Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Skillet

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Skillet

My youngest cutie is very adamantly anti-vegetable. I love vegetables and I always have, so it drives me a little bit crazy. I can dangle the tastiest dessert in front of his sweets-loving eyes and he won't budge. Not an inch. Dan and I have never been ones to force our boys to eat. Our rule is that if they don't eat the good ("yucky") stuff, they don't get the bad ("yummy") stuff!

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Creamy spiced macaroni & cheese

It can be as spicy as you want to make it, and it is deliciously creamy. 

Macaroni & cheese and spicy foods are two of my all-time favorite food loves. There is no better comfort food on the planet than mac & cheese, in my opinion. What makes it even better is that there are so many different ways to prepare it. It is versatile comfort food at its best! And spicy food, oh how I love my spicy food. It is one of the very first things that bonded my husband and I when we were dating. Together we would create a spicy dish in my kitchen and eat it, with a summertime margarita in hand, while sitting outside on my patio. Ahh, those were the days.

When I was asked to create a macaroni & cheese recipe for the Macaroni & Cheese Blog, I knew I wanted to incorporate a bit of spice into the recipe. I absolutely love how this recipe turned out. It can be as spicy as you want to make it, and it is deliciously creamy. 

Cook 16 ounces of large elbow macaroni 3 minutes short of package directions. Rinse and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.

Whisk in 1/4 cup flour.

Add:

1 cup whole milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 oz. cream cheese

1/3 cup sour cream

4-oz. can diced green chiles

1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced

Stir until thickened, 5-7 minutes.

Add 2 1/2 cups shredded provolone cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted.

Add the cooked macaroni to the skillet and stir until combined. 

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. 

Top with 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is lightly browned.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 4 white bread slices (crusts removed and torn into small pieces) and toss until lightly toasted.

Sprinkle toasted bread pieces over the baked macaroni and cheese. Put back into oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are golden brown.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Apple-Sausage Mac & Cheese Recipe

Apple-Sausage and Cheese come together in a delicious meal. A perfect fall meal with the flavors of apples and a kick of cayenne bring comfort to the meal. A unique yet delicious spin on your classic Mac & Cheese recipe!  

Is it terrible to admit that I'm glad the weekend is coming to an end? I know, it's terrible. But I'm glad the weekend is coming to an end. My little Sammy has pneumonia, poor guy, so he has had a fluctuating temperature for the entire weekend. At his worst, he had a temp of 105.2! That is enough to scare the crap out of this mama. I hope to never see that number on our thermometer again.

As our weekend of sickness closes, I am seeking comfort in food. I made this recipe a few weeks ago and I was on the fence about it. I don't post anything that I'm on the fence about. It has to be fabulous! So I changed a few things and made it again, and I loved it! If you are looking for a unique yet delicious mac & cheese recipe, give this one a try! Looking for your classic comfort Mac and Cheese, check out my take on Baked Mac & Cheese for that comfort factor you are looking for.

(adapted from Food Network Magazine)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and coat a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add 3/4 pound of medium pasta shells to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup diced onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.

Add:

6 ounces chicken-apple sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick

1 tablespoon mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Cook, stirring, until the sausage is golden, about 3 minutes.

Stir in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.

Stir in 3 cups apple juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 8 minutes.  

Slowly stir about 3/4 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (you will need 1 pound total), and 1/4 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (you will need 1/2 pound total), into the sauce until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Stir in the pasta and 1/2 cup sour cream. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle with 35 crushed butter crackers (1 sleeve Ritz) and the remaining cheese (1/4 pound Monterey Jack and 1/4 pound cheddar cheese).

Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve!

Here's to a healthy week for everyone!

Apple-Sausage Mac & Cheese

A unique yet delicious spin on your classic Mac & Cheese recipe!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Nov 06, 2011

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Serves: 6-8

Total time: 1 hr 5 min

AppSausageMac&Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • Kosher salt
  • ¾ pound medium pasta shells
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 6 ounces chicken-apple sausage, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups apple juice
  • 1 pound Monterey jack cheese, shredded (4 cups)
  • ½ pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 35 butter crackers (1 sleeve Ritz), crushed
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2 ½-quart baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the sausage, mustard powder, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the sausage is golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the apple juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 8 more minutes.
  3. Slowly stir about three-quarters each of the Monterey jack and cheddar cheese into the sauce until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the pasta and sour cream. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the crushed crackers and the remaining cheese. Bake until bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Perfect macaroni and cheese

No lie, this mac and cheese is perfect!

Fall is in the air! I love this time of year. Skydiving season is winding down, which means more time with Dan. The cool crispness in the air makes me want to be inside with my family, snuggling on the couch and watching Despicable Me or Tangled for the 900th time. The only bad thing about fall is that we know what's coming. Winter. The time when we are forced to be inside. There's a big difference between wanting to be inside and being forced to be inside. For now I'm glad that I still want to be inside. 

With the windows cracked just a bit, I love the mixed smell of a crisp October day and something delicious baking in the oven. Or bubbling on the stove. Or all of the above. I was looking for the supreme comfort meal when I came across this recipe on the NY Times website. It was everything I hoped it would be. Comfort, cheese, a teeny bit of kick, crunchiness, gooey-ness. But beware! Don't eat a large helping unless you have time to sleep.

Macaroni and many cheeses

This is Week #19 of my 2011 cooking challenge! Click here to view all recipes from this challenge. All recipes created for this challenge come from the Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes.

Ok, so I haven't had the best week in the world. Everything seems to have exploded at once. Why does that always seem to happen? By Saturday of this past week, I just wanted comfort, and preferably in the form of food. I was pleased to see that this comforting macaroni & cheese recipe was next on the list for my challenge! That could not have worked out more perfectly. I prepared it while my boys napped and then served it to them for dinner (they both loved it!) and, after they were in bed for the night, I went downstairs and scooped myself a huge bowl full of the comforting cheesiness. I sat in my little spot on the couch as I devoured its splendor and sipped wine and flipped through cookbooks. I suddenly forgot about the insanity in my world for a bit, and just enjoyed my comforting down-time.

Preheat your broiler. In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook 2 cups of elbow macaroni until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat.

Whisk in 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour until a paste forms.

Gradually whisk in 3 cups of milk until smooth.

Bring the sauce to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking, until thickenend.

Off the heat, stir in:

2 cups mixed shredded semihard cheeses (Mimolette, aged Gouda, Vella dry Jack)

Salt and pepper

Stir until melted.

Stir themacaroni into the the cheese sauce and transfer to a 9x13 glass or ceramic baking dish.

Sprinkle 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the top.

And broil 4 inches from the heat source for 4 minutes, or until richly browned. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Thanks for being there when I needed you, mac & cheese.

Macaroni and Many Cheeses

Comforting, cheesy goodness!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published May 11, 2011

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Serves: 4-6

Total time: 35 min

MacandManyCheeses"

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups mixed shredded semihard cheeses, such as Mimolette, aged Gouda and Vella dry Jack (1/2 pound)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the broiler. In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente; drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the flour until a paste forms. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring the sauce to a boil over moderately high heat, whisking, until thickened. Off the heat, stir in the mixed shredded cheeses until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir the macaroni into the cheese sauce; transfer to a 9x13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish; sprinkle on the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 4 minutes, until richly browned. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.