Bacon And Mushroom Mac-N-Cheese

Recently I found out a friend of mine makes a pretty “slammin” (this word was used) Mac-N-Cheese……and who doesn’t love the sound of an amazing Mac -N-Cheese?   When I asked him for the recipe, he sent me a link to a blog I frequent and one that has been mentioned here a few times!  Fake Ginger!!   BUT he had put his own twist on it…tweaking her recipe…..and then I did some tweaking of my own with what I had on hand!  Needless to say…….the mac and cheese was really…..AMAZING!  Joe and I enjoyed it, the girls (after picking out the mushrooms)…Ava loved it, but Olivia couldn’t get past the mushrooms.  3 out 4 of us…not too shabby!!!   I’m not going to give it a “Kid Approved” rating because Olivia specifically said, “NOT KID APPROVED!” which eating it, but it’s really pretty tasty and if your kids like mushrooms….they’ll probably like it!

Here is the original from Fake Ginger.   Alan (“slammin” Mac-N-Cheese maker) used more bacon, a different variety of cheeses and topped it with crushed Cheez Its…..and I used less variety of cheeses,  topped it with Cheez Its and used more bacon!   So as you can see, you can really spin this  recipe any way you want….and it’ll still be a delicious spin off of your regular, every day Mac-N-Cheese!   Give it a shot!!

Bacon and Mushroom Mac-N-Cheese

1 pound small pasta

1 teaspoon olive oil

3/4 pound bacon, chopped

8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced thinly

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup light cream

salt & pepper to taste

4 cups extra sharp cheddar, shredded

1 cup Swiss, shredded

1 cup mozzarella, shredded

1/2-3/4C Cheez Its, crushed

spray olive oil

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Bring a lot pot of salted water to a boil.
Add pasta, stir, and let boil.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is cooked and slightly crispy.
Remove bacon to a paper towel, using a slotted spoon…onto a lined plate to drain.
Pour off some of the bacon grease (or all & add a little more olive oil to the pan) and add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are browned and soft, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan make a roux by melting your butter and slowly adding your flour.  Whisking the whole time.
Slowly add in chicken broth and cream, continue whisking until sauce is thickened.
Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted.
Preheat oven to 375.
Once pasta is al dente, drain and put in large bowl.
Add bacon, mushrooms, and cheese sauce and stir to combine.
Pour into prepared 9 x 13 pan.
Top with crushed Cheez Its,  over the entire pan and spray lightly with olive oil.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until pasta is bubbly.
Enjoy!
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~gianna~

Mac N Cheese

I’m not usually a huge fan of homemade mac n cheese…only because a lot of the ones I’ve had are pretty bland and I like a lot of seasoning and flavor in my cooking.    Normally I’d just make a box of KRAFT or Aunt Annies and call it….well..mac n cheese!    I have made it before myself and again….I didn’t love it.   So last night I decided to give it another shot and decided to try things a little differently…….kinda winged it and it turned out pretty good!

Olivia who has told me multiple times “I HATE MAC N CHEESE” (yup even boxed…..whose kid is she???) also told me last night, “I’m not eating it!”  Wellllllll guess who ate a huge serving of it?   It was actually Ava (who normally does like it) that didn’t eat it…she liked it, didn’t love it.

I found a recipe on  pinterest that said to use sour cream in the mac n cheese to make it creamier, but I didn’t follow the recipe, I made my own recipe and then added sour cream to it.  Couldn’t hurt, right?  It was great!!!

Mac N Cheese

1 box of small pasta (elbows, small shells, penne)

1 stick of salted butter

1/3 C  flour (adding more for consistency)

4 C whole milk 

1 TBSP Dry Mustard 

2 1/2 C cheddar cheese shredded (I like to shred my own from a block, I think it makes it taste better)

1/2 sour cream

Salt & Pepper

1 C shredded cheddar (to top)

***********************************************

Preheat Oven to 350°

Cook pasta al dente according to box.

In a large pot on the stove, melt butter.

Slowly add flour and stir continuously to make a roux.

Add milk slowly, until you get a good consistency — You don’t want it too thick or too runny.

Add dry mustard (this could add a little kick too it, so don’t go overboard)

Remove from heat and stir in 2 1/2 cups cheese until melted.

Add sour cream until incorporated.

Add pasta and mix well, until it’s coated really well in sauce.  

Add salt and pepper.

Pour into a buttered 9×13 baking dish.

Top with 1 C cheese.

Cook for about 10-15 minutes until cheese on top is melted.

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ENJOY!

