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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage

White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (1)

White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (2)

My friend Kim went on home for a week to visit her parents. I knew she’d be celebrating her birthday while she was gone so I thought I’d have something special waiting for her when she returned home. You know after traveling you’re always tired once you get home, no one really wants to cook. I thought, how about a Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage waiting for her at home. All she’d have to do is to follow the reheating instructions that I attached to the pan. Happy Birthday, Kim!

You know, it’s just as easy to make two pans of Mac and Cheese as it is to make one. One for her family and one for ours. This recipe will yield two 9 x 9 pans of Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage.

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White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (1)

Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 2 6-quart stock pots, 1 large
sauté pan, 1- 4 quart saucepan, 2 disposable deep-sided 9 x 9 casserole pans.
Yields: 2 pans, 6-8 serving per pan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Note: Ingredients (are doubled) for two 9 x 9 pans

Ingredients:
2 16-ounce boxes Barilla Cellentani, corkscrew shaped pasta (or elbow macaroni)
3 sticks unsalted butter, reserve 1 stick for topping, plus butter for greasing pans
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts milk
6 cups of diced smoked sausage sliced and quartered, 3 cups for each pan
2 8-ounce packages, extra-sharp white cheddar, shredded
6-ounces grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Butter each of the 9 x 9 disposable pans

Into each of the two (6-quart stockpot) pots of boiling salted water, add 1 box of Barilla Cellentani. Cook according to the directions on the package, 6-8 minutes. Drain well into separate colanders.

In the meantime, heat the milk in a 4-quart saucepan, just under the boiling point. In another (6- quart) stockpot melt 2 sticks of butter, add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, continuously whisking. While whisking, slowly add in the hot milk, then 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg. Switch to a wooden spoon, continue to stir until sauce thickens. Do not rush this process, cooking times may vary, anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes. Once the sauce coats the back of a spoon remove the pot from the heat. Add all the white cheddar and 3-ounces of grated Parmesan. Stir to combine.

Divide the Bechamel sauce, equally into each of the (6-quart) stockpots. Divide equally the diced smoked sausage into each pot. Add one colander of the cooked, well-drained pasta into each pot. Stir to combine then transfer to the buttered disposable pans.

Breadcrumb Topping:
Melt the remaining 1 stick of butter into a large sauté pan, on low heat, add the Panko crumbs, stir until all the butter is absorbed.  Off the heat, add the remaining grated Parmesan cheese, and dried parsley flakes. Stir to combine. Divide evenly, then sprinkle the bread crumbs on evenly on top of each of the pans. Place each of the disposable pans onto a rimmed baking sheet pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and macaroni and topping are a beautiful golden brown.

Tip For Freezing:
Make sure the pan of Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage is at room temperature before freezing.

If you plan to freeze one of the pans, DO NOT ADD the breadcrumb topping until you’re ready to bake. Cover the pan tightly with foil then wrap the whole pan again in plastic wrap. Freeze up to 2 months.

When you’re ready to bake, remove the foil and plastic wrap. Add the breadcrumb topping. Spray the dull side of a piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray. This will prevent the topping from sticking to the foil.  Cover the dish tightly with the pre-sprayed foil and bake frozen for 1 hour at 350-degrees F. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown around 5-7 minutes, times may vary slightly.

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Yorkshire Pudding

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Moving to London in the early ’70s was really a scary time for me. I was from a small suburb in New Jersey where everyday life as I knew it was turned upside down. England was a different world for me and took some time to adapt. We live with my Auntie Joyce and my cousins Gina and Marco. As time went by and I’d adjusted to this new way of life, food seemed to have become my happiness.

During this time in my life, it was only my mom, my sister, and me and we didn’t have much in the way of money but we had each other, and food became more important than I’d ever remembered it being.

I remember having fun watching my mom making dishes she knew as traditional but ones I didn’t recognize. I asked a lot of questions. My mom was born and raised in London and I could see in her face how she loved the style of cooking and the traditional dishes that were familiar to her.

I found this new style of food to be really different but delicious. Now I can tell you, being a kid, there were some foods I just wouldn’t touch, however, Sunday dinners were the best. Yorkshire Pudding  I loved. Roast beef, roasted potatoes, gravy, and Yorkshire Pudding. I do remember this strange looking muffin that was always served roast beef.

I’d watch Auntie Joyce preparing the Yorkshire Pudding and because I loved it, I memorized every step. Yorkshire Pudding is not so much a pudding as we know it here, but a type of bread that’s used to dip into a gravy. I’d say it’s more like a popover. I do remember taking my first bite. Being a bread lover I was hooked. I think the reason I  remembered this recipe is because it took only a few ingredients and the measurements were simple. A cup, a cup, and a cup. Let me show you how I did it.

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I wanted to increase the recipe a bit because I knew when Steve tried this, he would love them as much as I do. I mentioned it was a cup, a cup, and a cup, I’m increasing the recipe to 4 cups of each ingredient.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Equipment: 2 large muffin pans
Yields: 12 Yorkshire Pudding

Ingredients:
4 cups of all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
4 cups of milk
1 block of vegetable shortening (depending on how many you’re making, you’ll need 1 tablespoon in each muffin holder)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450-degrees F.
Start by whisking the milk and eggs together, then slowly whisk in the flour until just combined. DO NOT overmix. The batter may be slightly lumpy, that’s fine. Place the batter in the refrigerator to rest for one hour.

Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable shortening in each one of the muffin holders. Place the muffin pan into the oven until the oil is super hot and bubbly, 2-3 minutes. Remove the muffin tins from the oven and carefully ladle in the batter. Fill each tin about 3/4 of the way full. Place the muffin pans back in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the Yorkshire Puddings from the muffin tins as soon as you’re able to handle them. You want to serve them while they are still nice and hot.

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Gelato Birthday Cake Shake

 

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Who doesn’t love a great milkshake, and I don’t mean the healthy smoothie version. I just mean your everyday milkshake, but with a twist. I was watching “The Chew” last week and they came up with a birthday cake shake. Crazy right?  I grabbed the blender and went to work on making my Gelato Birthday Cake Shake.

Top the milkshake with whipped cream, or even pipe on your favorite cake frosting then add the sprinkles. Yum!… All good things in moderation. The little girl in me couldn’t stop smiling!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Equipment: Blender

Ingredients:
1 pint of Vanilla Bean Gelato
1/2 cup of whole milk, cold
1/4 cup of Ducan Hines French Vanilla cake mix
Colored sprinkles for garnish

Directions:
In a blender add the gelato, milk, and cake mix, blend until smooth and thick. Top with a few colored sprinkles.
Note: You can adjust the thickness of your milkshake by adding more milk.

You can get crazy with the idea of birthday cake milkshakes. I’m keeping my Gelato Birthday Cake Shake pretty simple, but don’t let that stop you. Let your imagination run wild. Top the shake with whipped cream, or even pipe on your favorite cake frosting then add the sprinkles. Yum!… All good things in moderation.

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