Once again, Ina did not disappoint. 🙂 This classic baked macaroni and cheese recipe incorporated two of my ultimate favorite cheeses and was upgraded with a colorful tomato topping. It was really delicious- a new favorite!
This dish was part of my husband’s birthday feast this year. I was able to assemble the dish the day prior to baking it which was very helpful. I actually grated the cheeses two days in advance- which would be completely unnecessary if making this dish on its own, of course.
The recipe was adapted from FoodNetwork.com, contributed by Ina Garten. I modified the method and used Campari tomatoes and panko in the topping.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish or 10 to 12 as a side dish
1 pound (16 oz) elbow macaroni or cavatappi (I used 17.6 oz Gigli pasta)
4 cups (1 quart) milk (I used whole milk)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 4 cups)(I used Swiss Raw Milk Le Gruyère aged over 120 days from Trader Joe’s)
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)(I used Cabot 3-year extra-sharp white cheddar)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 Campari tomatoes or 4 small tomatoes (about 3/4 pound)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (I set my oven to convection.)
Grate the cheeses with a food processor, if desired.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain well. Reserve the pot for the sauce.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it.
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the large pot (the pasta cooking pot) and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.
While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.
Off the heat, add the shredded Gruyere, cheddar, 1 tablespoon coarse salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Add the cooked pasta and stir well.
Pour into a 3-quart baking dish. (I chose a shallow baking dish to increase the surface area for tomatoes and crispy panko topping.)*If making in advance, cover and refrigerate after this step.
Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. (I sliced the tomatoes about 1/4-inch thick.)
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine with the panko, and sprinkle on the top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta is browned on the top.
Note: To make ahead, put the macaroni and cheese in the baking dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Put the tomatoes and panko on top and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.
In the fall, my daughter would love to eat some sort of “pumpkin spice” item every day to celebrate the season. 😉 She loved these cupcakes!
These super moist cupcakes were delicious but it was the maple-cream cheese frosting that really put them over the top. The frosting was fabulously creamy with the perfect amount of sweetness.
The recipe was adapted from David Leite via smittenkitchen.com. I modified the method and used fine sea salt.
Yield: 18 cupcakes (with leftover frosting)
For the Cupcakes:
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
For the Frosting:
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4 T (1/4 cup) pure maple syrup
pinch fine sea salt
To Make the Cupcakes:
Heat oven to 350° (175°C), preferably on convection. Line a cupcake pan with 18 liners.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl.
Add eggs, one at a time, to the mixer, scraping down the sides after each addition.
Combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.
Alternate adding the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the mixer, beginning and ending with the flour.
Beat in the pumpkin until smooth.
Scoop the batter among the cupcake liners — you’re looking to get them 3/4 full. (I used a cookie scoop.)
Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, rotating halfway through the baking time, about 19 to 20 minutes on convection or up to 20 to 25 minutes in a standard oven.
Cool the cupcakes on racks completely before topping with the frosting.
To Make the Frosting:
In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter to combine.
Add all of the additional ingredients and continue to beat on medium speed until fluffy.
Frost the tops of each cupcake, swirling decoratively. (I used a pastry bag and decorative piping tip.)
Refrigerate cupcakes for 30 minutes to set up frosting prior to serving.
I have a Maqlubeh (Maqluba) recipe collection. I have always wanted to make this beautiful, multi-layered, flavor-packed dish but was hesitant because it is a bit of a project. This streamlined version inspired me to finally try it. I even made it on a weeknight! (admittedly a little ambitious…)
This recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com, contributed by Courtney Hill. I substituted boneless, skinless chicken thighs for bone-in. I also used unsalted butter and chicken stock.
When presenting the finished dish, the platter is gently shaken to create cracks in the rice. The cracks reveal the aromas as well as the chicken and vegetables inside. I absolutely loved it- and drove my family crazy talking about it all evening. 😉 Although it could be served as a complete meal on its own, I served it with roasted asparagus and broccoli as well. It is classically served with a tomato, cucumber and yogurt salad. Fantastic.
8 ounces cauliflower florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 to 10 large garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 to 3/4 medium eggplant (about 8 to 12 ounces), sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock
In a large bowl, combine the rice and 2 tablespoons of coarse salt. Add water to cover by 1 inch, then set aside.
