kruizing with kikukat

Monday, October 11, 2021

Poor Man's Contessa: Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I love the food Ina Garten (of Barefoot Contessa fame) makes.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

     1 lb elbow or cavatappi (cellantini) pasta
     4 c milk, heated in microwave for 2-3 minutes
     6 tbsp butter, divided
     2 tbsp olive oil
     1/2 c flour
     4 c shredded cheese (mac and cheese blend or a cheddar blend)
     1/4 tsp black pepper
     1/8 tsp nutmeg
     1/3 c bacon, optional
     1 c dry bread crumbs

Boil pasta according to package directions.  Drain and return to cooking vessel.  While pasta is cooking, melt 4 tbsp butter and olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in flour and whisk until thick.  Gradually whisk in heated milk.  Remove from heat and add black pepper and nutmeg.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Pour sauce over cooked pasta.  Add cheese and bacon (if using).  Stir gently till well combined.  Pour into 9 x 13" baking pan.  Melt remaining 2 tbsp butter.  Combine with bread crumbs.  Sprinkle bread crumbs evenly over macaroni and cheese.  Bake for 35 minutes. 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Peach Butter Frosting and Cake

I remember seeing this cake a lot when I was growing up.  I don't remember eating it much because, believe it or not, I didn't like cake all that much when I was younger.

Peach Butter Cake

     1 yellow cake, baked and cooled in a 9 x 13" pan
     1 block butter, softened
     3/4 c sugar
     1 egg
     1 can (15.25 oz) sliced peaches

Pour peach slices into a mesh colander and drain 20 minutes.  Using a spoon, mash peach slices against surface of colander until slices are broken up and smashed.  Drain for 45 minutes, stirring and pressing peaches against colander periodically.  Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Add in egg and beat until thoroughly incorporated.  Stir in drained, mashed peaches.  Frost top surface of prepared yellow cake.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Monday, February 22, 2021



     2 lbs tomatoes, seeded and chopped small
     3 bell peppers, seeded and chopped small
     1 tbsp basil, chopped
     1/4 c chopped onion
     1 small can olives, drained and chopped small
     1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
     3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
     1/4 c extra virgin olive oil + additional for bread
     1/2 tsp garlic salt
     1/2 tsp salt
     baguette, sliced in 1/2" thick slices

Combine all ingredients except for baguette and additional olive oil.  Toss gently.  Set aside or refrigerate until an hour before serving. Grill baguette slices, brushing one side with olive oil.  Spoon vegetable topping onto baguette slices and serve.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Forget the other chocolate crinkle cookie recipes.  This one will knock your socks off!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

     2 c flour
     1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
     2 tsp baking powder
     1/2 tsp baking soda
     1 tsp salt
     3 c light brown sugar, packed
     6 eggs
     1 tbsp instant coffee granules
     2 tsp vanilla
     8 oz unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces
     1/2 c butter
     3/4 c granulated sugar
     3/4 c powdered sugar

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a 2-cup measuring cup, microwave butter and unsweetened chocolate for 2 minutes (50% power) until chocolate is melted.  Stir periodically during melting process.  Set aside.  Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl, stir together, brown sugar, eggs, instant coffee granules, and vanilla.  Add melted chocolate mixture and stir until combined.  Add flour mixture.  Mix until flour is incorporated.  Set aside for 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place granulated sugar in a wide bowl. Place powdered sugar in a wide bowl.  Use a #50 disher (2 1/2 tsp) to scoop dough, and plop into granulated sugar.  Roll to coat.  Roll in powdered sugar next.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool

Auntie Kathy's Carrot Cake

This recipe was given to me by my aunt over a decade ago.  She declared it was the best carrot cake, and she was right.

Auntie Kathy's Carrot Cake

     2 c flour
     1 tsp salt
     1 tsp baking soda
     2 tsp cinnamon
     2 c sugar
     1 c oil
     4 eggs
     8 oz carrots, grated (about 2 cups. . .may use up to 4 cups)
     1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13" pan.  In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Add remaining ingredients.  Mix well.  Pour into prepared pan and bake 40 minutes.  Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

     1/2 c butter, softened
     8 oz cream cheese
     2 c powdered sugar, sifted
     2 tsp vanilla or 1 tbsp orange juice

Beat butter and cream cheese.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla or orange juice.  Beat until smooth.  Frost top of cake.  
If you prefer to remove cake from pan and frost top and sides, increase amount of powdered sugar to 3 1/2 cups.