White Cheddar Beer Bread

When I originally tagged this recipe and saved it to make, I read the original blog post from my absolute favorite blogger (Jessica @ How Sweet It Is ).  The recipe comes with a warning, to sum it up:  If you’re going to make this bread, just know you’re also going to eat the entire crunchy topping yourself.  It’s impossible to share.  It’s just so crunchy and  buttery and delicious!

I decided to give it a whirl and planned to serve the bread along with a batch of chili for the week.  I could just set myself up and cut the bread ahead of time so I would split it between Dave and I, each of us having enough for the week.

But then something happened-  the bread came out of the oven and as it was cooling, I couldn’t help but to try a little snitch off the corner.  That would be all I’d taste.  Until I tasted it.  Holy moly, is this stuff good!  Jessica was not lying.  This was the start to the end of me.

I was sneaky enough to thinly slice off the crusty end of one side of the loaf so Dave wouldn’t notice, and devoured every last crumb while cooking the chili.  So. Freakin’. Good.

Crunchy crusty delicious bread

Crunchy crusty delicious bread

Now, I’m sharing with you, because I mean, who doesn’t want to eat an entire loaf of cheesy beer bread?  I know I did!  I also have to mention that this recipe only takes SIX basic ingredients.  Doesn’t get much easier than that.

The bread was perfect for a bowl of chili, or if you check out Jess’s post, she makes a homemade apple compound butter to slather ontop that looks divine.  And, as I mentioned earlier, you could totally just gobble it up warm out of the oven… ENJOY!

White Cheddar Beer Bread
Recipe slightly adapted from:  How Good It Is Blog

Ingredients:
3 cups All Purpose Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
6oz White Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated
12oz Beer, any beer! (the more flavor the better!)
6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted

Directions:
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick spray.

2.  Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir.  Mix in the grated cheddar and pour the beer in until a thick batter comes together.  It will be very thick!  Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Pour the melted butter right on top.

3.  Bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and set in the middle.  Remove from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes.  Slice and enjoy!

3.  Bake Over a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose and whole wheat flours. Stir in the baking powder and the salt. Stir in the grated white cheddar. Pour in the beer and stir until a batter forms. It will be thick. Spoon the batter in the greased loaf pan. Pour the melted butter over top. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and set in the middle. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for about 30 minutes.

Take a second to check out a few of my other favorite quick breads!

I suppose the melted butter helps :)

I suppose the melted butter helps 🙂

Nommmm

Nommmm

Eat it plain, or even with chili like we did :)

Eat it plain, or even with chili like we did 🙂

Apple Cheddar Squash Soup

Alright people, it’s officially soup season!  It’s chilly out in Philadelphia, so I’m ready to start taking advantage and make some yummy soups.  Believe it or not, the recipe I’m sharing with you today was a recipe that Dave, my husband, made for me!  I was so impressed.  I had flagged the recipe and bought all the ingredients, and by the time I was home from work, he had already almost finished making it!  I was so happy 🙂

This soup was really delicious, and the apple and squash go so well together.   Continue reading

Spinach and Feta Quinoa Quiche

Good Morning, friends!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.  I can’t wait to share this Meatless Monday recipe with you!  Before I do that, I have to admit that while I’ve shared a few Meatless Monday recipes already, I’ve always wondered, who started it?  I decided to do some googling, and found that “Meatless Monday” started during WWI as a way to get citizens to conserve for the war effort.  It started up again in WWII for the same reason, and then was brought back in 2003 as the healthy initiative we know it as today.  Pretty cool, right?

us food admin 1

Anyway, today’s recipe fits right into the new “Meatless Monday” campaign.  It’s vegetarian, healthy, and really tasty!  Also, I think that having a warm breakfast is such a treat, especially this time of the year.  It’s only just begun, but I’m already way over waking up and getting ready for work in the dark and cold.  How about you?

Although this quiche can be served room temp, Continue reading

Butternut Baked Ziti

It’s officially fall in Philadelphia.  The leaves are turning, frost is on the ground in the morning, Uggs are pulled on over skinny jeans… and pumpkin is everywhere.  While everyone is grabbing their PSL’s this pumpkin season, I’m looking at the less popular fall favorite of mine:  Butternut Squash.  I’m a sucker for the underdog.

I’ve tried out Butternut Squash a few other times, one of my most interesting in the post Butternut Squash Tacos.

Anyway, had to share this butternut recipe with you, it’s warm and comforting and feels like fall.

