a time, dredge eggplant slices in flour, then dip in egg, allowing excess to drip off. Coat in breadcrumbs, packing all around, then shaking off excess. Place on wire racks.

Heat ⅔ cup oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Cook as many eggplant slices as will comfortably fit in pan, turning once, until deep golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and immediately press with more paper towel to absorb oil. Working in batches, repeat with remaining slices, adding remaining ⅔ cup oil and wiping out skillet as needed. Let cool. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

Toss chopped herbs, low-moisture mozzarella, and remaining ¾ cup Parmesan in a medium bowl. Spread 1 cup sauce over the bottom of a 13x9" baking pan; top with a layer of eggplant slices (trim as needed). Drizzle 1 cup sauce over and sprinkle with one-third of cheese mixture. Add another layer of eggplant, followed by 1 cup sauce and half of remaining cheese mixture. Repeat layers with remaining slices, sauce, and cheese mixture. Cover with foil and bake on a rimmed baking sheet until eggplant is custardy, 45–60 minutes.

Remove from oven and arrange fresh mozzarella over eggplant. Increase oven temperature to 425° and bake, uncovered, until cheese is bubbling and browned in spots, 15–20 minutes longer. Let rest 30 minutes. Top with basil leaves just before slicing.

Do Ahead: Eggplant Parmesan can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool; cover with foil and chill. Reheat in a 350° oven, uncovering halfway through, until bubbling gently at edges.

recipe adapted from :http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/bas-best-eggplant-parmesan

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

 

Crunchiest Homemade Pickles

I love many things in life; one of those things is vinegar.

Anything from hot sauces, vinaigrette and obviously anything pickled.

This summer I took my try again at making pickles. I made them about three years ago but they were too mushy ( and what is worse than a soft pickle??). America's test kitchen is always a reliable source for tried and tested recipe,s and this recipe is a variation of their "dill pickle chip" recipe with my own twist.

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The main thing that made the biggest difference in these pickles was letting them sit in salt for an hour. This helps draw out moisture and keeps them crispy as heck.

Crunchiest Homemade Pickles

Ingredients

2 1/2 pounds of pickling cucumbers

2 tablespoons canning and pickling salt

2 cups of chopped dill plus for large sprigs

3 cups of  vinegar

3 cups of water

1/4 cup of sugar

4 garlic cloves peeled and quartered

Method

1.  Put cucumbers in a bowl with salt and put into the refrigerator. Drain is colander don't rinse and pat try with a towel.

2. Bundle chopped dill in cheesecloth and secure with twine. Bring the dill sachet, vinegar, water, sugar to boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Cover and remove from heat, and let steep for 15 minutes, discard sachet.

3. Meanwhile set in canning rack ( once again if you are bootleg like me just put a dish towel at the bottom to avoid jars having direct contact with the bottom of the pot). Bring to a simmer over medium high heat , then turn off heat and cover to keep hot.

4. Place dish towel flat onto counter. Using canning tongs remove jars from pot, draining water back into pot. Place jars upside down on the towel and let dry for a few minutes. Pack jar tightly with dill sprigs, garlic, and drained cucumbers.

5.Return brine to brief boil. Using a funnel and ladle, pour hot brine over cucumbers to cover, distributing spices evenly and leaving 1/2 inch head space. Slid wooden bamboo skewer alongside the jar, pressing slightly on the vegetables to remove air bubbles, and add a bit more brine if needed.

6. You can can these but honestly I ate them in a month.

7. To can them: When jars are warm, wipe rims clean and add lids to jar, screw on rings; however do not over tighten. Before processing jars. Lower jars into water, bring water to a slight simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove jars from pot and let cool for 24 hrs. Check seal, they can stored for up to 1 year ( good luck with that though).

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

 

 

 

Nonna's Unofficial Canned Tomato Sauce

Oh hi there!! Bored of me yet? Honestly it doesn't matter because you've got 22 more days of these posts.

Okay so chances are I am going to post two different tomato sauce recipes this month. Is this because i'm secretly a 26 year old nonna? ( probably). Okay not really the real reason being my Opa gave me some tomatoes (some is an understatement but lets continue) so I thought I would make some sauce. So some tomatoes ended up being a half a bushel of tomatoes.

