Saturday, September 10, 2011

Macaroni and Cheese Carbonara

-Before the oven-

For Thanksgiving I thought I would try a new mac and cheese dish and when I received my foodnetwork magazine in the mail,  I seen this recipe and although it was a spendy dish to make (I hear this all the time from my hubby when I even mention making mac and cheese now! *wink*) I had to do it and everyone loved it!

Below you will find the recipe (says it serves four but I served 8 with the extra cheese) and a photo of Bobby Flays dish.

4 servings


  • Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1-inch-thick slice pancetta, cut into small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 cups whole milk, or more if needed, hot
  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly whisked
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) grated asiago cheese, plus more for the top
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Irish white cheddar cheese, plus more for the top
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated American cheddar cheese, plus more for the top
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated aged fontina cheese, plus more for the top
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for the top
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked just under al dente
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-by-10-by-2-inch baking dish and set it aside.
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
Add the garlic to the fat in the pan and cook until lightly golden brown, 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk, raise the heat to high and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 3 to about 5 minutes. Whisk in the eggs until incorporated and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the thyme, cayenne and all the different cheeses until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper. If the mixture appears too thick, add additional warm milk, 1/4 cup at a time.
Put the cooked macaroni in a large bowl, add the cheese sauce, reserved pancetta, and the parsley, and stir until combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Combine an additional 1/4 cup each asiago, cheddars, fontina and parmesan in a bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top. Bake until the dish is heated through and the top is a light golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Oreo Cookies

Well, yesterday I tried these fantastic cookies that I found on PenandPaperFlowers blog (love her ideas!). Actually I belong to her group on facebook and she brought up a conversation on these cookies, so I thought I would try them out and I am glad I did, they are great!!!
A BIG hit here at home and I love the way they turned out. So small (bite size) and cute. Many possibilities with these cute little things for any event!
The first batch I did, I did with coloring the frosting a bit with red (which turned out pink but loved how the brown and pink came out which would be cute for a girls baby shower *wink*). Then rolled it in some chocolate sprinkles. Some I left plain for my picky eaters who don't like too much sweets.
Then I did a batch just the same but instead of using the vanilla extract as it called for I used peppermint extract and crushed up some peppermint candies and rolled them in that! Great for Christmas! *wink* So the possibilities are endless I am sure.
I did a few bigger than the others but I would say my favorite are the mini size (about an inch) which are great for snacks. I also am freezing these for special events that happen often here at my home unexpected. *wink*
Thank you for the great recipe PenandPaperFlowers blog! All credit goes to you!!!

What you'll need:

Cookie Ingredients
1 package of devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil

Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients
1/2 cup butter (softened)
8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
3-4 cups confectioner's sugar (eye this as you will see the thickness you like)
1 tsp. vanilla

Alternative Vanilla Cream Filling Ingredients (I haven't tried this one yet but it was on the blog)
1/4 cup room-temp, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2-3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cookie Instructions
Heat oven to 350°.
Add oil and eggs to cake mix and blend together. (I used my Kitchen Aid mixer with a paddle)
Roll dough into 1/2" balls for mini oreos. (1" for oreo-sized cookies up to 2 1/2" for jumbo size). *Messy but worth it!*
Place on cookie sheet and bake for 8 minutes. (I didn't grease my sheets)
Remove from oven and let cool for 1 min.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Filling Instructions
Cream butter.
Add cream cheese and mix well.
Add vanilla, stirring until well blended.
Slowly add confectioner's sugar until desired consistency is reached. (I used 3 1/2 cups)

Alternative Vanilla Cream Filling Instructions
Cream butter and shortening together.
Add vanilla extract and confectioner's sugar slowly - until desired consistency is reached.

Assembling the cookies:
Fill pastry bag or gallon size ziploc bag with filling. (I used a butter knife to spread on)
Sandwich two cookies together by squeezing 1 tsp. (or so) of the filling onto the center of one cookie.
Add the 2nd cookie on top.
Lightly press the two cookies together to help the filling spread evenly to the sides of the cookie without spilling over the edges. (unless you prefer it). *I also did a twist when I was pressing them down to secure better*

You can either serve them as-is or freeze them for a frozen treat.
You can also make-ahead, freeze and bring to room temperature on the day of your event/party.

All this is posted on PenandPaperFlowers blog.