Nigella’s One-Pan Chicken

This week’s I Heart Cooking Clubs theme is Family Favorites a la Nigella Lawson.  My husband and I love roasted chicken and potatoes, so as soon as I spied her recipe for One-Pan Chicken on the Food Network website, I knew I had to try it.  This was delicious!  I love how the juices from the chicken flavors the vegetables below.  I added herbs de Provence for a little extra flavor, but I’m sure it would be delicious without.  I can guarantee this dish has become a family favorite in this house.

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Nigella’s One-Pan Chicken (Courtesy of Nigella and Food Network)

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 1 (3 1/2 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 1/4 pounds new potatoes cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 medium red onions, cut into segments
  • 16 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 3 red peppers, seeded and quartered
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 c chopped parsley leaves (I left this out, but I’m sure it would be great with it added.)
  • Herbs de Provence

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Get 2 baking dishes and pour in some olive oil to coat. Arrange the pieces of chicken, the potatoes, onions, garlic cloves, and peppers on them. (If you want to use 3 dishes and have got the room, do; the less packed everything is, the crispier the potatoes will be.)  Sprinkle both dishes with herbs de Provence.  Then drizzle some more oil over, making sure everything’s glossy and well slicked (but not dripping), sprinkle with the salt, and bake for about 45 minutes.
  3. When done (and test all the component parts), strew over the parsley and – I always do this – serve straight from the baking dishes.
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Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 3:17 pm  Comments (21)  

Pigs in Blankets

I Heart Cooking Clubs is the creation of three of my favorite food bloggers:  Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies, Deb of Kahakai Kitchen, and Heather of girlichef.  These ladies make some totally awesome creations…visit their blogs to bask in the deliciousness.  The premise of the club is to make a chef or cook’s recipe according to a weekly theme.  The club is currently cooking the creations of the Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson, and the current theme is Party Treats.  I love Nigella!  She makes such homey, delicious food that’s easily accessible to everyone.  Now, there are tons of fun, original treats you can make for parties.  However, given my unrefined tastes and after seeing Nigella’s recipe on the Food Network website for Pigs in Blankets, I was all over them.  Nigella’s dough was a little different than what I’m used to when making pigs in the blanket…it was sort of biscuit-like.  It was a bit sticky, so I had to add a little more flour than the recipe called for.  Also, I didn’t have whole milk, so I used some fat free half and half, and I added a bit more cheese to the dough.  They were delicious!  I look forward to next week’s theme!

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Pigs in Blankets (Courtesy of Nigella Lawson)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plus 5+ tablespoons self-rising flour (depending on the texture of your dough, you may need a bit more)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons grated sharp Cheddar
  • 1 cup fat free half and half
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 package of cocktail sausages (I used Lit’l Smokies)

For glazing:

  • 1 egg, mixed with a splash milk and 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions (Taken directly from the Food Network website…don’t you love how she describes the whole process?)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Measure 2 cups of flour into a bowl, add the salt and grated cheese and mix lightly with a fork. Pour the milk into a measuring cup to come up to 1-cup mark and then crack in the egg and add the oil. Beat to combine, then pour into the dry ingredients, forking to mix as you go. You may, at the end, feel the dough’s either too dry or too damp: add either more milk or more flour and fork together again until you’ve got a soft dough that’s not too sticky to be rolled out.
  3. Break the dough into 2 pieces and roll 1 piece on a lightly floured surface. Scone dough is a dream to work with; in fact, I find it deeply pleasurable. Just roll as clumsily and heavy handedly as you like: no harm will come to it. You want a thin, but not exaggeratedly so, rectangle. A square wouldn’t be the end of the world either, so don’t start getting out the geometry set: this is the roughest of instructions.
  4. Cut the dough into approximately 1 3/4-inch strips, and then cut each strip at approximately 2 1/2-inch intervals so that you end up with a collection of small, raggedy oblongs (I just cut each strip as I go, but it’s probably more efficient to do the whole batch of dough at 1 time).
  5. Take a cocktail sausage and put it at 1 end of an oblong at a slight diagonal and then roll up, pressing on the infinitely compliant dough to squeeze it shut, and then place on a nonstick baking sheet, or 1 lined with parchment. Carry on until you’ve finished all your strips and then get to work with the remaining dough. Three baking sheets should do it.
  6. Now, dip a pastry brush into the beaten egg mixture and paint on the pastry for a golden glaze. Put in the oven and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, by which time they should be puffy and burnished. Remove from the oven and let cool a little before giving them to the children.

