Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yummy Grownup Mac 'N Cheese

I feel like this week I have finally recouped from Jordan's and my trip to North Carolina, which I will be doing a post about this weekend.  This week, I tried a new recipe out of a cookbook that Jordan and I received for our 9 year anniversary from his parents.  We received the fabulous cookbook and a gift card to Central Market, which was absolutely perfect for us.  The cookbook is "What's for Dinner" by Curtis Stone.  Jordan and I really enjoyed watching all of the reruns of "Take Home Chef" on Netflix (if you haven't seen these and you like cooking shows, make sure that you check them out).  Of course the chef on this show is Curtis Stone; so, when we received this cookbook we were super excited.

All of that being said, his recipes are somewhat labor intensive if you are juggling an almost 6 month old.  They are super yummy recipes though...  As you can imagine, I did some of the cooking and prep work during various naptimes.  Below is the recipe.  Also below the recipe, I put some fun finds while out today.  I hope that you enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Pasta Bake with White Cheddar

6 TB olive oil, plus more for the baking dish
1 head of cauliflower (about 2 lbs), cored and cut into large bite-size florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
18 oz (about 8 cups) broccoli florets
1 1/2 cup (about 5 oz) penne
4 oz pancetta, coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 TB finely chopped fresh thyme
1 TB all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese (5 oz)
1 cup very coarse fresh multigrain bread crumbs (I cheated and used basic bread crumbs in a canister)

1.  Position racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat the oven to  400F.  Lightly oil your baking dish.
2.  On a large baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with 2 TB of the olive oil to coat.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread evenly on the baking sheet.  On a second baking sheet, repeat with the broccoli florets and 2 more TB of the olive oil.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Stir each sheet of vegetables and switch the positions of the baking sheets from top to bottom.  Bake for about 10 minutes more, or until the vegetables are tinged with brown.  Set aside.  (Leave the oven on.)
3.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the penne and cook, stirring often to prevent the pasta from sticking together, for about 7 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite.  Drain the pasta.
4.  Heat a large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add 1 TB of the olive oil and the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, or until the pancetta is browned and crisp.  Add the onions and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes, or until the onions are tender and slightly browned.  Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture, then stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, or until it is very pale golden brown.
5.  Gradually stir in the milk and cream.  Increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for about 4 minutes, or until the sauce is lightly thickened and has no raw flour taste.  Remove from heat, add the cheddar cheese, and stir until melted.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6.Add the vegetables and penne to the cheese sauce and fold together.  Spread evenly in the baking dish.  In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs and the remaining 1 TB olive oil to coat, then sprinkle over the vegetable mixture (I just sprinkled with the breadcrumbs from a can).  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden.  Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before serving.

Now on to some good deals...

Today, Julia and I made a trip to Target and to the Dollar Tree (they are right next to each other in the same shopping center).  Below are some of the goodies that we purchased.


Planters Nut-rition peanut butter is B1G1 free.  Right now it is $3.29.  There was a coupon recently for $1.00 off of two Planters products, but when I got to Target there was even a better deal on the peanut butter itself.  There was a coupon on the peanut butter for $1.50 off when you buy two.  So, I bought 4 peanut butters for $0.90 each.  Jordan eats peanut butter and honey sandwiches almost everyday for lunch, which makes this a FABULOUS deal.  Plus the flavors sound like fun ... Berry Nut and Cinnamon Raisin Granola Crunch.

As many of you know, I am a Pampered Chef Consultant, and this is the time of year when I purchase items like pens for my cooking shows (people always walk away with my pens).  Bic 10 count pens were $1.47 each.  I bought 4 packs with two coupons for $1.50 off of two packs, which makes each pack $0.72.

Dollar Tree 
Did you know that the Dollar Tree accepts coupons?!?

I purchased 2 boxes of Lugi's Frozed Italian Ice Cups for $1.00 each.  I had 1 coupon for $1.00 off two boxes.  So, I paid $0.50 per box.  Nice deal for this warm time of year.

I purchased two boxes of Hefty Slider bags for $1.00 each.  I had 1 coupon for $1.00 off two boxes of Hefty Slider Bags.  So, I paid $0.50 per box.

On a side note, the Dollar Tree has fabulous gift bags and tissue paper in bulk :)

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