Sunday, November 20, 2011

Game Day Gourmet: Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

Rick and creamy Mac & Cheese.... 

With spicy Buffalo Chicken....

A.K.A. "The Bill Self" 

Bill Self: coach of my beloved KU Basketball team and also who an amazing dish is named after at one of my favorite restaurants, 23rd Street Brewery

KU wasn't playing today, but this recipe is a great game day dish! 

Baked Mac & Cheese Recipe
  • 1 lb small Pasta Shells
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil 
  • 12 oz Sharp White Cheddar
  • 12 oz Gruyere 
  • 4 cups Milk 
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tsp Salt 
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper 
  • 1 cup pre-shredded yellow cheddar cheese. 
  • 1/2 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Parsley 
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

-Add olive oil to the pot of water.
-Cook shells according to package directions.  Strain.
-Use a grater to shred both cheeses.

Mmmmmm, cheese. 

-In a small pot, head the milk over medium low heat.  Do not bring to boil.
-Melt 6 tbsp of the butter in a larger pot.  Add flour and whisk cooking for 2 minutes.
-Push garlic through a garlic press and add to the flour butter mixture.
-Slowly add the heated milk to the mixture, whisking constantly.
-Cook for a few more minutes until smooth and thick.
-Take pot off the heat and add the cheeses, salt, and pepper.

Bechemel sauce with added cheese...

-Pour cheese mixture over the shells and mix well. 

-Pour shells into a baking dish.

Shells with a rich and creamy sharp cheddar/gruyere sauce. 

-Melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter.
-Mix panko, butter, and parsley together.
-Top shells with 1 cup yellow cheddar cheese, and bread crumb mixture.

You really can't go overboard in the cheese here :) 

-Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until slightly browned and bubbly. 

Buffalo Chicken Tenders

  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 2 cups Buttermilk
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Paprika
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 cup Flour
  • Vegetable Oil 
  • 1 cup Hickory BBQ Sauce
  • 3/4 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce 
-Before preparing the mac & cheese, soak the chicken tenders in the buttermilk. 
-After mac & cheese is in the oven 20 minutes, begin preparing chicken tenders. 
-Mix salt, paprika and garlic powder in a small bowl. 
-Drain chicken tenders in a colander. 
-Heat 1/3 inch of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet on medium heat.
-Liberally season chicken with the spice mixture.
-Dredge in flour.
-Test the oil temperature with the handle of a wooden spoon.  When bubbles come away from the handle when dipped in the oil, it is hot enough.
-Fry chicken 4 minutes on each side.
-Drain on a cookie rack paced on a sheet pan.
-Mix the BBQ sauces together and warm them up.
-Dunk tenders into the sauce.
-Cut into small pieces if desired and serve over the mac & Cheese.

The cheesy, creamy, tangy, spicy combo is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! 

Makes 6 servings.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Giving Back Part 2: Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Cookies... We have a love/hate relationship.  Mostly because this time last year I was baking thousands of them.  Literally. Thousands.  For my small cookie business that blew up a little faster than I ever expected or could handle.  But I'm finally starting to think about baking them again.  And our client picnic at work was a perfect reason.  

So I baked dark chocolate cookies... 

With dark chocolate chips...

And not a single crumb was left when all was said and done... I guess they like them! 

Start by creaming the butter and sugars together. 

Dark brown sugar that is.  

Add the eggs, vanilla, and peanut butter.  Mix until smooth. 

Sweet homemade vanilla made by my friend Rachel, author of The Moody Foodie

In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.  

Slowly mix into the wet ingredients until all incorporated. 

Than add the chips to the mixture.  YUM! 

Scoop dough onto baking sheets using a medium scoop.  Bake away!

Gooey chocolate...

So rich, and salty, and delicious!

Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt 
  • 6 oz Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 6 oz Peanut Butter Chips 
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. 
-Add eggs, vanilla and peanut butter and mix until smooth. 
-In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together. 
-Slowly mix into the creamed mixture until incorporated
-Add chocolate and peanut butter chips to the mixture. 
-Scoop dough onto a baking sheet using a medium scoop. 
-Bake for 12 minutes. 
-Allow to cool on baking racks. 
-Makes about 2 dozen large cookies. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Giving Back Part 1: Pumpkin and Cinnamon Chili

It's time for our client Fall picnic at work and the staff was asked to pitch in and help in various ways.  And of course my way preferred way of giving is through sharing good food.  I thought chili would be the perfect Fall addition.  

A few years ago my sister turned me on to a pumpkin chili recipe.  I thought it sounded great and I loved it after I tried it.   Ever since, I have never made chili without the addition of pumpkin.  It makes it very thick and hearty and gives it that extra glimmer of Fall.  I tried to go back through my emails to find the original recipe, but no luck.  It seems like my chili recipe is evolving each time I make it and this is my latest version. 

Pumpkin and Cinnamon Chili 
*This makes a very large pot of chili.  It fills a 6 quart crock pot and easily serves 20.  Freeze in smaller batches to eat for left overs all winter.  

  • 2 lbs ground beef 
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 29 oz can or 2 15 oz cans Pumpkin
  • 1 15oz can Dark Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 15oz can Light Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 15oz can Black Beans
  • 2 15 oz cans Tomato Sauce
  • 1 15oz can Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 green Bell Pepper
  • 1 red Bell Pepper
  • 1 medium Onion 
  • 1 head Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 tsp dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper 
For Garnish: 
  • Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Green Onion 
Set crock pot on the low heat setting.  

Add pumpkin, tomato sauce, and fire roasted tomatoes to pot.  Drain and rinse dark and light red kidney beans, and black beans.  Add to pot.

I like to use a variety of beans in my chili, but use the beans you like best.  

If you haven't already discovered these fire roasted tomatoes in your grocery store, seek them out.  They add wonderful flavor to chili! 

Brown the ground beef and season with salt and pepper.  Once browned, add to the crock pot. 

Dice bell peppers and onion.  Saute over medium high heat for 3 minutes until slightly softened.  Use a garlic press or grater to add an entire head of garlic to the vegetables.  (I know this sounds like a lot but remember this is a large amount of chili)  Cook for another minute.  Add veggies into crock pot.  

Add chili powder, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, basil, salt, and pepper to the chili.  Let warm for 4-8 hours (stirring occasionally) before serving.  

I find the longer the chili sets, the more the flavors develop.  If you don't have this much time, set the crock pot to high and warm for 30 minutes.  

Makes 20, 1 cup servings. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Game Day Gourmet: Oven Hickory Smoke Ribs

My husband has recently become a BBQ junkie.  It all started with a local place in my hometown, Roy's Pit BBQ.  It is insanely addicting and I think it is at least 95% of the reason he was so agreeable to having our wedding in my hometown.   

So, since right now Sunday is football day in our house, I decided to make some game day food.  These are quick and easy homemade ribs done in the oven with all of the flavor of a fancy smoker.  

Oven Hickory Smoke Ribs 
  • 4 lbs Pork Ribs 
  • Hickory Liquid Smoke
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar 
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder 
  • 2 tsp Salt 
  • 2 cups Hickory BBQ Sauce
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 

Remove the tough membrane that covers the bony side of the ribs. 

Brush both sides of the meat liberally with Hickory Liquid Smoke.

This is the cheater way of getting that smoke flavor.  

Mix the brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and salt together.  

Rub both sides of the ribs liberally with the dry rub.  

Place the ribs, meaty side down, on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Cover the ribs with another sheet of foil and tightly crimp the edges.  

Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours.  Remove the ribs from the oven and turn on the broiler.  

Cut ribs into portions of 2 and brush BBQ sauce on one side.  Put under the broiler for 6 minutes. 

Remove from the over, flip, sauce the other side, and put back under the broiler for another 6 minutes.  


and devour...