Thursday, September 30, 2010

KD of the week: 14K Mac 'n Cheese

14K Mac 'n Cheese

1 package of Kraft Dinner or similar macaroni and cheese

1 jar or pureed carrot baby food, or puree your own carrots to taste

2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese

Directions:  Prepare macaroni and cheese, stir in pureed carrots, top with Parmesan to serve.  I opted for jarred carrot because it is quick and easy, always available and won't over-power your dish with a carrot-y taste.  Good for children, if they hate veggies, they would barely notice, and you could make it with whole wheat KD or that Smart KD, for extra healthy stuff. 

As always with KD, the more cheese the better, so feel free to add a slice, or some grated to it and mix over low heat till blended for a more cheesy experience. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Coffee*Love : Triumphs and Tragedy

Triumphs and Tragedy

In my quests for good coffee I have tried many a thing.  This last week I tried two.  Let's just say I am starting out by discussing the second one first, as it was more successful than the latter attempt.

Starbucks at home, the quest for the White Chocolate Mocha recipe.
This began with me searching again for an easy version of this recipe.  It would be much more authentic if I actually had an espresso machine anymore, or a milk frother to go with that, however, it would still be nice to have something that resembles the drink that has me addicted.  I even redeem my Swagbucks and my Air miles for Starbucks gift cards to stretch my tight monetary status.  (I can't say 'budget' because that would imply I have a plan for my low funds... and I don't)  Here is what I came up with from my searches and trials.

Okay, so this recipe isn't exactly like the coveted drink, but it is pretty good, and if you had the proper espresso and found the perfect white chocolate instead of just going out and buying a bag of Chipits, I am sure this could be way closer to the actual recipe. 

White Chocolate Mocha (ish)


2/3 cup whole milk (use half and half if you like it richer, use 2% or skim if you like it lighter)

6 tablespoons white chocolate chips (or shave/chop 2 ounces of white chocolate)

Coffee, any kind.  Obviously espresso would be best, but any coffee will due if that isn't an option.

Whipped cream (optional)


Add milk and chocolate chips to saucepan. Heat and stir until chips are melted. Meanwhile brew coffee  or make espresso. Pour half of milk mixture in coffee mug and fill rest of mug with coffee, saving enough room for whipped cream if you are using it.  Drink with a spoon handy if you are doing something like, oh, writing a blog post, because the white chocolate will 'skin' a bit if you leave it unattended for a while.  I will attend to mine now for a moment, then move on to the failed coffee moments.

Okay, now many years ago my mother-in-law got a gift set of coffee and offered us the coconut flavored grinds when we came for a visit.  It was the best non-mocha coffee I have ever had.  My husband couldn't even believe I remembered that coffee after all these years, but it just kind of stuck with me.  This lead me on a journey to try and find the best coconut coffee flavoring I could.  I, for some reason, choose the 'coffeemate-ish' route.  I guess it is because I had been using tonnes of hazelnut C-mate for a month or so. 

I do a few searches, but no one has anything on making your own coconut coffee anywhere.  The closest thing I could find was that there is such a thing as "Coconut Creme C-mate" (guess it's only in the States...)  but alas, no recipe.  It would be nice to completely eliminate the C-mate all together anyways, it is hydrogenated and full of fake stuff, and a bit costly. 

I come up with the idea to make my own, so I go out and get a big container of half and half, and find some coconut oil.  Let's just say, the concoction I came up with did not even taste like coconut.  My first mistake with that was after heating two cups of half and half with the tablespoon of coconut oil (it says coconut oil in the C-mate ingredients, go figure this goes soo wrong)  I decide to put this into a bar shaker, and since the shaker is stainless steel I forget that it will be a good idea to let it cool first.  One tiny shake later, I am cleaning half of it off the floor.  In my defense, my baby was having a nap and I wanted to finish and have coffee before he woke up.
With what was left I made the second mistake; using it in my coffee.  It was like a mouth full of oily wax and it had the look of a coffee lava lamp with all the oily bubbles in it.  Time to clean it all out and try something else.

