Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baked Mac and Cheese

Think Tank Momma

Another wonderful submission from Maurnie!

This is a personal favorite, as I am sure it is for everyone, it is comfort food at it’s finest.  This recipe lets you finesse it a little – the measurements are pretty accurate but I do this one from my head so you may need to tweak it to get consistency of sauce or cheesiness of flavor perfect for you and yours!

Google Images is host to image

Baked Mac and Cheese

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni, cooked* (see note in recipe)
¾ cup butter
½ cup flour (approximately)
1 cup milk (warmed slightly)
1 ½ - 2 cups shredded, good quality, sharp cheddar
¼ tsp mild curry powder
½ teaspoon of dry mustard powder (like Colemans)
½ cup shredded parmesan (or to taste)

Melt butter in med saucepan over low-med heat.  Once butter is melted add enough flour to make the butter come together in soft clumps (you may not need all the flour) – you are making a roux to make a cream sauce.  Reduce heat and cook roux for 2-3 minutes being very careful to ensure it doesn’t burn.  Cooking it a little helps take away the “flour” taste and deepen the flavor.  Add warmed milk a little at a time stirring constantly to incorporate your rue and milk.  If you have made a little more roux that expected and the sauce is too thick add more milk until you get your desired consistency.  You will see the sauce thicken nicely.  Once combined completely, stir in cheese a handful at a time and incorporate totally before adding the next handful.  When you are satisfied that your sauce is cheesy enough add curry powder and dry mustard powder and stir.

While you are preparing the sauce cook your macaroni noodles.  I like the noodles to be ready for when the sauce is ready as pouring the sauce on the already warm noodles helps it adhere well so there is cheesy goodness throughout.*  

Pour combined noodles and sauce into an oven proof, greased baking dish.  Cover with more shredded cheddar cheese and the parmesan.  Bake at 350 until cheese is melted and you see bubbles around the edges. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lemon Cream Cookies with a Lemon Glaze

Think Tank MommaLast week's Share a Spoon we Shared cookies for Friends You Love, because cookies are so friendly. The participation was amazing.  I was very pleased with all the recipes shared and the friendship extended by all those who linked and Shared their favorites.

One of the links inspired this recipe.  My good friend Nancy over at Away We Go posted a Cream Cheese Cookie recipe.  Basically cream cheese, butter, egg yolk, some vanilla and a chocolate or yellow cake mix.

I emailed Nancy and asked what her favorite was and she said yellow, but that you could probably use any cake mix.  Then clouds parted and angels sang and I had a moment of cookie clarity.  Yes, really, it was THAT poetic.

So I thought to myself, "SELF WE CAN USE LEMON CAKE MIX AND MAKE THESE AMAZING!  We'll ice the cookies and everything!"

Here is what I came up with:

Iced Lemon Cream Cookies

1/4 cup butter
1 8oz package of softened cream cheese
1 lemon zested
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 lemon cake mix

Cream the butter and cream cheese with the lemon zest.  
Add the egg yolk and vanilla.
Mix in the cake mix slowly.
The dough is sticky and looks a lot like yellow playdough.  Scrape the sides down and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 lemon zested

Stir the lemon zest into the sugar and let the two flavors marry while your dough is chilling.

Roll dough into 1" balls.  
Roll the balls in the lemon sugar.
The sugar is a little crumbly due to the zest but just work it around the cookie as you roll them.
Press the balls down with a sugar glass bottom.

Bake cookies in a preheated 375 degree over for 14 minutes.

1 cup Confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1 1/2 lemons juice (use the ones you just zested)
1 Tablespoon of Heavy Cream

Mix all ingredients together until a glaze forms.

Once cookies have cooled enough to handle, dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze.  Place on a wire rack to cool.

Voila!  Sweet, tart, delicious iced lemon cream cookies!

My husband doesn't care much for lemon, and HE LOVED THESE!

Let me know if you try them!

Share a Spoon - Garlic-Roasted Chicken

Think Tank Momma

Once again, Maurnie is Sharing in the kitchen with us!  YEAH!

Here is her chicken submission for the week.

Also, I will be here tomorrow to give you a spin on one of the cookie recipes from last week.  I was inspired by one of the submissions and made some really amazing Lemon Cream cookies!!

