Sunday, December 7, 2008

The BEST recipes!

By sharing these recipes with the world, you'll all see that I am not one of those stingy people who refuses to give away their most popular recipes. We had our company Christmas party last night , and it was potluck style. Yes, I was made fun of for nearly bringing my entire kitchen (one entree, two desserts), but I didn't hear my co-workers taking that issue into account when they requested these various dishes. Also, I didn't hear them complaining while they were consuming the food.

All right, dish #1 - the entree:

Em's Mac 'n Cheese
(okay, another reason I'm not being stingy is because this recipe actually belongs to Emeril and didn't originate with me anyway. BUT I've added my own touches based on people's reactions!)

6 tbsp butter
1/2 lb elbow macaroni
6 tbsp flour
3 cups whole milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne
2 1/2 cups grated cheddar (6 oz)
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 tsp Essence (see below)

2 1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Use 1 tbsp of the butter to grease a 2-quart baking dish (or to grease a crockpot if you're bringing this dish to someone's house, or a potluck). Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the mac and cook until al dente (about ten minutes). Drain in a colander and rinse. Melt the remaining 5 tbsp butter in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minute, stirring constantly. Do not let the flour burn! Using a whisk, add the milk in a steady stream and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and smooth (about 4 minutes). Remove from heat. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, and 2 cups of the cheese - stir well, then stir in macaroni. Pour into the prepared baking dish.

In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of the cheese with the breadcrumbs and 1 tsp Essence (only 1 tsp! The first time I made this, I put the ENTIRE recipe of Essence into the Mac 'n Cheese. It was horrible!) . Sprinkle evenly over the mac and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes.
Helpful hints from Lester: Everyone's favorite part is the crunch and kick on top with the essence, cheese, and breadcrumb mixture, SO... I usually pour half the macaroni in the dish, sprinkle a whole other batch of the Essence, breadcrumb, and cheese mixture on top, then do the same with the other half of the noodles, right on top of the first half. Also, if you bring the Mac 'n Cheese in a crockpot, you can just leave it on "warm" setting, or even "low," and it should be fine.

Unfortunately, the one bad picture I got last night of my baked and cooked goods was the Mac 'n Cheese. In this pic, the Essence mixture on top isn't thoroughly cooked in yet, so only some of it looks delicious. It got baked in before everyone ate it though! (It's in my fancy crockpot, and the crockpot carrying bag, right before we left for the party)

Dish #2 - the first dessert

Delicioso Pumpkin Bread
(I originally got this recipe off of, where it had a perfect 5 out of 5 star rating from over 2,000 users. I followed some of the user reviews, so it's changed a teeny bit.)

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (or 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup applesauce if you wish to be calorie conscious)
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 package mini chocolate chips (my personal addition, thank you very much. Quite fabulous.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 7x3 inch loaf pans (or 2 4x9 inch loaf pans).

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water, and sugars until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Mix in mini chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for about 50 minutes (or about 1 hour 10 minutes if using the bigger loaf pans) in the preheated oven. Loaves are done with toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

These babies go fabulous with some cream cheese frosting slathered on top. Mm-mmm good!

And finally, the piece de resistance - the dish in which one co-worker once told me she'd like to roll around naked... *drum roll please*...

Dish #3 - the second dessert...

Holiday Cereal Treat!
(I haven't come up with a more clever name yet.)

Combine in bowl:
8 cups Corn Chex
9 cups Golden Grahams
2 cups coconut
1 cup slivered (or sliced) almonds

Combine in saucepan:
1 cup sugar
1 cup Karo syrup
3/4 cup butter

Bring contents in saucepan to boil and boil for two minutes. Pour over cereal mixture and stir to coat. Let cool on cookie sheets.

Ladies and Gents (do I have any gents reading this blog?), this recipe may seem simple, but the mind-blowing goodness of it will... blow your mind. Just try it.

All right, this is one long blog posting. I insist all of you make each and everyone of these recipes before the end of the holiday season (and then several times thereafter).


heatlight said...

Wow I'm impressed with your mac and cheese. Did you just cook it in the crockpot? How do you get the crunchy part that way?

and uh you holiday cereal recipe looks unique haha... not at all like Chex Mix.

Leslie said...

It's NOT like Chex Mix!! It's totally different!

misslucy said...

This blog is definitely you!! You get to write about yourself and all the wonderful things you your dreams.

gopack74 said...

You haven't posted anything new for a while. I've been anxiously awaiting your newest words of wisdom.