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The thing about this recipe that is different for me, is that it’s actually pretty complicated compared to my normal posts.  Don’t be intimidated though, the recipe isn’t difficult… the steps are easy, it’s just that there’s a lot of them.  To keep yourself from getting overwhelmed, I recommend roasting the squash while you cook the rest of the meal, and it will break it up pretty nicely for ya.  Another tip, I also ALWAYS try and wash dishes/spoons, etc while I am cooking, so I’m not left with a bunch of pots and pans and cutting boards in the sink.   Continue reading

Housewarming Party Spread

Hello again, friends.  I hope you all had a good weekend.  I’m hanging on the sofa, enjoying today’s chilly afternoon.  Dave has RedZone football on, and I’m still reeling from a wonderful party at our new house.  Yesterday, we *finally* threw our housewarming party after moving into our home in late May.  It’s been a journey and a lot of work getting the house together… buying some new furniture, painting a few of the rooms, hanging up pictures, etc.  It’s nice for everything to be coming together.  The housewarming party was a great success- lots of friends and family came to visit and we had a great time.  But, more importantly… the spread was fantastic.

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After lots of planning, stress, more planning and more stress- I landed on what I hoped to be enough food for the 60+ people we were expecting.  I wanted to share my party spread and the corresponding recipes with you, in the hopes of maybe making YOUR next open house party less stressful.

Our party was awesome, and the food was absolutely perfect.  There are a few tips I’d first like to give before diving into the yummy recipes I’m sharing.

  1. When you’re going to try and cater your own party, you can never have too much planning.  My first step of planning was for our menu.  I saved recipes with links to the original pages on an email draft, and added as I thought of more.  At the same time, I made my grocery list.  Every time I added a recipe, I would open it up and jot down the ingredients I’d need to buy for it.  I’ve found this to be SO helpful while I’m at the grocery store.
  2. For your menu, come up with a variety of options.  Finger foods are always ideal, less waste and clean up required.  A few hot items, a few cold items are nice… as well as a good combination of veggie-friendly and carnivore-friendly.
  3. Next, plan when you’re cooking EVERYTHING.  If there’s anything you can prep before hand, do it.  The less you have to do the day-of, the better.  Trust me.  Things get crazy and stressful and this will make your life so much easier.
  4. Double check your ingredients.  I had to go back to the store twice, after not remembering to save my onions, or buy extra limes.  Your prep will run smoothly if you check all of your ingredients before starting on your recipes!
  5. Map out your serving plan just as precisely as your recipe plan.  Know what serving utensils, dishes bowls, and space you’re going to use before making up your mind.
  6. Labels.  Label your food and drinks, please.  You wouldn’t want all your hard work to go to waste because someone doesn’t know what’s in the cheesy dip no one’s touched yet.  People feel more comfortable eating food when they have an idea of what it is… don’t you?
  7. Ask for help!  Grab your spouse, Mom, friend, anyone who offers to help you.  It’ll be nice to get to delegate some of the work, but also getting another opinion when you’re stuck with a last minute decision is clutch.

Now that you’re ready to plan… let me share my menu with you!

Before the madness

Before the madness

For our food spread, I wanted to go with most recipes I could make before the day of the party.  I’m a huge fan of dips, so I always have a few of those.  I also had a few cheese plates we got for our wedding that I wanted to show off, so I definitely wanted to do some fun cheeses.  Adding in a few other apps here and there, and Dave’s requested Chick Fil-A nugget platter, we came up with a great variety of food that was pretty much gone by the end of the night!  It was a huge success.

Soft Pretzels:  Being in Philly, I had to order our favorite soft pretzel tray from Philly Soft Pretzel Factory.  I like to get the full tray but only include salted pretzels and everything pretzels.  Yum.  Dave picked these up about an hour before the party started.

Cheese Plates with Crackers:  I ALWAYS try to buy my cheese from Trader Joe’s.  They have an awesome variety and great prices and if you’re not sure what to do, their staff is very helpful.  I went with a crunchy, aged sharp cheddar, a 1000-day aged Gouda, the always reliably delicious and creamy Saint Andre, a nutty Manchego, and a slightly stinky Blue Stilton.  We had a few accompaniments to go alongside the cheese and crackers- Fig Butter, Honey, Dried Cherries, and Truffle Marcona Almonds.  Nommm.

Caprese Skewers:  This is probably my new favorite entertaining snack.  It’s healthy, it’s easy, and everybody loves them.  These bad boys are simple… buy yourself some small wooden skewers, stack a grape tomato, basil leaf, and chunk of fresh mozzarella.  You can drizzle with balsamic or put a small dish in the center, like I did, for your guests to dip.  I recommend doing this day of so the tomatoes and cheese don’t dry out.

