Sunday, November 28, 2010

Baked Mac & Cheese with Bacon and Carmelized Onions

It's freezing outside- time for comfort food! Comfort food is the kind that you not only enjoy eating, but you enjoy making. It is soulful, personal. To me, comfort food is macaroni & cheese. Perhaps its the reference to childhood that makes it so comforting, but this mac & cheese is adult friendly. The bacon adds a rich smokiness, while the carmelized onion with garlic and thyme add a hint of gourmet. But the ultimate comfort is the creamy, gooey cheese. It warms me up from head to toe! I made this dish for two of the men in my life- my husband Kevin and our dear friend Stefan- and they both repeatedly said its one of the best things I've ever made. (It didn't hurt that I served it with mini-corn dogs either!) Make this dish for someone you love tonight!

Baked Mac & Cheese with Bacon and Carmelized Onions
Smoky, creamy, cheesy... is there anything better?
Serves 6

1 package (16 oz.) elbow macaroni
3 slices bacon
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. fresh Thyme (or half T. dried)
3 T. butter, divided
2 T. flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup chicken broth or water
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 T. hot sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard (or Dijon)
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cook macaroni to al dente (a minute or so shy of being "done"), drain, and return to pot. Set aside.

Heat a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon until done, about 2 minutes each side. Drain on paper towels. Discard all but one tablespoon of the bacon grease and place back on burner. Add sliced onion to the reserved bacon grease, sprinkle with salt, and saute until carmelized, about 10 minutes. Halfway through add minced garlic and thyme. Stir frequently.

In a sauce pan over medium to medium-high heat melt two tablespoons of butter, add the flour and whisk for two minutes until combined and beginning to brown. Add cream and milk, whisking constantly for another minute. Add all of the cheeses and stir to combine. Add the hot sauce, nutmeg, paprika and dried mustard and stir to combine. Add a good amount of salt and fresh ground pepper- taste to ensure its properly seasoned.

Add cheese sauce, onions, bacon and chicken broth (or water) to cooked noodles. Stir well to combine. Pour into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle bread crumbs over top and dot with remaining tablespoon of butter. Drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered, until bubbling and lightly browned. Enjoy with mini corn dogs and green veggies. Pure comfort!

Recipe by Sarah Lang

Friday, November 12, 2010

Smothered Enchiladas

Smothered Enchiladas is a recipe that my mom created years ago and my sister and I have been enjoying ever since. These are enchiladas at their most basic and most delicious. The recipe couldn’t be easier, and after months of tinkering with complicated “authentic” Mexican recipes, Kevin told me that these are the best enchiladas I have ever made. And to think, it’s a home-grown family recipe! Needless to say, sometimes you just can’t beat a classic. I promise you that you will LOVE these enchiladas!

Smothered Enchiladas
Easy and delicious for any occasion!
Serves 8
8 large flour tortillas
1 can red enchilada sauce
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pound ground beef
1 can refried beans
1 packet taco seasoning
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, shopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 T. oil
Fresh cilantro, optional

Heat the oven to 375. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, soften the onion and green pepper in 1 T. of oil, about 4-5 minutes. Spread to the outside of the pan and add the ground beef. Cook until browned, drain, then add ½ cup water and taco seasoning. Add refried beans and stir to combine. Turn off heat.

In a bowl combine the enchilada sauce and cream of mushroom soup.
Spread a little bit of the enchilada sauce/mushroom soup mixture on the bottom of a 9x13 casserold dish. Add 1/8th of the mixture into each tortilla, roll up, and place seam-side down in the dish. Cover with enchilada sauce/mushroom soup mixture and top with cheddar cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbling. Top with fresh cilantro, if desired, and serve with sour cream and guacamole. It’s a fiesta!

Saubert family recipe

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rigatoni with Tomato, Sausage and Goat Cheese

One of the best things about planning a wedding is the food tastings. Kevin and I held our rehearsal dinner at Biaggi's Italian Ristorante, and we got to enjoy a food tasting that consisted of two salads, three entrees, three pastas, two desserts and ten wines. What a fun evening that was! We had the most delicious rigatoni pasta dish, and I just knew I had to recreate it. A few weeks ago I made it from memory, and I have to say it was just as good as the original!

I love this dish for so many reasons. First of all, most of the ingredients are easy to keep on hand. Secondly it is no problem to make a huge portion or just enough for one. Most importantly it encompasses everything I love about pasta dishes- the flavorful sauce enhanced by the tangy goat cheese, the smoky sausage, the fresh basil and the big al dente rigatoni noodles which were made to hold onto this sauce. Trust me this recipe is a keeper!


Rigatoni with Tomato, Sausage and Goat Cheese
A delicious all-in-one meal that you'll make again and again!
Serves 4-6

1 box rigatoni pasta (1 lb)
1 jar prepared pasta sauce
1/2 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 lb. Italian sausage links (about 3)
1/2 cup hearty red wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz, etc.)
4 oz. goat cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade (roll up then slice so you have long pieces)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and cook pasta until al dente. Drain and reserve.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Drizzle in a tablespoon of olive oil and brown sausages until crisp on the outside. Don't worry if the inside isn't cooked through. Remove and reserve. When cool enough to handle slice into bite size pieces.

Use the same skillet and add another tablespoon of oil. Add the onions, sausages and some salt and saute until onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes. In the final minute add the garlic. Add the wine and let bubble for 2-3 minutes until it begins to reduce. Pour in the pasta sauce, reduce the heat, and let simmer.

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet. and stir to combine. Pour into a large bowl. Top with basil and goat cheese. When plating make sure everyone gets a hunk of goat cheese. It will melt into the hot pasta and create a creamy, bright and fantastic sauce!

Serve piping hot with garlic bread, romaine lettuce salad, and a big glass of red wine.

Recipe by Sarah Lang