Tuesday, May 17, 2011

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

There's a famous chocolate version of no-bake cookies out there that I think just about everyone has tried. While I really like that version as well, there's something about straight peanut butter that makes me choose this recipe almost every time. Of course, I should also mention that I'm a peanut butter-aholic. (Is that a word? It should be.) I love peanut butter. Like, eat-it-straight-off-the-spoon-for-a-snack kind of love.

If you're anything like me (and I know there are others out there!), this is the recipe for you. Even if you just like peanut butter without having a strange love affair with it (ahem.), you'll probably still think these are good.

But be warned: You will most definitely need a big, tall glass of milk with these babies!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cups oatmeal (I prefer the quick oats because they grains are much smaller, but any kind will work)

Spread a piece of wax paper or aluminum foil out on a flat surface. You'll need about 2 feet.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar, milk, and salt and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil for exactly one minute, then remove from heat. Add vanilla and peanut butter; stir until smooth. Mix in oatmeal.

Immediately drop in rounded tablespoonfuls on wax paper or foil. Let cool completely and enjoy.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This is one of my mystery recipes. I wish I knew where it came from because it's really good and someone deserves credit for it. I know I found it after I got married, but it was back when I just jotted down recipes without thinking I'd ever need to know where it came from. It's one of my husband's favorite meals, that's for sure. If you like your mac and cheese more soupy, though, this probably isn't the recipe for you. It requires baking, which means the finished product is thicker. And cheesy. And creamy. And did I mention it's most definitely not low fat? :)

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

6 Tbsp. flour
6 Tbsp. butter
4 cups half & half
1 lb. elbow macaroni
3 cups sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 cups fresh bread crumbs

Cook macaroni according to package directions and set aside. In a sauce pan, melt butter; stir in flour to form a roux. Slowly whisk in warmed half & half, whisking until mixture comes to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Let sauce simmer about 2 minutes. In a large bowl, combine sauce, cooked macaroni, cheddar cheese, and 1 cup parmesan cheese. Pour mixture into 4-quart casserole dish. Combine bread crumbs and remaining 1/2 cup parmesan cheese; sprinkle over mixture.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.