Garlic-Roasted Chicken


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 skin-on, boneless chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2-4 heads garlic (to your taste really)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary or tarragon – use your savory fave.
  • 4 slices sourdough bread, grilled or toasted ( I have also used a French baguette cut into many slices)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cook, skin-side down, until browned, about 5 minutes.
Separate the heads of garlic into cloves but do not peel. Flip the chicken; add the garlic and rosemary to the skillet and transfer to the oven. Roast until the chicken is cooked through but still moist, 15 to 20 more minutes.
Place the bread on a platter and top slices with a chicken breast. Add the vinegar to the skillet and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Add 3 tablespoons water (or chicken broth) and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Pour the sauce and garlic over the chicken and bread.  When you serve squish the now roasted garlic out onto the toasted bread that has all the yummy pan juices on it and enjoy a pseudo garlic bread along with the chicken.

Thanks for SHARING as always Maurnie!

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Couple of Recipes to Share

My friend Maurnie has been a little busy and she missed a couple of Share a Spoons.  Imagine my surprise when I got an email this week with not one, not two but three recipes!   I shared the turtle cookie recipe yesterday and linked for Share a Spoon. 

Today I am going to post her recipes for soup and bars.  I hope you enjoy.  Both recipes sounded fabulous to me!

Marnie writes: 

This is a recipe I found somewhere, think it may have been Bon Appetit, which I shamelessly changed, tweaked and now tell everyone is my own.  It is savory and a little spicy (most palettes can take it though).

Mulligatawny Soup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chopped onions (about 1 pound)
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
2 cups dried red lentils
8 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups diced cooked chicken ( I used poached chicken breasts)
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups cooked basmati rice
Lemon wedges


Heat vegetable oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add garam masala and next 4 ingredients; stir 1 minute. Add lentils; stir until coated. Add chicken broth. Bring soup to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are very tender, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot. Stir in chicken, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide rice among bowls. Pour soup over. Garnish with lemon wedges; serve.


Nanaimo Bars to be exact.  Nanaimo is a town on Vancouver Island and there are all kinds of stories about how the recipe came to be.  Nonetheless….I make it in my house and it is gone – it’s *that* good.

Nanaimo Bars

(Picture courtesy of Google Images)

Bottom Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups graham wafer crumbs
½ c. finely chopped almonds
1 cup coconut

Directions Bottom Layer:

Melt first 3 ingredients in top of double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut, and nuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8" x 8" pan.

Second Layer
½ cup unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. and 2 Tsp. cream
2 Tbsp. vanilla custard powder (or vanilla pudding powder will work in a pinch)
2 cups icing sugar

Directions Second Layer:

Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Third Layer
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (1 oz. each)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Directions Third Layer:

Melt chocolate and butter overlow heat. Cool. Once cool, but still liquid, pour over second layer and chill in refrigerator.

Since we are moving into fall and my two favorite things to do and eat are soups and baked goods, I couldn't keep these all to myself and not share!  ;)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Share a Spoon - Turtle Cookies

Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon


Maurnie is back this week with a vengeance.  She missed the last couple of weeks but sent me recipes today for soup, bars, and TURTLE COOKIES!

I am going to post the soup recipe and the bars tomorrow, and today I am all about these cookies!  I mean...SERIOUSLY?  Chocolate, caramel and PECANS!


Turtle Cookies

Picture courtesy of Google Images

For Cookies:

2 1/2 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
48 round milk chocolate-covered caramels, unwrapped (Rolo brand candies work)

For Chocolate Glaze:

cup powdered sugar
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, soak pecan halves in water while making dough; drain well.

In a medium bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds with an electric mixer on medium-high setting until fluffy.

Beat in sugar, vanilla extract, and egg with an electric mixer set on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Beat in flour and cocoa powder until dough firms.

On an un-greased cookie sheet, for each cookie, place 5 pecans in a flower pattern. (You’re giving your turtles legs and a head!)

Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into 1-inch balls. Place ball on top of each group of 5 pecans, pressing lightly into pecans with the palm of your hand. 

Bake 7-10 minutes or until set. Immediately press 1 caramel candy gently on top of each cookie. Let cookie set for 3 minutes before transferring to a cooling surface.

For chocolate glaze:

Beat powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon water, melted chocolate and vanilla until smooth.  If necessary, stir in more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until glaze is of desired consistency. Dip tops of cooled cookies into glaze.

Makes 48 cookies.

THANKS MAURNIE!  Remember, I can always post recipes here if you would like to submit them please email me @