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Mac and Cheese Time!

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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mac and Cheese (Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese)

It’s Friday! The weekend is here, tax day is behind us, and we’ve been good lately, talking about all kinds of healthy spring vegetables. Let’s reward ourselves, shall we? Preferably by way of carbs, smothered in melted cheese. It’s the right thing to do, trust me.

Mac and cheese is high up on the list of most folks’ comfort food list, and for a reason. It’s warm and filling, and fairly simple, too. Just good old pasta, bathed in a creamy rich cheese sauce. It doesn’t get much better than that. It’s no wonder even kids so easily fall under its spell.

Let’s look at a few versions of this well-loved dish, and maybe you’ll be inspired to break out this classic at some point over the weekend! Just click on the photos to get the printable recipe.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mac and Cheese (Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese)

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese. Let’s start with mac and cheese at its simplest, the one most of us fell in love with at first bite. This is just pasta with butter, cheese, and a bit of cream, all in one pot. No blue box required.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mac and Cheese (Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese)

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese Let’s add one more step and get into Mac and Cheese 101: macaroni, bechamel sauce, and cheese. This pairs the traditional cheddar cheese with mozzarella, giving it some extra creaminess. You can also use it as a starting point and start playing with the cheese combination using your favorites, like smoked cheese (a personal favorite). Or go bolder with a touch of blue cheese or gorgonzola! You can play with the bechamel sauce too, making a beer cheese sauce to create an updated grownup version.

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mac and Cheese (Lobster Macaroni and Cheese)


Lobster Macaroni and Cheese
. Add lobster and make it your main course! This one features Vermont cheddar with Maine lobster, which is all kinds of New England genius to me. If seafood isn’t your thing, just add whatever you’re craving! Chicken, taco meat, pulled pork, chili, bacon … or veggies like spinach, artichokes, or tomatoes if you want to keep it vegetarian. Better yet, create a mac and cheese bar with a variety of mix-ins and let everyone make their own!

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mac and Cheese (Baked Gnocchi Mac n’ Cheese)

Baked Gnocchi Mac n’ Cheese. Mess with the “macaroni” part of the dish and use gnocchi instead!

 
 
 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Mac and Cheese (Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers Wrapped in Bacon)

Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers Wrapped in Bacon. Got leftovers? Stuff them into jalapeno poppers! Or make fried mac and cheese balls. So good, you’ll want to make extra just so you can have these.

I hope we’ve given you ideas for your weekend menu, and if you have a favorite variation of mac and cheese, we’d love to hear it! And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to my refrigerator to check on my cheese supply. I must have bookmarked half a dozen recipes, and may be short a pound or four of cheese.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

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Let’s Talk Spinach

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Kitchen Talk (Spinach)

Spinach is a dark green leafy vegetable wonder that people—especially kids—either love or hate. I was firmly in the love camp even before ever tasting spinach, thanks to all those afternoons spent watching Popeye the Sailorman after school. So imagine my profound surprise and disappointment when I finally had the chance to down a healthy portion of uncooked canned spinach, Popeye-style, because I thought that was the only proper way to eat it. Let’s just say I’ve come a long way since then.

Spinach is such a versatile vegetable, enjoyed cooked or raw, and is packed with so many things that are good for you. It’s usually available all year, but its peak season is right about now, when beautiful bundles of these green leaves adorn tables at many local farmers markets.

So let’s talk about this nutritional powerhouse today! Tell us:

Do you have any favorite tips for growing, buying, storing, or cooking spinach?

I love throwing a handful of spinach into my morning smoothies, and find that using a bit of fresh apple cider helps mask the sometimes-metallic taste when I accidentally add too much spinach. I also love creamed spinach, and though it’s typically a side dish, I’ll happily make a meal of it. Same goes for spinach just lightly sautéed with good oil and lots of garlic. And spinach salad? I can feast on that for days.

How about you? Any favorite spinach recipes? Or tips on the best way to store this delicate vegetable? Have any advice for growing or buying spinach? Funny or memorable stories about the first time you had it? Were you, like me, completely duped by Popeye? Come share below!

 

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Looks Delicious! Easy Caper Tomato Bruschetta

Posted by in Looks Delicious!

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Looks Delicious! (Easy Caper Tomato Bruschetta, submitted by TK member Christin of Veggie Chick)

As the weather continues to warm up stateside, thoughts of dining al fresco in my backyard begin to dance in my head. I imagine walking around with a glass of wine, basking in the warm glow of the setting sun, waiting for market lights strung above to illuminate the evening. Of course, the reality is that we have an unfinished backyard, we don’t have any market lights or anything to attach them to anyway, and I’m just that clumsy on my own to stumble on a pebble without the help of a glass or two of wine. But a girl can dream.

In that same dream, we’re feasting on delicious nibbles that take almost no time to make. At least that part can be reality with this Easy Caper Tomato Bruschetta from TK member Christin. Puttanesca happens to be my favorite pasta sauce ever, so the combination of tomatoes and capers in this recipe is right up my alley. (I may even add some olives and anchovies if my imaginary guests let me. I’m pretty sure they will.) Christin gives us permission to use canned tomatoes if we don’t have fresh ones, which pretty much makes this fancy-looking appetizer a pantry dish.

Thanks for sharing this, Christin! Click on the photo to get the printable. And make yourself something special to enjoy outside this week, friends!

 

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Looks Delicious! Simple Spaghetti with Garlic, Peas & Parmesan

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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Looks Delicious! (Simple Spaghetti with Garlic, Peas & Parmesan, submitted by TK member Julie of The Gourmet RD)

Here’s a 20-minute dinner for those busy weeknights, or when you’ve been playing and shopping and cleaning all day and find yourself without a game plan for dinner. This Simple Spaghetti with Garlic, Peas & Parmesan from TK member Julie will save the day! It’s a great spring dish, and if peas aren’t your thing, you can easily substitute your favorite spring vegetable. The egg yolk (brilliant addition) gives it a carbonara-esque richness without feeling heavy, and did I mention it’s ready in 20 minutes?

Thanks for sharing this, Julie. I always have a box of gluten-free pasta in my pantry and can’t wait to try this.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

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Let’s Talk Asparagus

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Asparagus is our topic this week: growing, storing, preparing, cooking, you name it. Tell us:

Do you have any favorite asparagus tips (ha!) or recipes?

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Hammy Monday!

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In case you're looking for inspiration or just something new to try out, we rounded up a few that we've featured right here on the Tasty Kitchen Blog.

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Spring Cleaning Giveaway! (Winners Announced)

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Because we love you and want your heart to be happy when you look around your space and see everything neat and organized, we're giving away two (2) gift cards worth $100 each to The Container Store.

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Growing Vegetables

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Do you have any tips for growing vegetables? Favorite veggies you like to plant each year? Any particular challenges planting specific varieties? Any questions that other gardeners here may be able to answer?