Monday, 25 February 2013

Mac & Cheese Mondays: Three Cheese Baked Mac & Cheese Casserole

Good Monday morning!

What's shakin' this week?

If you're a Parmesan cheese lover - you're gonna LOVE this one.

Not that there's ton of Parm in it...  Well, let's get to it and then I'll explain.

Just like last week, this recipe uses evaporated milk.  Now, that might seem weird, but it kinda totally works.  On the plus side, having this in your cupboard could come in handy in the event of a zombie apocalypse.  However, our foreign affairs minister has assured Parliament that Canada "will never be a safe haven for zombies, ever."

No.  Really.  That's a direct quote.  You can check out the video here.


But I digress.

Start out by melting some butter in a saucepan and add some garlic.  Cook until fragrant, about one minute.

Then drain on a paper towel. The recipe says to remove the garlic using a slotted spoon - but that honestly sounded like way to much work for me.  Because (as I've stated before) I'm super lazy.

Cook the pasta and drain, then add the garlic to the cooked pasta.

In a large bowl, whisk together....

The eggs.

The evaporated milk.

Then add the salt and cayenne pepper.

And the cheeses.

Stir in the pasta.

Then pour the whole shebang into a baking dish and smooth out the top.

Bake for about 12 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling around the edges.

Then remove and let stand for 10 minutes.  10.  Just do it.

And serve.

Smooth and creamy, the Parmesan punches through after each bite.

And it was fast and easy.  So really, what more could you want?

Thanks for coming by!

This is the Cane girl - signing off.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Up next in the continuing saga of "Heather looks for the perfect Chicken Tortilla Soup" - Chicken Enchilada Soup....  Cause, well.  You never know.

Plus - still Winter.

Now - I realise that there's a BIG difference between "Tortilla" and "Enchilada".  But I couldn't go without at least trying it.

And it turned out pretty darn delicious.  Although the spicy level is on the pretty high side.  At least it was for me.

Also - I don't recommend making this and then trying to do yoga after the soup's been cooking for a while.  It'll be hard to concentrate on anything other than the delicious, delicious smell and you will likely fall out of your warrior pose and smash your arm on a end table.

Not that that's what happened to me.

Consider yourself warned.

Let's get it started.

In a pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter.

Then add the flour, stir until smooth and cook until bubbly.  What I mean is - it'll kind of look frothy.

Add in 1/2 cup of milk and the chicken broth.  Cook to a gentle boil, stirring constantly until thickened.

Add the enchilada sauce and stir to combine.

Add the rest of the milk and remove from heat.

In the bowl of a slow-cooker, add the black beans.

Then the tomatoes.

Then the corn.

Then the onion and bell pepper.  Krissy didn't say which kind of bell pepper to use - so I went with green.

Stir the ingredients together and place the chicken breasts on top.

Then pour the enchilada/milk mixture over top of everything and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

After 6 hours, the chicken was perfectly cooked.

Then shred the chicken up.  And this time, I wasn't a freaking Lazy Lou.  I used two forks - not the stand mixer.

Then return the shredded chicken back to the slow-cooker and stir up.

I put a little sour cream and Monterey Jack cheese on top.

Just as delicious as it smelled, this soup had a wicked kick.  But maybe I'm just a wimp.

Trying it out the next day, the soup had tightened up to be a warm, stick-to-your-ribs winter soup.

It was great - but not quite what I was looking for.

Thank you Krissy!

This is the Cane girl - signing off.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Mac & Cheese Mondays: Stovetop Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese Mondays is finally back for a new year and we're kicking things off with a conundrum.

American cheese.

What is it?  Where can I find it?  What's the Canadian equivalent?

Thanks to Michelle of Brown Eyed Baker, this particular mystery has been solved.  (Michelle just recently celebrated 6 years of blogging GENIUS.  Go by, say HI, and congratulations!)

Wanna know what American cheese is? 

Kraft Singles.

Yeah.  Seriously.

The creepy, plastic cheese that's infamous for making the best grilled cheese on the whole planet.

