Mac and Cheese

April 12, 2011

There is nothing out there like a good, homemade, mac and cheese. In February, for my son’s first birthday, I wanted to find a good recipe. I tried Alton Brown’s Mac and Cheese recipe and let me tell you, there is no need to look any further. This is it. The recipe of all Mac and Cheese recipes. If you are in the need for some comfort food, look no further. Make this. You won’t regret it. It is very easy to make (okay, not as easy as Kraft, but 100% better).

Tonight, we will be having this delightful dish again. I just put it all together and can’t wait to eat it.

Anyway, here is it, directly from Alton Brown. No changes necessary.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1

    large egg

  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper

Topping:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

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Artichoke Tea

April 8, 2011

Tonight I boiled a couple artichokes to make stuffed artichokes for dinner tomorrow night. My husband suggested we use the water used for boiling to make artichoke soup. While searching for soup recipes that would use such water,  I came across several sites stating the health benefits for drinking artichoke tea. Aside from being extremely high in antioxidants, artichokes have many other health benefits and has been used for medicinal purposes since the time of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. As an avid tea drinker, my curiosity was peaked. I had never had or heard of artichoke tea. I had to try it. I strained the water and poured it into a pitcher for later use.  heating up just enough for two cups of tea, I forced my husband to try it with me. (I’m not adventurous enough to do it on my own. If I was going down due to this tea, he would be coming with me.) I sweetened it with honey and I must say, it is delicious!

Here are some of the health benefits for artichokes:

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Relieves symptoms from Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Aids in other digestive issues by stimulating the flow of bile from the gallbladder
  • Protects against toxins and infections in the liver
  • Stabilizes blood sugar levels in diabetes

Because of the benefits in liver health, some sites I read suggested that you can drink artichoke tea as a hangover cure, stating that it will help metabolize alcohol. Other sites (and studies for that matter) disagree and say this is a myth. I guess you’ll just have to try it out and see.

Most sites agree that this is a great tea to drink after a large meal or before bed to relieve mild indigestion.

I’m glad I went out of my comfort zone and tried the dirty water that I normally would have dumped. I look forward to having it again. :)

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