I love cheese!!

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gar;ic 4chesse pastaIt is not a secret that I love cheese, and especially mac-n-cheese…but this mac-n-cheese takes it to another level.   This amazing dish happened by complete accident.  The Hubby and I were craving mac-n-cheese but we had a problem.  I didn’t have elbow macaroni and I had cheese but only a little bit of lots of cheeses.  I took all of the cheeses and I had: American, cheddar, parmesan, Monterey jack, provolone, and velveeta and then started to think about which would work best together.  I immediately eliminated the provolone and velveeta and decided to go with the American, cheddar, parmesan and Monterey jack. 

To change things up a bit I threw in some garlic with the shells, yes we used mini shells as I had no elbow pasta, and then I threw in some additional garlic with the roux just for fun.  In the end this pasta was so creamy, rich, delicious and garlicky that I just knew it couldn’t be another mac-n-cheese it was so much more….it was a new favorite pasta dish.

 When The Hubby took the first bite he immediately asked me to make it again…he said it was way better than Panera (which is his favorite mac-n-cheese) and then after he ate his first serving he went back and got a second helping.  Now I’m not going to lie this is not a lightened-up mac-n-cheese.  I did use skim milk, as that is what I had on hand, but whole milk probably would have made it even more creamy.  And to make this even better when I reheated it the next day it was just as good as it was when I made it…now that is a A+ dish in my book.

 

Garlic & Four Cheese Pasta
Serves 12
A garlicky, cheesy stovetop mac-n-cheese
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 16 oz Small Pasta Shells
  2. 2 garlic cloves, minded
  3. 2 tbsp. butter
  4. 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced (additional)
  6. 1 cup half & half
  7. 1 1/2 cup skim milk
  8. 3 oz White American Cheese Sliced, torn into pieces
  9. 3 oz Sharp White Cheddar, shredded
  10. 3 oz Parmesan (or romano), grated
  11. 3 oz Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  12. 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  13. 1 tbsp. pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta with the minced garlic according to directions in a large stockpot, draining when cooked and setting aside
  2. While pasta is cooking melt butter in a medium stockpot (a 4 qt pot works great), over medium heat
  3. When butter is melted, add in flour & additional garlic, whisking constantly for 2 minutes
  4. Gradually whisk in half & half with the milk into the flour mixture until smooth and no lumps are visible
  5. Reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes, whisking frequently, until sauce is thick and bubbly
  6. Remove pan from heat and stir in one cheese at a time, allowing each cheese to melt before adding in the next
  7. Stir in mustard and pepper, until well combined
  8. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed
  9. Add in cooked pasta and toss until pasta is completely coated, and heated through
  10. Serve immediately
  11. ENJOY!!
Notes
  1. Each serving is 8 WW+ points
Nutritional Info
  1. Calories 314 Calories from Fat 128 Total Fat 14.2g Saturated Fat 8.1g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 44mg Sodium 293mg Potassium 64mg Total Carbohydrates 33.0g Dietary Fiber 1.6g Sugars 4.1g Protein 13.0g
  2. Vitamin A 10% - Vitamin C 1% - Calcium 24% - Iron 9%
  3. Nutrition Grade C+
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
This is now a family favorite as I am sure it will be for you as well.

cupcake-crop

 

  Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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A match made in Baking Heaven

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brookie (2)Sometimes making the choice between a beloved chocolate chip cookie or the fudgy brownie sitting right next to it is just too hard to make, and now you don’t have to choose ever again, just make Brookie’s and you have both in one cookie.  The brookie is half brownie and half chocolate chip cookie…in my opinion a match made in baking heaven.

 I have loved the idea of this cookie ever since I first saw it come across my Pinterest feed, and I am sure y’all are like me and have it pinned to a board of things to try…well I decided it was finally time.  Now I’m not going to lie it is somewhat time consuming, but it makes a ton of cookies and they are just so good, you really wont care how long it is taking.  You could add in some pecans to the chocolate cookie recipe, which would be delicious or even throw in some white chocolate or peanut butter chips to the brownie side…just for fun.

A funny moment with these brookies was when I gave some to The Dad he looked at me like I was a little crazy.  Once I explained the idea to him he lit up with a big smile and then asked for more the next day…now that’s a good brookie. 

