Friday, June 11, 2010

AMAZEBALLS Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I am hands down one of the most die-hard macaroni and cheese people you will ever know. My obsession with this dish go way back and I am completely unashamed of the lengths I will go to in finding a good plate of tender pasta smothered with cheesey goodness. For as long as I can remember I have been conducting an ongoing hunt for a down-home, face meltingly delicious mac n' cheese recipe. This is actually a rather challenging task because being a complete and utter devotee of the cheese and pasta movement, just about anything remotely nearing the category of macaroni and cheese immediately strikes my fancy.

So I decided to put some parameters around it. The first was texture. I really enjoy a creamy, smooth, luxurious cheese sauce with my macaroni. At the same time, I need my pasta to stand up to the sauce, keep a little bite to it. I was also looking for something that had a bit of a spice kick, while sticking pretty close to the basics. Don’t get me wrong, fancy cheeses like fontina and gorgonzola rock, but for this particular exercise I needed a go-to recipe that could make me feel like home is sitting in a bowl of creamy, cheesey heaven. 

And so it was that my endurance in pasta and cheese eating paid off when I stumbled upon Cooking for Engineers. This recipe is completely and utterly fantabulous! What can you say about a dish that is so creamy it’s even creamy straight out of the frige! No reheating required! It’s not even in the universe of figure friendly but I have to say, I don’t give a hoot. This is the real deal. Of course I have made my own little adjustments but the combination of cheeses is superb. The engineers included "American cheese (for stability - American cheese has stabilizing ingredients), Monterey Jack cheese (for creaminess), and sharp cheddar (for flavor). (A fourth cheese is actually used - Parmesan - to flavor the bread crumb topping!)" Coupled with evaporated milk as a base, MAJOR winner folks. Serious creamy factor.

So do please, please make this recipe. It will change your life. OK so maybe it won’t change your life, but it will make you smile for days I promise.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Salmon

In the constant battle against the bulge, which is further complicated by the amazing ability for time to fly by, it seems we are all on an endless quest for time efficient meals that don’t pile on the pounds. This is coming from a woman who will flat out refuse to eat something good for her if in fact it does not actually taste good too. And so it was that this recipe was born. It has that killer combination of slight sweetness from the maple syrup, a salty layer from soy, and a kick of spice from chili oil. On the grill the marinade caramelizes a bit and gives the final punch of flavor.

Salmon is actually quite good for you. I won’t extol on its nutritional quals here as I am sure some other poor sap has written at length about the topic, but suffice to say fish is a good way to stay on that endlessly evolving odyssey of healthy eating. Fish is also a snap to cook and this recipe really is a winner because you can pull the marinade together in less than a minute, pop the whole thing in the frig the night before, and VOILA! Dinner is less than 10 minutes from done when you get home from work. It’s like kitchen magic folks. Delicious and healthy kitchen magic.