I have tried a LOT of Macaroni and Cheese… and this one, in my opinion, is the absolute best. The Fiscalini cheddar really makes this dish pop, so try your best to find it (or use another high-end artisanal sharp cheddar).

Serves 6

Ingredients
1 lb elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups panko breadcrumbs, toasted
4 cups heavy cream
2 cups Fiscalini cheddar (or a another good sharp cheddar), grated
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1 cup thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

Directions
Cook elbow macaroni until al dente (follow package directions). Toss with extra virgin olive oil and let cool completely.

Toss the pasta with the sour cream and mustard.

Spread the panic breadcrumbs on a sheet pan and toast them at 300°F for about 8 – 10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as they burn easily. (Keep in an airtight container if planning to use later).

Now the best part! Heat the cream in a large saucepan over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Add cheeses and stir until everything is incorporated. Add the mustard-sour cream covered pasta to the cream along with the bacon. Heat through for about 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add chives and parsley. Season with salt and pepper if desired. (I add in about 1 teaspoon kosher salt).

As a child, there was no dish I loved and hated more than candied yams. I expected it on our holiday table, even fantasized about the toasty, gooey marshmallows that covered the slimy, watery yams (which were actually sweet potatoes incorrectly named).

When I became a mother, I included the beautifully loathsome dish in every Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and nagged my sons and husband to eat the concoction, not just the marshmallows, just as I had been told, too.

A few years ago, I finally figured out that tradition wasn’t repeating the same saccharin-sweet mistakes of our forefathers, and that I could make any food I wanted, as long as it captured the spirit of our celebration.

So – I started toying with dishes I really didn’t like as much as I thought, starting with candied yams.

One of the first big changes I made was using fresh sweet potatoes and nixing (once and for all) the syrupy canned spuds. I made some mistakes along the way (finding out the hard way you have to cook the sweet potatoes before adding marshmallows, and with great displeasure realizing there IS such a thing as too much fluff, etc.etc.) but in the end, I discovered a new appreciation for the vegetable I once loathed, and came up with a pretty fantastic recipe for the holidays that my entire family enjoys.

The following recipe also combines butternut squash into the fold because I love it and it makes the dish just a little bit healthier.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash with Bacon, Brown Sugar and Pecan Crumble – serves 8-10

Ingredients

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 3-4 cups)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 3-4 cups)
3 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For the topping:

6 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400F

Combine the sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cold butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large baking dish.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes and butternut squash are tender and roasted.

While the mixture cooks, fry the bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels.

In a large bowl combine the chopped pecans, brown sugar and cooked bacon pieces.

Uncover the sweet potatoes and butternut squash and test for doneness. Taste for salt, adding more if necessary.
Cover the sweet potatoes and butternut squash with the bacon brown sugar and pecan mixture evenly.

Place the pan back in the oven, uncovered, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the brown sugar seeps into the dish and the pecans are nice and golden.

Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Some kids dream of being a doctor, an airline pilot, a teacher.

Me? I wanted to be a farmer.

Like a country mouse in the city, I felt out of place in our suburban neighborhood. My destiny was to live on a farm, of that I was certain. A farm with horses and cows and chickens, where I would get up at the crack of dawn to milk the cows and muck out the stalls. I would gather eggs from the hen house and bring them to my mother (Maw) who would scramble them up for a hearty breakfast with homemade biscuits and strawberry preserves to top it off.

I begged my parents to ditch the suburban nonsense and move to the country. Also? We needed to grow our family. Look at any farm family, I told them. You need a passel of kids to help with the chores. So we needed to adopt a few, and a big sister would be much appreciated. They listened patiently, but it was only cute for so long. When my beseeching disintegrated into petulant whining they either changed the subject or sent me to to my room.

A life on the farm was not in the cards.

However, my fascination with farm life has remained strong, and that’s why I enjoyed reading “Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food & Love from an American Midwest Family.”

Author Kathleen Flinn, who has written two previous books on her fascination with the culinary world, including the New York Times bestselling memoir, “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry,” has penned this homage to a childhood short on luxuries but long on farming, love … and home cooking.

Good cooks and food enthusiasts run in Flinn’s Swedish and Irish family, and this memoir is chock full of anecdotes related to the joy of eating. From foraging for morels to fishing for smelt and preparing Grandpa Charles’ chili, each chapter is a page of Flinn’s childhood, recounted with charm and a sense of fun.

I was amazed to learn how voluminous a family farm operation can be. From the bounty of their garden Flinn’s mother canned 80 quarts of applesauce, 120 quarts of tomatoes and 80 quarts of peaches each year. And that was just the beginning.

Apple-CrispBecause money was tight in those early years, her mother learned how to stretch a dollar while making wholesome, tasty food for her growing brood. Flinn has compiled many of the family favorites and each chapter ends with a recipe, such as this one for Apple Crisp.

If you’re wondering why the title is “Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good,” it refers to Flinn’s grandmother’s phrase used to get a picky child to eat.

I’ve already tried one recipe and can’t wait to try more. I made these rolls this week and they were a big hit with my husband. They are best hot from the oven with a dab of butter.

Aunt Myrtle’s No-Knead Yeast Rolls

Makes 2 dozen

1 package (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
1/4 c. vegetable shortening
1 1/2 t. salt
2 T. sugar
1 c. boiling water
1 large egg
3 1/2 c. all purpose flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let sit 10 minutes.

