We were awarded the Versatile Blogger Award by these three awesome bloggers:
- Dara of Gen Y Foodie - Dara has a great food blog that showcases healthy and delicious recipes along with informational links on important health topics!
- Kristina of Whipped Baking - Kristina features sweet treat recipes that are seriously mouth-watering but unbelievably guilt-free!
- Emily of Life on Food - Emily provides a variety of interesting posts, including book reviews, great savory and sweet recipes, and restaurant highlights! I noticed that Emily nominated us at the same time we were planning on nominating her blog, so we decided to keep her blog on the list!
The Versatile Blogger Award is “a great way to introduce different bloggers to each other and to promote quality blogs that awardees and their readers may not have discovered otherwise.”
There are a few guidelines for what to do once you receive the award:
1. Thank the person(s) who gave you this award.
2. Include a link to their blog.
3. Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
4. Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
5. Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself. Check out my list below!
6. In the same post, include this set of rules.
7. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.
Here are 15 amazing blogs I’d like to nominate for the Versatile Blogger Award! In no particular order…
First, here are wonderful blogs I follow regularly:
1) Just One Cookbook
2) My San Francisco Kitchen
3) The Corner Kitchen
4) Baker Becky
5) Pass the Sushi
6) Tiny Tiny Fork
7) Chocolate Broccoli
8) Life on Food
And here are some blogs I recently discovered!
9) Weeknite Meals
10) Cravings of a Lunatic
11) Malibu Kitchen
12) Me and My Sweets
13) Nish Whips Up A Dish
14) Authentic Suburban Gourmet
15) Dessert for Two
Now 7 things about us:
1. I’ve always had an interest in food, specifically eating, but actually making food is a relatively new interest and hobby for me. And it’s been a fun journey!
2. I recently completed a running program, the Ease into 5K app. Yay!
3. I love, love, love Disneyland.
4. Jon and I try to take at least one summer vacation a year. This year we may skip it to save for a bigger trip in 2013!!
5. Jon’s favorite sashimi is live sea urchin.
6. Jon has recently taken an interest in baking. (Wowza, we’ve reversed roles!)
7. Jon’s favorite Peet’s coffee bean is New Guinea Highlands made in a French press.
Now let’s talk about Martha’s Perfect Mac & Cheese!
Recently, one of my friends underwent surgery. To offer help, another friend set up a meal train online so that our whole group could provide assistance during her recovery. Mealtrain.com is where we all signed up for a specific date and described the type of meal we would make. This ensured no confusion and lots of organization (another win for my Virgo-self!)!
On the meal train page, my friend specified she would like dishes that were great for leftovers. I thought macaroni and cheese would be a super comforting meal as well as perfect for leftovers. I’ve heard so many great things about Martha Stewart’s Perfect Macaroni and Cheese, so I knew I needed to prepare this dish! I added bacon, because it’s bacon. But really, I wanted another texture with the cheese sauce and noodles. And I added parmesan cheese to the top for additional flavor.
Martha’s Perfect Macaroni and Cheese (Plus Bacon and a Third Cheese!)
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Serves: 3 quart casserole dish - 13” x 9”
9 tablespoons (1 stick + 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter; 1 stick for recipe, 1 tablespoon for casserole dish
6 slices white bread, crusts removed, torn into 1/4- to l/2-inch pieces
8 ounces (or 1 package) bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
5 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more for water
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups (about 18 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup (about 4 ounces) grated parmesan cheese
1 pound elbow macaroni
1. Center rack in middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degree F. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside.
2. Place bread cubes in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Pour the melted butter into the bowl with the bread, and toss. Set the breadcrumbs aside.
3. In a large skillet, sauté bacon until it is almost crisp. Remove bacon to paper towels to soak excess oil. When cool, chop bacon into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.
4. Warm milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add the flour. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
5. While whisking, slowly pour in the hot milk a little at a time to keep mixture smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick, 8 to 12 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, white cheddar cheese, and Gruyere. When combined, set the cheese sauce aside.
7. Fill a large saucepan with water and add salt. Bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer's directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. Transfer the macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Return noodles to saucepan. Pour reserved cheese sauce into saucepan with noodles and mix together.
8. Pour half the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Layer chopped bacon. Pour remainder of noodles and cheese sauce on top. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and the breadcrumbs. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer the dish to a wire rack; wait 5 minutes for immediate serving or if you can, wait 25 minutes for a stiffer consistency.
- We only used 3/4 of the cheese sauce. It started to look a little too saucy for us, so add according to your preferences.
- This recipe is easily halved or doubled!
- You can also make this dish a day ahead! For day-ahead prep, I partially cooked the dish. I followed each step and stopped short of putting the dish into the oven. I wrapped the whole dish in first, cling wrap, and then, foil and placed it immediately in the freezer. When I delivered the frozen meal to my friend the next day, she cooked it in the oven at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes and said it came out perfect!
- Reheating leftovers in the microwave or the oven creates a meal that is just as delicious as out of the oven!