CULINARY MAKEOVERS # 15 – Macaroni & Cheese Supreme
Tonight is the Oscard Awards Ceremony and we wanted to have something simple, easy and quick for dinner. The only way to really do this is to either have it sent in or make something ahead. I opted for the ‘Make Something Ahead’ meal. This is my Macaroni and Cheese Suprema Dish. I have a standard recipe on line, but I never ever or hardly ever make it as stated. The recipe is just a guide and I use whatever happens to be on hand, especially if I have leftovers to get rid of.
I am a person who just cannot throw out leftovers until they are really no good to eat. But when I do use them, I can make some really good dishes from them and no one would ever know they were made from leftovers unless I tell them.
Todays leftovers were:
Onion (the only non-leftover item – only used half so it is now a leftover)
Shredded Cheddar/Jack (in freezer)
Fusili Pasta (in freezer)
Orange Bell Pepper
In addition to the leftovers I added some:
2 Tbsps. Flour
I made the Mac and Cheese in this wonderful stainless steel oval shaped stove-top to oven casserole pan. I use it for almost everything and it is perfect for the two of us and if we have company will hold at least enough for 4 people, maybe even six.
- Melt the Butter in the Pan over low heat. While the Butter is melting, dice the Onion and then add it to the melted Butter.
- Stir in the Flour and cook until the Flour is well-blended with the Onions and Butter. Continue to cook for about another minute and then add 1 cup of Cream or Half/Half or even Milk.
- Cook and stir until the mixture thickens and then add about 1-2 Tbsps. of Dijon Mustard along with 1/2 tsp. of Salt and 1/4 tsp. White Pepper.
- Stir in the Brie, in any amount up to 1 cup, (Cream Cheese can also be used) and the shredded Cheese (about 2 cups)
- Stir well to combine; if the mixture is too thick add additional Half/Half or Milk. Taste for seasonings and adjust to your taste.
- Stir in the Cooked Macaroni with a rubber or silicone spatula; be sure to have all the Macaroni covered with the Cheese Sauce.
- Dice the Bell Pepper and add to the Cheesy Pasta; combine well or just leave on top for a garnish.
- Snip the Chives with pair of Kitchen Shears and sprinkle on top for a Garnish. (Green Onions may be used instead or even dill if you like dill with Cheese)
- The dish is now ready to serve. If you are planning on serving it later in the day or even tomorrow, refrigerate until about one hour before serving time.
- If you are using a metal pan like mine, then you can put it in the oven while it is cold, but if it is a ceramic or glass dish, allow it to come to room temperature before placing it in the hot oven. Alternatively, place it in a cold oven and then turn the oven or even better, Microwave it for a minute or two to warm up the dish)
- Serve and enjoy!
For the full recipe please see macaroni-and-cheese-supreme/
Categories: Dinner Ideas, Leftovers, Lunch Ideas, Pasta Tags: Bell Peppers, butter, Cheese, Chives, Culinary Makeovers, family dinner, kids recipes, Leftovers, Pasta
One of the great things about summer is the abundance of fresh produce that is available. If you don’t grow your own, just pay a visit to your local farmer’s market and see what is available. I visited the Camarillo Farmer’s Market which is open from 8-12 on Saturday mornings. In addition to all the other produce that was available, fresh corn was abundant. There is nothing like corn
right off the cob and if the corn is really good, it will taste good without being cooked. I always test the corn before cooking it to see if there is enough sugar content in the kernels. If it doesn’t taste sweet enough, then I will add a teaspoon or two of sugar to the cooking water along with the juice of half a lemon.
Today I was buying corn to make corn relish, a condiment which is especially nice for summer meals. Along with the corn, I also needed to purchase a red and green bell pepper, celery and sweet onions. To make the relish, remove the kernels from the cob. This can be done with a good knife or a special tool that is designed to remove the kernels. Chop the Onions and mince the
Bell Peppers (without the seeds of course). Finely dice the Celery.
In a large pot Cider Vinegar along with Sugar, Salt and Spices are brought to a boil. The vegetables are then added to the liquid and simmered for 20 minutes. The six ears of corn along with the added vegetables will yield 1 quart of relish. I served the relish for dinner along with our barbecued tri-tip, tomato salad and fresh ciabatta bread. For the complete recipe, check our recipe section under condiments.
Categories: Cooking for Everyone, Holiday Meals, Salads Tags: Bell Peppers, Cabbage, Celery, Condiments, Corn, Corn Relish, Recipes, Relish, Salad, Sweet & Sour, Vegetables
Pizza is one of the favorite foods of almost everyone I know and I am no exception. I normally like to make my own pizza starting with the dough but there are times when a deviation comes in handy. One of those times is when you have extra Pita
Bread sitting around and fresh tomatoes that will be tomato juice if you don’t
use them up soon. This is when I came up with the idea of Pita Pizza. Almost like ‘clean out the refrigerator’ vegetable soup, this is ‘use up the leftovers’ pizza dinner.
The ingredients that I had on hand and used were:
- Pita Bread
- Fresh Tomatoes
- Basil and Oregano from my yard
- Cilantro Hummus
- Black Olives and Kalamata Olives
- Sweet Onions
- Yellow Bell Peppers
- Fresh Garlic
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese
The ingredients that I had to purchase were:
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Italian Salami
- Shitake Mushrooms
To make the Pizzas I did the following:
- Heated up my Pizza Stone for 30+ minutes at 500 degrees; if you don’t own a pizza
stone, then just assemble your pizzas on a sturdy baking sheet or pizza pan.
- Sliced the Tomatoes, removed any excess seeds and pulp and then put them in a colander to drain.
- Sliced the Olives; removed the seeds from the Bell Peppers, washed and dried them and then julienned them and then cut the julienne into a medium dice.
- Thinly sliced the Onion.
- Cut the Salami slices into quarters and shredded the Mozzarella Cheese.
- Removed the stems from the Shitake, cleaned and sliced them and then cooked them in a small amount of Olive Oil with crushed Garlic and a dash of Sea Salt.
To assemble the Pizzas, I placed the Pita on my Pizza Peel and then proceeded to dress
I brushed a small amount of Olive Oil on three of the Pitas and then sprinkled on Parmesan Cheese.
I blotted the excess moisture from the tomatoes with a paper towel and then spread the sliced tomatoes on three of the pitas.
Minced Basil and Oregano went on top of the tomatoes along with a little salt and pepper.
Next came the Mozzarella Cheese, and on top of that went the Salami, sliced Black Olives, diced Bell Pepper and sliced Onion and of course, some of the Shitakes.
On the fourth Pita, I spread the Hummus and Mozzarella Cheese.
On top of the Mozzarella, came Salami, Shitakes, Bell Pepper and Kalamata Olives. This one didn’t need any salt and pepper as
the Hummus was well seasoned.
Just before we were ready to eat, I slid the Pita Pizzas onto the heated stone and baked them for 10 minutes or until the pitas were slightly browned.
If baking the Pita Pizzas on a pan, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bake for about 10 minutes or until of the desired doneness. Once the Mozzarella is melted and just beginning to bubble, the pizzas should be done.
Serve with a green salad and voila, dinner is complete!
Categories: Baking, Bread, Dinner Ideas, Italian, Leftovers, Main, Pizza Tags: Bell Peppers, Bread, Mushrooms, Olives, Pita Bread, Pizza, Salami