Prepare a lidded pot that measures 9½ to 11 inches in diameter and 4 to 6 inches deep. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.) Cut 2 rounds of kitchen parchment the size of the pot. (I cut the rounds slightly oversized so that it had a little bit of a lip.)
Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.
Set the pot over medium and heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering.
Add the chicken “skin side” down and cook until browned, about 7 minutes for boneless or 10 minutes for bone-in. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Remove the pot from heat. Place 1 parchment round on the bottom, then turn to coat it with fat.
Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the parchment-lined pot, then sprinkle evenly with the almonds.
Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer, then rinse under cool running water and drain again.
Scatter 1 cup of the rice in a thin, even layer over the almonds.
In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining rice with the cauliflower, garlic, melted butter, cumin, allspice, turmeric, nutmeg and 1 3/4 teaspoons each salt and pepper. Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture, then distribute the remainder in an even layer in the pot.
Place the chicken and accumulated juices (if using boneless, skinless chicken) in the pot, slightly nestling the pieces into the rice-cauliflower layer; discard any accumulated juices (if using bone-in chicken).
Shingle the eggplant slices over the chicken in an even layer. Sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup rice-cauliflower mixture.
Pour the stock into the pot (it will not fully cover the eggplant), then bring to a boil over medium-high. Set the second parchment round over the food, the cover the pot with the lid. Cook for 5 minutes, reduce to low and cook, undisturbed, for 35 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat, uncover and let stand for 15 minutes.
Remove the parchment (and accumulated liquid on the top), then invert a serving platter onto the pot. Holding the platter against the pot, carefully invert the two together; leave the pot overturned on the platter and let rest for about 10 minutes. Slowly lift off the pot and, if needed, remove and discard the parchment.
Gently shake the platter to create cracks in the top of the finished dish.
My husband isn’t partial to summer fruit- with the exception of freshly picked strawberries. He loves bananas, Bartlett pears, and cantaloupe. 🙂 Before the summer berry and peach baking season, I made these pie bars to embrace sweet and juicy Bartlett pears.
The bars have a Danish-style pie crust which very tender because it incorporates milk and egg yolks instead of ice water. It was really delicious. I also loved the cream cheese glaze spread over the top.
This recipe was adapted from 100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More by Sarah Kieffer. I weighed most of the dry ingredients as well as the peeled and cored fruit. I also used fine sea salt and omitted the brandy.
It was a wonderful springtime dessert but it would also be fabulous for Thanksgiving.
For the Crust:
1/2 cup (120 g) whole milk, plus 1 or 2 T if needed
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups (355 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 T granulated sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 cup (2 sticks or 227 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 20 pieces
For the Apple-Pear Filling:
8 cups (1100 g) Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced 4mm thick (I used 6 organic pears)
1 cup (150 g) peeled and grated Gala apples (I used one large Gala apple)
1/3 cup (65 g) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar, plus 2 T for sprinkling
3 T cornstarch
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T brandy (I omitted it)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Egg Wash:
1 large egg
pinch of fine sea salt
1 T (15 g) water
For the Cream Cheese Glaze:
2 oz (57 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 T whole milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch fine sea salt
1 to 1 1/4 cups (120 to 145 g) confectioners’ sugar
To Make the Crust:
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the milk and egg yolks. Place in the refrigerator.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, granulated sugar, and salt on low speed until combined.
Add half of the chilled butter and mix on low speed until the butter is just starting to break down, about 1 minute.
Add the rest of the butter and continue mixing until the butter is broken down in various sizes. (most should be the size of small peas but some pieces may be larger) Make sure that all of the flour is moistened.
With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the milk-egg mixture, and mix until the dough starts to come together. If the dough is having trouble coming together, add 1 or 2 more tablespoons of milk.
Divide the dough in half, place each piece on a separate piece of plastic wrap and flatten each slightly into a square.
Cover and refrigerate until cool but still soft, about 45 minutes.
On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll one square of the dough into a 9×13-inch rectangle (22×33 cm). (I covered the top with plastic wrap and rolled the dough 1/8-inch thick, using a bench scraper to cut pieces and patch to form the proper shape.)
Transfer the dough to a 9×13-inch metal baking pan. Gently pat the dough into the bottom. Place the pan in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
Roll out the second square of dough into a 9×13-inch (22 by 33 cm) rectangle using the same method. Place on an inverted sheet pan in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
To Make the Filling:
Use a food processor to slice the pears 4mm thick and coarsely grate the apple(s).