I wanted you to see the melted cheese and the creaminess of this mac n cheese!  

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~gianna~

Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo

My beautiful, talented, amazing cousin, Rachele just had a brand new baby…… yesterday  (YAY!!!!)    So it’s only fitting I post about it now, since it came from her!  🙂  CONGRATS, MAMA!!!

I had been looking for a new shrimp recipe recently and my cousin  sent me this recipe for Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo.    I don’t think she had even tried it yet……when she first sent it to me, but I’m glad she did!!  My husband and I really enjoyed it, Ava only liked the shrimp part and Olivia didn’t like it at all.   So I guess you’ll have to make it for yourself and decide how you feel.   It was very simple, very filling, and very good too!

Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo

1 box (12 oz) fettuccini (I used plain, but you can use spinach too)

1 TBSP olive oil

1 small red onion (halved and sliced)

2 cloves of garlic

1 pound shrimp (cleaned, thawed and deveined)

2/3 cup Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 TBSP dill (chopped)

2 TBSP capers

2 TBSP lemon juice

Salt & Pepper to taste

******************************************

Cook pasta as package suggests — cook, drain and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat.

Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in shrimp, cream cheese, dill, capers, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Cooked 3-5 minutes or until shrimp are cooked.

Add pasta and reserved water to skillet.

Enjoy!

Image 26

~gianna~

Shrimp over Angel Hair

I cook shrimp a lot in my house because everyone loves it!  This recipe has been in my rotation for a long time.  When I say rotation I mean I make it every few months or more because I have so many other recipes that I make, but this one I know is a sure winner every time!  It’s another simple recipe and if you have shrimp on hand (I always have a bag or 2 of frozen uncooked shrimp in my freezer) it’s a great weeknight meal.  Add some garlic bread and a salad and you’re done!  Easy Peasy!

Shrimp Over Angel Hair

1/2-1 pound of angel hair pasta (cooked)

2 TBSP olive oil

3-4 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 ripe tomatoes (I use the small ones on the vine) — seeds removed and chopped

1/2 c water

chicken bullion cube

1 pound uncooked shrimp (cleaned and deveined)

basil

******************

Cook Pasta

In a pan on stove add oil and garlic and brown.

Add chopped tomatoes.

Add water, basil  and bullion cube and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink.

Serve over pasta.

**We put Old Bay on the finished dish  just to add a little more spice/flavor, but you don’t have to!

ENJOY!

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~gianna~

Creamy Taco Mac

Here’s another recipe that has circulated around the internet and has gotten rave reviews….once I finally got around to making it I was happy I did.  It’s simple, easy and my family really likes it!    Even the girls  (usually my tough crowd) LOVE it!  It’s even better as a leftover!  Normally we aren’t big leftover people…..but I have made extra of this so we have leftovers for another night!   It’s that good!

Creamy Taco Mac

1 lbs ground turkey breast
1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
8 oz dry pasta + 1 cup reserved pasta water
1 can (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes
4 Tbsp mild taco seasoning
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese
salt & pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta per directions. Reserve one cup of pasta water.

Over medium heat, brown ground turkey until no longer pink.

Add onion and cook for 5 minutes.

Add taco seasoning and diced tomatoes.

Allow to simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

Add cooked pasta, reserved water, cream cheese, and sour cream.

Give it a good stir until cheeses are melted and totally incorporated.

Simmer over low heat for 2-3 minutes.

Season with salt & pepper, as desired.

Top off with Mexican cheese.

ENJOY!!

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~gianna~

Penne Vodka

Many years ago this recipe came to me via a message board I was on.  A lot of times someone would post a recipe and about 100 people would make it within a week of hearing about it….. and then give their 2 cents.  With this recipe everyone was raving that this was “the best vodka sauce recipe ever”…..I think one person even ventured to say she’d like to bathe in it, she liked it so much.  Sounds..kinda….I don’t know…..fun???   Once I made it, I had to agree!!

So I filled my tub with this stuff, (my family thought I was nuts) and ……

It’s really that good!

I have a few different ways I make/have made vodka sauce, but this one is by far the best!  It’s the perfect thickness, with the best flavors…. all rolled into one delicious bowl of pasta!   My kids and my husband both love it…so it’s a winner in our house.   It’s also a great thing to make extra of and freeze for a night when you don’t feel like cooking…it defrosts and reheats nicely and is just as good as the first time!  It’s also just as delicious leftover!

We aren’t a huge “leftover family” (is that even a phrase?  I dunno?) but I usually make just enough dinner that there isn’t anything left over for another night.   Not the case for this sauce!   I urge you to make extra and have a lot left over.

