Macaroni with Broccoli

Happy Friday! I love Fridays. Luke drives me into work on Fridays which is such a treat for me. Lately I’ve been struggling to keep my eyes open on my drive in (the time change didn’t help since it’s now dark for almost the entire drive) but on Friday’s Luke drives so I get to sleep! I even brought a pillow and a blanket this morning and had the heated seat on! It was delightful! While I worked Luke spent the day running errands, studying (at the beach!), hanging out at a sports bar…etc and met me for lunch at PF Changs 🙂 It was a great day and I am thrilled for the weekend.

I had nothing planned for dinner except for no meat (on Fridays) so I looked in the fridge and we had parmesan. I decided to make mac and cheese. Then I totally surprised myself by adding broccoli to it! For anyone that knows me…I would not have touched broccoli with a ten foot poll a year ago (or any veggie for that matter) but marriage has broadened my horizons! It was delish 🙂 The recipe is adapted from our fav book The Silver Spoon. Bon Appetit!

Macaroni Macaroni-3Macaroni with Broccoli

Serves 4

Preparation: 40 minutes Cooking: 15–20 minutes

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing
1 quantity of Béchamel Sauce (recipe below)
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks
12 ounces macaroni (I like Tinkyada gluten free macaroni noodles)
salt
1/4 head broccoli, stalk cut off and cut the head into very small pieces

Bechamel Sauce Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use Pamela’s Ultimate Baking Mix)
2 1/4 cups milk
salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Make one quantity of béchamel sauce (recipe below). Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large pot of salted, boiling water until just al dente, then drain and pour into a bowl. Add the broccoli to a pan with about an inch of water, bring to a boil and then turn to medium low, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Next add the Parmesan, butter, and egg yolks to the béchamel sauce, stir to combine and melt together. Gently stir in half of the béchamel sauce mixture with the macaroni noodles. Stir in the broccoli. Pour the pasta into the prepared dish, then spoon the remaining béchamel sauce mixture on top. Bake for 15–20 minutes, until golden brown.

Béchamel Sauce:

Directions:
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in all the milk, making sure the sauce is smooth between each addition. Return the pan to the heat and cook over medium-high heat, stirring continuously until it starts to boil. Season with salt, lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and not run off. Taste, add more salt if necessary, and season with pepper.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

PB_cookiesThese cookies are naturally gluten free and so so delicious! They are super easy to make and use ingredients that you are likely to have on hand…try them! 🙂

Ingredients:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
9 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the first four ingredients. Once mixed well, add the chocolate chips. Spoon the dough onto a cookie sheet into medium sized balls and flatten with a fork. Bake 9-10 minutes. Cool about 10 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Enjoy!

Beef Stew

This may be my all time favorite meal ever!! Seriously tender stewed meat over creamy mashed potatoes…yes please! This is my mama’s recipe and it does not disappoint 🙂This recipe can be made on the stove or in the crock pot. My personal preference is to get it going in the morning and cook it all day in the crock pot. It will make your home smell delicious! I will include directions for both below 🙂

Beef Stew

Serves 4
Prep: 20 minutes Cooking: 2 hours and 10 minutes to all day

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat (I like bite size pieces of meat, so I often cut the stew meat up into smaller pieces)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups beef broth (I like Better Than Bouillon Beef Base)
1 Tablespoon (plus a little more) Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1 medium onion diced
1 teaspoon white or brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 good pinches of ground cloves
1 pinch allspice
3 large carrots or a couple handfuls of baby carrots, sliced
3 ribs celery, diced
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Stove:
In a large pot or dutch oven, brown the meat in olive oil over medium-low heat, for about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook together with the meat until tender, about 5 more minutes. Next, add 2 cups of beef broth (reserve 1 cup for later), worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, sugar, pepper, paprika, cloves and allspice. Cover and simmer on low for an hour and a half. After an hour and half, remove the 3 bay leaves. Add the carrots and the celery. Cover and cook an additional 40 minutes. Combine 1/4 cup water with 2 Tablespoons cornstarch and mix until the cornstarch has dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the remaining 1 cup beef broth. Pour the combined mixture into the stew. Cook and stir occasionally until bubbly.
Crock pot:
In a medium pan, brown the meat in olive oil over medium-low heat, for about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook together with the meat until tender, about 5 more minutes. Next, pour the meat and onion mixture into the crock pot. Add 2 cups of beef broth (reserve 1 cup for later), worcestershire sauce, garlic, bay leaves, sugar, pepper, paprika, cloves and allspice. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. After 3 hours in the crock pot, remove the 3 bay leaves. Add the carrots and the celery. Cover and cook until 30 minutes out from dinner time (this would be the same time I would start boiling my potatoes) Combine 1/4 cup water with 2 Tablespoons cornstarch and mix until the cornstarch has dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the remaining 1 cup beef broth. Pour the combined mixture into the stew. Cover and cook about 30 minutes.

Enjoy over mashed potatoes! Yummy delicious! 🙂