Combine the sliced pears, grated apple, brown sugar, 1/4 cup (4 T or 50g) granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl.
In a small liquid measuring cup or bowl, combine the melted butter, brandy (if using), and vanilla. Pour over the pear-apple mixture and toss to combine.
To Make the Egg Wash:
Whisk the egg, salt, and water together in a small bowl; set aside.
Fill the prepared pie shell with the pear-apple mixture and smooth the top.
Remove the top crust chilling on the inverted sheet pan from the refrigerator. Place the dough over the top of the filling. (It does not need to be sealed to the bottom layer.) Trim any excess with kitchen shears or a sharp knife.
Gently cut a few steam vents into the top layer of dough. (I cut 11 vents.)
Chill the pie in the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes while the oven preheats.
Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Place a sheet pan on the oven rack while the oven is preheating. (The preheated sheet pan helps crisp the bottom of the pie crust.)
When the pie is ready to bake, brush the top of the pie with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top with the 2 T reserved granulated sugar.
Transfer the pie to the preheated sheet pan and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. (I baked mine for 50 minutes.)
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool while you make the icing.
To Make the Cream Cheese Glaze:
In a small bowl, use a hand mixer to mix the cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and salt until smooth.
Add 1 cup (120 g) of the confectioners’ sugar and mix again until smooth. If the mixture is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar until the desired consistency is reached.
Once the bars are cool, top them with the glaze; spread to the edges.
Note: The pie bars are best eaten the same day they are made but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Everyone loves meatballs- right? These were a healthyish version packed with cilantro and spinach. We ate them over rice topped with dollops of garlicky Greek yogurt sauce with roasted cauliflower on the side. Yum.
My husband was gifted a meat grinder for Christmas. 🙂 This was the first time he used it, grinding chicken thighs for these full-flavored meatballs. He plans to make burgers with blended meats next. Fancy!
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I prepared the seasoned meat about 6 hours ahead of time but it can even sit overnight in the refrigerator so that the meat absorbs the seasoning. I baked the meatballs (in the same oven as the roasted cauliflower) and used red pepper flakes instead of a serrano chile. I also added a yogurt sauce for serving. Fantastic.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the Meatballs:
1pound spinach, washed
1 1/2pounds ground chicken (I used 5 freshly ground chicken thighs- medium grind)
2teaspoons kosher salt
1/2teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2teaspoon lemon zest (I used the zest from 1/2 lemon)
pinch of ground cayenne
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1/2teaspoon crushed fennel seeds (I crushed them using a mortar and pestle)
pinch of ground cinnamon
1cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish
1serrano chile, with seeds, finely chopped or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1cup soft fresh bread crumbs, from about 4 slices of crustless sandwich bread (I used 3 slices of Trader Joe’s Tuscan Pane, crusts removed, pulsed in a food processor)
1/2cup heavy cream, half-and-half, milk, or ricotta cheese
extra-virgin olive oil, for the baking sheet
lemon wedges, for serving
cooked rice, for serving (I served the meatballs over white Basmati rice)
yogurt sauce (or store-bought tzatziki), for serving (see below)
For the Sauce:
1 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
pinch of ground cumin
1 garlic clove, finely grated or pressed through a garlic press
fresh dill, cilantro or parsley, finely minced, to taste
freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Blanch the spinach: Plunge leaves a handful at a time into a pot of boiling water. Leave just long enough to wilt, about 30 seconds, scoop out with a spider or slotted spoon and drain in a colander and cool under running water. Repeat until all of the spinach is wilted.
Remove and squeeze wilted leaves into a ball. I used a potato ricer and squeezed out the excess liquid in batches.
Using a large knife, roughly chop spinach on a cutting board — you should have about 2 cups.
Squeeze into a ball again to remove excess water. (This may be done several hours or up to a day in advance and refrigerated.) Again, I used a potato ricer and removed the excess liquid in batches.
If freshly grinding the chicken, grind into a large bowl using the medium grinding disc.
Combine the ground chicken, salt, pepper, lemon zest, cayenne, nutmeg, fennel seeds, cinnamon, spinach, cilantro, chile (or red pepper flakes), egg, bread crumbs and cream in a large bowl. Using your clean hands, knead everything together, mixing well. Leave to absorb seasoning for 15 minutes or overnight. (I refrigerated it for about 6 hours.)
Make the sauce: Combine all of the ingredients and refrigerate for flavors to develop.
