Saturday, March 11, 2017

Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese

Katelyn took one bite, looked at me and said, "Finally!!  REAL Panera Mac and Cheese!"

Recipe courtesy of Aimee at Shugery Sweets
Serves 8


1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk (I used skim)
2 cup heavy cream
2 cup shredded white cheddar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1lb, pasta, cooked (cavatapppi, shells, or elbow)


Cook pasta according to package directions while making the sauce. Drain and set aside until ready to use.

In a large pot on medium high heat, add butter until melted. Whisk in the flour and cook for about one minute. Reduce heat to medium and add milk, heavy cream, salt, dry mustard and pepper. Continue whisking until it begins to bubble. Reduce to low and add white cheddar. Stir until melted.

Add cooked pasta, stirring until combined. Remove from heat and allow to sit about 5 minutes to thicken. Season with additional salt and pepper. ENJOY.

To warm up leftovers, add a little more milk and stir until smooth.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Classic Dinner Rolls

Recipe and photo courtesy of Allrecipes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, or more if needed
  • 1 envelope Fleischmann's(R) RapidRise Yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons butter OR margarine


  1. Combine 3/4 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm (120 degrees to 130 degrees F). Add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. 

  2. Add 1/4 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

  3. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces; shape into balls. Place in greased 8-inch round pan. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

  4. Bake in preheated 375 degrees F oven for 20 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; brush with additional melted butter, if desired. Serve warm.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Authentic Mexican Rice

Recipe from Cooking Classy


Yield: 6 Servings


  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 4 tsp Caldo de Tomate (I use Knorr brand)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder (optional)


  • In a mixing bowl whisk together water, Caldo de Tomate, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and chili powder, set aside. Drizzle oil into a non-stick saucepan and heat over medium high heat. Add rice and cook several minutes, stirring constantly until rice is slightly puffed and golden. Add water mixture to rice then stir and cover pan with lid. Reduce heat to low and allow rice to simmer for 25-30 minutes until water has been absorbed (you'll notice water bubbles stop coming to the surface). Remove from heat, fluff rice with a fork, cover with lid and allow to rest 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Pork Carnitas

Original recipe from Allrecipes

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds pork shoulder, cut into several large pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt, then arrange the pork in the Dutch oven. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Pour in the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer until pork is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours. (Alternatively, you can use a slow cooker for this step.)

  2. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

  1. Transfer the pork shoulder to a large baking sheet, reserving the cooking liquid. Drizzle with a small amount of the reserved cooking liquid and lightly season with salt.

  2. Bake the pork in the preheated oven until browned, about 30 minutes. Drizzle more of the cooking liquid on the meat every 10 minutes, and use two forks to shred the meat as it browns.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Fettuccini in a Pot

Original recipe by Number 2 Pencil
Modified by me

Serves 8

16 oz uncooked fettuccine
2 cups heavy cream
4 cups water
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic minced
3 cups finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Chopped cremini mushrooms
Cooked chicken, diced (rotisserie works great!) 

Combine all ingredients except mushrooms and chicken in Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot.

Bring to a boil. Stir.

Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover.

Let pan simmer, covered, 15-20 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Add mushrooms half way through.

Remove from heat. Don't worry if it still looks a bit liquidy. It will thicken as it cools. 

Stir in cheese. Stir in chicken. Serve immediately.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Crispy Cheesy Chicken

Original Recipe Courtesy 12 Tomatoes (although significantly altered)

Photo Courtesy of 12 Tomatoes

I got the bones of this dish from a recipe but altered it quite a bit. I'm not usually into condensed creamy soups and found making my own was much yummier. And quick too!



  • Thin-sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 - 2 sleeves ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • Sauce:
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, and dried parsley 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 


  1. Preheat oven to 400ยบ F
  2. Combine egg and 1/4 milk in a small, shallow bowl and whisk together until fully incorporated.
  3. Place grated cheddar cheese in a second, shallow bowl, then place crushed ritz crackers in a third. (Or combine the cheese/crackers in the same bowl for even more efficiency!)
  4. Take your (seasoned) chicken breasts and dip them in egg wash, making sure to coat both sides.
  5. Shake off excess egg, then coat chicken in grated cheddar cheese.
  6. Transfer chicken to crush ritz crackers, make sure to coat all sides. Press firmly so cracker crumbs adhere to meat. 
  7. Transfer chicken to a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
  8. While chicken is baking, combine all sauce ingredients (except butter) over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until smooth. You will need to whisk quickly and firmly when adding the flour to ensure there are no lumps.
  9. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until thickened, stiring frequently. Add butter.
  10. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  11. Remove chicken from oven and serve hot, with creamy sauce drizzled over the top.
  12. Enjoy!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Chicken, Bacon, Spinach Pasta

Image and recipe from
(Recipe Modified)


  • 12 oz. spaghetti or angel hair (I used mini-bow ties and a bit more pasta than suggested)
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (Or a rotisserie)
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 c. diced tomatoes (canned - drained)
  • 3 c. baby spinach
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/3 c. grated Parmesan


  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook until cooked through, 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into strips. (Skip this step if using rotisserie; just cube chicken)
  3. In a second skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and drain, then chop.
  4. Pour off half the bacon fat and to skillet add garlic, tomatoes, and spinach and season with salt and pepper. Add heavy cream, Parmesan, and 1/2 cup pasta water and let simmer, then add spaghetti or angel hair and toss until fully coated.
  5. Add chicken and bacon and toss, then serve.