Vintage Recipe: Ultimate Mac ‘n Cheese

WIN_20160106_180537Mac ‘n Cheese is the ultimate Midwestern American comfort food. If you’ve been following Crowded Earth Kitchen for a while, you know that we have a big old foodie crush on Paris… but not even Paris does Mac ‘n Cheese as well as the American Midwest. We’ve been experimenting with recipes for Ultimate Mac ‘n Cheese for a while, working to create a recipe that just simply doesn’t need to be improved any further. This is it. Enjoy!

WIN_20160106_170048Ingredients (Fills a deep dish pie plate)

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/3 cup light cottage cheese

1/4 cup light sour cream

1/2 teaspoon sweet curry powder

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound box of medium shells or macaroni noodles

WIN_20160106_163123Directions

Step 1) Pour chicken stock into a large saute pan and boil for 10 minutes or until reduced until only about 1/2 cup of liquid remains. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Step 2) Add shells or macaroni to a large pot of boiling water. Cook until al dente, or just a bit chewy – don’t overcook! Drain when al dente is reached.

Step 3) While pasta is cooking, add mild cheddar, Monterey Jack, and sharp cheddar cheeses to the saute pan with the reduced chicken stock. Heat on a low setting, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted.

Step 4) After shells or macaroni are cooked and drained, add the cottage cheese, sour cream, and curry powder to the melted cheese mixture. Stir over low heat until thoroughly blended.

Step 5) Combine the cooked, drained noodles and the cheese mixture. Stir until noodles are evenly coated, and transfer the mixture to a greased deep dish pie plate or casserole dish. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.

Step 6) Cover with foil and bake your Ultimate Mac ‘n Cheese in a preheated 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve immediately with a fresh green salad.

Pepper Steak Stew

beef2This simple slow-cooker recipe offers up the hearty, savory flavors of traditional pepper steak, but uses a less expensive cut of beef. I like to double this recipe and freeze half for workday lunches Enjoy – your tummy and your wallet will thank you!

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat Continue reading

Zucchini “Spaghetti” and Meatballs

zucchini-spaghetti-and-meatballs

The meal shown above, which includes three meatballs under that yummy grated parmesan, can be yours for just 360 calories. The same volume of canned ravioli (which is kinda gross anyway) will set you back a whopping 730 calories, and a comparable bowl of traditional spaghetti and meatballs weighs in at almost 800 calories.

A person of average weight would need to do over 1,200 sit ups to burn 800 calories.

Let that sink in.

The trick to enjoying savory, satisfying red sauce, meatballs, and parmesan cheese is to enjoy them with spiral cut zucchini instead of pasta. Yes, zucchini. All you need to cut a zucchini into spaghetti-like strands is about 10 seconds and this device:

veggetti

If it looks gimmicky, rest assured – the Veggetti is Crowded Earth Kitchen tested, and we LOVE it! For the record, we have not been compensated in any way by Veggetti for this post – we’re sharing this with you because this product can truly transform your eating habits, helping you to reduce calories!

 Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer, Makes Veggie Pasta

Simply twist a medium size zucchini through the Veggetti into your favorite pasta bowl. Top with three meatballs, 1 cup of simple, homemade red sauce, and 1 tablespoon of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Viola! A hearty dinner with a healthy calorie count, no sacrifice required!

Eat well! BE well!

Chinese Dumplings

Giant Pan-Fried Pork and Shrimp Gyoza

This recipe was generously submitted by Cooking with Grace for inclusion in The Global Recipe Project. 100% of the proceeds from this cookbook will benefit nonprofit organizations which feed people as a central part of their mission. Thank you, Cooking with Grace!

Ingredients

140 grams plain flour
120 milliliters hot water
Finely chopped fresh chives
1 table spoon of fresh ginger
2 -3 bulbs of garlic
Finely chopped spring onions
250 grams minced pork
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon each black pepper & salt

Prep Work (about 1 hour and 20 minutes)

Step 1) Gradually stir in the hot water into the flour and keep stirring with a chop sticks or a fork until you have a stretchy dough consistency.
Step 2) Flour your hands, knead the dough for about 5 minutes, make sure you have flour on the surface so it doesn’t stick to your hands.
Step 3) Once kneaded, leave it to chill for at least 20 minutes.
Step 4) Chop all remaining ingredients to make the filling; mix it together in a bowl.
Step 5) Cover filling and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Fun Part – Making the dumplings! (25 minutes)

Step 1) Using a floured rolling pin, flatten out the dough to make your dumpling wraps to about 2 millimeters in thickness.
Step 2) Use a cup or a circular cutter to cut out the wraps.
Step 3) Add a small amount of the pork filling onto the center of the wrap.
Step 4) Center fold the dumplings then fold in the sides and press the edges with a tiny amount of water.

Cooking the Dumplings

Step 1) Add a thin layer of oil in to a pan.
Step 2) Place your dumplings on to the pan.
Step 3) Let it sizzle for 2 minutes.
Step 4) Add about 2 centimeters of water and place a lid on the pan.

Step 5) Remove lid when all water has evaporated.
Dumplings may be served with noodle soup, or any way you prefer.

Chadian Chicken and Okra

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This recipe for Chicken and Okra was generously submitted by Sheryl Slocum for inclusion in The Global Recipe Project. Sheryl once lived in the north-central African nation of Chad, and pointed out that recipes based upon weights and measurements are really a Western idea. Her recipe, below, reflects this reality. Thank you, Sheryl!

Ingredients and Directions

Chop garlic and onion; fry in oil. Add water and/or chicken broth. Add pieces of chicken (I like legs and thighs, but it is a matter of taste). Add lots of cut up okra. Add curry, ginger, cardamom, chili powder (or something to give hotness). Salt and pepper (significant salt).

Let cook for a long time till the okra is cooked down, stir periodically so nothing burns to the bottom, keep adding water/broth as needed until the okra is cooked down. Add peanut butter with a heavy hand, stir all together (Don’t add peanut butter too soon or it will sink and burn on the bottom of the pot). Although not Chadian, I sometimes add raisins. Best when served with Maggi sauce (like a soy sauce).

Serve over rice or with boule. Boule is a starchy dish sort of like mashed potatoes. Boule is the staple of Chadian diet.

win_20161003_190756

Indonesian Beef Rendang

WIN_20160203_184707

This recipe for Rendang (Slow Cook Beef in Spicy Coconut Sauce) was generously submitted by Ridha Soemansyah for inclusion in The Global Recipe Project. 100% of proceeds from the sale of this cookbook benefit nonprofit organizations which feed people as a central part of their mission. Thank you, Ridha!

Ingredients
WIN_20160203_1317101 kg good quality beef
3 cans coconut milk
50g chili paste (you can reduce the amount, but I recommend not to skip the chili)
5 teaspoons coriander seed
100g galangal (50 for paste, 50 crushed)
50g ginger
3 tablespoons garlic paste
50g fried onion
30g palm sugar
3 lemon grass, crushed
7 lime leaves
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper

Directions

WIN_20160203_132645Step 1) Cut beef into big chunks, set aside.
Step 2) In a food processor, mix and blitz chili paste, coriander seed, galangal, ginger, garlic paste and fried onion.
Step 3) Get a fairly large pot, add 5 tablespoons oil and sauté the paste until fragrant.
Step 4) Add lemon grass, all the leaves, and palm sugar.
Step 5) Add beef in. Stir until the colour changed. Then add coconut milk.
WIN_20160203_133138Step 6) Cook for 3 to 4 hours or until the coconut evaporated. Stir once in a while.
Step 7) Serve with warm rice.