Tortellini Skewers w/ Pesto Dipping Sauce:  Another SUPER simple recipe.  I bought a huge serving of the pre-cooked tortellinis from BJ’s and cooked them up day of.  Throw two tortellini’s on each skewer and then again, either drizzle or offer a pesto dipping sauce.  I wanted to do this instead of a pasta salad, that people would probably serve themselves too much of.

Roasted Shrimp w/ Cocktail Sauce:  This was a great make-ahead snack.  Bought a giant bag of Extra-Large frozen raw, tail-on shrimp from BJ’s.  Shrimp can be expensive, so definitely try to get them in bulk!  I thawed the shrimp, then spread them in a foil-lined, pam-sprayed cookie sheet.  Then, I sprayed the shrimp with coconut oil spray (olive oil drizzle would be fine too!) salt and pepper.  Popped them in the oven at 400 for about 4-5 minutes on each side.  I put those in a tupperware until the day of, when I served with cocktail sauce.  Simple, yet these were the first snacks gone!

BBQ Salami:  Two Hebrew National Salamis- score and place in foil inside a baking dish.  Cover the salami with BBQ sauce.  Sweet Baby Ray’s is a family favorite (and gluten free!).  Bake in the oven for about 45 min or until the BBQ sauce starts getting all carmelizedy on the salami.  Cut or slice and pour any extra BBQ sauce ontop.  Serve with mustard, again, family preference is Nance’s Sharp and Creamy.  Another big hit.

In case you're like me and had no idea what kind of salami to buy :)

In case you’re like me and had no idea what kind of salami to buy 🙂

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Roasted Shrimp and Green Bean Salad

Roasted Shrimp and Green Bean Salad

Now, onto the Dips.

Caramelized Onion Dip w/ Wavy Chips:  Based off of Ina’s Pan Fried Onion Dip.  This was a new recipe to me and I’m pretty much obsessed.  This was the first thing I came to when people were leaving and it was my turn to eat.  YUM.

Recipe- 2 Large Sweet Onions, 4 T Butter, 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil, 1/4 tsp Cayenne, 1 tsp Kosher Salt, 1/2 tsp Black Pepper: Cut onions in half.  Make thin slices with the cut side-down (half moon shape).  Cook the onions for about 30-40 minutes with all other ingredients listed so far in a saucepan.  Put aside and let cool.  Meanwhile, in a mixer, combine 4oz Light Cream Cheese, 1/2 cup Fat Free Sour Cream, and 1/2 cup Olive Oil Mayo.  Once the onions are cool, add them to the mixture and combine.  I tried to remove the onions from the grease, and did not just dump them in together.  

Spinach Dip w/ Carrots and Celery:  A classic staple for us.  I make this all the time just to have for Dave and I to snack on during the week.

Recipe- One container fat free sour cream, 3/4-1 cup of Olive Oil Mayo.  Mix with one package of cooked chopped spinach (I drain mine using cheese cloth.  SO MUCH BETTER than paper towels, i promise it’s worth the small investment), one small can of diced water chestnuts, and one package of Lipton Vegetable soup (dry mix only).  Serve with raw vegg.

Buffalo Chicken Dip:  I never make this because everyone does, but it was a specific request from Dave… so of course I made it again.  Check out my fav recipe here on the blog, not too long ago.  I like to serve this with crackers or my favorite, Fritos Scoops.

Roasted Jalapeno & Honey Hummus:  Another repeat for the blog, but my favorite and really the only hummus in my life anymore.  It’s so good.  I used only 2 peppers, without seeds and it was pretty hot.  Not sure how I used 4 as I talked about in the original post, but go for it if you like heat.  I try to keep things on the less-spicy side for big parties.  Served this with Pita chips.

Cheese, Salad, Hummus, Buffalo Chicken Dip

Cheese, Salad, Hummus, Buffalo Chicken Dip

Spinach Dip and vegg

Spinach Dip and vegg

Time for the “main” dishes!  Not too heavy, I tried to still stay with finger food.

Chicken Nuggets:  I’d like to say this was for the kids we were expecting, but I’m pretty sure the adults devoured them just as much.  Saved myself some time and ordered the biggest party tray available at Chick Fil-A.  They’re the best.