Test for seasoning: Take a small amount and flatten into a thin patty. Quickly cook in a small skillet, about 1 minute per side. Taste, then adjust the mixture’s seasoning if necessary.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon, form 19 to 24 rough balls and place on a large plate. (The mixture will be soft.)
Using a brush, coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.
Lightly form the meatballs and position them on the prepared baking sheet. Along the long side of the pan, I placed them in rows of 5. (I had 19 meatballs.)
Bake meatballs until well browned underneath, about 15 minutes. Using a stiff metal spatula, pry up and turn over meatballs (they may want to stick a bit). Bake until browned on second side and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of each one registers at least 160°, about 4 to 5 minutes more.
Serve over rice garnished with chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve with sauce (or tzatziki) and lemon wedges.
This is a healthy and hearty vegetarian stew. We ate it over brown Basmati rice with steamed spinach on the side. I loved that it was loaded with warm spices.
The recipe was adapted from Brooklyn’s Kos Kaffe via The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used farro instead of barley, used canned beans, and increased the amount of garlic. I also reduced the amount water to achieve a thicker consistency. Nice.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
For the Baharat Spice Blend:
1 T sweet paprika
1/2 T ground coriander
1/2 T ground cumin
1/2 T ground turmeric
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground allspice
For the Stew:
5 T extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
2 leeks, white and green parts, diced
1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
1 cup finely diced fennel, fronds reserved (1 medium or 1/2 large fennel bulb)
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons baharat spice blend
1 small (or 1/2 large) cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup pearled barley or farro (I used Trader Joe’s 10 minute farro)
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
large pinch saffron, crumbled
4 cups cooked beans or chickpeas (I used 2 15-oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (1/2 large or 1 small squash)
3/4 cup peeled and diced turnip (1 medium)
1/2 cup red lentils
plain yogurt, for serving (I used Greek yogurt)
aleppo pepper or hot paprika, for serving
brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional
Make the baharat spice blend. Set aside.
Cut leeks in half, slice into half moons, and soak in a bowl of water. Drain and finely chop in a food processor.
In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and cook leeks until they begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
While the leeks cook, finely chop the cilantro stems, fennel and garlic in a food processor.
Stir the cilantro stems into the pot, along with diced fennel and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in baharat, cinnamon and tomato paste, and cook until paste begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes.
Stir in broth, 1 cup water (water can be omitted for a thicker consistency), the barley/farro, and the salt. Bring to a gentle boil, stir in saffron, if using, and reduce heat to medium. (The original recipe uses 3 cups of water- increase for a more soup-like consistency, as desired.)
Simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. (I simmered the stew for 20 minutes because I used par-cooked farro.)
Stir in beans, squash, turnip and lentils; cook until barley/farro and vegetables are tender, about another 30 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Remove cinnamon stick.
Ladle stew into bowls. (I served it over rice.)
Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with cilantro leaves, fennel fronds and Aleppo pepper or paprika, as desired.
3 large garlic cloves, pushed through a garlic press
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated mozzarella
2 cups finely grated Parmesan (I used 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and 1 cup Pecorino-Romano)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
If you’re using fresh pasta sheets, cut them into long wide noodles approximately 3 inches by 13 inches, or a size that will fit into your lasagna dish. (I used 16 dried no-boil lasagna noodles from Trader Joe’s)
Steam the spinach until wilted, and drain. (I steamed it in a large pasta pot for 3-4 minutes.) In batches, use a potato ricer to remove excess liquid. Coarsely chop.
Combine the ricotta, egg, nutmeg, and garlic in a bowl.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
Grease a rectangular baking dish with the olive oil, add a large dollop of tomato sauce and spread it around.
Put a layer of noodles (use four per layer) in the dish; top with a layer of tomato sauce, one-third of the spinach, and one-fourth of the ricotta mixture (in dollops), the mozzarella, and the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Repeat the layers twice.
Top with the remaining noodles, tomato sauce, ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan; the top should be covered with cheese; add more ricotta and Parmesan as needed. (The lasagna may be made ahead to this point, wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to a day or frozen. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
Cover with parchment paper topped with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes.
Uncover, and continue to bake until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is melted and lightly browned on top, about 15 minutes more.
Remove from the oven and let rest a few minutes before serving.
Update: This lasagna was also successful made with 1 1/2 pounds of mixed greens. I used beet greens, turnip greens, red kale, spinach, and chicory. Great.