You know how "they" say that margarine is one ingredient away from being plastic?  I'm pretty sure Kraft Singles fall into that same category.

But it's yummy so I don't care.

Don't pretend to judge me - we both know you've got it in your fridge.

Tonight's mac & cheese is a simple stovetop mac & cheese that uses "American cheese", or Kraft Singles as we know them.

Weird right?

Just wait.

To start off with, mix together dry mustard with water.

Mix together the shredded cheeses.

And yes, I did shred the Singles by hand.  Because I'm completely nuts.

Then, in a medium bowl, mix together - an egg.

1/2 cup of evaporated milk.

Again with the weirdness.  But don't worry.

Salt and pepper and the dry mustard mixture.

Cook the pasta to al dente, drain, and return to the pot over low heat.

Add the butter and stir until melted.

Then add the evaporated milk mixture and 3/4 of the cheese mixture.

Stir until the cheese is mostly melted, then slowly add the rest of the evaporated milk and the rest of the cheese.  Continue to heat over low heat until the sauce is thick and creamy, about 5 minutes.

Trust me - when you first pour in the evaporated milk and such it looks pretty runny, but it WILL thicken really, really well.

Holy moly, will it EVER.  The end result was thick and creamy and rich and delicious.

And so, so easy!  No turning on the oven, no extra dishes to mess up.  Easy, peasy.

Done and delicious!

Oh - and just so you know.....  I halved the recipe and it made more than enough for one serving.  Well, one serving and seconds.

And yes.  I had seconds.  I couldn't be bothered to mess up another dish to save the rest for the next day.

No wonder my butt is so big.

So, if you happen to come home today - or any day in particular - and feel like you need some rich and delicious mac and cheese on the hurry - I really do recommend this one.
This is the Cane girl - so glad that Mac & Cheese Mondays is back - signing off.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

I'm still continuing my search to find my perfect Chicken Tortilla Soup - although I regularly crave the Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup featured Mid 2012.  Yum.

I am pretty sure that's the perfect one - but you never know right?
Besides that fact, it's the dead of Winter.  Soup is just one of the ways to beat the winter blues. 

And the countdown to Spring begins.

With soup!

And this recipe is super-easy.  The most labour intensive thing I had to do is chop an onion, open cans, and shred some chicken.

Speaking of shredding chicken.  I read a couple of different places that using your stand mixer makes shredding chicken quick, painless, and perfect.

So I tried it.  And I wasn't terribly impressed, although I may have overdid it.

I'll just shred by hand from now on.  (On Thursdays I tend to feel really lazy).

Another thing that makes this soup unique is the use of beer as one of the main liquid components.  A lot of the reviews I read said that the beer gave the soup a weird taste, so I used a dark Mexican beer.

In the bowl of a slow cooker, add the following:

Chili Beans.  Once again, I have no idea what that means so I just used Kidney Beans.


Black Beans.  Rinsed and drained.

Tomato Sauce.

Diced tomatoes with chiles.

Chopped onion.


Taco seasoning.

Stir everything together and add the chicken breasts, pressing them down until they're just covered.

Put the lid on and cook on low heat for 5 hours.

After 5 hours, take the chicken out and shred.

The stand mixer shred made a sludge out of the chicken.  Although it doesn't look too bad here - but the chicken literally disappeared when I added it back to the slow cooker.

Add the chicken back to the slow cooker and stir everything together.

Cover back up and cook for 2 more hours.  SEE?  See how the chicken is just DISINTEGRATED?  Yeah - I like chunks of chicken.

Surprisingly, with a completely different approach, this soup came out almost exactly like the Spicy Chicken Soup I made in October 2011.  Maybe better.  But - it's been quite some time so I maybe can't remember very well.

The beer didn't leave a weird taste as some of the other reviewers had stated, in fact I think it kind of added something a little special.

It's not the soup I've been looking for, but a warm tasty soup will always be welcome no matter what.

This is the Cane Girl - snuggly and warm despite the Winter!