Italian Mac-n-Cheese

This mac and cheese is such a hit in our house.  It was on a weekly rotation for quite a while.  
Then the kids decided they didn't like tomatoes.
They still think they don't...but I'm bringing it back on board.  They'll get over it.

Picture of Italian Mac-n-Cheese Recipe
Recipe courtesy foodnetwork.com
If you have everything set out and ready to go, you can certainly get this on the table in thirty minutes.
And!  It freezes beautifully! 
You can feed a very large family with this recipe...we usually prepare the entire thing and then freeze half of it.  

Italian Mac-N-Cheese
original recipe by Rachael Ray
Serves 6-8 people

1 lb penne rigata (or other tube pasta)
1 lb sweet sausage
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 baby portabella mushrooms, chopped
salt and pepper
2 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups shredded cheese (we use an italian 4 cheese blend)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained well
1 tsp hot sauce, optional
1/2 cup Parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt the water and cook pasta to al dente, about 8 minutes.

In a nonstick skillet, brown and crumble the sausage.  Drain cooked crumbles on paper towel lined plate.  Return pan to heat and add extra virgin olive oil, butter, garlic and mushrooms.  Season liberally with salt and pepper.  Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until mushrooms are lightly golden brown.

To mushrooms, add flour and stir, cooking 2 minutes.  Whisk in stock, then add cream and stir.  Bring cream to a bubble, then stir in 2 cups of cheese.  When cheese has melted, add tomatoes.  Bring sauce back to a bubble, remove from heat and adjust seasonings, adding hot sauce if desired.

Combine cheese sauce with sausage and pasta and transfer to baking dish.  Sprinkle remaining half cup shredded cheese and Parmesan over the top and brown under broiler.


What's for Dinner? Week 5

Back to planning.

Last week was a little hectic.  I haven't worked 4 days a week since before Henry was born...and he's 3!!  Needless to say, we are going through a bit of an adjustment period in our house.  

Ryan leaves for his hunting trip this week...so once again its not a typical week in our house.  And next week while he's gone the kids and I will be eating whatever is in the house.  No meal plans next week.  

Sunday lunch:  Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread
Sunday supper:  Chicken Taquitos
Monday:  Homemade Pizza Rolls
Tuesday:  Tortilla Lasagna
Wednesday:  Italian Mac n Cheese
Thursday:  Leftovers
Friday & Saturday:  I'm home alone for the weekend...so I'm still planning the perfect "cooking for one" meal. 

Have a great week! 


Homemade Box Brownies

I have a confession to make.  

I will take a box brownie over homemade any day.  No questions...hands down...done and done.  

I have just never had a "from scratch" brownie that tasted as good.  

Until I tried this recipe.  I wasn't going to give up on the idea of a from scratch brownie...
and I'm so glad I didn't.  

These are chewy, fudge-y, crisp on the edges (if I didn't have a bridesmaids dress to fit into in two days, I'd be in the kitchen making another batch).  

Mmmm...so good!  Ryan couldn't believe they were from scratch.  
And realistically....while I don't always have a box of brownie mix in my pantry...
I always have these ingredients.

Homemade Box Brownies
adapted from King Arthur Flour's King Arthur Fudge Brownies

1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant coffee
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9" x13" pan and set aside.  

In a saucepan, over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine.  Heat on low until the mixture is hot, but not bubbling (it will look shiny as you stir).

Transfer the sugar mixture to a medium sized bowl.  Stir in the cocoa, baking powder, salt, instant coffee and vanilla.  Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth.  Add the flour and chocolate chips.  Stir until smooth.

Spoon batter into prepared pan.  (At this point I added chopped peanut butter cups to the top...be creative and add your favorite candy or leave as is)  Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.  The edges should feel set and the center should look very moist, but not raw.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  

Cut and serve!

I'm linking up to Jane Deere's Fusion Fridays