Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas with a Southern Living giveaway

Merry Christmas, Ya'll!!!  
And thank you for being a part of this family.  

I am giving away....  

2 - 1 year subscriptions to 
Southern Living Magazine (13 issues) 

Here's how you can enter to win: 
(Each comment is a separate entry & increases your chances of winning.  ONLY the 1ST one is mandatory, to be eligible to WIN.)

  1. Comment below with your favorite holiday dish and don't forget to leave me your email address so that I may contact you if you win (mandatory requirement for entry)
  2. Follow the blog (if you already follow, just mention that in a separate comment)
  3. Join our family on Facebook, Angie's Big Love of Food (if you are already a family member, just mention that in a separate comment)
  4. Follow me on Twitter @AngiesBigLove

This contest begins on Friday, December 16, 2011 & ends Wednesday, December 21, 2011.  The winners will be chosen by and announced on Thursday.  I will also email the winners.  As well as announce them on Angie's Big Love of Food.  Thanks so much & GOOD LUCK! 
ONLY USA residents are eligible.  

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas!!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Fettuccine

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!  Gather the family around the tree, build a fire & serve them this comforting bowl of Christmas Fettuccine.  We all need something we can run to for a quick comfort food fix.  And for me (this should come as no shock) it is a warm & creamy pasta dish.  As any good southern gal, my refrigerator has a jar of bacon grease and it has a friend, a small pint of heavy cream.  We won't eat it everyday & of course I still know what's good for me.  But it's ok to splurge every now & again...especially here at Christmas!!!  I hope you & your family will create memories to be cherished for a lifetime, this Christmas.  And my hope this year is for everyone to keep Christmas in their hearts 365 days a year.  Because without it, none of us would be here.  

8 oz fettuccine, cooked according to package directions
1 tablespoon butter
1-2 small garlic cloves, grated (1/2 tsp)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup good parmesan
1/2 cup good mozzarella 
dash freshly grated nutmeg
dash of worcestershire
salt & pepper to taste (suggest 1/4 tsp of each)
garnish with parsley

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, add garlic.  Slowly whisk in cream & both cheeses, continue whisking til cheese is melted & sauce thickens.  If you have some leftover chicken, like I did, add it in.  Add your dash of nutmeg & worcestershire.  Toss in fettuccine noodles & stir.  Garnish with parsley. 

Makes about 4 servings

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Piggyback Mac & Cheese

I have been trying for years to create a classic restaurant style mac & cheese.  Using the best cheeses & the ideal pasta shape to get exactly what I would consider the ultimate mac & cheese dish.  I also wanted a nice basic recipe to add different toppings to & this is perfect.  Here are a few of things I learned along the way & want to share with you about how to create the perfect Mac & Cheese dish.  

#1 Shape matters: Typically we think of elbow noodles for this dish but orechetti is ideal, because it perfectly holds the cheesy sauce inside it's little round ears (see pic below).  You get better creamy coverage both inside & out than you would with elbow.  Plus, it holds up better than elbow, when baked. 

#2 Use creamy, melting cheeses: I discovered on may occasions why cheddar is just not ideal for this dish, it's way too heavy & grainy.  You need creamy cheese combinations, like Fontina & Comte/Gruyere.  And equal amounts of cheese & pasta are required.  So, if you have 8oz pasta you need at least 8oz of cheese.  More is always fine, just avoid using less.  You will see, I used a total of 11oz cheese & 8oz pasta.  

#3 Salt your water: your water should taste like the sea.

#4 Versatile: want to get fancy, add some lobster.  Or a night in with the kids, toss in some cut up hot dogs.  You can easily make this your own.  

8 oz orechetti pasta
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 oz Fontina cheese, grated
3 oz Comte cheese (similar to Gruyere), grated
2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled 
6 ritz crackers, crumbled

Bechamel Sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups half & half (or whole milk)
couple grates nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste (suggestion 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp white pepper)

In a 5 1/2 qt dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon salt.  Bring to a boil, add your pasta.  Cook for 2 minutes less than it says on the package, drain & set aside.  Meanwhile, return your pot to the stove, turn down to medium & melt butter.  Add flour & whisk for 1 minute.  Slowly add your half & half, whisking until thick.  Reduce heat & add your cheeses & seasoning.  Continue to stir until everything is incorporated.  Add your pasta to your sauce, stir til coated.  Add garlic.  Taste & add any additional seasoning, if needed.  Top with crumbled bacon, sprinkle with parmesan & cracker crumbs.               

Bake at 350F (covered) for 20-25 mins or until bubbly.

Makes about 4-5 servings

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