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*nervously laughs at all the tomatoes*

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Okay so I foolishly decided I wanted to make this sauce during the week. Obviously my suggestion would be to take a Saturday and do the whole process in one day you have off. This one is a biggie but I really enjoyed doing it.

Let's get into it.

Nonna's Unofficial Canned Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 30 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
  • 6 or 7 onions chopped
  •  1 tablespoon of lemon juice for every mason jar
  • 2 teaspoons salt (optional)

Method

  1. Boil a pot of water and prep the ice bath. Bring a large  stockpot of water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large mixing bowl with ice and water and set this next to the stove.

  2. Prepare the tomatoes for blanching: Core out the stems from the tomatoes and slice a shallow "X" in the bottom of each fruit. ( see picture above)

  3. Blanch the tomatoes to peel them: Working in batches, drop several tomatoes into the boiling water. Cook until you see the skin starting to wrinkle and split, 45 to 60 seconds, then lift the tomatoes out with the slotted spoon and plunge them into the ice water. Continue with the rest of the tomatoes, transferring the cooled tomatoes from the ice water to another mixing bowl as they cool.

  4. Strip the peels from the tomatoes: When finished blanching, use your hands or a paring knife to strip the skins from the tomatoes.

  5. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and the chopped onions to your large stock pot and cook for 10 minutes until soft. While the onions cook, working in batches, pulse the tomatoes in the food processor. Transfer each batch into the Dutch oven or stockpot.

  6. Simmer the tomatoes: Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Continue simmering for 90 minutes or until the flavor has developed to your liking, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reaches the taste and consistency you like

Canning The Sauce

  1. Transfer the hot sauce into sterilized canning jars. Top with new, sterilized lids, and screw on the rings until finger tight.
  2. Add to tablespoons of bottled lemon juice. Use a ladle to pour the sauce into the jars through a canning funnel, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at the top
  3. Run a clean chopstick around the inside of the jar to dislodge any trapped air. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Place the lids on, and screw on the rings until just finger-tight.
  4. Seal the jars: Using canning tongs, gently transfer the jars to the canner- if you don't have a canner like me because the one I bought immediately (super fun). You can put tea towels at the,  bottom of the large stock pot this allows the glass to have a barrier from the bottom of the stock pot.

  5. When all the jars are in the pot, there should be at least 1 inch water covering them; if you need more, add water from the kettle until the jars are sufficiently covered. Bring the water to a full rolling boil, and process for 40 minutes. I found every 10 minutes or so I was adding water.

  6. Remove and cool: Using  tongs, gently remove the jars from the canner and transfer them to a kitchen towel or cooling rack, again keeping them vertical. Do not set hot jars directly on to cool counter surfaces. Leave to cool, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours.

  7. If any of the jars do not seal when cool, reprocess using the method above, or refrigerate and use immediately. Label and store: Add a label to the lid or side of your jar, noting the date it was canned. Remove the rings and store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Refrigerate after opening.

Recipe inspiration:  https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-basic-tomato-sauce-with-fresh-tomatoes-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-193622?utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=managed&crlt.pid=camp.brDLAaqfVG6B

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

 

Comforting Leftover Ham and Split Pea Soup

What's the best part of cooking a ham? Leftovers and more specifically ham soup. Like do people cook ham without making soup?? It's a mystery to me.

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Never throw out the ham bone it's pure gold. I have made a couple different versions over the past few years. I like this one the best because it quicker because you make the stock while also cooking the split peas and cuts cooking time down by about an hour.

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Comfort food at it's finest. The split peas give the soup a creamy consistent that is super delicious. You do not need to add any kind of dairy to this soup, yet it gives the taste of a cream based soup.  I could write a short fiction novel about my love for soup. In the winter my diet is 80 percent soup ( the other 20 percent is the bread I eat with the soup).

Comforting Leftover Ham and Split Pea Soup

Ingredients

3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large onion

3 stalks of celery (diced)

3 carrot sticks (diced)

3 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon of thyme

2 dried bay leaves

1 bag of split peas

2 quarts (4 cups) of water **

Freshly ground salt and pepper

Method

1. Add all vegetables and thyme, except for the garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

2. Add hambone, split peas, bay leaves, water and if you have any leftover ham throw it in there. Bring  soup to a simmer and cook for about hour until the soup has thickened and the peas are soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Take the hambone out trim off any meat from the bone using your hands and throw it back into the soup. Cook for 5 more minutes.