Balsamic Roasted Veggies:  I like to have a healthy option and a good hearty veggie option since Rachel my sister-in-law is a vegetarian, I always try and remember that not everyone can eat meat!  During my prep day, I sliced two eggplants, a few lbs of zucchini, carrots, asparagus, and multi-colored bell peppers (keep those whole!) and threw them in the oven at 400, sprayed with some oil salt and pepper.  I roasted the veggies for about an hour, flipping every so often and turning the bell peppers.  For the bell peppers- you’ll want to get those nice and browning, then toss them in a paper bag.  Let them steam for about 10 minutes, then remove the skin and seeds once they are cool.  I placed all the veggies in a tupperware with balsamic vinegar poured overtop.  Served these room-temp day of.

Strawberry Salad w/ Lime Basil Vinaigrette:  You can make the dressing ahead, but definitely do the salad day-of.  I simplified the salad but used the dressing from this recipe.  Mixed greens, tossed with fresh strawberries, raw slivered almonds, and crumbled blue cheese worked great with this light dressing.  It looked like it wouldn’t be enough, but once I tossed the salad with the dressing, it somehow dressed the whole salad.  Don’t panic if you  make the dressing and it looks small!

Dressing- 1/4 cup Fresh Lime Juice, zest from the lime, 1/2 cup Olive Oil, 1 T Honey, 1/4 cup Fresh Basil, Salt, Pepper.  Blend in a blender or food processor.  

Italian Green Bean Salad:  This recipe is a favorite of my friend Erin’s family and was passed along to me for my party!  A great additional healthy option, and is perfect room temp.  I did make the salad day of and dressing during my prep day.

Recipe- 2lbs Fresh Green Beans, 1 pint Grape Tomatoes (cut in half), 3 T Balsamic Vinegar, 1 T Dijon Mustard, 1/2 tsp. Salt, 9 T olive oil, 1 large red onion (diced and soaked in cold water).  Drop beans in boiling water.  Cook for about 4 minutes, then drain and place into an ice water bath to stop the cooking.  Mix the dressing, then toss with the beans, tomatoes, and onions.  Serve room-temp.  

Raspberry Chipotle Meatballs:  Another staple for parties of mine.  Easy, sweet, spicy, love it.  I bought a 5lb bag of Turkey meatballs from BJ’s and doubled my original recipe I found years ago from Southern Living.  Made these during prep-day, then threw the cold balls into my crock pot a few hours before game-time.

Recipe- 2lbs meatballs, 1 28oz BBQ Sauce (again, Sweet Baby Ray’s for me), 1 15oz Jar Raspberry Preserves (I use All-Fruit brand!), 3 chipotle peppers + 1 Tablespoon of sauce from a small can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobo (found near mexican food in grocery store).  Mix everything but the balls in a large pot, add 1 1/2 cups water and whisk.  Add meatballs and cook until heated through or about 45 min.  Re-heat or place in a crockpot to keep warm.

Roasted Veggie platter

Roasted Veggie platter

Pretzels, Nuggets, Salami, and Meatballs

Pretzels, Nuggets, Salami, and Meatballs

Our desserts were completely provided by our fabulous Moms!  My Mom made a decadent chocolate pizza with marshmallows ontop, chocolate covered pretzels, and her famous “White Trash” (white chocolate rolled chex mix, peanuts, and M&Ms).  Dave’s Mom brought us her famous Magic Cookie Bars, Raspberry Bars, Lemon Bars, and my favorite fall-appropriate Pumpkin Bars.  My mouth is watering again!

Dessert Area

Dessert Area

No party would be complete without the libations!  We bought beer, and provided one mixed drink option and two sangrias.  For each of the mixed drinks, I doubled the recipe.  I’ve made the red before and am a huge fan, but the favorite by far was the seasonal Apple Pie Sangria.  I’ll be making that again!  These can be made before the day of, but if you add the fruit in before, take that out day of and replace with new fruit.

Also, with any of the drinks, I’d recommend leaving out the ice and having your guests put their own ice in their cups.  That way, the ice won’t melt and water down the drinks.

Red Sangria, a Bobby Flay Recipe:  I used Spanish Red Wine, and omitted the Blackberries, as they are not in season.
Recipe- 2 Bottles Table Red, 1 cup Apricot Brandy, 1/2 cup Triple Sec, 1/2 cup Raspberry Liquor, 1 cup Orange Juice, 1 cup Pomegranate Juice, 2/4 cup simple syrup, orange slices, apple slices, blackberries, one cinnamon stick.

