Dinner Last Night: Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

NOTE: Please excuse that there is no delightful corresponding image to match this recipe.  I tried googling a few, but none looked quite like the final product of this particular recipe so I opted for a fall spread instead.  :)

Dinner last night was another success from Dinner: The Playbook, Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese.  Now I've made all kinds of mac and cheese in my day, and I pretty much appreciate all of them, from the boxed Kraft of babysitters past to the kind with a homemade roux.  This was easily one of the quickest versions I've found, while still tasting pretty good, ideal for a weeknight dinner with kids.

Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Total Time: 45 minutes
  • 1 pound whole wheat tubular pasta (I used penne)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/4 cup grated Cheddar
  • 1 1/4 cup grated Gruyere
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 cup milk, warmed in a saucepan or microwave if possible
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs (Jenny suggests mixing in crumbled potato chips, but I opted for just breadcrumbs)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Prepare the pasta according to package directions and drain.
  3. Grease a medium-large baking dish with butter.
  4. In a large bowl, toss together pasta and cheeses, reserving about 1/2 cup of cheese. 
  5. Add pasta/cheese mixture to baking dish and pour warmed milk all over.
  6. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and reserved cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until top is golden and sides are bubbly.
This left us with a good amount of leftovers. 

Friday Link Love

+ perhaps the best pumpkin concoction I've heard of this fall

+ the "original" moscow mule recipe (so they say)

+ grain-free granola that promises to be delicious

+ hearing nothing but good things about this book

+ kind of obsessed with these fancified book covers of the classic

+ pumpkin carving tips for the rest of us

+ if I were very pregnant around Halloween, I'd be wearing this

+ eyeballing this chunky, cozy sweater for cold nights (in heather loden)

+ a rustic fall centerpiece for Thanksgiving

+ cute and simple, identifying onesie


Cookbook Crush: Homemade Decadence

So I bit the bullet and bought Joy the Baker's new cookbook, Homemade Decadence on Amazon pre-order.  Yes, I couldn't even wait until it's actual release.  OMG you guys, this cookbook is awesome.  I love reading a cookbook like an actual book, cover to cover, reading the food "chapters," in sequence in addition to the little blurbs and notations that give you insight into the baker/chef's vision.  

This cookbook is seriously mouth-water inducing.  Some favorites from my first reading: for brunch: whole wheat, peach, and fresh sage scones, sour cream coffee cake with brown butter glaze, and roasted-potato breakfast nachos (hello, yum!)…Sweets: chocolate-malted oatmeal cookies with salted peanuts; dark chocolate, pistachio, and smoked sea salt cookies….Pies and Cakes: apple pie with cheddar-bacon crust, and of course, the cookbook cover's chocolate-peanut butter pretzel layer cake.  YUM!

 I might have to cook and bake my way through this Julie & Julia style. For real.


Fall Favorites: Pumpkick Beer

In honor of my favorite season, I'm starting a new series to document all of my favorite fall recipes, products, and such.  First up - New Belgium Pumpkick Beer.  This was an impulse buy at the grocery store, and boy am I glad!  This beer tastes like fall…for real!  Or to quote the website, "an unexpected kick of cranberry juice brightens this spiced season ale…plenty of pumpkin juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, a touch of lemongrass that send your taste buds sailing."  Enough said.


Dinner Last Night: Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Yes to easy, but still delicious weeknight meals.  In the mood for Mexican, I saw this little ditty and it caught my eye, Quinoa Enchilada Bake.  Quinoa is the healthier alternative to tortillas in this dish, but packs the protein and fiber, so a win-win all around.  Even my husband who hasn't enthusiastically jumped on the quinoa bandwagon was a fan.  This also made for spectacular leftovers.

image and recipe via damn delicious

What's Right In the World

Truth.  It's been a stressful week at work.  Deadlines.  Politics and policy.  Accountability.  Sigh.  We've all been there.  So when I took a moment to watch this amazing time-lapse video I found on a friend's feed, I felt myself exhale audibly.  And I remembered, this is what's right with the world.  That places like this exist.  That beauty like this exists.  After another contented breath, I remind myself that my silly little problems at work are just that - silly little problems.  During the duration of this video, I felt my little stresses slowly float away as I remember what's truly important in my life, and the beauty around me.

P.S. Doesn't this make you want to go to Norway?

Quote of the Week

"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy." 
~ Anne Frank

Weekend Baking: Coconut Oil Pumpkin Bread

Hello fall!  The season of pumpkin everything is upon us - hooray!  I generally stock up on canned pumpkin puree this time of year, so when the inclination to whip up a pumpkin inspired dish hits, I'm ready!  I came across this recipe for coconut oil pumpkin bread while perusing my blogs and it caught my eye, as coconut oil is maj these days.  It.  Is. Awesome.  Hands down the best pumpkin bread I've ever made, and possibly the best I've ever tasted.  Moist, flavorful, baked perfectly.  Boom.  

image and recipe via gimme some oven

Dinner Last Night: Chipotle Chicken Chili

Fall is in full swing, though it still feels like Indian summer around these parts.  Just in time to kick off a new season, I've found my new favorite chili recipe - Chipotle Chicken Chili a la the the Pioneer Woman.  It is phenomenal - pretty amazing what a little chipotle pepper can do.