In a different bowl, combine the shortening, salt, sugar, and boiling water. Let cool slightly. Add the dissolved yeast, egg and flour and mix well; the dough will be slightly sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least two hours and up to 24.

Coat a muffin pan with cooking spray. Pinch off dough and fill each muffin slot about 1/3 full. Brush the tops with melted butter. Let rise for about two hours in a warm place, until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until they rise up firmly and are slightly browned. Let cool slightly before removing from the pan. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

– – –

Maybe I’ve still got some of the farm girl in me. I’m hankering for some homemade strawberry preserves to go with those rolls. I’m going to learn how to make it myself.

This post was originally featured on Helene’s blog, Books is Wonderful

Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with grain-laden, dairy-heavy comfort food dishes. It can be tough for the paleo follower to find typical holiday recipes that are grain-free, dairy-free and wholesome. It’s not impossible, however, to have a wonderful paleo Thanksgiving dinner with everything from turkey to pie.

Maple Bacon Turkey from EatPlayLoveMore

Roasted Butternut Squash from Oh Snap! Let’s Eat!

Easy Hasselback Potatoes from Oh Snap!  Let’s Eat

Paleo-Style Greenbean Casserole from Paleo Gone Sassy

Paleo Apple Crisp from Paleo Gone Sassy

Paleo Garlic Mashed Potatoes from Paleo Gone Sassy

Paleo Cranberry Salad from Paleo Gone Sassy

Bacon Cranberry Roasted Brussels Sprout with Honey Dijon Dressing from So . . . Let’s Hang Out

Paleo Sausage Stuffing from Hollywood Homestead

Creamy Squash and Apple Soup from Raia’s Recipes

Honey Walnut Apple Crisp from Raia’s Recipes

Honey Spiced Sweet Potatoes from Raia’s Recipes

The Best Turkey Ever from Raia’s Recipes

Apple Pie with Fennel and Ginger from Delicious Obsessions

Cranberry Orange Relish with Ginger and Nuts from Delicious Obsessions

Crockpot Apple Pumpkin Butter from MIX | Wellness 

Cranberry Mint Mousse from Happy Healthnut

Classic Cranberry Sauce from Happy Healthnut

Sage Rubbed Turkey Breast from Happy Healthnut

Cranberry Cherry Applesauce from Recipes to Nourish

Turkey Brine from Recipes to Nourish

Roasted Sweet Potato Puree with Coconut, Orange and Gingerfrom And Here We Are

Easy Homemade Mini Pumpkin Pies from The Real Food Guide

Eleven Paleo Thanksgiving Sides from Sugar Free Glow

This post was originally featured on Allison’s blog, Our Small Hours.

I make a lot of soup this time of year, when the weather begins to get cooler. Pea soup has always been one of my favorites, especially when paired with some crispy bacon!

Split Pea Soup with Bacon

Serves 6

Ingredients

8 strips bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon Canola oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons marjoram
2 bags frozen green peas
7 cups chicken stock

Directions

1. Melt butter in a large pot then cook bacon until crispy, 6-8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
2. Add butter, onions, carrots and celery and cook for about 8 minutes, until softened.
3. Add in marjoram, peas and stock. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Remove from heat, let cool and puree in batches in a blender or food processor.
5. Season to taste, ladle into bowls and sprinkle with bacon. Serve with some crusty bread.

 

After years of throwing holy water on cooking like it was some vampire coming to kill me, a couple of years ago, I finally got into a cooking groove. I even *GASP* looked forward to it while also starting a food blog, which I’ve since abandoned.

I discovered two things about cooking. You’ve got to LOVE what your cooking to really love cooking. For me, I loved the challenge of cooking food I thought would be difficult.

My definition of “difficult” at the time was something beyond microwave nachos, frozen lasagna, and if I really went wild, making the exotic and way out there French toast. Adding bacon on the side made me feel like a goddamn gourmet. Pouring a glass of orange juice to go along with it and… BOOM, I’m a culinary genius.

So yeah, I had a lot to learn. But since we moved to Maine last summer, I haven’t cooked much and my old ways are back.

The little hummingbird is still a very picky eater and only likes a small list of foods so I’ve been on the lookout to try recipes I hope my hubby and I will like.

READ MORE: Easy Dinner Recipes: One Dish Chicken Skillet & Beef and Broccoli

I really want to get back into cooking again. Maybe even start my food blog back up.

I came across this recipe a few days ago and we tried it. Fast and Easy Korean Beef. This was really very good… and truly fast and easy. From start to finish; getting everyone to the table and sitting down to eat, it took about 25 minutes. Hmmm, fast and easy. Just like I was in my late teens. Bada bing!

I tried many times to get a photo of this but all of my pictures turned out pretty bad. I blame the two beers I had while cooking this.

I hope you enjoy!

Korean Beef Over Rice

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced (I was actually going to leave this out but so glad I got it)
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or to desired taste)
1 bunch green onions, diced (adding this is what knocks it out of the park)
salt
pepper
rice

READ MORE: ‘Tis The Season: Quick Guide To Grilling

Directions

Start cooking rice according to directions.

In a large pan, add sesame oil and garlic over medium heat. Cook for 2 minutes and give it a stir. Brown the hamburger meat and drain when done.

Add brown sugar, soy sauce, salt and pepper, ginger, and red pepper flakes to the cooked hamburger. Simmer for a few minutes and stir.

Serve the Korean beef over rice. Add a generous amount of green onions and a few splashes of soy sauce, if desired.

This post was originally featured on Elle’s blog, This is Mommyhood