Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese

This one was circulating around Pinterest and I wanted to try it.  I don't know about revolutionary, but it is good and way simpler than the 12 step baked counterparts.  Matt wasn't a huge fan, but I liked it.  I definitely had to add more milk than it called for, possibly because I used small shell shaped pasta?  I definitely added a healthy pinch of black pepper and cayenne.  I served this with roasted veggies.

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese
Serves:  three 1 cup servings
Calories:  Approx. 375-400 per serving

2 cups dried pasta  (I used small shells)
2+ cups 2% or skim milk  (I used 1%)
1 cup loosely packed shredded cheddar cheese  (I used Kraft's triple cheddar with philly)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dijon mustard
(I added about 1 tsp each of black pepper and cayenne)

In a small saucepan, add pasta and milk.  Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, until pasta is soft, stirring frequently and ensuring milk does not boil.

Turn heat off, add cheese & salt & and stir to combine.  Stir in the mustard a little at a time to taste. Cover and let stand for about 5 minutes, then stir again and serve. If not creamy enough, add milk a little at a time, and gently stir.

If you would like to bake it at this point, place in a baking dish and top with a generous sprinkling of cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes until cheese has melted.

As a side dish this makes enough for 4 people with no leftovers (can easily be doubled).

Thin Mint Truffles

These were more delicious than the lemon lime sugar cookie truffles, but there is an extra step to this with the 2 layers of dipping.  These were not worth the effort either.  I would absolutely rather just eat the cookies plain.  I doubled the recipe because 24 pieces is a waste of time to get all this junk out.  And I am lazy and didn't want to dirty my food processor so I put the cookies in a large ziploc bag and beat the crap out of them with a meat mallet =)

Thin Mint Truffles
Yield:  24 pieces
Calories:  About 165 per piece

1 box 9oz Box, Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies  (Use Keebler grasshopper cookies, they are cheaper and way better anyway... they are 10 oz packages, so eat a few first)
4 ounces, weight Fat Free Cream Cheese, Slightly Softened
8 ounces, weight Guittard's Green Mint Chips  (I used Nestle's chocolate and mint chips because I had them)
8 ounces, weight White Chocolate Chips Or White Chocolate Bark  (I used Wilton candy melts in white with some green food coloring and dipped this second instead of first)

In a food processor, pulse the Thin Mints a few times, and then blend them down until they are just crumbs. It might be easier to do this in two batches.

Next, mix the cream cheese and cookie crumbs together in a bowl until well incorporated. Roll the mixture into 1 inch size balls, and place them on a wax paper covered baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes, so the balls are easier to dip in the chocolate and do not fall apart.

Once the truffles have been in the fridge for a while, melt the green mint chips in a double boiler or a microwave safe bowl in the microwave (if you use the microwave, heat the chips for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each heat burst). Roll half of the truffles in the green mint chocolate, and place them back on the wax paper.

Melt the white chocolate the same way as you melted the mint chips above. Then roll the remaining truffles in the melted white chocolate.
Once they have dried a little, place the remaining white chocolate in a small Ziplock bag and cut a tiny bit of one corner off the bag. Start small at first, then if you need, make the hole a little larger. Drizzle the white chocolate over the green truffles. Do the same with the remaining mint chocolate, drizzling it over the white truffles.

Place the baking sheet back in the fridge so that the chocolate can set.

Lemon-Lime Sugar Cookie Truffles

While tasty, these are too much work to be worth it.  The one thing I did get out of this recipe is that lemon and lime in sugar cookie batter is ridiculously awesome and you should stop there before all the cream cheese and chocolate.  But if you are a glutton for punishment, here is the recipe:

Lemon-Lime Sugar Cookie Truffles
Yield:  About 40 balls
Calories:  Approx. 150 per piece

1 batch of sugar cookie dough (I used a store-bought mix, but you can use any recipe you like!)
zest and juice of 1 large lemon and 1 large lime
1 1/2 blocks cream cheese (12 ounces) at room temperature
1 package white chocolate candy coating
colored sprinkles or coarse sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cookie dough as directed on package or recipe; add in the zest and juice of the lemon and lime and mix well. Spread the cookie dough in a greased 9×9 baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cookies are fully baked. Cool completely.

When cookies are cooled, using your hands, remove from the dish and crumble into the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor (small chunks are fine). Add in the cream cheese and mix until the cookie crumbs and cream cheese are completely mixed together. Roll into 1-1 1/2 inch balls and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When the balls are thoroughly chilled, melt the white chocolate candy coating in the microwave, or over a double boiler. Carefully dip each ball into the white chocolate and turn to coat. Remove with a tooth pick and set on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Top with sprinkles. Repeat until all the balls are coated. Store in the refrigerator.