Friday, November 18, 2011

November 18, 2011

I have a funny story about jambalaya and mac & Cheese; are you ready? We love recipes from America's Test Kitchen, and my "go-to" cookbook is The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. We've never made a recipe from there that we didn't love, until Saturday night. We were trying to decide on dinner for the evening, and Ryan was in the mood for shellfish. So, I pulled out my trusty cookbook, and we started flipping through the pages. We had almost settled on Shrimp Scampi, a recipe we've made numerous times and absolutely love, when Ryan saw Shrimp Jambalaya. I was game, so we decided on that. Hannah is not a fish lover, and absolutely doesn't eat shrimp, and I guessed that Liam wouldn't like it either. Hannah asked for mac & cheese, but instead of breaking out the blue box, I decided to try a baked mac & cheese recipe. Both were ready at the same time, and everyone was invited to try whatever they wanted. As fate would have it, no one liked the Jambalaya, and everyone loved the mac & cheese! Hilarious! The leftover mac & cheese went mush faster than the jambalaya. I guess it goes to show that sometimes you just never know what recipe will earn keeper status!

You probably can guess by now that we eat a lot of chicken around here. True to form, this week was no different, we had chicken a few times. One evening I made a new chicken recipe, and the chicken was FANTASTIC!! The sauce that accompanied it, not so much. It calls for toasted sesame seeds, and I had some in the cupboard from when I made the hamburger cupcakes. I put the seeds in a small pan and toasted them up prior to using them in the recipe. It worked great, and I think the seeds were a nice addition to the breading. Also the egg wash called for some fresh lemon juice, and I think that really brightened the flavor as well. All in all, the chicken was great, but you'll have to look in your fridge for something to dip it in. I know I'll be making this in near future, so if I come up with a better sauce, I'll add it to the blog.

Happy Thanksgiving! The next time I "see" you it will have already come and gone. I'll have to see what recipes I can come up with to use up any extra turkey! Enjoy your friends and family, and give thanks for all that you have.

New Recipes
Lemon Sesame Crusted Chicken
Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cheesecake Squares
Baked Mac & Cheese

Lemon Sesame Crusted Chicken


* boneless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
* 1 egg
* 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 cup Bisquick mix
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
* 1 tablespoon oil for cooking


1. Make sure the chicken is pounded to an even thickness. Cut into serving size pieces, or into strips.
2. Beat the egg and lemon juice in a bowl just large enough that the chicken can be dipped.
3. In another bowl, or in a gallon size zip-top bag mix the paprika, sesame seeds and Bisquick.
4. Take each piece of chicken - dip first into the egg wash, then coat it with the seasoned mixture.
5. Cook the chicken in a skillet with the heated oil over medium to medium high heat until cooked through, flipping once.
6. Serve hot, with a dipping sauce of your choice.

This recipe had a lemon sauce that you made at the same time (you can see it in the photo). No one at the table liked the sauce (it was way too sweet) but we couldn't get enough of the chicken! The kids used ketchup, I just ate it without any sauce, Ryan used some hot sauce. So while it seems a bit strange to offer you this chicken recipe without an accompanying sauce, the chicken was just too good not to share it!

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

* 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
* 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
* 1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® SWIRLED™ Milk Chocolate & Peanut Butter Morsels, divided
* 2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
* 4 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
2. Combine crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup sugar in medium bowl. Remove 1 cup mixture and reserve for topping. Press remaining mixture onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle 3/4 cup morsels over crust.
3. Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, flour and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Pour over crust and morsels in pan. Sprinkle with reserved crumb topping and remaining morsels.
4. Bake for 30 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars, serve and enjoy!

If you like cheesecake but making cheesecake intimidates you, try it in bar form. These were easy to make, and came out delicious! Hannah and I made these at 7pm the night before I needed them. After they were cooked and cooled, I refrigerated them and didn't cut them until about 5pm the next day.

For the graham cracker crust, using two of the three packages in a box of graham crackers is the perfect amount. Just run them through your food processor to create the crumbs.

I used Philadelphia 1/3 Less Fat Neufchatel Cream Cheese instead of original cream cheese. It worked beautifully in the recipe.

Baked Mac & Cheese

* 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 3 tablespoons flour
* 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
* 3 cups milk
* 1/4 cup yellow onion, grated
* 1/2 teaspoon paprika
* 1 large egg
* 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
* 4 ounces mozzarella or Monterrey jack
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* Fresh black pepper

* 3 tablespoons butter
* 1 cup panko bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
3. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps.
4. After 5 minutes, stir in the milk, onion and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes.
5. Temper in the egg, then pour the egg into the sauce. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
7. Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs.
8. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

We couldn't believe how much we all enjoyed this! It was delicious! The recipe calls for only 1/2 lb of noodles, but it was so cheesy I think you could increase that to 3/4 lb of noodles if you wanted to stretch this for a bigger crowd.