Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Wicked good….

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Baked Macaroni and Cheese

3/4 lb of your favorite pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
1 stick butter plus 3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
a dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup dry bread crumbs (I use half regular and half panko)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

seasoning options:
dash of dry mustard
dash of Worcestershire sauce
dash of paprika
dash of Baby Bam
dash of my new favorite seasoning (Simply Organic all-purpose seasoning – salt free!)
salt and pepper (white pepper is great, if you have it on hand)
finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley? oregano?)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, whisk in the flour and cook until fully incorporated and thickened (2 – 3 minutes?). Stir in milk and continue cooking and whisking until smooth, thick and warmed through. Stir in 2 3/4 cups of the cheddar cheese to blend. Add seasonings as desired. Pour over pasta and stir to thoroughly coat. Pour into lightly greased baking pan. Melt remaining butter and blend with breadcrumbs, remaining 1/4 cup cheedar and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over pasta/cheese in the pan. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bread crumbs are toasted and cheese is golden and bubbling.

Kids will ask for seconds, guaranteed.

Boy played Stephen F. Austin in his class musical this week…

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Boy (on R in suit, holding paper)

The girl on the left, in brown, is playing “Sara” (Stephen’s F. Austin’s secretary). I think that she is really cute. Boy says that he thinks that she thinks that he “likes” her, but he doesn’t. He might like someone else, but he also might not like anyone. Boy says that cute girl likes someone else, anyway. He also said that he would probably tell us that he didn’t like anyone, even if he did like someone. This is all very common in 4th grade, apparently.

Sweet Lemon Thyme Crisps

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I recently received a hostess gift of a cute potted herb garden that contained some lemon thyme (and oregano and variegated sage). The thyme was growing particularly vigorously, so I went in search of a recipe that would make good use of it. I found this one on epicurious.

These were really tasty, unique and easy. I would recommend reading the epicurious reviews before you decide whether or not to make them. It seems that most people either LOVE them or HATE them. I did add more lemon zest and more lemon juice, as was recommend in the reviews. I must be honest and say that these were not a big hit with Boy and Girl. I think that they would have liked them a lot without the thyme in them, but that would sort of defeat my original purpose, yes? I liked them quite a bit, but would serve them in the future as more of a appetizer or (with a glass of chardonnay) snack, rather than as a dessert. I also must disclose that I am a sucker for ANYTHING citrus. I’ll take lemon or orange ANYTHING over chocolate any day of the week, so I may have a bit of a bias. Anyway, they were easy and the dough could be stored in the freezer for last-minute hostess needs.

Rush Concert – Chicken?

Hubby and I went to see Rush when they were in Austin last week. We both like Rush and listened to them when we were younger (back in the “Tom Sawyer” and “New World Man” days), but neither of us were dyed-in-the-wool, play-the-cassette-over-and-over-again-on-auto-reverse kind of fans. So, we are obviously not privy to some sort of private chicken joke. During the (awesome!) concert, there were three GINORMOUS commercial rotisserie ovens full of chicken, cooking away. Some dude in a chef’s hat and apron would periodically come onstage and baste them. It was weird. And hilarious. I will say that the females were completely outnumbered by males in attendance – an interesting change from the Hannah Montana concert we attended recently, where there were so many females that some of the mens’ rooms were temporarily converted to womens’ rooms. And I have a bit of a crush on Neil Peart now, after his AMAZING PHENOMENAL THERE AREN’T ENOUGH SUPERLATIVES IN THE WORLD drum solo. If any of you know what the deal is with the chicken, please let me know.

“Technicolor Dreamcoat” Cookies

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Girl has a part in her middle school’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” this weekend. I made some decorated, themed cookies for the concessions stand. When I did this (on a much more ambitious scale) last year, it was a BIG hit and made lots of dough (groan….) for the Drama dept.

This year, two middle school girls drew the coat design for the show (to be used on programs, signage, T-shirts, etc.) and I made created the cookies based on a fusion of their design and that of the actual coat that “Joseph” wears onstage.

Here’s the original artwork:
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I’m pretty proud of how they turned out.
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