Monday, December 13, 2010

Welcome to the last edition of Monday Food Fest

 - for the year.  It’ll be back!  Just in a different form, and after the holidays.  I’m making myself crazy trying to get everything done... so a food fest break is in order.  

But on to tonight’s dinner:
Last night, mom requested comfort food - macaroni and cheese.  Gourmet, not Kraft.  Which is kind of funny since she makes the most phenomenal homemade mac and cheese EVER.  A bold statement, sure, but totally true. 
But I try to please, so I searched for some ideas.  I came across something promising on (where else?) and found a yummy comfort dessert to go along with.  Mmmmm... chocolate...

So, tonight’s main dish was Butternut Mac and Cheese - which you can find on, here.  Our response?  Delicious!  mr and mom swore they couldn’t taste the squash, but dad and I could.  Not in a bad way.  It didn’t detract.  We concluded that it was a great way to make the mac creamy, but a little healthier as well - since you use less cheese in the sauce.  It had a great flavor and crunch.  The only difference I made was using cheddar instead of, um, that cheese in the recipe I’ve never heard of.

For a side I made some beans and shook them up a bit.  Here’s the recipe:

Crisp Beans and Mushrooms
small package of mushrooms
1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped fine
1/2 pound string beans (I got the packaged ones that are already washed and prepared - I know, easy way out)
3 T butter
garlic salt
black pepper
almonds - slivered
Melt 2 T butter in a large skillet.  Sauté the onion.  After a few minutes, add the mushrooms.  When the onion and mushrooms become somewhat soft, add 1 T butter and the beans.  Add the garlic salt, pepper and salt to taste.  Mix it up.  Add about 1/2 C or so of water.  Cover the skillet and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  Drain the water and serve with the slivered almonds sprinkled on top.
I really liked the beans because FINALLY I did NOT over cook them!  They were nice and crispy and you could totally taste the natural flavors.  mr would have preferred them less crunchy, so next time I may cook them more in the 20 minute range.

I also whipped up some crispy french bread.  No, I didn’t make the BREAD, but I sliced it half way, spread the slices, spread some garlic butter on each slice and baked it for about 10 minutes.  It was perfectly crunchy, just like french bread should be.

And, finally, the piece de resistance - the yummiest part of the night - the delectable comfort food of dessert.  Chocolate cake.  But not just any chocolate cake.  The most moist and fudgy and gooey chocolate cake you’ve ever eaten.  I did make a few changes to the original recipe on, so I’ll include it here.

Melt in Your Mouth Cake
1 package cake mix
1 4 oz. package of chocolate pudding mix
2 C sour cream
5 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
1 C melted butter
2 C chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350.  In a medium bowl, stir together the cake mix and the pudding mix with a fork.  Make a well in the middle.  Add the sour cream, eggs, almond extract and butter.  Beat on low until well mixed.  Add the chocolate chips.  Mix them in well.  Pour into a greased pan.  Bake for about 50-55 minutes.  Dig in and just TRY to eat only one piece!
When I put the cake in the pan, I realized that the recipe didn’t include any kind of frosting.  No recipe, no “serve with...”, no mention of frosting at all.  I was a little worried, because I hadn’t picked any up at the store, and I really wasn’t in the mood to make any.  I figured if the cake really needed something, I could whip out the ice cream in the freezer.
So, the best part about this cake?  It doesn’t need anything else at all.  It is so deliciously chocolatey on its own, so moist and gooey, frosting would be overload.  The only thing you’ll need to serve with this cake is a big, tall glass of milk.  I love it.  What a great recipe to have in the arsenal for those times you forget to buy the frosting and don’t have time to make it!  (Yep, personal experience.)

So, if you try nothing else - although I would recommend the mac and cheese - try this dessert.  mom and dad had nothing but good things to say about the whole thing (of course) and mini was in Heaven.  bug even ate a little.  
The real star of tonight’s show?  

That’s right, baby.  I slew the beast and showed that sucker who was boss.  Is it wrong to be enamored with a dishwasher?  Because I’ve never felt this way about a kitchen appliance before.

This is the second time I've made macaroni and cheese for my parents on their anniversary.  We all agreed that this time was much better.  Happy Anniversary guys!

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Ashley said...

That meal looks so good!

Unknown said...

Reading this post made me so hungry! Everything looks amazing. I have been a huge mac and cheese fan FOREVER!

I'd love it if you could stop by my blog and check out my 1st giveaway!

Anonymous said...


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