Ham and Peas Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese has got to be a top ten comfort food. I’ve made all sorts of different kinds of mac and cheese in my lifetime, and granted that it is summer time here in Wisconsin that did not stop me from making another delicious batch of mac and cheese. This time it was ham and peas mac and cheese. Ham and peas are a perfect match, and as I was digging through my freezer to purge things that I have stored for the past couple of months, I decided it was the ham that was going to get purged. This ham and peas mac and cheese is not only a great pairing, but it ended up being one great one pot meal.

Ham and Peas Mac and Cheese Recipe
Ham and Peas Mac and Cheese Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cups of cooked ham, chopped
  • 1 cup of onion, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco, optional
  • 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 slices of American cheese, optional
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 lb penne pasta, cooked until al dente

Start by adding the canola oil to a large pot, and cook on medium heat for a minute or so. Toss in the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, Tabasco, and cooked ham. Cook until the ham gets a bit crisp, and the onions cook through, about 7 minutes.

During that time, cook your pasta.

In a sauce pot, add the butter, and let it get melted on medium heat. Once melted, add the flour, and using a whisk or wooden spoon, cook the flour for a few minutes. Once the flour is a bit golden in color, this is when you want to add in your milk, continuing to stir, mixing in the roux and thickening it. Once the sauce thickens, add in the cheeses and let that melt, making the cheese sauce.

ham-peas-mac-cheese-ingredients

Drain the pasta, and add it to your ham mixture. Add in the cheese sauce, along with the frozen peas, and give it a great stir. Once everything is nicely incorporated, cover, and place into a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Remove and serve. The end result is nothing but pure comfort, and yes I did crumble goldfish on mine. That’s the type of mood I was in that day, and boy were they ever delicious.  Hope you enjoy!

Shan Noodles

I don’t know about you but there are so many times I wake up in the morning and I crave soup. I’m talking about a few in particular, and they are all Asian based soups. Soups like Khao Soi, Pho, or even Khao Poon. These are all noodle based soups, soaked in great curry based broths and they do nothing more than bring awesome comfort to your soul. I love them, and this soup in particular is right up with them. It’s called Shan Noodles, and is a riff on all of the soups mentioned above, and typically in that same region, just north of Thailand and Laos, in the Myanmar region, a hodge podge of various cultures, and when that happens, you know you are going to have some pretty awesome food. This is one of them.

Shan Noodles Recipe
Shan Noodles Recipe

This soup is basic but loaded with tons of flavor, plus it is way too simple to make. You can make this with ground pork or chicken as well, but I choose pork. Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pound of ground pork
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 5 roma tomatoes, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp Spanish paprika
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
  • 1 tbsp fried garlic, optional
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 small baby bok choy, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • Rice noodles, cooked al dente
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced, optional

Start by heating a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the canola oil, and let it come to a quick simmer. Add in the ground pork, and using a wooden spoon, continue to break up the pork (or ground chicken), and cook until browned.

Next, add in the diced onion and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way.

Next, add in the paprika, soy sauce, fish sauce, and turmeric, and stir. Cook for about a minute, then add in the grated tomato. Give this a good stir, and cook for another minute or two. Now add in the water, stir, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes.

How to make Shan Noodles
How to make Shan Noodles

During this time, heat up the chicken stock on the stove on medium heat. Add in the bok choy and let it cook until tender.

Boil water, enough to cover the amount of your rice noodles, and cook until they are al dente, about 5 minutes.

Now you are ready to serve.

Add your cooked rice noodles to your soup bowl. Generously ladle the pork mixture onto the noodles, then add broth to cover the noodles. Add the bok choy, chopped peanuts, fried garlic,and fresh cilantro. Shower with the green onions. Taste, and season with salt.

Dig in. Again, this is like most of those great Asian soups, but something about this one is really special. Sure, it could be the pork mixture, but when everything is brought together it is really, really yummy. Hope you enjoy!

Shan Noodles
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp canola oil
  • 1½ pound of ground pork
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 5 roma tomatoes, grated
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp Spanish paprika
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
  • 1 tbsp fried garlic, optional
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 small baby bok choy, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • Rice noodles, cooked al dente
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced, optional
Instructions
  1. Start by heating a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the canola oil, and let it come to a quick simmer. Add in the ground pork, and using a wooden spoon, continue to break up the pork (or ground chicken), and cook until browned.
  2. Next, add in the diced onion and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring along the way.
  3. Next, add in the paprika, soy sauce, fish sauce, and turmeric, and stir. Cook for about a minute, then add in the grated tomato. Give this a good stir, and cook for another minute or two. Now add in the water, stir, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes.
  4. Boil water, enough to cover the amount of your rice noodles, and cook until they are al dente, about 5 minutes.
  5. Now you are ready to serve.
  6. Add your cooked rice noodles to your soup bowl. Generously ladle the pork mixture onto the noodles, then add broth to cover the noodles. Add the bok choy, chopped peanuts, fried garlic,and fresh cilantro. Shower with the green onions. Taste, and season with salt.

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Browned Butter Sage Pasta

One of my kids favorite things to eat, believe it or not, (at least 2 of them) is brown butter and sage pasta with parmesan. I don’t blame them. If you have never tried this simple dish, try it, trust me, it’s delicious. I grown sage every year, primarily for that reason, but I also grow it to be used in brining chicken and turkey. Lord help us it’s almost Thanksgiving!