Apple Pie Sangria:  Followed this one exactly.  The Caramel Vodka we bought was Smirnoff brand called “Kissed Caramel”.

Recipe- 2 Bottles Reisling, 5 cups Apple Cider, 2 cups Ginger Ale, 2 cups Caramel Vodka, 3 honey crisp apples, 3 pears, 2 cinnamon sticks

Maui Moscow Mule:  Vodka, Lime, Ginger Ale, Pimms #1, Mint, Fresh Ginger and Lime Slices.  I made this one too strong at first, so I recommend tasting before serving so you can get the mixture right!  Like the sangria, I had the Ginger and Lime slices as well as mint leaves floating on top.

A pretty picture of my kitchen, where I did all this hard work :)

A pretty picture of my kitchen, where I did all this hard work 🙂

I hope this can inspire you when you’re going to make your own party next!  If you were one of the lucky ones at my party, you’re welcome ESPECIALLY for the Apple Pie Sangria recipe and thank YOU for coming!

Easy Whipped Feta

Lately I’ve been trying to “jazz up” our week night dinners.  I’ll either try a new interesting recipe… bake some beer bread… or in this case whip up some, well, whipped feta!

I was inspired to make this simple side from one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Jessica from How Sweet It Is (…to be loved by you!  Go ahead, sing the song… you know you were already doing it in your head) who had me drooling at her post about it a few weeks ago.

The recipe is so simple, there is hardly any room for adjustments… except instead of using real whipped cream cheese, I decided to try out my new obsession:  Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese.  It is a combination of Cream Cheese and Greek Yogurt, creating a new product higher in protein and lower in fat than typical cream cheese.  LOVE.  We tried it for the first time this weekend spread over some toast and it is just so good.  I’m a convert.

Highly recommended people!

Highly recommended people!

Well, see for yourself and try this one out… Greek Cream Cheese or not… it’s going to WOW you!

Whipped Feta

Recipe slightly adapted from:  How Sweet It Is

Ingredients:

8 oz Feta, crumbled

3-4 oz Whipped Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese (or reg. whipped!)

Optional: Olive Oil, Parsley, Red Pepper Flakes, Italian or Greek Seasoning, etc.

Directions:

1.  Toss the crumbled feta into a food processor and blend until the pieces are very small.  Add cream cheese.  Blend for another 3-5 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.  

2.  Serve with a sliced baguette & the optional garnish I suggested, roasted tomatoes, garlic, or really anything!

The whipped feta is awesome.  I served this alongside an Italian meal I cooked for friends (Chicken Parm, WW Pasta, Green Beans) with some sliced baguette and topped with a tiny drizzle of EVOO, parsley, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning.

Soooo yummy.
Soooo yummy.
Close-Up!

Close-Up!

The whipped feta and roasted grape tomatoes were an A+ combination.

The whipped feta and roasted grape tomatoes were an A+ combination.

The only hiccup in this recipe for ME personally, is that my “food processor” is just an attachment to my juicer, which is on it’s way out I’m sorry to say :(.  Halfway through my blending, the motor stopped running so I had to be happy with the consistency I was left with after about 2 minutes (stopping and scraping maybe 5-6 times.).  It was still fabulous, but I’d love to make this again and do it even more whipped.

Some other “Cheesy” Recipes to spice up your weeknight menu:

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Jalapeno Cheddar Beer Bread

Blue Cheese Spinach Orzo

Blue Cheese Spinach Orzo

Southwest Chicken Melts w/ Roasted Poblanos & Avocado

Southwest Chicken Melts w/ Roasted Poblanos & Avocado

 

 

Crabcake Mac and Cheese

Guess what?  This rockin’ recipe is featured on Foodie Friends Friday, a great blogging linky party… check it out!

Happy Friday, everyone.

I am so excited to share this recipe with you today!  I have had this recipe on the back burner for almost a year now, and I finally got a chance to whip it up.  This Mac and Cheese isn’t your typical Shells and Velveeta.  It’s Crabcake Mac and Cheese.  It’s a Rachael Ray recipe that combines all of your typical crabcake ingredients with a delicious cheesy sauce and pasta.

Dave helped me make this complicated recipe this past Saturday.  While it did take a lot longer than my normal recipes, we had a lot of fun making it.  I put a college football game on in the kitchen for him, and it was so nice for me to have the helping hand and company.

Before I tell you the ingredients, let me warn you:  do not get overwhelmed by the number of ingredients or steps in this recipe.  Nothing is difficult, it just takes a few steps.  Rachael even suggests that you make the pasta up until the last few steps ahead of time, and then you can finish it off closer to gametime!  … so make sure you block out some time for this one, it will be soooooo worth it!

