September Dinner – Fresh bagels and blackberries

The Ernest Bagel - with cold cuts and cheeseJonathan and I were looking for a simple dinner so we headed to the Earnest Bagel in Windsor for some fresh bagels.  The Earnest Bagel bakes fresh Montreal style bagels and they are an absolute delight.  They are great for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  We already had some cheeses and cold cuts at home.  I decided to do salami and cheddar, instead of the usual cream cheese – although that is one of my favourites too.The Ernest Bagel

Fresh blackberries from Blenheim were available at Remark grocery store.  Remark is a great grocery store in Windsor that we love to go to for a treat.  Their produce is amazing and the shopping experience is more personal since the store is smaller than the big box grocery stores.  In addition to the blackberries – I couldn’t resist making it a berry trio with blackberries, strawberries and raspberries.Ontario BlackberriesBlackberries and RaspberriesBlackberries, Raspberries, and Strawberries

For a real treat we found Coffee and Bailey’s gelatto.  It all made for a delightful dinner and a fun trip to the grocery store.  Yes, I enjoy going to the grocery store tremendously to find the freshest and best ingredients!Coffee and Bailey's Gelatto

Red Lentil Dahl

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Red Lentil Dahl and IdlisMeandering down the aisle at Trader Joe’s I found red lentils and absolutely had to make dahl.  My mother-in-law makes wonderful dahl, so I decided to make it on my own.  I found a recipe here and decided to try it out.  The result was an aromatic, slightly spicy, and nourishing meal.  Since I have been exploring Indian cooking I had all the ingredients in my cupboard, but you should be able to find these ingredients at a bulk food store or Indian grocery store.  The asafoetida will be found at an Indian grocery store – I have never seen it in the spice aisle of larger grocery stores.  Along with the ginger, asafoetida helps with healthy digestion.

To go with the red lentil dahl are idlis, which are a steamed moist rice cake.  They can be dipped in the dahl and are very tasty.  We had red lentil dahl as a meal, but it could be accompanied by other curries.  I didn’t make the idlis myself – we had some in the freezer that Jonathan’s mom brought to Windsor for us.  In some stores I’ve seen idlis sold frozen.

I enjoy the challenge of having at least one vegetarian meal per week, so this fit in perfectly with our weekly meal planning.  Lentils are a great source of protein and the dahl was very filling.  Jonathan said that it tasted very similar to his mother’s dahl, which is a huge compliment!

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups red lentils, thoroughly rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable stock ( I used chicken stock because we didn’t have vegetable stock)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (I used canned diced tomatoes, about half of a can)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if desired, I forgot to add it in and was still happy with the flavour)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped (more or less depending on how spicy you want the dahl to be)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped ( I forgot to add this and it still turned out well)
  • ¼ teaspoon asaefoetida (it is very strong so make sure to measure it)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Small pinch of cinnamon
  • Small pinch of ground cloves
  • Small pinch of paprika
  • Fresh chopped cilantro for serving (I don’t enjoy cilantro, but if you do, feel free to add)

Instructions:

1. In large stock pot add in olive oil, spices, garlic, ginger and chopped green chilies.  Turn element on to medium heat and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.  If you have an onion, cook it now with the spices.

2.  Add vegetable or chicken stock and stir well.

3.  Rinse lentils, then add to stock pot.  Add tomatoes at this time.

4.  Bring to light boil.  Then turn down the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.  The lentils will be puffed and the dahl will be thick.

5.  Serve with idlis and fresh cilantro if you choose.

6.  Enjoy.

IdlisRed Lentil Dahl

Indian-Chinese Chili Chicken

Indian-Chinese Chili Chicken RecipeOne of Jonathan’s favourite foods is chili chicken, which is a mix of Indian styled Chinese food.  He had a craving for it and so we attempted to create the dish he loves from Frederick Restaurant in Toronto.  We also went to a restaurant in Detroit that claimed to have Indian-Chinese food, however it was not the same as the Toronto favourite.  This recipe turned out really well!  Jonathan said it is probably 98% similar to Frederick’s.  Over rice with some vegetables this is a very satisfying meal!  If you are just a beginner with spicy food like I used to be add fewer chopped green chillies to the recipe.  You could also make some samosas as an appetizer to really complete the meal.  However, we didn’t have time to make samosas this time.

In other exciting news, Jonathan and I have booked a honeymoon for August to Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.  We are excited for the trip and to try some fun restaurants.  I am excited to see the Pike Place Market and the city where Starbucks originated.

