This recipe was not a hit with the family. D doesn’t like meat. Berto doesn’t like cheese. The Hubs doesn’t like ground meat or cheddar cheese. Sigh. This meal, to me, was wonderful! I do believe, though, it had less to do with the actual meal than with the fact this dish is true comfort food and it’s been over 100 degrees here in Cali. Maybe dinner would have been more successful had I just served ice cream. Hmmm, things to ponder . . .
1 Lb ground beef (I Texas Longhorn beef from the farmer’s market and it cooked up similar to ground turkey, but still had a wonderful beef flavor)
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 cups milk
2 cups whole grain elbow macaroni (or whatever you have on hand, I used penne)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I can see any number of types of cheese being used and it being wonderful)
1 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
3 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
Heat a large skillet to meidum high and brown meat. Once cooked, drain any fat that remains.
While meat browns, mix together seasonings in a small bowl. When drained, return meat to skillet and add seasonings, stirring to combine. Pour in hot water, milk, and pasta. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.
Stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes until sauce thickens.
Serve immediately with melty garlic bread and a crisp salad.
Wine Pairing Suggestions (because no matter the dish, we always need wine)
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Total time: 25 minutes
When I first looked at this recipe, I was hesitant. I’m not a pup anymore. Remember when you could eat a huge cinnamon roll donut as a kid and be just fine until lunch? Ya, me, too. Try that now and I feel heavy and sick to my stomach. Don’t even get me started on the feeling like a nap is imminent. These are the reasons I had to pause. But, I was making this ahead for Tahoe, so coupled with some eggs, if just might work. And I dare say, it did!
1 loaf French bread cut into 1/2″ cubes (challah is a great option here)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (such as Spice Island)
For streusel topping:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
Spray a 12-muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut bread into cubes and completely fill each well with bread. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Carefully pour mixture evenly over each muffin well, compressing the bread cubes to allow more liquid to be absorbed. Cover the tin with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 – 12 hours. (I refrigerated 2-3 hours and they were still amazing!)
Preheat oven to 350° and prepare streusel topping. In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and butter. Use two forks or two knives to crumble mixture into coarse crumbs. Sprinkle mixture evenly on muffins.
Bake muffins 20 – 25 minutes, or until tops are golden. Let muffins cool about 5 minutes and serve warm. These are great made ahead and then popped in the toaster oven.
Serves: 12 muffins
Total time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
*Derived from The Pioneer Woman
If you are a part of our house, you have to love crepes. I’m trying to remember if Berto was 2 or 3 when we introduced crepes. Actually, it doesn’t matter because once he was introduced, he was hooked. And that has been passed down to Daniela. Now, before you go to another post, crepes are ridiculously easy to make. So easy that the Hubs has it memorized (this is the same guy that can’t find the milk in the refrigerator), which means if he knows how do it, so can you. The best thing about crepes is we can fill them with eggs, cheese, and ham. Once the kidlets have eaten two of those, then they can have the crepes that are just buttered with powdered sugar sprinkled in. BUT, that is so boring compared to what you CAN do! How about Nutella and bananas? Awesome! Oh, did you want strawberries and whipped cream with that? Not a problem. A Denver omelet stuffed in a crepe? We got it right here. You name it, you can do it. Oh, I just thought of something! A sausage with maple syrup stuffed in a crepe! I’m seeing breakfast . . .
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups milk (you can use soy, just keep in mind it does change the flavor slightly)
4 Tbs butter
1/4 tsp salt
In a small pot, or the microwave, melt the butter.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift flour and salt. Add milk and eggs, then add melted butter. Stir to combine. In crepe pan or small fry pan heated to medium-low melt 1 tsp butter to coat pan evenly. Lift the pan to a slight angle and pour approximately 3/8 of a cup of batter to the center, tilting the pan to spread the batter to the edges.
Return pan to heat and cook until crepe is golden brown underneath, approximately 1-2 minutes. Flip crepe and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm, or if Berto and Daniela won’t wait, serve immediately with desired filling.
Serves about 16 crepes (they go fast)
Total time: 30 minutes