Friday, February 25, 2011

Fontina Mac and Cheese




Mac and cheese is definitely considered a top favorite childhood dish among many foodies. It is comfort food at it's best! This Fontina Mac and Cheese recipe is our spin on a classic with flavor cranked all the way up! No adult will be ashamed of indulging in this creamy and delicious pasta dish. Kids will love it too!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of whole milk
1/2 lb of Fontina cheese
1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon of fresh dill
1 teaspoonful of salt
1 teaspoonful of pepper
1/2 box of rigatoni


Kitchen Essentials:
1 medium pot
1 large pot
Measuring cups and spoons
Strainer
Cutting board
Grater
Knife
Whisk
Oven
Baking dish

Prep:
Begin by filling a large pot with water and salt. Bring the water to a boil and put in the rigatoni. Cook according to package instructions.

Take the Fontina cheese out of the refrigerator and grate it. We recommend leaving it in the refrigerator until you are ready, so that it stays firm and is easier to grate. Set aside for later use.
Directions:
Begin by making a roux, which is a thickener. Put the medium pot over medium-low heat and add the butter. Once the butter is melted, begin to whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cook the flour for a minute or two. As the flour-butter mixture begins to dry out, slowly add about a 1/4 cup of milk and continue whisking. Allow the mixture to cook for a couple more minutes before adding the rest of the milk and mixing well. At this point, you should have a thick white sauce, which is the base for the cheese sauce (pictured above). Add salt, pepper and Fontina cheese to the pot. Stir well until the cheese has melted.


Once the pasta is cooked, strain it and toss it with the Fontina cheese sauce. Make sure that the pasta is fully coated. Transfer to you baking dish and top with the Panko bread crumbs. Pop the dish into the oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the Panko topping is nicely browned and crispy. Once out of the oven sprinkle the fresh dill over the top which add a nice touch of freshness to the dish.


Serve nice and hot with your favorite steak or chicken dish. Enjoy!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Filet Mignon with Red Wine Sauce





The couple that saut├ęs together, stays together! Instead of fighting the crowd’s at a restaurant on Valentine’s Day, we stay in and fall in love with two perfectly cooked filet mignon steaks! We encourage you to make this recipe with your significant other and let us know what you think. This main course pairs perfectly with a nice glass of red wine. Bon appetit!

Ingredients:
1 cup of red wine (we used Malbec)
1 tablespoon of heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
2 teaspoons of olive oil
2 8 oz filet mignon steaks (beef tenderloin)
1 teaspoon of non-salted butter

Kitchen Essentials:
Stainless steel pan or skillet
Kitchen tongs
Measuring cups and spoons
Paper towels
Whisk
Aluminum foil

Tray

Prep:

Begin by patting the tenderloins dry with paper towels. The steaks need to be dry in order to sear nicely. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Directions:

Place the stainless steel skillet on the stove and turn on to medium heat. As the pan begins to heat, grab your steaks and a teaspoon of olive oil over each steak. Using you hands spread the olive oil all over the steaks to make sure they are evenly coated. Wash your hands and then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoonful of salt and pepper on each side of the steaks. Once the skillet is nice and hot, place the steaks down and cook the top, bottom and sides in 2 minute increments for a total of 8-10 minutes.

Once all sides have been seared, place 1/2 teaspoon of butter over each steak and place the entire skillet in the oven. Bake the steaks for about 10 minutes in the oven. Cooking times may vary at this point depending on the thickness of your steaks. If you like your steak cooked medium, the thermometer should read 125-130 degrees. For well done steaks, the thermometer should read 140 degrees.

Once the steaks are to your liking, remove from the skillet using thongs and place on a plate. Cover with aluminum foil and let the steaks rest for about 5 minutes, this will allow them to keep their moisture. You don't want to skip this step!

Directions for wine sauce:

After removing the steaks from the skillet, return the skillet back to the stove top over medium heat. Add the red wine and whisk so that you remove all the bits and pieces that caramelized on the pan. Doing this will add TONS of flavor to your sauce! Once the wine is bubbling, add the heavy cream and whisk. Your sauce is ready. Add it to a small bowl and allow people to add as much as they like.