Published in: on September 19, 2009 at 8:13 pm  Comments (17)  

A Blogger Buddy’s Recipe and an Award

Earlier this year, my blogger buddy, Cassie, from Foodie with Little Thyme! (Visit her blog ASAP….she makes awesome food!) posted a recipe from a 1974 Southern Living Cookbook here.  The recipe was titled “Husband’s Delight,” which cracked me up.  She wasn’t too impressed by the dish due to the abundance of noodles and cheese, but her kids sure liked it!  Now, I haven’t met a dish with noodles and cheese I didn’t like, so I figured I’d give the recipe a go.  Although admittedly unrefined, I ended up liking it :).  My husband thought it was good, too, so that makes it a winner at this house.  I did change the ingredients a bit from the original by using ground turkey instead of beef, increasing the amount of shredded cheese, and using cream cheese with onions and chives.

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Husband’s Delight (Courtesy of Southern Living and Foodie with Little Thyme!)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 8 oz tub cream cheese with onions and chives, softened
  • 2 c sour cream
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 8oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • Dash pepper
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 5oz packages of noodles
  • 4 c shredded cheese (yes, I like cheese a little too much)

Directions

  1. In bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream and onions.
  2. Brown meat in butter.  Add tomato sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  4. In 2-quart casserole dish, alternate layers of noodles, beef mixture and sour cream mixture.
  5. Top with shredded cheese and bake at 350° until brown.

I was also the recipient of the Meme Award from Cassie.  Yea!  Awards!  Thanks, Cassie!  Now, for 7 things about me…hmmm.  I’m pretty boring but here goes:

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  1. I procrastinate….a lot.  I put things off until the last minute all the time.  Why?  Dunno.  I’d make life a whole lot easier if I didn’t!
  2. My husband and I both have a wicked, warped sense of humor and are pretty good at finding something funny to say at all times.  It’s never boring at my house.
  3. I’m a total klutz.  I’ve had so many mishaps I’ve lost count.  My husband makes fun of me about it all the time.  Guess that’s one reason why I suck at organized sports.
  4. Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love the cooler weather and all the changing colors.  Well, and I love Halloween.  Candy corn mmmmm.
  5. I have natural colored red hair.  I got made fun of a lot as a kid, but it’s fashionable as an adult.
  6. I love Snoopy and Peanuts.  Guess I’m just a kid at heart. he he he
  7. I’m fascinated by the UK and would love to travel there someday.  I love me some BBC America!  And, they have some great cooking magazines and shows.
Published in: on September 16, 2009 at 5:45 pm  Comments (8)  

Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu

Yep, I’m still alive.  I’ve been working a ton of overtime at my new job the past few months and haven’t been particularly motivated to do any hard-core cooking.  Things are finally starting to settle down, so I’m looking forward to getting back to the kitchen!  I made this a while back.  Definitely not gourmet fare, but it was easy and delicious!

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Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu (Courtesy of All Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 c milk
  • 4 ounces cubed ham
  • 12 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 (8 ounce) package herbed dry bread stuffing mix
  • 1/4 c butter, melted

Directions

  1. Mix together the cream of chicken soup and milk in a small bowl. Pour enough of the soup into a slow cooker to cover the bottom.
  2. Layer chicken breasts over the sauce. Cover with the cubed ham and 8 ounces of the Swiss cheese. Pour the remaining soup over the layers, stirring a little to distribute between layers.
  3. Sprinkle the stuffing on top, and drizzle butter over stuffing.
  4. Cover and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours or 2 to 3 hours on High.  Cover with the remaining 4 ounces of Swiss cheese in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Published in: on September 6, 2009 at 4:42 pm  Comments (13)  

June 2009 Daring Bakers’ Challenge – Bakewell Tart

The June Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart… er… pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800’s in England.

Here’s a bit of information regarding the tart and the challenge hosts’ take on whether or not it’s a tart or a pudding:

Bakewell tarts are a classic English dessert, abounding in supermarket baking sections and in ready-made, mass-produced forms, some sporting a thick sugary icing and glazed cherry on top for decorative effect.

Is it a tart or is it a pudding?  Someone once said something like “The Bakewell pudding is a dessert. The Bakewell tart is that girl over there.”