I figured I didn't have much time left before the baby awoke, so I took the remaining 2 cups of half and half and dumped it in the shaker, (freshly cleaned and de-greased of course) and grabbed a can of coconut milk out of the cupboard, adding it to the mix.  I added a teaspoon of real vanilla extract, shook it and added it to the coffee.  Not bad, not the best, but next time I will take the time to heat it and add about a cup of sugar, that would make it pretty good.  Not the coffee I had years ago but alright.  I might try to find some coconut extract and add a measure to the pot before I brew some coffee, that might be even closer to what I am trying to achieve. 

So, if you are trying to attempt this, use extract or milk of coconut, not oil.  Trust me though, coconut coffee is worth a try if you can get a hold of it.  I can't find the bloody stuff anywhere though.

Inspirational recipe for the white chocolate mocha was found here:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

KD of the week: Macaroni Bake

KD of the Week:  Macaroni Bake


1 lb. Ground beef (or for me I would substitute either veggie meat, TVP or ground chicken)

1/2 cup  chopped onion 
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce 
1/3 cup  KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided 
1/4 tsp. Ground cinnamon 
1/8 tsp.  Ground nutmeg 
1 pkg. (14 oz.) KRAFT Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner 
2 Tbsp.  Butter or margarine 
2 Tbsp. Flour 
1-1/2 cups  Milk 
2 Eggs, lightly beaten 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brown meat or heat veggie substitution for meat; drain. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Stir in tomato sauce, half of the Parmesan cheese and spices; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Prepare Kraft Dinner as directed on package. Spread mixture onto bottom of 9-inch square baking dish; top with prepared KD. 
Melt butter in medium saucepan on low heat. Blend in flour. Gradually add milk; cook on low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir small amount of hot mixture into eggs. Return to remaining hot mixture in saucepan; mix well. Pour over KD; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. 
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown.
Original recipe found here:
elbow macaroni on Foodistaelbow macaroni

For the love of coffee...

Having children teaches you things you never even thought about before having them.  I learned something new all the time now.  Like just a while ago I discovered that fruit flies do not just enjoy fruit.  They also enjoy that carefully prepared cup of coffee you got yourself for when the baby naps. 

In fact, they love it so much they swim in it.  Fruit flies are poor swimmers too. 

They also love that glass of wine you and your husband sneak in after the baby falls asleep and you want a little quality time together while you can get the chance.

I have also discovered that I hate fruit flies. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

KD of the week: Fiesta KD

For those of you who are waiting for me to do something other than the KD of the week, never fear, I am working on a few things, but this time I want to try them first instead of putting more stuff on my 'wish list' in this scrapbook-type page I have here.  There is nothing wrong with my wish list, its just that sometimes you can tell when something will taste good, and other times when its better for me to be the guinea pig... and then if it is horrible I will still tell you all about it!  
 For the time being though, here is this week's Kraft Dinner recipe.

Fiesta KD

This recipe is very similar to Mexican KD, but has it's own merit to stand alone as a recipe.

1 pkg. (14 oz.) KRAFT Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (or any kind of KD like substance)

1 lb.  lean ground beef (or substitute with TVP, veggie meat, ground chicken, or even omit entirely)

1 large Green pepper, chopped 
1 pkg.  (10 oz.) frozen corn, thawed 
1 cup Thick and Chunky style Salsa 
(optional)  1/2 cup of chopped sun-dried tomatoes

 (optional)  a shot or two of hot sauce or a can of chopped jalapenos for spicy lovers


Prepare in large saucepan as directed on package, cooking Macaroni for just 8 min. 

Meanwhile, brown meat(or prepare substitute) with green pepper in skillet; drain

Combine meat(or substitute) mixture, corn and salsa to prepared KD; mix well. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Add chopped fresh cilantro to this dish just before serving.