Lobster Mac and Cheese

I think I have strep throat. It feels like there is a grapefruit sized lump in there that is making it impossible to swallow. The sickness isn’t the only thing making me feel crumby. I have left over Lobster Mac and Cheese in my fridge and I can’t eat it! I’m sure Chris and Callum don’t mind. They love it just as much as I do.

Lobster Mac and Cheese is a fall/winter staple in our house. It’s decadent, rich and flavourful but also easy to make. In the time it takes to cook your pasta you can make your cheese sauce. The bread crumb and butter topping adds a nice crunch and an extra bit of rich flavour. The best part is that there are always left overs so you can eat it for days.

Lobster Mac and Cheese- Serves 6

lobster

1/2 lb penne

2 cups whole milk

4 table spoons butter divided

1/4 cup flour

2 cups (6 oz) grated gruyere cheese

1 cups (4 oz) grated sharp cheddar

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 lb lobster meat cut into chunks

1 cup bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Cook pasta to al dente

3. While pasta is cooking heat the milk in a microwavable container or warm in a small sauce pan on the stove. Do not boil

4. In a large sauce pan melt 3 tbsp. of butter. Add in the flour and cook, whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes.

5. Whisk in the hot milk and add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook until thick. You will know it is ready when it clings to the back of a spoon.

6. Add cheese and whisk until completely melted.

IMG_1358

7. Add pasta and lobster to the sauce. Stir to combine. Pour into a casserole dish

8. Mix remaining melted butter with the bread crumbs and sprinkle over top of the Mac and Cheese

9. Cook at 375 for 30 minutes

This recipe can be doubled. I have doubled it several times and always turns out amazing

 

lob

Cheesy deliciousness! I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do.

Holiday hangover

I am so tired. I slept better last night than I have in a while and yet I am totally exhausted. I have a holiday hangover and it was not caused by too much alcohol. It was caused by too much food!

This past weekend was very busy.

Saturday we attended a wedding that was held at the Sterling Inn and Spa in Niagara Falls. It’s a gem that is tucked away off Lundy’s Lane. The food and service were excellent and the Inn is gorgeous.

banquet-room

 

 

The ceremony was one of the best I have ever been to. The two grooms were overcome with emotion several times. There was laughter and there were tears, and  a whole lotta love.

Sunday was Chris’ birthday. I was up at the crack of dawn making pumpkin scones. My mother in law Clare gave me the recipe years ago. They are so good! Better than Starbucks!

They are incredibly easy to make too.

scones

PUMPKIN SCONES – Serves 8

3 cups of all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup sugar

5 tsp baking powder

1 tsp pumpkin spice ( I use 2 because I like the extra spice)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup pumpkin pie filling

1/2 cup sour cream

1 egg

Combine all ingredients with a fork. Your dough will be wet but it shouldn’t stick to your hands.

Turn it out on to a well floured surface and form into a ball.

Roll it out until it is 1 1/2 inches thick

.IMG_1325

 

Slice into 8 pieces

IMG_1326

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes rotating at the half way mark.

Let cool for a few minutes and cover with glaze.

The glaze is very simple. 1/2 cup of icing sugar with a splash of vanilla and 1 tsp of milk. I like my glaze to be thick but if you want yours thinner just add more milk.

Word of advice, do NOT use canned pumpkin. It will not turn out well. Make sure you use pumpkin pie filling!

IMG_1319

 

Sofie and I spent the remainder of the day in the kitchen making his favourite meal. Prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts with bacon and caramel crème brulee for dessert.

Sofie’s friend came over to help as well. They were super stars in the kitchen. Slicing and chopping and setting the table.

Everyone was very happy with the meal and very, very full.

IMG_1332

Monday we celebrated Thanksgiving at my dad’s house. It is my father’s birthday on Wednesday so Sofie and I decided to make a cake to celebrate.

It took almost the entire day to make but it was so worth it.

Chocolate mousse cake with ganache and chocolate curls. It was heavenly. My dad said it was the best cake he has ever had.

IMG_1335

So even though I am bone tired from all the celebrating and cooking I am extremely thankful for all the amazing people in my life that I can celebrate these wonderful occasions with. I am truly blessed to have such an incredible group of family and friends.

 

In need of some comfort

Comfort food that is. Yesterday was a cloudy cold day. I needed comfort food and I needed it real bad. I made brownies but that didn’t hit the spot. So I decided spaghetti and meatballs was the way to go. I have always made my own sauce and meatballs but I have grown bored with the recipe and needed something new.  Recently I found a recipe on Pinterest titled “The best spaghetti and meatballs there ever was”. That is a hefty claim. I need to know if this was true so my little helper Callum and I got to work.

IMG_1182

 

His help lasted all of five seconds. He didn’t enjoy the feeling of the mushy meat.

