Thursday, November 18, 2010


The other day i decided (for the millionth time, maybe) that I miss living close to Ikea. They have cute toys, adorable kitchen gadgets, and wonderful (and cheap!) food. We like the Swedish meatballs with Lingonberry sauce.

So I decided to try an easy Swedish meatballs recipe. Pretty sure it's not even close to authentic Swedish meatballs, or the ones at Ikea. But it's been so long since we've eaten at Ikea, so we couldn't tell. We did like it though, so that works for me!

This is the recipe I used, except I bought frozen meatballs. The sauce is very creamy, and super easy!
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/4 pound Jimmy Dean sausage (or favorite ground sausage)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • .
  • Sauce:
  • 2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce
  • 1/4 cup milk

Mix all ingredients together for the meat mixture. DO NOT OVER MIX! Roll into small balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake 45 minutes or until browned. In a medium bowl mix sauce ingredients together. Place meatballs in a skillet or crock pot. Simmer for 45 minutes. May be used as main dish served over rice or noodles or as an appetizer served with toothpicks.

Also, big surprise, Cameron Walmart doesn't sell Lingonberries! So I made some easy cranberry sauce (used the lingonberry sauce recipe, but it's just the same as cranberry sauce), which added just the perfect sweet compliment to the creamy sauce.

Overall, even if this isn't the "real deal" we like it. Yum!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese- extra cheese, please!

Several months ago Andy and I took the boys to Cracker Barrel for lunch. And big surprise Avery didn't eat all his food, which included some delicious mac and cheese.

And so the search began. Andy has never really liked the mac and cheese recipes I've tried...too dry, too bland...blah blah.

As is the recipe is good, but we've made minor changes to make it acceptable to be a keeper in our house. In the end I've ended up with the happiest husband when I double the cheese sauce recipe, so it stays nice and moist after baking, and it's still plenty moist as left overs.

Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese (6 servings) (my changes are in red)


    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth (I made my own with bullion and water, for a more flavorful batch add double the bullion to the 1 cup of water)
    • 1/2 cup cream
    • 2 1/2 cups shredded colby cheese (I've used colby, I've also just done cheddar. both are good)
    • 2 1/2 cups uncooked pasta
    • 1 teaspoon salt 
    • 1 cup bread crumbs, give or take


  1. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat; add the flour a little bit at a time whilst whisking to make a roux. (if you don't know what a roux is, read this)
  2. Heat the broth.
  3. Next, add the broth to the roux, and stir with the whisk; this will thicken as it heats.
  4. Add a little cream, watching for the desired consistency. (desired consistency is...really whenever you feel like being done. IT should be thicker than water, but it doesn't have to be very thick)
  5. Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a separate pot; add salt and pasta.
  6. In the other pot, add shredded cheese a 1/4 of a cup at a time whilst (I like that this recipe has the word whilst, people should use that more) stirring with a spoon. When you have about one cup of cheese in you can add the rest of the cheese.
  7. Cook the pasta until al dente; strain and combine with the cheese sauce.
  8. Pour the mix into a casserole (cover with bread crumbs) and bake uncovered in a preheated oven set to 350°F for about 10 minutes.
  9. Keep an eye on the mac & cheese, you want it to brown around the edges and in patches on top.
  10. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
So, try it the original way and make your own adjustments, try it my way or not at all. 
I haven't been back to Cracker Barrel since making this maybe we're WAY off, but the way I make it works for us. And whether it's like Cracker Barrel mac and cheese or not, we definitely have CB to thank for our new favorite Mac and Cheese recipe! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Macaroni and Cheese Caruso!

This was the most delicious Mac and Cheese I have had in a long time!
A flavorful macaroni and cheese casserole with chicken, bacon, and peas.

Click on image to enlarge.

The original ingredients are in black. What I did will be in purple.


4 cups chicken broth ~~~ I used 3 cans of the Swanson brand chicken broth
2 slices bacon, cut up ~~~ I cut about 3” off the package of bacon and then cut it up
1/3 cup finely chopped onion ~~~ I really like onions so I used about 3/4 cup
2 cups shredded American cheese ~~~ I used about 3-4 cups
1 package frozen green peas, cooked and drained, (10 oz) ~~~ I did not use this ingredient. Mostly because I don't like peas
3 tablespoons sherry ~~~ As a substitute I used 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
8 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked ~~~ I wanted to use a different pasta so I used one box of Ziti
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper ~~~ I used about 1/2 cup of orange peppers
2 cups cooked chicken, cut up ~~~ Unseasoned
1/4 cup chopped pimiento ~~~ I did not have this ingredient. It tasted great without it though!


In a saucepan, heat chicken broth to boiling. Add macaroni. Cook 10 minutes or until tender; do not drain. In a large skillet, cook the chicken add uncooked bacon and fry bacon until crisp; add green or orange pepper and onion. Cook and stir until onion is tender. No need to drain, the chicken will absorb the juices. Stir into macaroni-broth mixture, add remaining ingredients. Heat through. Serve with freshly diced tomatoes and fresh parsley!
Serves 6 to 8.

This was so good, the kids even ate it! If you decide to make this come back and leave me a comment with your opinion! Enjoy!

Origins Of Macaroni and Cheese!

This week we have decided to feature some fun, simple and of course gloriously yummy recipes for Macaroni and Cheese!

While searching the internet for unique recipes I stumbled upon an article on the origins of Mac and Cheese. The earliest findings of macaroni and cheese are from the thirteenth century for a dish known as de lesanis. It was lasagne sheets made from fermented dough, cut into 2" squares, cooked in water and then tossed with parmesan. To me that does not sound very appetizing. I'll just stick with the box of Kraft Mac and Cheese. According to other articles the American version was brought back from Italy by Thomas Jefferson whose daughter is credited with creating the first dish using Macaroni and parmesan cheese.

However it was made, it was a genius dish indeed!

Enjoy the recipes!
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