4. Serve hot hopefully with some warm bread and butter.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

 

 

Chia Seed Pudding with Quick Strawberry Jam

Chia Seeds are the weird little seeds that turn gelatinous after putting them into liquid, and they also happen to be incredibly healthy for you.

"Chia seeds  contain essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid; mucin; strontium’ vitamins A, B, E and D; and minerals, including sulphur, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, niacin and thiamine; and they’re a rich source of antioxidants."

To summarize: They are good AND good for you.

Today these little seeds become a delicious pudding that will step up your breakfast game.

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Chia seed pudding has been a very trendy recipe I've seen around, and I wanted to do my own take on it. I'm not gonna lie the pudding on it's own looks slightly slimy, but it tastes so dang good. You can customize these puddings quite a bit, with cocoa powder, different milks (dairy and non dairy) and that's what I really like about them.

I normally make this recipe for breakfast but it is good for a snack as well.  If you don't have time to make the jam its great with any kind of sliced berries on top ( but just do the jam and treat yo self!)

Chia Seed Pudding with Quick Strawberry Jam

Ingredients (Makes 3 servings)

3 tablespoons of chia seeds

1 tablespoon of  pure vanilla extract

1 cup of coconut milk

2 tablespoons of real maple syrup.

Quick Jam

1/2 cup of frozen berries

1/4 cup of water

1 tablespoon of maple syrup or sugar

Method

1. Add all ingredients to a mason jar or container with secure lid (except for the jam) Put in fridge and let sit overnight.

2. To make the jam combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook for a few minutes until berries and softened and jam. Add more water if needed if you are using fresh berries.

3. Put pudding into a bowl and top with jam.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

Grandma's Hawaiian Casserole

You know those dishes that makes you filled with nostalgia? The other week my mom found my Grandma's book of recipes and I found a whole book of those dishes. I read through most of the recipes, and I could remember how it tasted not only that it reminded me of sleepovers, Christmas, and baking with my Grandma.

It reminded me of going to to my grandma's and grandpa's, and my grandpa would ask me what I wanted to for dinner and I would request the following: scalloped potatoes, pineapple chicken and mushroom chicken ( honestly I was a weird child). These recipes feel like they are a part of my soul, they were simple, straight forward and they filled you with love.

My grandma may have forgotten to add some steps to this recipe so I had to improvise in creating this version for you.

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This one was one of those recipes. Clearly this recipe is vintage one, with the odd combination of pineapple and green peppers, but I love it so much because it feels like home.  The recipe is called Hawaiian Casserole, but i'm not quite sure how its a casserole, BUT what I am sure of is that my Grandma could have made this into a casserole and it would have been fantastic.

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The Magic Sauce

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Oh yeah that's definitely enough butter... really it would ensure you weren't getting too skinny.

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That's a plate of love right there.

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Love you Grandma. Thanks for feeding my soul and my stomach.

 

 

Grandma's Hawaiian Casserole

Ingredients

 1 12 oz can of pineapple tid bits

 1/2 cup of white sugar

1/4 of corn starch

1/4 cup of vinegar

1 tsp of soy sauce

1/2 cup of butter

4 cups of turkey or chicken (I used about 3 chicken breasts)

3 onions sliced

1/4 cup of sliced almonds

1 chicken bouillion cubes

1/2 green pepper (sliced)

1/2 cup of water

Method

1. Blend sugar, corn starch, the juice from the can of the pineapple, vinegar and soy sauce.

2. In a skillet melt butter almonds, and onions. Saute for 5 minutes. Cut chicken into cubes or stripes. Add chicken to skilet and cook until fully cooked through, 10 minutes or so.

3. Add the sauce, green peppers, bouillon cube and water to the skillet. Cook until sauce becomes thicker and serve over hot rice.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

Creamy Roasted Garlic Hummus

Hummus is the humble snack.  Shout out to hummus for keeping it real and being delicious and being relatively cheap to make.

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You can make any variation of hummus with a few main ingredients. One of the main ingredients is Tahini, which is such an awesome and versatile ingredient, and you will see yourself using it a lot. Drizzle it on some roasted veggies, or even on top of a salad, there are tons of possibilities. Tahini is simply ground  toasted sesame seeds. So go buy yourself a tub and treat yo self.

