A Staple Of American Cuisine – Macaroni And Cheese

A Staple Of American Cuisine – Macaroni And Cheese

A staple of American cuisine – Macaroni and Cheese is one of our favorite home-cooked meals!

Thomas Jefferson discovered the dish while traveling abroad. Upon returning to Monticello, he planned to serve it for an important state dinner. He imported pasta, parmesan cheese and olive oil.

James Hemings was Jefferson’s chef and slave. Hemings was the first American to train as a chef in France. With his sophisticated techniques of French classical cooking, he prepared a “macaroni pie” for prominent guests at Monticello, Jefferson’s private mountaintop home and plantation in Virginia.

Until the late 1800s, it remained a recipe for upper classes. Once pasta was broadly available more people enjoyed macaroni and cheese. By the 1940’s, it became a hearty, inexpensive meal for the working classes. 

Tips for the best Macaroni and Cheese:

  • Select the best-quality butter, cheddar cheese, and pasta.
  • Make homemade breadcrumbs with day-old sourdough bread.
  • Make creamy béchamel sauce with a butter/flour roux and hot milk.

Steps for Creamy Macaroni and Cheese:

  1. Toss homemade breadcrumbs with melted butter.
  2. Boil pasta in lightly salted water until a little under al dente.
  3. Scald milk.
  4. Make a béchamel sauce, add the grated cheese to create a Cheese Sauce Mornay.
  5. Pour the cheese sauce mornay over the cooked pasta.
  6. Pour into a lightly greased baking dish.
  7. Top with bread crumbs and sprinkle with paprika.
  8. Bake until bubbly and golden brown. 
  9. Enjoy!

A staple of American cuisine – Macaroni and Cheese – make some today!

Macaroni and Cheese

A classic French sauce, grated cheese, macaroni and topped with bread crumbs - delicious, comforting and one of America's favorite home-cooked dishes!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart 2% or whole milk
  • salt, freshly ground pepper and nutmeg to taste
  • 6 cups 20 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated or mixed Gruyere and cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

    Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish. Set aside.

  2. In a 3-quart saucepan, cook elbow macaroni in lightly salted boiling water just under al dente, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, being careful not to boil it.

  4. In a skillet set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter; add bread crumbs and toss to coat. Set aside.

  5. Make the bechamél sauce:

    In a heavy based saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter, whisk in the flour. Cook 1 - 2 minutes until foaming but not browned; let cool.

    Strain the hot milk, whisking constantly, bring the sauce to a boil, add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Simmer 3 - 5 minutes, until thickened.

  6. Make the Cheese Sauce Mornay:

    Remove the bechamél sauce, from heat, add grated cheese. Stir until cheese has melted.

  7. Pour the cheese sauce mornay into the cooked macaroni, stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with bread crumb mixture and paprika.

  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the macaroni is golden brown.

Rise To The Occasion

Rise To The Occasion

Rise to the occasion . . . knead, roll, rise, and bake some hot dinner rolls!

My grandmother, Birdie was famous for her homemade dinner rolls. She served them at her cafe in Oregon. Last summer, I was visiting with one of my cousins in Austin. She was raving over Birdie’s dinner rolls served 50 years ago! People will always remember your homemade dinner rolls. 

Rise to the occasion . . . bake some dinner rolls today . . . 

Dinner Rolls

Delicious every time . . . These rolls make every meal memorable!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes


  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t. salt


  1. In a 1-cup liquid Pyrex® measuring cup, add the water, sugar and yeast. Stir to combine Set aside to rise for 5 to 10 minutes or until frothy.

  2. In a small saucepan set over medium low heat, add the milk. Scald. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Set aside. Cool to 100ºF to 115ºF.

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, Add 4 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast mixture and cooled, scalded milk. Mix until the ingredients are blended. Switch the attachment to the hook attachment. Knead the dough for 5 to 8 minutes.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, add the oil and swirl to cover the sides. Add the dough to the bowl and toss to coat it on all sides. Cover with a clean dish towel. Set aside in a warm, draft-free place to rise until doubles in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

  5. About 30 minutes before the dough has risen completely, preheat the oven to 400ºF.

  6. Lightly flour a work surface, a silicon pad is a helpful tool. Roll out the dough into 1/4" thickness. Cut into 1 1/2" strips. Stack the strips. Cut into 2" pieces. Place in lightly greased muffin tins. Cover with a clean dish towel. Set aside until for 30 minutes or until almost doubled in bulk.