It’s a debate that rages on and we aren’t taking sides on this one. But we will say that many people call this pudding a tart.

While we’re at it…
The etymology of pudding is a rather interesting and slightly convoluted one. The naming confusion may come from the British manner of referring to the dessert course as ‘pudding’ (as well as referring to fat babies by the same name, though we don’t think that is what was the inspiration in this case). And so any dessert is a pudding until another name comes along and adds clarity to what it really is.

Well, I’m calling it a tart so there.  I’m getting this baby done just under the wire.  Eek!  Making this challenge is a first for me.  I’d never heard of Bakewell Tart before, but after reading the recipe, I was excited to try it.  I’d never made pastry crust before either (lame, I know), but it came together much easier than I anticipated.  I cheated and used a locally-made strawberry jam instead of making my own.  The end result was delicious, and I had a lot of fun making this challenge!  Thanks to Jasmine and Annemarie for hosting!  Please visit the the Daring Bakers’ Blogroll and The Daring Kitchen to view other Bakers’ creations.

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Bakewell Tart

One quantity sweet shortcrust pastry (recipe follows)
Bench flour
250ml (1cup (8 US fl. oz)) jam or curd, warmed for spreadability
One quantity frangipane (recipe follows)
One handful blanched, flaked almonds

Assembling the tart
Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it’s overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, transfer it to the tart pan, press in and trim the excess dough. Patch any holes, fissures or tears with trimmed bits. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Remove shell from freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 30 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking.

The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.

When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Sweet shortcrust pastry

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) all purpose flour
30g (1oz) sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
110g (4oz) unsalted butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) egg yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) cold water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.

Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.

Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Frangipane

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula

125g (4.5oz) unsalted butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) icing sugar
3 (3) eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) almond extract
125g (4.5oz) ground almonds
30g (1oz) all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the ground nuts and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow colour.

Published in: on June 27, 2009 at 9:37 pm  Comments (19)  

June 2009 Daring Cooks’ Challenge – Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

Ok, I’m waaaaay freaking late on posting my creation.  I’ve been fried due to my new job and finally found the time to make these this last weekend.  This month’s challenge was hosted by Jen of use real butter.  She chose Chinese Dumplings or Potstickers as the challenge.  While I’ve eaten these before, I’ve never attempted to make them.  These took a while to make due to having to roll out the dough, but they were relatively easy to make.  I ended up frying them instead of steaming them and used a purchased dipping sauce.  The end result was delicious!  I might make these again if I have the time, but they were time-consuming, so I don’t see myself doing it anytime soon.  Thanks, Jen, for hosting this month’s challenge!

Here they are right after I formed them:

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They didn’t look too bad.

And here’s the end result:

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Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

Ingredients

pork filling:

 

  • 1 lb (450g) ground pork
  • 4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
  • 3 stalks green onions, minced
  • 7 shitake mushrooms, minced (if dried – rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
  • 1/2 cup (75g) bamboo shoots, minced
  • 1/4 (55g) cup ginger root, minced
  • 3 tbsp (40g) soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp (28g) sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp (16g) corn starch

dough: (double this for the amount of filling, but easier to make it in 2 batches – or just halve the filling recipe)

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (113g) warm water
  • flour for work surface

Directions

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to a day, but preferably within an hour or two).

Make the dough: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).

Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking – about 1/16th inch. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side.  Keep all unused dough under damp cloth.

To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

Published in: on June 25, 2009 at 5:19 pm  Comments (9)  

Product Review – Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce

A while back, Al Malekovic, from Country Bob’s asked me if I’d like to test their All Purpose Sauce and put my thoughts about it on my blog.  I’d never tried the sauce before, so I was totally game!  Along with the sauce, they included some recipe brochures.  I made the Corn Pone Pie minus the cornbread topping and substituted pasta instead.  I’m sure it would have been good with it, but I wasn’t feelin’ it that day.  The sauce is good!  It tastes sort of like a sweeter version of A-1 Sauce.  I plan to include it in my rotation of condiments.  Please visit Country Bob’s website for more product information and recipes.

