Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Crockpot Mac'n Cheese

I wanted to make something easy but teen friendly when my son had a dozen of his "closest" friends over for his birthday.  I decided to make Mac and Cheese because I don't know any kids who don't love it.  My son being one of those kids who do love it.  He is a big fan of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  I want to try to wean him off the blue box (and I did not think it was a good idea to make boxed macaroni and cheese for a crowd).  That was when I found this recipe.  It was perfect.  My only mistake was that I halved the recipe.  I really should have doubled it.  Not one single piece of macaroni was left after the boys got to it.  I thought that with a large tray of Chick Fil-A chicken strips, I wouldn't need to much else but I was wrong.  Boy, can twelve teen boys eat. I tried it myself when I made it a few weeks later since I did not get to try any the first time I made it.  It is really quite tasty.  The funniest thing is that shortly after I found and made this recipe, I read an article about what you should never make in a crockpot.  The first item was macaroni and cheese!  Oh well, I the boy did not mind. They loved it.  This is a very easy recipe without any yucky canned soup in it.  This is not my recipe.  It is all over the internet.

Crockpot Mac ‘n Cheese
6 cups cooked macaroni (about 3 cups dry)
4 Tbsp butter
4 cups evaporated milk
6 cups shredded or grated cheese
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper


In large mixing bowl, toss cooked macaroni with butter. Stir in evaporated milk, cheese, salt and pepper. Place in the crockpot. Cook on High for 2-3 hours or Low for 4-5 hours.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pasta e Fagioli

I have been craving soup lately.  I haven't had pasta e fagioli in a long time.  In fact, I made it so long ago that my husband doesn't remember ever eating it.  Maybe I just ordered it at a restaurant but I thought I had made it once a long time ago.  Anyway, this is Rachael Ray's take on Pasta e Fagioli.  I have to hand it to her.  She gets the spices just right.  We all liked it very much.  Yummo!

Pasta e Fagioli
by Rachael Ray

2 tablespoons (2 turns around the pan) extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 pound (about 3 slices) pancetta, chopped
2 (4 to 6-inch) sprigs rosemary, left intact
1 (4 to 6-inch) sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact
1 large fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
Coarse salt and pepper
2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans (undrained)
1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
2 cups water
1 quart chicken stock
1-1/2 cups ditalini pasta (dry)
Grated Parmigiana or Romano, for the table
Crusty bread, for mopping


Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and pancetta.  Brown the pancetta bits lightly, and add herb stems, bay leaves, chopped vegetables, and garlic.  Season vegetables with salt and pepper.  Add beans, tomato sauce, water and stock to pot and raise heat to high.  Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta.  Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes or until pasta is cooked al dente.  Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks.  Remove herb stems and bay leaves from soup and place pot on table on a trivet.  Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of grated cheese.  Pass crusty bread for bowl mopping.

Serves 6


The Creative Cook