With our farmer’s market winding down, I decided to pick up a handful of squash. In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of squash, but I think my wife is and hence why I buy the stuff, plus I have no problem supporting the farmers. No problem at all. So as I picked up some acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash, I decided to come up with a riff on the favorite browned butter and sage pasta with butternut squash. Did my wife love it? YES.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Browned Butter Recipe
Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Browned Butter Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of your favorite pasta, cooked just before al dente (I used a thin linguine)
  • 1 whole butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cubed
  • generous pinch of salt and pepper
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • cherry tomatoes, quartered, optional
  • pinch of red chili flakes, optional
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Add the cubed butternut squash to a baking dish, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for 30 minutes until fork tender, and let cool.

Cook your pasta just before al dente, drain and set to the side.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Browned Butter Sage Pasta Ingredients
Roasted Butternut Squash and Browned Butter Sage Pasta Ingredients

Heat a large skillet on medium heat, and then add in the butter. Let the butter sizzle and bubble and get a light brown, then add in the pasta and squash. Gently toss, and cook for a minute or two.

Add in the sage, chili flakes, and parmesan cheese, and give another good toss. Cook for a few more minutes until the cheese slightly melts, then serve. Add a few cherry tomato slices to cut through some of those flavors, if you desire. Hint: I’m trying to use up my garden.

The end result is everything I love about some of the things I grow in the garden. The brown butter and sage are awesome, and then you throw in that wonderful roasted squash, and there you go. You have an awesome meatless meal that is comforting, filling, and super delicious. Hope you enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash and Browned Butter Sage Pasta
Author: 
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb of your favorite pasta, cooked just before al dente (I used a thin linguine)
  • 1 whole butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cubed
  • generous pinch of salt and pepper
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • cherry tomatoes, quartered, optional
  • pinch of red chili flakes, optional
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Add the cubed butternut squash to a baking dish, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes until fork tender, and let cool.
  3. Cook your pasta just before al dente, drain and set to the side.
  4. Heat a large skillet on medium heat, and then add in the butter. Let the butter sizzle and bubble and get a light brown, then add in the pasta and squash. Gently toss, and cook for a minute or two.
  5. Add in the sage, chili flakes, and parmesan cheese, and give another good toss. Cook for a few more minutes until the cheese slightly melts, then serve. Add a few cherry tomato slices to cut through some of those flavors, if you desire.

 

Crab Mac and Cheese

This past weekend was one of relaxation. We normally do not get these with the three kids having some sort of schedule, but my son had a sleepover, and my wife had pretty much came out and said ‘I don’t want to do much this weekend’. I’m game with that. Always.  With that said, I decided I would make a nice meal for the family, a ‘surf and turf’ if you will. There were some ribeye’s on sale, so I picked up a couple as my boys are totally into seared steaks, and they are all now fans of shrimp, or any shellfish for that matter. I picked up some shrimp, and that’s when it occurred to me that I had some crab meat that I forgot to use about a week ago. As I was wanting a side dish to serve, that’s when the light came on and I decided to make a crab mac and cheese.

Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe

I’ve really been thinking of lobster mac and cheese lately, but I figured this would tie me over, plus I was interested in the outcome. The outcome was really good.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz half and half
  • 1/2 lb Cellentani pasta, cooked al dente
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz crab meat
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 slices of cheddar cheese, cut into pieces
  • 4 slices of American cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

Start by melting your butter on medium-high heat. Once melted, add in the shallots and garlic, and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring along the way.

Preheat your broiler to 425 degrees.

Next add in the half and half, and stir. Add in the crab meat, and continue to stir. Once the sauce comes to a simmer, add in the cheeses and let them melt. Once melted, add in the cooked bacon, and the cooked pasta. Stir, and cook until the sauce thickens and completely coats the pasta.

How to make crab mac and cheese

Remove and place into a baking dish. Top with the panko bread crumbs, and place under the broiler until they get nice and golden brown. Remove, and serve.

First off you get everything you love in a creamy mac and cheese, and as I typically use flour when making my cheese sauce, this one was perfect and held up great with my curly pasta. When taking a bite, you get this awesome seafood flavor, and one that you would not expect at first glance, but then you get the great smokiness of the bacon, along with the texture from the bread crumbs. This was a real winner, and one that paired perfectly with the ribeye steaks.

Crab Mac and Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dishes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 16 oz half and half
  • ½ lb Cellentani pasta, cooked al dente
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz crab meat
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 4 slices of cheddar cheese, cut into pieces
  • 4 slices of American cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
Instructions
  1. Start by melting your butter on medium-high heat. Once melted, add in the shallots and garlic, and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring along the way.
  2. Preheat your broiler to 425 degrees.
  3. Next add in the half and half, and stir. Add in the crab meat, and continue to stir. Once the sauce comes to a simmer, add in the cheeses and let them melt. Once melted, add in the cooked bacon, and the cooked pasta. Stir, and cook until the sauce thickens and completely coats the pasta.
  4. Remove and place into a baking dish. Top with the panko bread crumbs, and place under the broiler until they get nice and golden brown. Remove, and serve.