Baked Veggie Mac and Cheese

I’m back! I decided for the month of June to try to work myself into insanity and was almost successful; 7 day work weeks are no fun. But now, my other job is overstaffed so I have a random three day weekend from Monday to Wednesday. This means I’m back in the kitchen again!

Today I was looking for something more healthy than just plain pasta that wouldn’t require a trip to the grocery store. This led to the original recipe I pulled this from being bastardized into a “clean out the fridge” type of casserole. However, it was so delicious that I would make it again with actual trips to the grocery store to get the ingredients.

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Stuffed Crust Dorm Pizza

So I’m back at college and back in the baking game! That means things are going to get a lot more simplistic and even more sporadic than my current posting has been. I did break my arm in a cycling accident in August and am just starting to be able to lift things so that’s why the severe absence. It has been driving me absolutely nuts to not be able to cook or take photographs. But now that I’m (almost) all better, it’s back to the kitchen for me.

This awesome recipe is my first failed attempt at the recipe column that I was (am?) going to have in the newspaper but there was confusion of subjects and what should the recipe be and alas, it didn’t happen. It also didn’t help that I was in Rochester for the weekend visiting the boyfriend. But visiting someone on a floor full of 18-year-old boys turned out to be helpful – an infinite number of taste testers.

I had thought “dorm pizza” would be a good starting point for writing college dorm recipes because, besides ramen, pizza is pretty much a staple. At least at Ithaca, the dining halls close super early and I frankly can’t afford to order pizza every time I miss that window of edible opportunity. I have seen pizza recipes using tortillas but I thought those would be too thin alone, hence the “stuffed crust.” Really it’s more of a quesadilla with pizza toppings but it is still delicious. Adding the cheese in between the tortillas gives it an illusion of having a thick crust while amping up the cheese flavor without adding so much on top that it becomes a solid heavy mass after cooling.

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Baked Ziti


I love pasta. And cheese. So naturally, baked ziti is right up my alley. I had wanted to try this recipe since the day I saw it on Can You Stay For Dinner? in my days of endlessly looking at food blogs. Now I have enough recipes to last a year so the search has subsided… For now. Read the rest of this entry »


Meaty Veggie Pasta

So this is a recipe put together with a little guidance from a recipe plus an understanding of veggies and mushrooms, and a sprinkle of culinary brilliance from Bon Appetit. Just to make you sweat a bit before giving you the recipe – the final result is a meaty, cheese-infused pasta dish that is completely vegetarian (though you should note the cheese is real). The meaty-ness is achieved through using dense vegetables and mushrooms. It looks like comfort food (I dare you to make this look pretty and organized) and tastes like it without the rock-in-the-stomach feeling later. Read the rest of this entry »


Cheez-Its

 The recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Cheese Straws. What I changed was using chili powder instead of red pepper flakes because I thought those would be overwhelming with the small size of the cheez-its i was creating. I also, obviously, didn’t make them ‘straws.’ They were still really delicious!

So some notes on what could be improved – The 1/8th inch thick that Deb says to use is just a little too puffy for cheez-its (though I think it would work perfectly for the straws). It’s hard to go thinner but I think the next time I make these, I’ll also make them a little larger. It was a HUGE pain to transfer all those little cheez-its from the cutting board to the baking sheet.

Definitely give these a try if you like cheez-its but are not so much a fan of the chemicals in normal ones.

Cheez-Its
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.

3. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza or pastry wheel; both worked great), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/2 -inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut). Then work the other direction to create the squares. Gently transfer the crackers to a parchment lined cookie sheet, leaving at least 1/4-inch between them.

4. Bake the crackers on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the corners are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.

5. Serve at room temperature. Cheez-Its will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for two days.