Ingredients

2 large onions, chopped

½ cup canola oil

2 tsp finely chopped ginger

4-5 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp black pepper

4-6 small green chillies, chopped finely

3-4 pieces chicken breast chopped into bite sized pieces

½ cup water

1 tsp sugar

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tsp cornstarch

Instructions:

  1. Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl.  Then coat with cornstarch.
  2. In your fry pan add canola oil and onions and cook until golden brown and caramelized.  Then add in ginger and garlic sauté for 1 minute.  Next add in cumin, coriander and pepper.
  3. Add chicken to the pan and cook.  Mix in green chili at this time.
  4. In a separate bowl prepare the sauce.  Whisk together water, sugar, 2 tsp cornstarch and soy sauce.
  5. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the pan and cook until the sauce is thickened and lightly bubbling.
  6. Serve over rice with vegetables on the side.
  7. Enjoy!

Pizza Dough Recipe

Last night I started to have a pizza craving, so for lunch today I made homemade pizza dough.  With a standard mixer pizza dough is actually quite simple to make.  I tried a recipe that came with my mixer in January and the result was a thicker more bread-like crust.  This recipe from Smitten Kitchen is for a thin crust pizza dough.  The only addition to this recipe was 1/2 tsp of sugar, because I remember my Mom adding some sugar to her pizza dough.  The dough was indeed thin, crispy, and easy to work with!Pizza Hot out of the ovenHawaiian PizzaPizza with Olives and Mozzarella

My sisters and I decided on a Hawaiian pizza (ham and pineapple) as well as a pizza with olives and mozzarella.  It was very tasty and filling for lunch time.  Since it made two pizzas we have tons of left overs for tomorrow’s lunch as well.  The pizzas would also freeze well for another day (assuming it all doesn’t get gobbled up).  I am eager to try doing half whole wheat flour and half white flour to make the crust a little healthier.  Adding half and half would still allow for a smooth texture in the pizza crust.

In Windsor, Ontario the pizza is made with Galati cheese that is made just down the street from our home.  I am lucky to know this because Jonathan is the food columnist at CBC Radio Windsor and has the opportunity to explore the food scene in Windsor every week.  He brought some Galati cheese home a few months ago and I made chicken parmesan.  The cheese is extra rich and does not have any additives.  Another difference is that the pepperoni is shredded unlike the typical round pepperoni you see on pizza in Toronto.  I really enjoy Windsor pizza, but I also love, love, love homemade pizza!  Really the key is high quality ingredients and a bit of love.

*Reminder for making homemade pizza is to lightly prick the pizza dough in the pan before you add the sauce, otherwise you will get air bubbles in the dough.  Enjoy!

Pizza Dough (makes 2 pizzas)

Ingredients

3 – 3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

1 ½ teaspoons, quick rise yeast

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the pan

Instructions 

1.  Mix dry ingredients in the mixer bowl with dough hook.

2.  Slowly add warm water and oil, mixing on low speed.

3.  Mix with dough hook for 5 minutes.  The dough should look smooth, add extra flour if the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl.

4.  Oil the dough and sides of the bowl to keep it moist.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and then cover with clean towel.

5.  Refrigerate for 1 hour to 2 hours.  Dough should doubled in size.

6.  Divide into two and spread out the pizza dough on a lightly oiled pan.

7.  Prick the bottom of the dough lightly with a knife so that bubbles do not form.

8.  Add your sauce and toppings.

9.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30minutes or until crust is golden.

10. Enjoy!

A day of pie! Chicken Pot Pie and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb PieThere is a rhubarb plant at the Chapman house, so I decided to make a classic strawberry rhubarb pie.  So, I went out to pick some ruby red fresh rhubarb.  The recipe I used was from Smitten Kitchen (one of my favourite blogs).  The pie turned out extremely well (super tasty) – but a little watery in the centre.  I am still working on perfecting the perfect strawberry rhubarb pie. My Mom who has been making pies forever would not have made a mistake like this, but like she always says, “practice makes perfect.” As I was preparing the pie filling I saw some blueberries in the freezer, so I added half a cup to add extra colour.  So, it wasn’t entirely ‘strawberry rhubarb.’  When I make this pie again, I will add only 1/2 cup of sugar or 2/3 cup – the berries had tremendous natural sweetness and it would have been nice to allow the slightly tart rhubarb flavour to shine.Strawberry Rhubarb PieLattice Pie Crust Top

The recipe for the crust however, was a success, it was flakey, buttery and crisp.  I even decided to get fancy and do a lattice top pattern.  I brushed the top with an egg wash and sprinkled it lightly with sugar.  It came out of the oven looking beautiful.  I enjoy the challenge that pie baking presents, getting the filling and crust perfect, as well as decorating, so the perfect pie challenge continues.