The Brookie
Serves 72
The perfect cookie as it blends brownies and chocolate chip cookies in one cookie
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
9 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
9 min
Total Time
30 min
Brownie Cookies
  1. 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/3 cup (5 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  5. 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  6. 1 cup granulated sugar
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate Chip Cookies
  1. 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  2. 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  3. 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine, softened
  4. 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  5. 3 eggs
  6. 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. **Make brownie cookie recipe first**
BROWNIE COOKIES
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper & set aside
  3. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, set aside
  4. In a large microwave safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate in microwave on High for 30 seconds, & then stir. Reheat for an additional 15-30 seconds until fully melted, stirring after each 15 seconds
  5. Mix in sugar, eggs and vanilla to chocolate
  6. Add in the flour mixture and stir until batter is completely blended.
  7. FYI - Batter may appear thin and tacky. Set bowl aside to thicken while you prepare chocolate chip cookies.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE
  1. In the large bowl of a stand mixer cream together granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy
  2. Add in vanilla and eggs until blended
  3. Slowly add in flour, baking soda and salt until just combined
  4. Add chocolate chips
TO MAKE THE BROOKIE
  1. Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop rounds of chocolate chip cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets - about 12 per sheet
  2. Wipe ice cream scooper clean or use a second tablespoon to scoop rounds of brownie cookie dough next to each round of chocolate chip cookie dough
  3. Join the two cookie doughs together by a small pinch to adhere any gaps
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown
  5. Let cookies cool on pan for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack
  6. Serve & ENJOY!
Notes
  1. Each cookie is 4 WW+ points
Nutritional Info
  1. Calories 149 Calories from Fat 65 Total Fat 7.3g Saturated Fat 4.5g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 24mg Sodium 121mg Potassium 29mg Total Carbohydrates 20.3g Dietary Fiber 0.7g Sugars 11.9g Protein 1.5g
  2. Vitamin A 3% - Vitamin C 0% - Calcium 1% - Iron 4%
  3. Nutrition Grade D-
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
These would be a super fun for the kids to help out with…they will love having the 2 different batters.

cupcake-crop

 

  Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

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Grilled to Perfection

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brown sugar pork Not too long a go The Hubby got his new grill and we have been grilling up a storm…I mean like 4 or 5 times a week.  I love it because we get great food without having to heat up the kitchen.

The Hubby and I love pork tenderloin but we had never grilled it…until now.  As we were discussing all the different spice variations we could use we decided to use a brown sugar based rub, to make it a little sweet and to help caramelize the pork as it grilled.   Then The Hubby got a little crazy and added in some chili powder and paprika which helped add a deep color and taste as it grilled up.  Now we prefer the smaller pork tenderloins, you know the ones that come two to a package and weigh about 1 1/2 pounds each, but if you prefer a single larger tenderloin then you could definitely use that, just make sure to marinade it for at least 4 or 5 hours (overnight would be best) and cook it on a low flame and extend the cooking time by about 15-20 minutes at least.  If you use the two smaller loins, you could always freeze the second one for a quick meal later on.

The Hubby has only been grilling for the last few years so we were both a little nervous about these tenderloins, but they turned out to be one of the easier grilled meats.  We did our research and we grilled them over direct medium heat in the beginning, turning them every 3-4 minutes until all the sides were seared and had grill marks and then we moved them to indirect heat to let them finish.  I have to say this was one of the best pork tenderloins I have ever had, and I am so proud to say The Hubby did it!!  I cant wait for more of his grilling creations!!

Brown Sugar Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Serves 10
A delicious grilled pork tenderloin with a sweet little kick
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 lbs Pork Tenderloin (2 - 1 1/2 lb tenderloins)
  2. 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  4. 1 tbsp. chili powder
  5. 1 tbsp. pepper
  6. 2 tsp salt
  7. 1 tsp sweet paprika
Instructions
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil
  2. Place tenderloins on foil and trim off any excess fat
  3. Rub 1/2 tbsp. olive oil all over each tenderloin
  4. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, chili powder, pepper, salt and paprika
  5. Run spice mixture all over tenderloins
  6. Let tenderloins sit with spice rub on them for at least 20-30 minutes, or longer, in the refrigerator
To Cook
  1. Heat grill to medium-high heat
  2. Cook tenderloins 3-4 minutes per side making over direct heat until all sides are seared and have grill marks, then move to indirect heat, turning every few minutes, until pork reaches 135-140 degrees on an instant read thermometer
  3. Remove pork from grill and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing
  4. Serve and ENJOY!!
Notes
  1. Each serving is 5 WW+ points
Nutritional Information
  1. Calories 215 Calories from Fat 57 Total Fat 6.4g Saturated Fat 1.9g Trans Fat 0.0g Cholesterol 99mg Sodium 551mg Potassium 602mg Total Carbohydrates 1.8g Dietary Fiber 0.5g Sugars 0.9g Protein 35.8g
  2. Vitamin A 7% - Vitamin C 1% - Calcium 1% - Iron 11%
  3. Nutrition Grade A-
The Half Baked Life http://www.thehalfbakedlife.com/
Feel free to change up the spice combo to what your family would love.  You could definitely so a herb marinade or a lime jalapeño marinade…go ahead and break out your imagination and let it run free and grill away!!

cupcake-crop

 

  Happy (half) Baked Day – MJ

 

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