Monday, September 17, 2012

Game Day Recipes: Spicy Mac 'n Cheese Cups

Every Sunday in the Fall, you can find me sitting on the couch with my Terrible Towel watching the Steelers play.  I am a Pittsburgh girl and I love football.  And you can't have a game day without some snacks!  So I know I am a bit late as this past weekend was already week 2, but I am going to be sharing my favorite Game Day Recipes with you each week.  

This weekend, the hubby had just gotten back from a work trip and Saturday was spent finishing up the kitchen.  Sunday rolled around and he was run down and not feeling too great.  He loves Kraft Mac 'n Cheese.  And I hate it.  I mean... I don't even think it tastes good, and it certainly is not good for you!  It's kind of a joke around here, but anytime I am away he likes to make it.  Because he knows when I am around I won't make it for him.  

So when I was in the kitchen putting together these Spicy Mac 'n Cheese Cups, he yelled into the kitchen "Smells like Kraft dinner!".  At that point I was just boiling the noodles, so it probably did smell like that.  I just yelled back to him "You're right!"  He obviously thought I was joking, so when he came into the kitchen to see the making of Mac 'n Cheese on the counter, he was very pleased.  :-)   Ahhh... I love being a wife!

Spicy Mac 'n Cheese Cups
makes 20-24 mini cups

  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 4 1/2 oz. cheese, shredded, I used Colby Jack but use whatever kind you like!
  • 1 oz. butter
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • dash of pepper
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • Italian bread crumbs for the top
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook the macaroni according to the directions, drain and set aside.
  3. In pot you used to cook the macaroni, melt butter and whisk in the flour.  Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the milk and continue to whisk until it bubbles and thickens.
  5. Stir in cheese until it is completely melted.
  6. Add a dash of pepper and hot sauce to taste.  I just kept adding the hot sauce and tasting the cheese sauce until it was as spicy as I wanted.  Use as little or as much as you like!
  7. Add the macaroni back into the cheese sauce and stir until combined.
  8. Spray mini cupcake pan.  Fill each hole with the macaroni. 
  9. Top with bread crumbs.
  10. Bake in the oven approximately 15-20 minutes until everything is nicely browned and bubbly.  
  11. Let cool for a couple minutes, and use an offset spatula to remove from pan.  
  12. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Good thing the Steelers won this week, because now I am one happy girl!!  Can't wait for next Sunday!  :-)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Squares

For the past few weeks, we have been renovating the kitchen... ourselves.  Thankfully, with the help of some others, we are almost done!!  Just the backsplash left to go, but I have been able to use the kitchen since Monday now.  Ahh... living with no kitchen is not fun!  I normally love a little Wendy's or other fast food here and there, but when you have to get takeout twice a day for almost 2 weeks, it's no fun.  By the end, we were both crabby and ready to be done.  I'm sure most of it was that we had already done a ton of work and just wanted it to be over, but also we were putting such junk food into our bodies and it was making us feel sick.  

I have not been baking for probably more than 2 weeks, so it was nice to get back into the kitchen again.  When I had to stop baking, it was still summer and everyone on the blogs and Facebook were still in summer mode.  Now that has all changed... it's now Halloween!  Now, I am not quite ready for Halloween, but I do LOVE when Fall starts.  Nothing says Fall to me quite like pumpkin does!  So that's exactly what I wanted to make.  

Here is Canada, Thanksgiving is just a couple weeks away now, so the stores already have pumpkins.  I just got a little pumpkin because I was in a rush, but I plan on going back to get some more.  Oh, the hubby will be so excited!

But for now... I made the most delicious Pumpkin Cream Cheese Squares last night!  Oh. my. gosh.  These squares are so moist and tasty.  I found this recipe from How To: Simplify and changed it up a bit and the results were amazing.   Instead of putting frosting on top, I swirled the cream cheese into the cake!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Squares

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • pinch cloves
  • pinch ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin. 
  3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and salt to wet mixture and stir until combined.  Set aside.
  4. In medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, egg yolk, vanilla and sugar together until smooth.  
  5. Pour the pumpkin batter into the dish and smooth the top.  
  6. Drop dollops of cream cheese mixture on top of pumpkin batter.  Using a knife, swirl the cream cheese mixture into the pumpkin batter.  Be careful not to overmix, as then you would not see the cream cheese swirl.  
  7. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  
  8. Enjoy warm or at room temperature!

I love all things pumpkin... cake, scones, pancakes, dips and more!  My dog Bailey even likes pumpkin!  She was sick awhile back, and we read online that pumpkin is gentle on dog's stomachs so she was eating pumpkin and rice for a couple days and loved it!  So when I was cleaning up from making this, she was laying at my feet and I gave her a little pumpkin and she was a very happy dog!  

What do you like to make with pumpkin?!