  7. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

  8. Serve with plenty of butter!


Get Ready For Some Game Day Nachos

Get Ready For Some Game Day Nachos

Get ready for some Game Day Nachos! 

Now that the NFL is playing, we need some snacks to make at home. They should be easy to make and fun to serve. 

After years of making nachos, these Game Day Nachos are the best of all. Inspired by Joe T Garcia’s nachos, I set out to make them at home with some large tostada chips and hatch chilies. About that time, I was slow cooking a brisket. And just like that, the two recipes merged and became Game Day Nachos.

Sometimes, recipes evolve and become what I call “restaurant-quality” because they rival something that could be found at a favorite restaurant. The Game Day Nacho recipe is one of those recipes. And it’s ready just in time for the fall football season!

Here’s what you will need to make the nachos:

  1. An All-Clad electric skillet or slow cooker
  2. Cuisinart ® food processor for grating cheese. It saves so much time. 
  3. An electric knife saves time in slicing the brisket. A sharp chef’s knife will do the trick too.
  4. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perlman – Buy it or order it online at Interabang Bookstore. 
  5. The rest of the equipment is basic. Any well-stocked kitchen would have it!

Best Nacho Tips:

  • Start with Maya’s Sweet and Sour Holiday Brisket. The recipe is in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
  • Be sure to start a day ahead because the brisket needs to cook low and slow. Like 10 to 12 hours. Be sure to let it rest before slicing it. 
  • High-quality sharp cheddar cheese it best. Grate it in a food processor. Sorry, the pre-grated cheese doesn’t have as much flavor and it doesn’t seem to melt as well. 
  • Line jelly roll pans with aluminum foil for easy cooking and cleanup.
  • Mission Tostado Chips are best.
  • Hatch® Diced Green Chiles are best.

    Get ready for some Game Day Nachos!

    Game Day Nachos

    Tostada chips topped with sweet and sour brisket, sharp cheddar cheese and green chiles. For an extra festive touch, add a side of sour cream and guacamole. Delicious and perfect for any game day!


    • 1-2 pounds cooked brisket, diced into small pieces & blended with a little of the sauce that it was cooked with
    • 1 pound Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
    • 1 package Mission® tostada chips
    • 1 can Hatch® diced green chiles


    1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

    2. Line a couple of jelly roll pans with aluminum foil.

    3. Place the tostada chips in rows on the prepared pans. 6 to 9 chips per pan.

    4. Top the chips with some brisket. Top with grated cheese and a few green chiles.

    5. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

    6. Remove the nachos from the aluminum foil and place on serving trays. Enjoy!

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook


Have A Rice Day!

Have A Rice Day!

Have a rice day! 

It’s official . . . Fried Rice is our favorite new dish to make at home! Catherine has been testing Fried Rice recipes. With so many vegetables, it’s healthy and it’s fun to make!Have A Rice Day!

We love our royal blue Le Creuset® wok. 

Fried Rice

One of our favorite dishes to serve on Monday because it's so easy to make. Also, it's great for a Meatless Monday. Add some chicken, shrimp or beef to make it more hearty. Be sure to prep and chop all of the ingredients before cooking. It's much more fun that way. Enjoy!

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes


  • 1 cup rice(3 cups cooked rice)
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 broccoli, florets only
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 ear of corn, shucked
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 can baby corn, drained & each corn cut into quarters
  • 1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained & cut in half
  • 1 small can pineapple chunks, cut into smaller pieces
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled & minced
  • 1 T. sesame seeds
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1 T. ginger, peeled & minced


  • soy sauce
  • lemon zest


  1. In a saucepan, cook the rice. Pour onto a jelly roll pan, spread into a thin layer. Set aside.

  2. In a wok set over a high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the onions and carrots. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

  3. Add the red pepper and broccoli florets. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

  4. Add the butter. When melted, about 30 seconds, add the rice, corn, peas, baby corn, water chestnuts and pineapple. Add the soy sauce. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

  5. Lightly scramble the eggs. Julienne. Set aside.

  6. In a small skillet, quickly sauté the garlic and sesame seeds in a little vegetable oil. Add to the wok.

  7. Add the green onions and ginger. Heat briefly, stirring constantly.

  8. Serve at once!

Indigo Stripe dress by Susan Apple

Cool & Creamy Key Lime Pie

Cool & Creamy Key Lime Pie

Cool & Creamy Key Lime Pie goes hand in hand with hot summer days. From Key West in the 1850s, Key Lime Pie is one of the greatest regional American desserts!

