Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mastering Recipes

So, I have been cooking up a storm (what else is new) step kids will tell you, I ALWAYS feed them and they truly appreciate I have explained, it is my way of showing love (hey I am an Italian girl- 100%- pure bread! ha ha)

Ally is our adventurous eater...she is always willing to try new things and LOVES ethnic and gourmet foods.

Zack, on the other hand, is a bit more picky, however, he has come a long way over the last 10 years (since I have known him!)

Some of his favorites include mac and cheese and my buffalo chicken dip. So, he had his girlfriend over last night for the first time and I promised him no formal family dinner-(too much pressure as he explained) and I also agreed that I would make some of his favorite foods so they could watch movies and snack. (too funny though- neither one of them "were hungry" when she came over and didn't want to eat so he ended up going town once she went home- God I miss those days of innocence!)

I made his favorite buffalo dip and then I tried a new recipe- mac and cheese balls. I also made them a dessert (another recipe from Mel!) chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes with vanilla frosting (the first time I have ever made cupcakes in my life and I am kinda proud!) I am including all of the recipes below


Mac And Cheese Balls

1 pound elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk, warmed, plus 2 tablespoons for egg wash
1 pound grated Cheddar
1 pound grated smoked Gouda
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
3 cups seasoned bread crumbs
Vegetable oil, for frying

Cook the pasta according to package directions then drain

Shred your cheeses

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour into the butter and stir it with a whisk. Cook for 2 minutes. Whisk the warmed milk into the flour mixture, working out any lumps. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cheeses, and stir until melted and smooth; season with salt and pepper. Fold the cheese sauce into macaroni. Pour the mac and cheese into a shallow pan and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours.

Shape the cold mac and cheese into meatball-sized balls and place them onto a waxed paper-lined tray. Freeze the balls overnight.

Beat the eggs and 2 tablespoons milk together to form an egg wash and pour it into a shallow bowl. Put the bread crumbs into another shallow bowl. Remove the mac and cheese balls from the freezer. Dip the frozen balls into the egg wash then into the bread crumbs. Put the balls back into the freezer until you are ready to fry.

Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 350 degrees F. Fry the mac and cheese balls until they are golden brown and center is hot, about 5 minutes. Serve hot with your favorite marinara or Alfredo sauce or combination or both for dipping.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained (I actually used a small roasted chicken and just shred the meat once it is cooked and has cooled off)
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup Ranch dressing
3/4 cup pepper sauce such as Frank's Red Hot® (and as Zack mimics the commercial- "I put that s*** on everything!")

1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese, and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low setting until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks and crackers. (We like it with tostitoes!)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 package of pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough
frosting of your choice (of course Mel the kitchen magician makes her own from scratch but I cheated and used the Pillsbury spray can which helped me to make these cupcakes look fancy!)

Mix chocolate cake according to directions on the box
Line a cupcake tin with 45 cupcake liners and spray with Pam
Fill each liner about half way with the cake mix
Drop one ball of cookie dough in the middle of each cupcake tin

Bake at 350 for approximately 15 minutes

This is what they look like when they are done in you break them open- so cool huh?

Once the cupcakes cool, frost and enjoy!


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