Chicken Pot PieThe next pie I made was a savoury dinner pie and is a classic!  The recipe is from the Canadian living website and it is one of my favourites.  The filling with fresh thyme and white wine is truly divine!  Fresh carrots, baby red skin potatoes, celery and peas come together to create a classic dinner.  Not to mention puff pastry (yum)!  When I make this for Jonathan it usually makes two pot pies – one of which can be frozen.  Served with a fresh salad it is a perfect dinner or lunch.  I read somewhere that chicken pot pie is a great dinner for entertaining because:  it looks like you have slaved away all day making it, divides up easily, usually good for picky eaters and by the time your guests arrive all the work is done. The pot pie comes out looking like a piece of perfection with flaky buttery crust – and you get to eat gourmet chicken pot pie with your friends and catch up.Chicken Pot Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Filling

3 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds, untrimmed) rhubarb, in 1/2-inch thick slices
3 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) strawberries, hulled and sliced if big, halved if tiny

½ cup blueberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for brushing on the top)

Mix together sliced strawberries, sliced rhubarb, blueberries, white sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, salt and flour.  Set aside.

All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough (From Smitten Kitchen)

Makes enough dough for one double-, or two single-crust pies.

2  ½ cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

½ cup cold cold water, use ice cubes if necessary

1.  Pulse together dry ingredients in food processor or use hand dough cutter.

2.  Add butter and pulse again.

3.  Slowly add cold water, pulse until it comes together in a nice dough.

4.  Divide the dough in two and refrigerate for 1 hour

Putting the Pie together:

1.  Roll our first dough for the bottom crust.  Lightly poke the dough at the bottom with a fork.

2.  Crimp the sides of the piecrust.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

3.  Pre – bake the crust at 400 for 10 minutes with aluminum foil and baking weights.

4.  Let crust cool then add fruit mixture.

5.  Roll out second pie dough.  Slice with pizza cutter into 1 inch to 1 ½ inch strips.

6.  Alternate length and width wise the lattice strips.

7.  Brush with egg wash and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

8.  Reduce oven temperature down to 350 degrees and bake for 40 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie (from Canadian Living)

Ingredients

3 cups (500 mL) chicken stock

1 cup (250 mL) drywhite wine

2 cups (500 mL) chopped carrots

2 stalks  celery, chopped

2 cups (500 mL) cubed peeled potatoes

bay leaf

1 Pinch each salt and 1 tsp pepper, 1-3 tablespoon rosemary

1 lb (454 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1/3 cup (75 mL) butter

1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (75 mL milk

1 cup (250 mL) frozen peas

1/2 pkg (397 g) frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preparation

In large saucepan, bring chicken stock, wine, carrots, celery, potato, bay leaf, rosemary, salt and pepper to boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken; simmer, uncovered, until no longer pink inside, 10 minutes. Skim off any foam. Strain; set aside chicken stock. Set aside chicken mixture; discard bay leaf.

In saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved stock until smooth. Bring to boil; cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in milk; cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken and vegetable mixture into your dish, add peas, add extra rosemary and pepper to taste; stir to coat.) Use large casserole dish or smaller ones if you are making two.

On floured surface, roll out pastry to fit top of dish plus 1-inch (2.5 cm) extra all around; trim edges. Brush edge of dish with water. Centre pastry over filling; gently press overhang to adhere to dish. Brush with egg; slash 4 steam vents. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until golden, puffed and filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Jelly Balls and Family Dinner

IMG-20130611-00043Jelly balls are a family favourite and one of my Mom’s best recipes.  They are great as an appetizer at a party or on some rice with a big salad for a week night dinner.  I believe this is one of the few recipes that I have not made for Jonathan yet.  I have to hold back a few special recipes – especially a delicious one like this!  The ingredients might sound odd, grape jelly, chili sauce and soy sauce, but they combine to create amazing flavour.

It has been great to have dinners together as a family before I become a married woman.  Already it seems like a rare occasion when all six of us are in the house together.  This recipe says home to me and of course love.  My Mom has many treasured recipes and of course the secret ingredient is love!