The difference between a Key lime and regular lime:

Key limes are also known as Mexican limes or West Indian limes. They are more aromatic, with tarter and more floral juice. Also, the acidity “cooks” or thickens the egg yolks. 

The extra work with juicing pays off with a delicious, tart Key lime pie!

Helpful Equipment:

Cuisinart to make the graham cracker crumbs.

Electric Juicer to juice the Key limes.

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer to beat the whipped cream topping.

Cool & Creamy Key Lime Pie . . . for the last summer days . . . bake one today!

Key Lime Pie

The perfect dessert for a hot summer day! Key Lime Pie is thought to have originated in the mid 1850s when sweetened condensed milk was introduced by Gale Borden.


  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk(14 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed Key lime juice

Whipped cream topping: 1 cup heavy cream, 1/3 cup confectioners sugar and 1/2 t. vanilla extract

Garnish: Thinly sliced Key limes



  1. In a pie plate, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Blend well. Press onto the bottom and sides of the pie plate.

  2. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.


  1. Reduce the heat to 350ºF.

  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks. Add the sweetened condensed milk, mix together. Slowly add the lime juice, mixing constantly.

  3. Pour into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.

Whipped cream topping:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the cream, confectioners sugar and vanilla. Beat until the mixture is thick and creamy.

Finishing the pie:

  1. In a large pastry bag fitted with a #827 pastry tip, add the whipped cream. Pipe swirls around the edge of the pie. Garnish with the sliced Key limes.

Frittatas Are Italian Omelets

Frittatas Are Italian Omelets

Frittatas are Italian omelets. The perfect “Meatless Monday” meal. In addition to tasting delicious, they are quick and easy to make!

They differ from their French cousins in several ways:

  • The fillings are combined with the eggs before cooking.
  • The eggs are cooked without stirring.
  • Frittatas are served cut into halves or wedges.

Two methods for cooking frittatas:

  1. Pour the egg and filling into a pan, cook while lifting the sides so that the  uncooked portions can flow underneath, and broil until the top is set and browned, about 4 minutes. This method is my favorite!
  2. Pour the eggs and fillings into the pan, stir once, cook the eggs undisturbed until the top is just set, place a heat proof plate on top of the pan, invert the plate/pan, cook on the other side, cook for a couple of minutes, invert the eggs one more time onto a serving plate.

    Spinach Frittata

    Frittatas are a perfect "Meatless Monday" meal. They are quick and easy to make. The ingredients are simple staples to keep on hand. No rush to the grocery store is required. A bonus for Monday meal planning!

    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 5 minutes


    • 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 T. butter
    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 1 small tomato, diced
    • 1/2 bag frozen spinach, defrosted and strained of all moisture
    • 2 garlic pods, finely minced
    • 8 large eggs
    • 2 T. water
    • 1/4 cup basil, finely julienned
    • 2 T. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

    Garnish: fresh basil


    1. In a large sauté pan, set over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil. Just as it begins to sizzle, add the onions, tomatoes, and spinach. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic in the last minute of cooking.

    2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a small mixing bowl, add the water, basil, Parmesan cheese, and vegetable mixture.

    3. Heat a well-seasoned, ovenproof 9" skillet over medium heat until it's quite hot. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.

    4. Add the egg mixture. Cook, occasionally lifting the sides so the uncooked portion can flow underneath. Cooking time will be about 5 to 8 minutes or until the edges are set and the bottom is golden.

    5. Place the skillet about 6 inches from the boiler element. Broil for until the top is set and golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Watch closely!

    6. Slice into wedges. Place on serving plates. Garnish with fresh basil.

    Frittatas Are Italian Omelets, FrittataFrittatas are Italian Omelets!