Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Baked Shells n Cheese

My boys LOVE when I make homemade mac n cheese because I add all sorts of good stuff to it. The shells are little pockets of deliciousness and each bite bursts with flavor. What is the "good stuff?" The addition of onions, garlic, veggies and sausage. I use whatever veggies/meat I have in the fridge and the dish always turns out delish.

Yum yum yum!

I love comfort food!

Baked Shells n Cheese

Yield:  8-10 servings

  • 1 lb shells, cook according to package directions (or pasta of choice)
  • 12 oz package Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausage (or protein of choice), cut into bite size pieces
  • 1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves (more or less taste), diced
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 2 1/2 c milk
  • 3 c shredded cheese (set aside 1/2 c for topping)- I used 1 1/2 c cheddar and 1 1/2 c monterey jack
  • 1/2 c panko bread crumbs (optional but tastes great because it adds a slight "crunch.")
  1. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and put drained pasta back in the pot. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F.
  3. Heat oil in large pan and saute onions and garlic 4-5 mins.
  4. Add sausage and heat for another 3-4 mins. If your sausage is not a "fully cooked packaged sausage," then thoroughly cook the sausage at this point. Check your package carefully. 
  5. Place onion, garlic, sausage mixture in pasta pot and set aside.
  6. Make sauce in same large pan used for onion mixture. Melt butter over med heat. Add flour and stir frequently for 2-3 mins.
  7. Slowly add milk, cayenne and paprika. Simmer 8-10 mins and stir often.
  8. Add 2 1/2 c shredded cheese to milk mixture. Stir till melted. 
  9. Add cheese mixture to pasta pot and mix all ingredients well.
  10. Pour pasta mixture into 9x13" dish. Sprinkle with panko bread crumbs and remaining 1/2 c cheese.
  11. Bake 20-30 mins till pasta is browned. If panko bread crumbs haven't fully browned, place under broiler for 3-4 mins. Keep an eye on it so you don't burn it.
  12. Let stand 5 mins before serving. Careful when eating as the pockets of hot cheese in the shells can burn your mouth. ENJOY!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Baby Back Ribs

Hubby has gout so I've been trying to make foods that aren't high in purines. We're trying to watch what we eat but we had a craving for ribs so we went for it. We figured a small portion couldn't be that bad. Happy to report that the meal was a success!

This will be a quick post to share with you how to get tender, juicy, caramelized, rib-o-licious ribs! Easy, delicious and sure to impress anyone who eats them. I baked plum glazed baby back ribs and used up the last of my plum preserves I made over the summer.

I made two packages of baby back ribs from Ralph's. 

Cut up the slabs into 3-4 rib segments, salt and pepper them and then bake them.
We enjoyed this with a big salad and homemade garlic bread.

Baby Back Ribs

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 2 slabs baby back ribs
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • sauce of choice: BBQ, Asian, spicy, honey, preserves, rub, whatever you like...
  1. Line baking sheets with foil. Baking sheet must have raised edges to contain the oil as you bake.
  2. Rinse off ribs under cool water and pat dry.
  3. Cut into 3-4 rib segments and place on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of ribs.  Place meaty side down.
  5. Bake at 250F for 2 hrs.
  6. Remove from oven and turn ribs boney side down. Place ribs back in oven and add HOT water to baking sheet, just enough hot water to cover bottom of baking sheet. This helps steam the ribs and keeps the ribs nice and tender. 
  7. Bake another 45 mins-1 hr. If using honey, drizzle honey at this step.
  8. Cool slightly before you eat. ENJOY!
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