Crabcake Mac and Cheese

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Rachael Ray

Makes:  4-6 Servings (I think mine made like 10… seriously)

Ingredients:

1lb Pasta (I used Gemelli because it’s so pretty!)

2 Tablespoons EVOO (in honor of Rach)

6 Tablespoons Butter, divided

4 ribs Celery

1 Onion, medium

1 Red Bell Pepper

1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced (or 3 cloves)

1 Bay Leaf

2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped

1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest

1 lb Premium Crab Meat “special” (Rachael suggests 3/4lb Lump but it was super expensive.  Mine was still expensive though, I got it next to the seafood section)

1 1/2 Tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning

1/2 Tablespoon Old Bay Blackening Seasoning

3 Tablespoons Flour

2 1/2 Cups Skim Milk

1 Tablespoon Honey Dijon Mustard

1 + Cup Sharp White Cheddar Cheese (1 block Cabot with some leftover, shredded)

1 + Cup Gruyere Cheese (or swiss, again, shredded with some leftovers)

3 Tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs

1 Handful Flat Leaf Parsley, finely chopped

1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese (or grated if thats all you have)

Nutmeg, to taste

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions:

1.  Cook the pasta in salted water for 3-4 minutes.  Yes, it will be super-undercooked.  That’s what you want!  Cool in the pot of water and then drain.  Put it in a large bowl.

2.  Chop the Celery, Onion, and Red Pepper.

3.  In a Medium Saucepan, heat 2 Tablespoons of EVOO and 1 Tablespoon of Butter over medium high heat.  Add the Veggies, Garlic, Bay Leaf, Thyme, Lemon Zest, Salt and Pepper.  Cook until tender while stirring, about 8 minutes or so.

4.  Add the Crabmeat to the veggie mixture and season with Old Bay (to taste… I used a little extra).  Stir and then remove from the heat.

5.  In a medium saucepot, melt 3 Tablespoons of Butter over low heat.  Whisk in the flour.  Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the milk.  Bring to a bubble.  Make sure you stir it or it will burn the bottom of your pot!  Season with Salt, Pepper, and Nutmeg.  Cook for a new minutes until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

6.  Add the Mustard and the Cheddar and Gruyere Cheeses.  Stir in a “figure 8” motion until all of the cheese is melted in and well incorporated.

7.  Add the Veggie and Crab mixture to the bowl of pasta.  Add the sauce too, and stir.  At this point, you can put into a casserole dish or individual ramekins and refrigerate until you are ready.  If not, put it in your desired dish and preheat your oven to 375!

8.  Next, melt 2 Tablespoons of Butter in a small skillet over low heat.  Add 3 Tablespoons of Hot Sauce.  Warm the sauce and add the Panko Bread Crumbs, tossing to evenly coat the crumbs in the sauce.  Cool for a few minutes.  Add the chopped Parsley and 1/2 Cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese into the crumb mixture.  Top the Mac and Cheese with the crumb mixture (only if you’re baking right away**).

9.  If you are using individual crocks or ramekins, arrange them on a baking sheet to catch any drips.  Otherwise, stick the casserole dish in the oven.  Bake until heated through with the following times:

Cooking immediately:  10-15 minutes

Cooking from refrigeration:  40-45 minutes **Add the bread crumbs onto the top within the last 10 minutes of baking**

WHEW!!!!!!!!!!!  Okay I warned you it was long, but seriously just read it… you’ll be fine!  And check out these pictures, they’re mouth watering!

I thought all of the veggies chopped were so pretty! Thanks Dave!

Sauteed Veggies

I had to show you the Gemelli! I have a thing for pasta shapes…

Makin’ my sauce! Pre-Cheese.

Here we are, ready to be topped with crumbs and go in the oven.

Ta-Da!!! Baked and crisped topping to perfection.

Like, Oh my gosh.  This stuff is great!  It was a big hit with Dave, my sister, and I.  I brought some leftovers into work too, and my co-workers went crazy.  While this recipe might take you longer than your normal weeknight dinner, you should totally try it… I promise it will be worth your time.  The crab meat can also get expensive, but you can taste it in every single bite… and with all the leftovers you’ll have, you’ll be eating it all week!

PS I love this page!  If you share your love for adorable pasta shapes with me, check it out!

THANK YOU RACHAEL RAY, for yet another freakin’ awesome recipe!  You rockkkkk!