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Corn Pone Pie (Sort of…courtesy of Country Bob’s)

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz pkg elbow macaroni
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/3 c onion
  • 1 c stewed tomatoes
  • 1 c Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 (16 oz) can kidney beans
  • 1 (15.25) can corn, drained
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

1.  Cook the pasta according to directions.  Set aside.

2.  Brown the ground turkey.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.

3.  Stir in the tomatoes, Sauce, chili powder, and salt.  Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.

4.  Discard about half the bean liquid; stir in the beans and remaining liquid and the corn into the turkey mixture.  Add the cooked pasta.  Cook until heated through.

5.  Serve topped with shredded cheddar cheese.

Published in: on June 25, 2009 at 4:51 pm  Comments (1)  

Monster Cookies

I’ve been lax with respect to blogging lately because I’ve just started a new job, and I’m trying to get used to my new, really early hours.  I did find time to make these cookies, though!  Although it’s hard to choose a favorite cookie given my addiction to anything sweet, these are probably my favorite.  I love the overload of stuff in them.  They’re pretty much guaranteed to make your ass expand.

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Monster Cookies (Adapted from Betty Crocker)

Ingredients

  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • ½ c butter or margarine, softened
  • ½ c butter-flavor or regular shortening
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ c old-fashioned oats
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 2 c M&Ms
  • 1 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c peanuts
  • ¾ c raisins

Directions

1.  Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat sugars, peanut butter, butter, shortening, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in oats. Stir in flour, baking powder and baking soda thoroughly. Stir in candies, peanuts and raisins.

2.  On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by slightly less than 1/4 cupfuls about 2 inches apart. Flatten to 3/4-inch thickness with bottom of glass.

3.  Bake 12 to 14 minutes or just until cookies are set and begin to brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

Published in: on June 13, 2009 at 5:07 pm  Comments (3)  

Cheesy Corn Spoon Bread

I made barbecue chicken today and thought this would be the perfect accompaniment.  Plus, I have an overabundance of cream corn to use up because my husband accidentally bought a case of it thinking it was regular corn, and he doesn’t like it by itself.  I found this recipe on Kittencal’s Kitchen.  She makes some pretty great stuff, so I go to her website often for recipes.  This spoon bread was really good.  The recipe originally included jalapeno.  I left it out as my hubby doesn’t like anything hot, but I’m sure it would be great with it.

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Cheesy Corn Spoon Bread (Adapted from Kittencal’s Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 c sour cream (one 16-ounce container)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn kernels, drained
  • 1 (14-3/4 ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8-1/2 ounce) package corn bread/muffin mix
  • 1/2 t seasoned salt
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 c shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 3-quart casserole dish.

2.  In a small skillet heat butter over medium-high heat.  Add in onion; saute until softened (about 3-4 minutes).  Add in garlic and saute for 2 minutes; set aside.

3.  In a bowl beat eggs for about 2 minutes.  Mix in sour cream, corn kernels and cream-style corn until blended.  Using a wooden spoon stir/mix in the corn bread/muffin mix and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Fold in onion/garlic mixture and 2 cups cheddar cheese.  Season with fresh ground black pepper (use as much black pepper as you like).  Transfer to casserole dish.

4.  Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Immediate sprinkle 1 cup cheddar cheese on top and allow to melt.

Published in: on May 31, 2009 at 7:02 pm  Comments (10)  

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Another of my favorite food magazines is Cook’s Country.  It’s a spin off of another great magazine, Cook’s Illustrated.  Cook’s Country is full of great recipes and helpful hints.  I found this recipe in the April/May 2009 edition.  It was a make-ahead recipe meant to be frozen and baked later, but I made and served it immediately.  It was delicious!  The garlic-flavored bread crumbs were a great addition.

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Creamy Macaroni and Cheese (Courtesy of Cook’s Country)

Ingredients

  • 4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
  • 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 T unsalted butter, melted
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 6 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 t dry mustard
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • 4 1/2 c low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 4 c shredded colby cheese
  • 2 c shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

2.  Pulse bread, parmesan, garlic, and 2 T butter in food processor until coarsely ground.  Set aside.

3.  Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.

4.  Heat remaining butter, flour, mustard, and cayenne in pot over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.  Slowly whisk in broth and cream and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.  Off heat, whisk in colby, cheddar, 1 t salt, and 1/2 t pepper until smooth.

5.  Combine the macaroni with the sauce.  Divide the mixture between two greased 8 inch baking dishes.  Divide the crumb topping in half and sprinkle on top of the two dishes.

6.  Bake about 30 to 40 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown.  Let cool 10 minutes.

Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 7:17 pm  Comments (5)