First up, last night’s dinner. I ended up making two new recipes and one tried-and-true. The picture I posted last night was Rachael Ray’s Macaroni and Cheese Dog Casserole (recipe below). I have long been on a search for the quintessential Macaroni and Cheese recipe, and this one caught my eye the other day. I figured with the hot dog addition, Nicholas might eat it. Well, not so much. He picked out the hot dogs and ate those, leaving the mac and cheese for me. It was good, though not THE one to end my search. Quite a unique mix of ingredients go into the sauce, I wasn’t sure it was going to work. It did, just not the one to end my quest…
Our tried-and-true recipe was one of Nicholas’ favorite salads, Columbia Restaurant’s Original 1905 Salad. He loves making this one as much as he loves eating it. I’ll take that! And lastly, my other new recipe for the night was another Rachael Ray one; we tried her Boo’s Smoky Chicken Patties on Buttered Toast (recipe below). It’s named after Rachael’s dog, who is apparently quite the fan … and now, so are we! I used ground turkey instead of ground chicken, and added slices of melted cheese when putting it between the bread; otherwise, I kept the recipe the same. I think the addition of grated onion, as opposed to chopped, made a big difference. Although this is the first time I’ve grated an onion and I gotta say, it makes a big difference tear-wise (read: much more!).
Since we had plans for today and couldn’t dine with The Neighbors, we ended up sharing food last night. The Neighbor Wife made paninis and we swapped food. A lot of our phone conversation go like this:
Me: Want food?
The Neighbor: Sure, what’cha got?
Me: (fill in blank)
The Neighbor: I’ll meet you in the path in 5.
And so it goes. It’s good we live so close to each other!
Today, Eli was invited to his first-ever party … a dog birthday party. Yup, people do them. Our old neighbors’ celebrated their two dogs’ birthdays jointly and there were about 10 dogs in attendance. Eli had a good time, albeit a bit of a stressful one. He was the largest dog there by far, and sometimes the little dogs stress him out a bit. He tends to be a little scared of them … funny. The bigger they are, the more scared they are. Poor Eli. He was quite the champ though and had fun romping around.
Like Bobby Flay? Savannah? Food & Wine magazine? Then go read my latest article over at Paper Palate. Until tomorrow … on with the round-up.
A year ago today… one of my favorite Giada recipes.
P.S. I now worhsip the Goddess that is Jaay from Culinarily Obsessed. The Peanut Butter Fudge recipe is outstanding and the search is over. Tune in tomorrow for details.
The stoic pair from Ragus Pug:
The folks from Why Travel to France send in a cute fluffy pup this week:
A tuckered-out Chloe from La Mia Cucina:
The pup behind bars from Dispensing Happiness:
Zoe from Is It EDible? strikes a pose:
Lucky Buddy Bear minding the herd at Farmgirl Fare:
Fighting for space on The Moveable Feast’s footstool:
Newcomer Milo from Candied Quince pops in — adorable!
And lastly, one of the happy pups from Rob Wonton ends this week’s edition for me:
Boo’s Smoky Chicken Patties on Buttered Toast
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1 1/2 pounds ground chicken breast
1 tablespoon smoked sweet Hungarian paprika, available on spice aisle in small cans*, a palmful
1 1/2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped parsley, a couple of handfuls of leaves, chopped
1/2 medium yellow skinned onion
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the bowl
8 slices sandwich white or whole-wheat bread
2 to 3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups chopped baby spinach, watercress or arugula (Boo would skip the greens)
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken in a bowl and add the smoked paprika, grill seasoning and parsley to it. Using a hand held grater or microplane, grate the onion into the chicken. (Boo liked onion juice and its flavor, but she did not like big pieces of onion). Add the garlic (Boo LOVED garlic!) and mix to combine. Make a mini patty, the size of a quarter, and cook it up, a minute on each side, to taste and check seasonings. If you want it really smoky, like Boo, you can adjust the seasonings accordingly. Drizzle the chicken mixture with about 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and form 4 large thin patties then place them in the pan. Cook patties 5 minutes on each side. Toast bread slices and spread liberally with softened butter. Serve patties on buttered toast with some chopped dark greens.
* Smoked paprika is widely available, especially in larger markets, but if your store does not carry the smoked kind, mix 1 tablespoon cumin with 2 teaspoons sweet paprika in its place. You can also order smoked paprika on-line at spice company sites such as Penzy’s. It is a cool spice to have in the cabinet. It’s great in lentil soup or to mix with grill seasoning for a smoky rub to use on any lean meat.
Mac and Cheese Dog Casserole
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings (4 huge, 6 normal)
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 package beef or pork hot dogs, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all- purpose flour
1/2 cup beer, 1/3 of a bottle – whatever you have on hand, chicken broth can be substituted
2 cups milk
1 rounded tablespoon spicy mustard
2 rounded tablespoons ketchup
3 cups yellow sharp Cheddar, shredded, divided (Buy preshredded cheese. You will need 1 1/2 sacks of 10-ounce packages.)
Boil a large pot of water for macaroni. Salt water and under cook macaroni, cook about 7 minutes until just under al dente in doneness.
Preheat broiler and set rack 12 inches from heat.
While pasta works, heat a large deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, then add hot dogs and brown on both sides, 4 minutes total. Remove the dogs with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add another tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, and the butter. When butter melts, cook onions 4 to 5 minutes, then add flour and cook another minute. Add beer and cook off completely, 1 minute. Whisk in milk and bring to a bubble, then season the sauce with salt and pepper and stir in the mustard and ketchup. Lower heat and add 2 cups of the cheese. Stir to melt, 1 minute. Adjust mustard, ketchup, and salt and pepper, to your taste.
Drain pasta well. Combine pasta and hot dogs with sauce and coat evenly then pour into large casserole and top with remaining cheese. Melt and brown cheese under broiler, 2 minutes. Serve.