Friday, May 28, 2010

Crock-pot Mac & Cheese

Well, the title says it all. I bought myself a crock-pot. Actually, my mom bought it for me as I finally got around to using those Christmas gift cards. I wasn't sure what my inaugural crock should be, so I did a bit of scouring the internet and found this blog. Itching to use the crock and not really in the mood for a "stew," I searched for one of my favorite meals ever and found this recipe. With fair warning from the mixed recipe reviews, I attempted this dish with a few modifications:
1) I used only about 3 1/2 cups milk (1 cup 2% and the rest was skim)
& 2) I used all sharp cheddar (6 oz Cabot Extra Sharp & the rest Kraft shredded). Boy, was this mac sharp. I think next time I might mix cheddar with a better melting cheese, like a Velveeta or something...

All in all, it turned out pretty awesome. I cooked it on low for about an hour and a half, tops. Probably because I am a little spacey and bought a SEVEN QUART CROCK-POT (for a two-person household)!
Right before it was finished I topped it with a bit of extra shredded cheese. It wasn't soupy at all. I know I'm not the only mac & cheese lover out there... I urge you guys to try this recipe if you have a crock-pot, but be warned that this is not a "set it & forget it" type of recipe. I had to stir it every 30 minutes and it was done before I knew it!

^ click for yum ^

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pecan Sticky Buns

Words cannot describe how delicious these sticky buns are. You'll just have to make them to taste for yourself. This is another Martha recipe, but I made it much simpler by using store-bought bread/pizza dough instead of making my own. The recipe below will serve twelve, but I cut everything in half since six buns between the two of us is already a little ridiculous. 
  • 2 lbs store-bought pizza dough, thawed
  • 1 c. + 6 T. unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1 c. packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • 1/2 t. coarse salt
  • all-purpose flour
On a floured work surface, roll dough to a 10 x 18 inch rectangle (5x9 if you're cutting the recipe in half). Spread chunks of the butter (1 cup) over the top 2/3 of the dough. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter, pulling the bottom 1/3 up and the top 1/3 down. Refrigerate on a baking sheet at least one hour or up to one day.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine the sugar, pecans and salt. Leaving a half inch border, spread out the remaining 6 T. of butter in chunks over the dough. Sprinkle with the sugar/pecan mixture. Starting at the long end, roll up the dough like a jelly roll. Cut into 12 pieces. Place each piece, side by side into a 9x13 inch pan (for half recipe I put into an 8 inch round cake pan). 

Bake until golden brown and cooked through, ~ 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Immediately invert the buns onto a serving dish and devour. 
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