Yesterday, I had a final dress fitting, so everything is going along well with the wedding details.  Monday will be the day when we tie the ribbons on the wedding favours.  My Aunt and sisters will be helping.  Nine days left!Jelly Balls

Ingredients

1 LB Lean Ground Beef

1 Egg, beaten

½ cup fine bread crumbs

3 Tbsp Chopped Parsley

½ cup chopped onion

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

¼ tsp Pepper

Sauce

12 oz chili sauce

10 oz jar of grape jelly

1 tsp Lemon Juice

2 tbsp Brown Sugar

1 tbsp Soy Sauce

Instructions:

1.  In a pot bring sauce ingredients to a simmer and stir well.

2.  In a bowl, mix together ground beef, onion, parsley, egg, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.

3.  With your hands form small meatballs.  Put uncooked meatballs in the boiling sauce.

4.  Simmer in sauce til cooked, for 30 minutes.

Quinoa and Barley Salad and Chicken Piccata

IMG_4835I love to try new recipes and for dinner I was feeling adventurous.  I wasn’t feeling like regular rice, so I found a recipe for Barley and Quinoa salad on the Canadian Living website.  There were a few adjustments because of what we had in the fridge at the time.  The salad would be delicious with a few cherry tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini and onion.  Jonathan also mentioned that it would be good as a warm salad with roasted vegetables.  To go with this summer salad I made chicken piccata with the recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis.  The lemony chicken with capers was the perfect pairing for a summer meal.

If you are wondering why the quinoa looks slightly darker, it’s because it’s black quinoa that my sister Laura bought for me.  At the bridal shower part of the gift was to share a favourite recipe and bring an ingredient that goes into making the recipe.  So, Laura, knowing that I love new ingredients found black quinoa.  It was delicious!  If it is possible – it seemed healthier than regular quinoa.  I would definitely make this recipe again for a barbecue.  It is an alternative to one of my weaknesses – pasta salad!  Jonathan teases me about my love for pasta, but he also allows it to go on the menu quite frequently!

Quinoa and Barley Salad with Chicken Piccata and peas

Quinoa and Barley Summer Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) barley
  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) each finely diced carrot and sweet red pepper (could add zucchini, cucumber, and celery)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) each fresh mint (3-4 leaves, torn)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme (or fresh if you have it)

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) garlic chili sauce
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper

Directions

In saucepan, bring 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) water and half of the salt to boil; add barley. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until tender and liquid is absorbed, about
40 minutes; let cool.

Meanwhile, in separate saucepan, bring 1 cup (250 mL) water and remaining salt to boil; add quinoa. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes; let cool.

Meanwhile, chop carrots, red pepper and other veggies you might like to add.

VINAIGRETTE: In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic sauce, mustard, salt and pepper; set aside.

In large bowl, combine barley, quinoa, vegetable mixture, mint and thyme; pour dressing over top and toss to coat. Refrigerate to cool and allow flavours to be enhanced.  Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Chicken Piccata

Ingredients

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut in half

Sea salt and black pepper

All-Purpose Flour for dredging

6 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

½ cup chicken stock

¼ cup brined capers, rinsed

Directions

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Dredge chicken in flour and shake off the excess.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter and 3 tbsp olive oil.  When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes.  When chicken is nicely golden, flip and cook on the other side for 3 minutes.  Remove chicken from skillet and place on a plate.  Cook the rest of the chicken in the same way.
  3. Add lemon juice, chicken stock and capers to the pan.  Stir well and put pan back on element.  Put the chicken in the mixture and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Add extra sauce over chicken when serving.

Salmon with Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard

IMG_4600This dinner was simply the best I have eaten in a really long time.  As Jonathan and I savoured every bite, we discussed how much we thought the meal would cost at a restaurant.  Our end decision was probably $31.00, of course making it at home is significantly less.  The salmon was purchased at Costco as you can see from the beautifully large pieces.  Fresh salmon would also be great if you can find it on sale at the grocery store.  I have been having too much fun cooking lately, and Jonathan has been encouraging it.  Well, really who wouldn’t want to encourage all of these tasty meals?  This is my 102 blog post, and at this rate I may just accumulate many, many, more magnificent recipes.

My Mom (who is the ultimate foodie) gave me Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard for Christmas as a stocking stuffer.  So, I tried it out on my favourite meal, salmon!  Just reading the ingredient listing makes my mouth water: Mustard seed, vinegar, water, whiskey, honey, herbs, spices, salt.  Gluten free, no additives, no preservatives.  All I had to do with this recipe was to add a little olive oil and spread the mustard on top of the salmon, then bake at 400 F for 20 minutes.  This recipe is going to be a staple in our household!  It would also be a great recipe when have friends over who are gluten intolerant.