I think my anti-leftover mentality comes from  when my Mom would say (every so often), “LEFTOVERS TONIGHT!”  And all of us groaning because it was normally something we didn’t like the first time around…..which was why it was left over to begin with!   Makes sense…yes?  I grew up with 2 brothers, so normally the good stuff was gone, FAST…..and didn’t need another night.  The bad stuff….well it was packaged up for another night.  Secretly it probably made my Mom happy….because she didn’t have to cook that night.

“LEFTOVERS TONIGHT….we are having meatloaf!”  (((((((GROAN)))))))

I’ve gone off on a tangent and off the subject.  Get used to that…it will happen again.

ANYWAY…….Thanks, Amy for this delicious recipe!  I’ve tweaked it a bit…i think the original recipe had something other than bacon (imagine that??)…pancetta maybe?  Prosciutto?  I can’t remember…but I’m sure either work!  🙂

Penne Vodka

1 pound of penne pasta cooked

6 strips of bacon (chopped)

1/ 4 c Vodka 

2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

2 TBSP Olive Oil

1/2 of a Vidalia Onion

1 Large Can of Crushed Tomato

1 C. Romano Cheese

2 C. Heavy Cream

1/2 Stick of Butter

In a small bowl soak pepper flakes and vodka (NO MORE THAN 5-8 MINUTES if you don’t want it too spicy — the longer you soak the spicier it is). Then using a small colander, remove pepper flakes….keeping the vodka.

Saute bacon, oil and onion for 8 minutes in a medium pot.

Add crushed tomatoes and vodka. 

Cook on low for 30 minutes.

Add cheese, heavy cream and butter.

Cook for 25 minutes.

Cook pasta as directed on box and drain.

Make sure to keep stirring so the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn!

Serve over pasta.

ENJOY!!

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~gianna~ 

Shrimp Scampi

This is a very simple and quick recipe that I make during the week!  My husband and both of my girls love it, so it’s a winner in our house!  It’s a  Cooking Light recipe ….and this is one I follow exact, because it’s very good,  light and delicious!  I throw it over angel hair pasta, but you can serve it with anything you want.  It’s extra good with some garlic bread and salad!

Shrimp Scampi 

Yield:  4 servings (serving size: 7 shrimp)

 Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

28 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1 1/2 pounds)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup Sauvignon Blanc or other dry white wine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

 

Preparation:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp; sauté 1 minute. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in wine, salt, and pepper; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 30 seconds. Add parsley and juice; toss well to coat. Cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.

ENJOY!!!

shrimpscampi

 ~gianna~

Rigatoni di Gregorio

Many years ago I participated in a Recipe Swap…..this recipe was carried over from my old blog, but it’s worth bringing it here!  Here was my post from wayyyy back when:

My week’s recipe came from Christina over at Tales from the Mad Men Kitchen, and it was her Rigatoni di Gregorio.    The recipe I submitted was (obviously) my family’s Lemon Chicken.

The recipe was easy and so delicious, but neither of my kids would eat it!  Both of my girl’s who LOVED mushrooms in the earlier years of their lives have suddenly boycotted them!   Now they won’t eat anything in the same room as a mushroom….it’s a shame, really!  But Joe and I enjoyed it!    I had to tweak the recipe also b/c I thought I had Marsala wine and I did not….it was red wine!  So I had to take that out of the recipe, but it was still very, very good!   Thanks, Christina!!!!

Rigatoni di Gregorio

Yield: 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

8 oz. rigatoni

2 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

½ cup chopped yellow onion

4 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp. dry white wine

¼ cup Marsala wine  (I omitted)

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream (or half-and-half)

2 tsp. minced fresh basil

2 tsp. minced fresh parsley  (I used dried)

1 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp. butter

Directions:  Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 7-10mins (Christina said hers took 5-7, but I think my cutlets were thicker). If necessary, turn down the heat to medium-low so the outside doesn’t brown too quickly. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside. When cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan with the heat on medium-high. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook until most of the liquid has been released and the onions are softened, about 5 minutes more. Mix in the garlic and sauté just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and add the wines, scraping with a spoon to deglaze the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the chicken broth. Return Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to medium and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half. Stir in the cream and cook until heated through. Add in the herbs, Parmesan and butter; mix until well blended and the butter is completely melted.

Add the cooked rigatoni to the pan and toss with the sauce. Serve immediately with additional grated Parmesan as desired.  ENJOY!!!!

chicken1

~gianna~

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