Plate your steaks and enjoy!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberries





When you think of Valentine's day, chocolate covered strawberries immediately come to mind. Don't spend $35 and up on these easy-to-make treats! Make them yourself and surprise your significant other with a unique creation!

Ingredients:
1 package of large strawberries
1 package of light cocoa Wilton candy melts
1 package of white Wilton candy melts
1 package of pink Wilton candy melts (or any other color you prefer)
Assorted sprinkles

Kitchen Essentials:
Microwave
Refrigerator
3 small microwave-safe bowls
3 spoons
Parchment paper
Cookie sheet
Decorating plastic squeeze bottle ($1.99 in craft stores)

Prep:
Wash the strawberries and pat dry with a clean paper towel. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, to lay the chocolate covered strawberries. Make space in the refrigerator for the cookie sheet.

Directions:
Begin by adding 1/2 cup of your base chocolate (whichever color you decide) to a microwave bowl. Heat the chocolate in 10- to 15-second intervals and then stirring well. Do this 3-4 times until the chocolate is smooth and fully melted. Do not over heat the chocolate. Chocolate burns easily. Gently grab a strawberry by the top leaves and dip the berry into the chocolate. You may use a spoon to help you coat the strawberry. Once coated, place on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Add the sprinkles at this time before the chocolate hardens. Get creative! The more personal you make your strawberries the better! Feel free to use your creativity! Not all of the strawberries need to look the same. Continue this process until all your berries are covered and place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

To make the drizzle design, first melt a different color chocolate in a small bowl using the same process as above. Spoon the melted chocolate into the squeeze bottle. Once the base chocolate coat for the strawberry has hardened, gently squeeze at the melted chocolate unto the strawberry using a side to side motion. Don't worry about it being perfect, you want them to look homemade! Once you are done with all the strawberries with a drizzle pattern, place them in the refrigerator for another 5 to 10 minutes, until fully firm.

Place your beautiful treats in a Valentine's Day themed box, a pretty platter or a beautiful plate. Your'e gesture and work will impress you sweetheart!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Apple Quesadilla



Not too long ago we were in the mood to experiment in the kitchen. We had bought a bunch of green apples on sale and tried something we never tried before! We made apple quesadillas! We love the crunchiness of the apples with the creaminess of the cheese. Serve this as a snack, appetizer or dinner!

Ingredients for one quesadilla:
1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
2 flour tortillas (6 inch size)
1 tablespoon of chopped green apple
1 teaspoon of butter
1 lemon
Kitchen Essentials:
Cutting board
Knife
Vegetable peeler
Pizza cutter
Spatula
Non-stick pan
Measuring cups and spoons
Small bowl

Prep:
Peel, core and chop the green apple. Place in a small bowl and squeeze some lemon juice over the apple to prevent browning.

Directions:
Place the non-stick pan over medium heat on the stove and allow for the pan to heat up. After a minute or two, add the butter and allow it to melt. Grab a flour tortilla and place it on the pan. Move the flour tortilla around so that it get coated with the butter. Add the mozzarella cheese and apple and top with the second flour tortilla. Cook it for about two minutes, until the tortilla is golden brown and the cheese begins to melt. Flip it, and do the same for the other side. Remove from the pan and place on a cutting board. Cut immediately with a pizza cutter and serve! Your quesadilla will be crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside! We love to eat it with a dollop of sour cream.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Baked Potato Dip


Baked potato dip...it's like having a baked potato on your chip (or cracker)! This recipe is as quick to make as it is tasty. Whip it up in no time for your next party and your friends will be hooked.

Warning: once you start eating it, its hard to stop!!!

Ingredients:
1 cup of cream cheese
1/3 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup of chives
1/4 cup of bottled or fresh bacon bits
Salt
Pepper
Crackers or potato chips

Kitchen Essentials:
Cutting board
Knife
Large bowl
Wooden spoon
Serving bowls

Prep:
Take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator about an hour before you combine the ingredients so that it is at room temperature and easy to work with.

Directions:
Chop the chives. Combine the cream cheese, sour cream and cheddar cheese in a large bowl. Mix until it is combined. Next, add the chives and bacon bits. Season with salt and pepper. If it is too thick, add some more sour cream. Spread over crackers or chips and enjoy!
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