Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Macaroni & Cheese

I had a special request this morning for a macaroni and cheese recipe. This recipe was given to me by the friend of a friend. I always use organic low fat or skim milk but you can use any type of milk that you prefer. I have made it several times and each time it gets eaten up really quickly. I would make it more often but D does not like home-made mac & cheese. He prefers the Kraft box variety. What a heathen! Anyway, he is young and may change that opinion in a year or two. I can dream, can't I. . .


16 oz of uncooked elbow macaroni or shells
1 stick of butter
4 cups of milk
12 oz sharp cheddar (grated), reserve handful to sprinkle on top
1 tsp salt (originally it said 2 tsp but that is way too much for me)
1/4 tsp cayenne or black pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg

(1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

(2) Cook the macaroni according to package

(3) In heavy saucepan, Melt the butter, whisk in flour to make a paste.

(4) Add milk. Bring to simmer over med. heat until thickened (about 1-2 min).

(5) Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheese, stir until smooth.

(6) Stir the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce and pour into 3 quart casserole dish.

(7) Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes.

(You can easily do 1/2 the recipe and use a 1-1/2 or 2 quart baking dish. I have also doubled this recipe for larger crowds) **

The Creative Cook

**This note was added by my friend's friend, not me. I agree with her, though.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


A few weeks ago, I had some extra strawberries that weren't getting eaten. As usual, I didn't want to throw them away. I really wanted to make a Strawberry Cake with them. I had a fairly hard time finding a strawberry cake recipe that didn't utilize a box cake mix. I finally found this recipe on another blog called "Good Things Catered". It turned out really well. Next time I would do a few things differently, though. I really should have used Bakers Joy to spray the pan but instead I just sprayed with Pam and sprinkled on some flour. This cake is very delicate so it fell apart when I tried to take it out of the pan. I suggest a liberal spray of Bakers Joy and let the cake layers cool completely before trying to remove them from the pans. I had to freeze mine and then frost them. I also would suggest a whipped cream topping which I got from another website called "The Joy of Baking". I used a double batch of this whipped cream frosting for my cake. Next time, I'm going to use a layer of strawberry preserves in between the two cake layers. I may also try to make the cake 3 layers. This cake looks so pretty on the other blog with 3 layers. Look at the picture on Confections of a Foodie Bride blog. I wish she had given the recipe for the 3 layer version on that website. Oh well, I'll have to figure it out myself.

I also added some chocolate dipped strawberries on top for decorative purposes. They are so yummy too!

Katie’s Strawberry Cake

3/4 cup strawberry puree, room temperature (recipe follows)

1/4 cup milk, at room temperature

6 large egg whites, room temperature

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2-1/4 cup cake flour, sifted

1-3/4 cup sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened (not melted)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8 inch pans: line outside with heavy duty foil (I used Bake Even strips) and spray inside with baking spray with flour.
In small bowl, combine puree, milk, egg, vanilla and mix with fork until well blended. In bowl of stand mixer, add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. Continue beating at slow speed and add butter. Mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs.
Add liquids and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until full and evenly combined. Stop mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and hand beat for 30 more seconds. Divide the batter evenly among the pans and smooth tops.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (time will vary). Let cakes rest in pan for about 10 minutes and turn out onto wire racks. Let cakes cool completely (about 2 hours).
Yields: 2 8-inch layers

Strawberry Puree
24oz frozen organic strawberries, thawed*

Thaw frozen strawberries in whatever form (sliced, whole, etc) and in whatever container/bag you have them in. Pour into a fine strainer placed over a bowl and let sit. Lightly toss the strawberries occasionally to remove any pockets of excess liquid. Reserve the liquid for another use or discard. Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree.

* You most certainly can use non-organic and you can use fresh strawberries if you don’t have a stash of frozen strawberries in your freezer. Just hull, slice and toss with a teaspoon or two of sugar and cover. Let them sit at room temperature for a couple of hours, or until nice and juicy. Place strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree.

Use leftover puree to fill the cake or fold into the frosting, if desired. It’s also fabulous spooned over ice cream… and eaten straight with a spoon. I used this puree in the cake and in the whipped cream frosting. It is good!
Yields: Approx 1 1/4 cup strawberry puree
The Creative Cook