This weekend Jonathan and I, meandered around Windsor.  We made stops at Salute Cafe, Biblioasis, and an Indian grocery store.  Later this week I want to make samosas, so stay tuned.  Jonathan also completed a radio column about restaurants in Windsor, I am extremely excited to hear it on air.  The food was delicious and this restaurant owner has a truly inspirational story.  I won’t give away any details, so listen to CBC radio Windsor on Thursday (also available online because CBC is awesome).  Biblioasis was recommended by one of Jonathan’s urban planning idols via Twitter, and it really was a unique and welcoming independent book store.  Inside it was warm, inviting and most importantly fully of beautiful new books that were begging to be taken home and read.  I now have more books to add to the list of birthday presents for Jonathan!

IMG_4607IMG_4608IMG_4596

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Then line a baking sheet with tinfoil or parchment paper.  Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the pan, so the salmon doesn’t stick.  Place the salmon on the baking sheet and drizzle a small amount of olive oil.  Spread about one tablespoon of Kozlik’s Canadian Mustard on the salmon.  Bake for 20 minutes.

For the potatoes, chop into desired size and place in a roasting dish.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and two generous pinches of dried thyme.  Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400 F, stir half way through.

Turkey Burgers with Olive and Feta

For the Canada Day weekend we went to the family cottage up north.  The weather was perfect with bright blue skies and temperatures of about 30 degrees Celsius.  I went swimming in the cool and refreshing lake everyday.  There really is no feeling like gliding through the cool water on a humid day –  just you, the water and the sky above.  My Dad likes to swim across the lake, which is about one mile (1.6km) in length.  My Mom accompanies him in a kayak, towing an extra one behind her (for Dad on the way back).

For dinner yesterday, my Mom made her famous turkey burgers with kalamata olives and feta cheese.  With a ciabatta bun, fresh tomato and tzatziki sauce, it is a flavour combination that can’t be beat.  Barbequing at the cottage is great because it doesn’t heat up the inside on a humid day.  Dad loves barbequing and decided to show off his skills for a picture.

Our little dog Beau absolutely adores the cottage, roaming the property like he is the king of the castle.  He loves stopping to smell the flowers and blending in with the limestone rocks.  All the cottage activity keeps Beau happily running around all day.  In particular he loves playing with my cousin Steven’s dog, Sasha, a large Siberian Husky.  Despite their difference in size they play well together – most of the time.

For those who love gardening in difficult terrain, the begonias my Grandma plants every year are the heartiest plants I have ever seen!  In addition to their survival skills, they come in many vibrant cheery colours.  I am going to be up at the cottage for a week with my Grandma, so I am sure I will be helping with some more gardening and watering.

Mom’s Turkey Burgers with Kalamata Olives and Feta

Ingredients

1 pound ground turkey

¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup kalamata olives

2 tablespoons diced onion

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together.  Form hamburger patties and put on the barbeque until cooked thoroughly.  For the toppings, slice  fresh tomatoes, fresh lettuce and add tzatziki sauce.  When it comes to buns, ciabatta buns work wonderfully. When I was in France with my two best friends we had lovely hamburgers served on a French baguette, so those work quite nicely as well.

Spicy Bacon Mac and Cheese

I was trying to brainstorm new ideas for my blog yesterday and my friend Emily suggested a spicy version of mac and cheese.  Jonathan is always asking me to add more spice to things, so I thought I would give it a try.  I added 8 strips of bacon, a teaspoon of crushed chili flakes and 8 drops of Louisiana hot sauce to my tradition mac and cheese recipe.  Well, the flavour was perfect!  It was very easy to add variation to my mac and cheese recipe.  Through adding spices, different ingredients – I made an already amazing recipe, even better!

I made this mac and cheese recipe all the way through university.  I love cooking and baking and it was an easy thing to make.  In second year my roommates Emily, Laura & I had some good times in that little kitchen.  We made cookies, lasagna, mac and cheese and random experiments.  We even managed to clean up – most of the time!  My sister Sarah is going into her second year of university this fall, so hopefully she’ll make a few family favourites such as mac and cheese in her new off-campus apartment.  She will be considered very gourmet, making mac and cheese that is NOT from the box!

Ingredients:

2 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni

¼ cups of butter or margarine

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoons of pepper

1 teaspoon crushed chili flakes

8 drops of Louisiana hot sauce (or hot sauce of your choice)

¼ cup of flour

2 cups of milk

2 cups of cheddar cheese

8 strips of bacon cooked, then torn into bite sized pieces

 Instructions:

Cook bacon and crumble into bite sized pieces.  Blend melted margarine, salt, pepper, crushed chili flakes and flour.  Add milk and stir till bubbling.  Add in cheese and stir.  Add in bacon bits, hot sauce and stir thoroughly.  Cook in oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

The peonies in the backyard are in bloom, so here are a few pictures I took.  Enjoy!