Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Macaroni & Cheese W/Bacon | Brittany's Pantry I knew it!  You saw the blog title, and lured by the cheesy goodness of comfort food, you just had to check it out, right?  Well, be glad you did.  This recipe turned out great.  And I mean great.  My daughter chose the recipe based soley on the picture in the magazine and as it turns out, she has quite an eye.  Who wouldn’t stop and stare at the cover of Octobers Family Circle magazine?  Right smack dab in the middle of that page is an enormous bowl of creamy, cheese covered pasta speckled with salty, crunchy bacon that looks so enticing, you could swear you can smell it fresh from the oven and secretly wish you could lick the paper.  I mean, lets be honest.  Everything is better with bacon.  Pasta, sandwiches, breakfast, fruit-all is improved with the addition of super salty fried strips of pork.  And pasta with cheese?  A true crowd pleaser!  Why else do you think it is on the kids menu of every restaurant in existence!  My family is no exception.  And when paired with a light, mixed greens salad tossed in a vinaigrette, you have a perfect, french inspired meal.  Warm and gooey, its perfect for a night when the temperature dips below 50.  This recipe has four kinds of cheese, but don’t worry.  All can be found at even the tiniest of super markets.  Cavatappi, the pasta called for in this recipe, and my personal favorite for this kind of meal, might be harder to locate.  Just use good old elbow macaroni, small shells, mini-penne, orechette, ditalini, or any other small pasta you have on hand.  Leftovers were great the next day.  One macaroni and cheese recipe down, about thirty more to go.  Mmmm.  Bring it on.

When I pulled it from the oven, I may have drooled just a bit…

Note: I recently broke this casserole dish and had to replace it.  I purchased this one and I really really love it! It is perfect for a bazillion different recipes and is an indispensable dish in my kitchen! This one is great too!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Adapted from Family Circle

1 lb cavatappi, cooked according to pkg directions

6 slices bacon, diced and fried till crisp.  Drain.
3 T unsalted butter
3 T flour
2 c 2% milk
1 T dried onion flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c shredded colby-jack cheese
1 c shredded mozzarella
8 slices American cheese

Melt butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in flour.  Cook for 1 minute over medium heat and slowly pour in milk, whisking continuously.  Stir in onion flakes and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl toss together shredded cheeses.  Remove milk mixture from heat and stir in the American cheese and 1 heaping c of the mixed cheeses.  Mix chopped cooked bacon with remaining shredded cheeses.  Combine cooked pasta with the cheese sauce.  Pour half into a buttered 3 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle with half of the bacon-cheese mixture.  Pour on the rest of the pasta and top with the last of the shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until slightly bubbly and browned on top.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Overnight Crockpot Apple Cinnamon OatmealTonight is a great night to pull this recipe out.  Sunday mornings can be a bit of a rush, trying to get us all ready on time and out the door for church.  This is the perfect solution!  A warm, hearty, healthy breakfast, just waiting for us when we wake up.  I am unsure of the origin of the recipe, but it was cut from a magazine. I don’t know which one or how long I have had it, but I didn’t come up with it.  We LOVE oatmeal in my house and we eat quite a lot of it.  And with the apples leftover from apple picking last week, this is going to be easy and quick.  I can’t wait to wake up to a bowl of it in the morning.
Yup.  Pretty great.Overnight Crockpot Apple Cinnamon OatmealOvernight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Recipe Modified 6-21-11

4 C water
1 1/2 c apple juice
1 c steel-cut oats
1/2 c regular barley (not quick cooking)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
1/3 c brown sugar
1/3 c coarsely chopped pecans
2 medium apples, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
Honey and Milk (optional)

Place first 6 ingredients in the slow cooker, combine, and cook, covered, on low heat for 7 hours.  Just before serving, stir in sugar, cinnamon, apples and pecans.  Or add it to each bowl individually, which is what we did.  Serve with honey and milk.

Apple Cider Syrup

Apple Cider Syrup from Brittany's PantryIf they serve french toast in heaven, it is covered in this syrup.

If you only try one recipe from this blog, make it this one.  This is sooo easy, lasts long in the fridge, is impressive to guests, and packs all the goodness of the season into one, tiny pitcher of sweet and tart wonderfulness.  I am talking about apple cider syrup people.  A recipe I have been tweaking for several years now and usually make a few times a season.  We eat alot of pancakes in our house so having something a bit different than the norm is a welcome change.  The difference between this stuff and anything you will find in the grocery store?  I eat this syrup with a spoon.  Literally.  It is so fantastic you will be looking for new ways to add it to lunch and dinner, as well as snack time.

On a recent apple picking trip with my family, I was again reminded how much I love all things apple.  Rows and rows of fresh apple cider, stacks of pies, and of course, a few apple cider doughnuts for the road.  (I have a new recipe to try for apple cider doughnuts-I’ll let you know how they turn out!) I love it all!  And this syrup is one of those unexpected things that make fall so fantastic.  A few days ago I mixed equal parts apple cider syrup and real maple syrup and then glazed some roasted cornish hens with it-and I drizzled a bit of that on some baked acorn squash!  Outrageously good.  So if you make this, let me know.  I want to know what you think and if you have any new ideas for using it!  And once you make it, don’t be surprised if after a quick taste, you want to grab a spoon.  I’m right there with ya.Apple Cider Syrup from Brittany's PantryApple Cider Syrup from Brittany's Pantry Apple Cider Syrup
Inspired by Gourmet

2 c apple cider
1/2 c brown sugar
2 T butter
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil over med high heat.  Let bubble (not TOO vigorously) for about 20 minutes or until reduced and thick.  Remember, syrup will thicken as it cools.  Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
Tip: If syrup is too thick when it cools, thin it with a splash of apple cider and stir it in.