Posted in Gather Together

The Party is STILL On!

Macandcheese

I love food. I love to shop for it, prepare it, and eat it. My daughter who also likes food, calls us recreational cooks. We do it for relaxation as well as for creativity. The only downfall of enjoying this activity the way we do is unwanted weight gain.

Recently, I had to make the decision to do something about it, so I joined Weight Watchers. I have used the program before with great results and I anticipate the same this time. The beauty of this particular way of eating is everything is still permissible. Nothing is eliminated. I can continue to enjoy creating wonderful things to eat. And that’s exactly what I plan to do.

The party is STILL on in the kitchen.

(Oh, by-the-way, I’ve lost twelve pounds so far.)


Here is something I tried recently that was very delicious and great for any gathering. It works for anyone who loves the comfort of Mac and Cheese.  (Except, maybe, those who only like the kind that comes in the box.)

Enlightened Cheesy Mac with a Twist

Serves Main Dish 4; Side 8

Ingredients
• 1 teaspoon olive oil, or your choice
• 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, I used panko
• 1 20-ounce package of peeled and cut-up butternut squash
• ¾ cup vegetable broth
• 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, I used reduced-fat
• 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
• 2 tablespoons cream cheese, I used light cream cheese
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 4-ounces small pasta shells, 1 ¼ cups
• 2 cups small cauliflower florets

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray 8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
2. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil.
3. In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat oil and add breadcrumbs. Toast until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
4. Add squash to boiling water. Cover and return to boil. Cook uncovered until squash is very tender, about 10 minutes.
5. While squash is cooking, combine broth, cheddar, pecorino, cream cheese, mustard, salt and cayenne in blender. When squash is very tender, use slotted spoon to transfer it to blender. Purée. (Leave water in pan.)
6. Bring water bake to a boil. Add pasta and cook ½ the time called for in cooking instructions on package.
7. Add cauliflower to pasta during last minute of cooking time.
8. Drain pasta and cauliflower and return to pot.
9. Stir purée into pasta/cauliflower mixture. Toss to coat.
10. Spread pasta mixture in prepared pan. Sprinkle with toasted panko breadcrumbs. Spray with nonstick spray.
11. Bake until top is golden, and casserole is bubbling, about 25 minutes.

Note: Herbs, such as fresh thyme, can be added to the breadcrumbs during the toasting. Also, a little drizzle of truffle oil just before baking can elevate the yumminess of this dish. Enjoy!

Recipe inspired by Weight Watchers. 1 ¼ cup serving equals 7 Smart points when using reduced-fat cheeses.

I think that the butternut/cheese purée could be used for a variety of recipes that include a cheese sauce. I am thinking of trying it with a Chicken and Broccoli Casserole or even a Broccoli Cheddar Soup. Do you have any suggestions? I would love to hear them.


Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat.

Guy Fieri

 

Posted in Gather Together

Portable Feast: Caramelized Onion Potato Salad

thepartysinthekitchen.me

Here’s something delicious for your next BBQ or picnic. Since there is no mayonnaise involved, it can be served cold or at room temperature, making it perfect for any feast, anywhere. Even at home, so don’t wait to try it.

Caramelized Onion Potato Salad

Dressing

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar, maple syrup, or preferred sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Salad

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large red or yellow onions, sliced ¼ sliced
  • 3 pounds yellow or red baby potatoes
  • ½ cup lightly packed chopped fresh dill, about 6 sprigs
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • ¾ cup chopped dill pickles
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In jar with tight fitting lid combine all dressing ingredients. Vigorously shake until combined. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring every few minutes, for about 40 minutes (mine took longer) or until onions are very soft and deep golden brown. They should not be dry or crisp, but rather soft and almost jammy in texture. To achieve the soft, jamminess you may need to lower the temperature and add a little water. When finished, set aside to cool.
  3. While onions are cooking, place potatoes in a large pot, cover them with water, and bring to boil with no lid, over medium-high heat, then lower to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until just tender when pricked with a fork.
  4. Drain potatoes. Run some cold water over them to cool enough to handle. Cut them into bite-sized pieces. Place in large bowl.
  5. To the potatoes add cooled caramelized onions, chopped dill, green onions, and chopped pickles. Salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.
  6. Yum!

 

“A picnic is a state of mind and can be made anywhere.”