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!
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
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!
This week I went with Laura to have our bridesmaids dresses fitted. There has been so much going on, including the planning of the bachelorette party in Toronto. One of Laura’s oldest and dearest friends had a wonderful bridal shower for Laura this weekend. There were plenty of games, little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and a huge cake. Everything was just beautiful. My favourite activity was one where everyone wrote down “Advice from the Heart.” Sometimes the advice was practical and sometimes rather humorous, but it was definitely from the heart. Laura enjoyed getting advice from her wonderful friends and family. I would love to have this activity at a bridal shower next year.
My Mom has been working diligently at planning out colours and different flowers for the garden this summer. Beautiful pink dahlias were Mom’s final decision. She has never grown them before – but so far the plants love the sun in our backyard. I couldn’t resist sharing pictures of these vibrant blooms. In the side garden the lupins are in bloom with their eccentric shape and alluring colour. Lupins always remind me of the beautiful children’s book ‘Miss Rumphius’ by Barbara Cooney. The illustrations in this book are gorgeous and stick in my mind to this day. Also in the backyard the peonies are budding and we are hoping they can hold off for as long as possible. Mom and Laura would love to have fresh peonies for the house on Laura’s wedding day. Peonies are the flower Laura has chosen for her wedding bouquets. I am extremely excited to see all of the careful wedding planning come together. The dresses and flowers will truly be spectacular.
In addition to flowers Mom brought home a basil plant – that will hopefully be watered this year. Somehow, the basil plant always dries up in our backyard. Perhaps it is a plant that needs a great deal of care and water. At the bridal shower the family was given two garlic chive plants – so we will be sure to take care of them. I love using fresh herbs in recipes; the difference it makes is huge.
In terms of recipes – I have had a few baking projects this week. However, none of the recipes turned out exactly the way I’d like, so I did not post about them. I made cake pops, but I am not 100% happy with the consistency. So, I will try another recipe sometime and keep everyone posted. A few of the pictures turned out well – but I will not share any recipe before its time. Stay posted for cake pops round two!
The following recipe is a tried and true recipe for Chicken Parmesan. My Mom has been making this recipe since we were very small. It’s an easy meal that is great for all the picky eaters in my family. As young adults this recipe has become a comfort food favourite. The freshly grated Parmesan is what truly makes this recipe great. It is easy to make and perfect for weeknights. Enjoy!
4-6 pieces of chicken breast
¾ cup of breadcrumbs
¼ cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup melted butter
- Melt butter in a saucepan and then dip the chicken cutlets in the butter.
- Stir together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
- Dip the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture and then place in casserole dish.
- Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
- Serve with roasted potatoes and green beans.