The thing that makes this hummus is the roasted garlic. I think it makes the garlic taste less harsh and sweeter. It is the perfect compliment to the rich Tahini.

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Creamy Roasted Garlic Hummus

Ingredients

2 cups canned chick-peas

2 tablespoons tahini

5 tablespoons olive oil

1⁄4 cup warm water

1  head of garlic

1 lemon (juice only)

1⁄4 teaspoon  salt

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 400 F. Peel the outer layers of the whole garlic bulb, leaving intact the skins of the individual cloves of garlic. Cut  1/2 inch or so, from the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Drizzle olive oil on the exposed top of the garlic, then wrap completely in aluminum foil. Cook for 45 minutes, then set out to cool to room temp.

2. Once cooled squeeze the garlic out of the cloves into a food processor.  Add all other ingredients. Blend until it reaches a consistency you like (I prefer a smoother hummus so I add a bit of extra oil and blend it for longer).

3. Be extra boujee and drizzle some olive oil and smoked paprika on top. Serve with warm pitas or veggies.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah

First Post + Award Winning Jalapeno Popper Mac N' Cheese

Hello there!  Welcome to lick the spoon, where all things delicious live. Today kicks off a full month of daily blogging.

Let's kick things off with an absolute banger: Award Winning Jalpeno Popper Mac N' Cheese.

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Okay so full disclosure, I am not good at sports. Generally when any ball is coming towards me I scream, because I can feel the preemptive the nose bleed. So with that being said I have never won a trophy for anything besides participation.

HOWEVER this has all changed. With my now most beloved trophy, no more participation ribbons for me; it's all gold baby. My church had a mac n cheese contest and I was encouraged by a few people to submit a dish. I wanted to respect the beloved mac n cheese for what it was but make it good enough that I could be crowned queen of mac n cheese. I got to thinking what would be just enough to craft a win? So I have done mac n cheese with bacon before, but it needed a bit more.. but what?? Jalapeños , cream cheese and bacon. Then a winner was born.

 

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I grew up eating mac n cheese with my grandma and mom. With awesome bread crumb and Parmesan crispy top and creamy cheesy noodles underneath.  Absolutely 100 percent comfort food. My childhood was enriched by 62% because of mac n cheese.

One thing that makes this mac n cheese special is the cheese sauce. I always hated after yo created this luxirious sauce, you would put it in the oven and it would get dried out. What I figured out is the secret to preventing it from being dried out is double the amount of cheese sauce, I know right?? This was my breakthrough a few years ago, I accidentally made a double batch of cheese sauce, so I decided to experiment. Alas, like all great inventors (lol) I had done it.

Get your mac on.

Jalapeño Popper Mac N' Cheese

FOR THE PASTA:

  • 1 large jalapeno, sliced
  • 7 strips thick-cut bacon
  • ¾  of a bag of. cavatappi pasta
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup softened cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

FOR THE BREAD CRUMB TOPPING:

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup of shredded sharp cheddar
  • Half of the bacon
  • Jalpeno Slices ( for garnish)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Set aside about half of your jalapeño slices to use as a garnish on the finished mac and cheese. Dice up the remaining jalapeño slices and set aside. You'll need 1 heaping tablespoon of diced jalapeño for the cheese sauce (use more or less depending on your spice preferences).
  3. Cook bacon in the oven or on the stove top until crispy. Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and let cool, then dice into bacon-bit-sized pieces.
  4. Cook pasta in very salty water until 3 minutes less than al dente. Drain and  rinse with cold water. Set aside
  5. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of the diced jalapeño to butter and sauté for 30 seconds, just until jalapeño begins to soften.
  6.  Add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown in color, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  7. While whisking constantly, slowly add the milk to the flour mixture until evenly combined and smooth. (It will get very thick when you first add the milk, then it will thin out.)
  8. Return the saucepan to medium-high heat and while whisking constantly, cook until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the salt, taste, and season with additional salt if desired. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To assemble:

  1.  Place the saucepan of béchamel over medium heat and stir in cheddar and cream cheese just until melted and smooth.  Add in half of the bacon. Add the pasta and mix together so cheese is coating the noodles.
  2. Melt the butter then add both cheeses, breadcrumbs, bacon. Cover entire top of mac n cheese with cheese and breadcrumb mixture. Add a few jalapeño slices.
  3. Cook at 375 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes until top is crispy and bubbly.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah