Sunday, March 27, 2011

Comfort Food

The Food Network Channel often gives me inspiration for meals.  Today Reece and I watched "The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Bacon" and "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives", and we were craving bacon!  So, we set out to make "fancy" BLT's and found a recipe with pesto-mayo and fresh mozzarella.  Then, we needed something for a side dish, and smoked gouda mac and cheese was the choice.  It was amazing to say the least.  Oh, I also forgot about the strawberry shortcake we made for dessert!  This was comfort food at its finest and I just had to are below.

Fresh Mozzarella BLT with Pesto (recipe by Tyler Florence)
1 4-inch piece
2 slices low-sodium applewood-smoked bacon
1 1/2 teaspoons store-bought pesto
1 1/2 teaspoons low-fat mayonnaise
1 spear
romaine lettuce
2 thick slices heirloom tomato
1 thick slice fresh mozzarella
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Slice the baguette open, leaving one side attached to form a hinge. Cook the bacon in a skillet over low heat until crispy; drain on paper towels.

Combine the pesto with the
mayonnaise and smear on the bottom part of the bread. Layer the romaine on the bread, then the tomato, bacon and mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper; close the sandwich and wrap in parchment paper.

Triple-Smoky Mac and Cheese (recipe by ME!)

5 strips of bacon
2 cups elbow macaroni
4 T butter
2 T flour
1 1/2 cups milk, warmed in microwave 1-2 minutes
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and Pepper
6 oz. smoked gouda cheese, shredded
6 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 c bread crumbs
1 T Parmesean cheese, shredded

Bring pot of water to boil.  Cook macaroni about 5-6 minutes so it is still al dente (slightly undercooked).  Cook bacon in a saute pan, drain on paper towels, and crumble into bite size pieces.  While macaroni and bacon are cooking, melt 2 T butter in a sauce pan.  Add flour and whisk to combine.  Whisk in warm milk slowly to avoid lumps.  Add smoked paprika and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer to thicken.  Remove sauce pan from heat and add smoked gouda and cheddar cheese.  Combine macaroni, cheese sauce, and bacon in a baking dish.  Melt remaining 2 T butter and combine with bread crumbs.  Top macaroni and cheese with bread crumbs and parmesean.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until top is golden and bubbly.

Strawberry Shortcakes

2 cups Jiffy baking mix
3 T sugar
3 T margarine, melted
1/2 c milk
1 pint fresh strawberries
sugar to taste
half and half

Combine first 4 ingredients.  Using two spoons, form 6 drop biscuits on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Meanwhile, slice strawberries and add sugar to taste.  To serve, break a biscuit in a bowl and top with strawberries and half and half.

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