I did make a few changes to the recipe

The recipe called for grated and finely diced onions. I decided to just grate them all. My eyes start to water as soon as I go near an onion so I wasn’t going to spend more time then necessary chopping and dicing and grating. Into the food processor they went with the grating blade.  I found the grated onions were more easily concealed in the meatballs as well as the sauce which worked out well because I live with some finicky people!

I also added one extra sausage for more flavour.

The recipe says you will yield 9-10 meatballs. Those must be enormous! I used a table spoon to scoop and shape them and I ended up with 26.

IMG_1186

The next step is to brown the meatballs on all sides. This takes a few minutes so rather then watch meat cook I decided to have a glass of wine to pass the time.

 

This Baco Noir from Henry of Pelham is my absolute favourite!

IMG_1188

This sauce could not be any easier to make! Add thinly sliced peppers and grated onion, water, some spices, a little red wine and some tomato paste and you’re done. Let it simmer with the meatballs and in 30 minutes dinner is on the table.

IMG_1194

Was it the best spaghetti and meatballs I have ever had? YES! The sauce is rich and flavourful. The meatballs were moist and juicy. Even Sofie liked them and she doesn’t like anything with flavour.  Aside from the deliciousness my favourite part was that from start to finish it took less then an hour and that it was a one pot meal. I will definitely be making these again.

You can find the delicious recipe here www.cookingforkeeps.com

IMG_1195

 

Bon Appétit!

 

 

 

A taste of Autumn

Happy Thanksgiving! What a perfect holiday weekend. The weather has been warm and sunny. It still feels like summer and is not at all what you would typically expect Thanksgiving weekend to feel like. But I am not complaining, I love this weather.

We celebrated the holidays at my father’s house last night. As we sat down to dinner we all said what we were thankful for. We are a pretty sarcastic bunch so we said things like “I am thankful for beer” and “I am thankful that my kids are sitting at a different table”. Things turned serious when it came time for dessert. Cakes and pies are no laughing matter.  It was Chris’ birthday so I made two cakes. A yummy chocolate cake for the birthday boy and an apple sauce spice cake which I found at an amazing website called Texanerin . She has the BEST gluten free recipes!  I think it is safe to say that we were all very thankful for this gem. It was amazing. It tastes like fall. Spicy and moist with a hint of apple flavour. It is happiness on a plate.

The cake is delicious on it’s own but the glaze adds a whole other level of tastiness.

037

As you can see Callum has decided to forgo the fork and just lick the glaze off the cake. Kids are so smart. Why bother dirtying a utensil when you have perfectly good hands and a mouth that can get the job done.

Once again Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope every one has a great long weekend!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (Challah time)

023

 

 

It’s back to school time! Our youngest just started Junior Kindergarten and our oldest started grade 4. Time sure flies! When I asked  them what they wanted for lunch they both screamed “sandwiches on challah bread!”. While it looks and sounds complicated it isn’t.  Challah is probably the best bread I have ever eaten. It has a sweet almost buttery flavour to it which is odd because I don’t put butter in it. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

4-4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

2 large eggs plus 1 yolk (save the white)

1 cup warm water

1 pkg yeast

2 tsp salt

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup white sugar plus 1 tsp

Mix the yeast and warm water together. Add the teaspoon of sugar.

While you wait for the yeast to do it’s thing (about 5 minutes) combine the flour, salt, sugar, oil and eggs. I mix it with a fork until the egg and oil is just combined.

Add the water and yeast to the flour mixture. Mix with the dough hook attachment on low for 6-8 minutes. If you don’t have a mixer use a wooden spoon until you can’t stir it anymore then turn it out onto a floured surface and work the dough until it is soft and can be rolled into a ball.

You may need to add extra flour. I usually start with 4 cups and add a tablespoon at a time until I get the right consistency.

Your dough should NOT be sticky! If it sticks to your fingers you need to add more flour otherwise you will not be able to braid it.

You can see in the bottom of the first picture how the dough is sticking to the bottom of the bowl. You don’t want that. The second picture is how your dough should look. It is still a bit tacky but it has pulled away from the sides of the bowl.

Form the dough into a ball and put it into a well oiled bowl. Turn the dough so it is covered with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 1/2 -2 hours.

Punch the dough down and form it into a log. Cut into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 15 inch snake.

Line up the 6 pieces of dough beside each other. Pinch the top end together and tuck under.

To braid take the first piece on the right and cross it over 2 pieces and go under the third, cross over the last 2 pieces. Over 2 under 1 over 2 is all you need to remember. Take your next piece from the right again and continue. When you reach the end pinch the pieces together and tuck under.

Move the bread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Cover with plastic wrap again and let rest for an hour.

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees

Brush the bread with the egg white mixed with a tsp of water.

Bake for 30 minutes.

This bread is pretty much the best thing ever! My family goes crazy for it. There was a point last year where I was making 4 loaves a week because they couldn’t get enough. Although it does take a while to make it is so worth it. Also people will think you are amazing because it looks so fancy, little do they know it is really easy.