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Fired-Up Macaroni & Cheese

Fired-Up Macaroni & Cheese

We have been making this recipe for years and years. It is such a fun spin on the classic macaroni and cheese dish.

The cayenne and Tabasco fire up the dish and give it so much life! But don't worry, it doesn't have too much of a kick. We do not like super spicy, and this dish passes our test. It has a little fire and extra flavor, but not too much.

If you do not like any spice at all, then just leave out the cayenne pepper and Tabasco. But if you love a good kick, then add extra! You really can't go wrong.

Every once in a while, we like to mix things up and make this dish a little more sophisticated. To do this, we use a past other than macaroni, like a penne. This just makes it seem a little fancier for some reason.

If you would like to mix things up even more, you can leave out the bread crumbs entirely. If you are doing this, top the casserole with more grated Cheddar cheese for a cheesy crust. Either way, you will get a delicious macaroni and cheese with a crisp topping.

One of the best things about this dish is that it can be made ahead! This makes dinner time even easier. Put it all together early in the day when you have the time. Then add the topping and bake just before serving.

So next time you are craving some macaroni and cheese, give this yummy recipe a try. We love to serve it with fresh broccoli and some fruit. The whole family will love this one!

Fired-Up Macaroni & Cheese

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni or other pasta, such as penne
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup Kamut flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp French salt
  • 1/8-1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Crumb Topping:

  • 2-3 slices white bread
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and greese an 8x8-inch baking dish.

  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain well.

  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in amedium saucepan and add flour. Stir with a spoon or whisk until the mixture is bubbly, about 1 minute. Add the milk, cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens. Add the salt, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Stir for 1 minute.

  4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the Cheddar cheese and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Cook and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted in the pasta. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

  5. To make the crumb topping, tear the bread into small pieces and pulse in the food processor to make 1 cup crumbs. Mix in the butter and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over pasta mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until hot and bubbly and the topping is browned to your liking.

  6. Serve woth cooked fresh broccoli seasoned with a little butter, salt, and pepper.

Tomato Garnish

Tomato Garnish

This tomato garnish is so unique and delicious! We got the recipe to go with our White Chili, and it make an otherwise ordinary soup absolutely delicious.

With all the fresh ingredients, it tastes so light and refreshing. This is so nice, especially in the winter months when most meals are heavy and dense.

While we love this garnish with our white chili, we use it for so many other things too! It is the perfect addition to chicken breast, steak, you name it! We have even used it in our sandwiches to switch things up and its amazing.

So next time you are wanting to try a new soup, make our white chili and add this tomato garnish. You will not be disappointed!


Tomato Garnish

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp dried onion powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 4 tsp celery seed
  • 5 vine-ripened tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro (chopped)
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook, sturring, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

  2. In a bowl or quart jar, combine lemon juice, seasonings, tomatoes, cilantro, and cooled vinegar mixture. Whisk or shake in the oil.

  3. Cover and keep in refrigerator up to one week.

Brazilian Meat Sauce With Rice & Fries

Brazilian Meat Sauce With Rice & Fries
You cannot get anything like this in a restaurant. Elaine was born and raised in Brazil. This was a meal she grew up on. The first time I ate this meal it was the homemade fries that made it special. Elaine cooks only from scratch. This meal is very easy on the budget and everyone loves it. Try it out!!

Brazilian Meat Sauce With Rice & Fries

Plan Ahead: Rice can be prepared the day before.

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • ½ yellow onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic (minced)
  • ½ teaspoon each: oregano marjoram and cumin
  • 1 fresh tomato (diced)
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1½ cups beef broth
  • 1½ cups petite frozen peas
  • 1½ Tablespoons white vinegar
  • ½ cup red wine (can be cooking wine)
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 medium Russet potatoes peeled
  • Sunflower or olive oil for frying
  1. In a medium fry pan on low heat sauté the ground beef, onions and garlic. When onions and garlic are soft and the meat is browned, push the meat to one side and spoon out excess grease.

  2. Add oregano, marjoram and cumin. Stir. Continue browning meat for 3 min.
  3. Add tomato, tomato sauce, beef broth, peas, vinegar, wine, salt and pepper. (If the sauce looks too thick, add ½ cup water.) Cook 35 to 45 min. On medium low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.

  4. While the meat sauce cooks, place the rice and 4 cups of water in 2 qt. sauce pan. Bring the water and rice to a full boil. Cover and turn heat down to low. Simmer 25 min. or until liquid is gone and the rice is tender.

  5. While the rice and the meat sauce is simmering, peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into ¼ inch wide strips (like french fries). Wash them well and dry completely on paper towels.

  6. In medium sized fry pan pour enough sunflower or olive oil to fill the pan half-way. Heat oil on medium high heat until hot.

  7. Safety Tip: Be careful not to have small children at your feet while frying the french fries. When the oil is ready carefully add the potatoes and start frying.

  8. Maintain the heat for at least 15-20 min. at medium high. Turn the potatoes with tongs or a long fork. When the fries turn very light brown turn the heat up to high and continue frying for another 5 min. or so. Drain on paper towels. Lightly salt.

  9. All three of these steps - meat sauce, rice and french fries - will come together about the same time. Serve the meat and peas over the rice with the fries on the side.

Serve with: Corn on the cob; Brussel Sprouts; Chiogga beets (red and white stripped beets).

Variations: Substitute corn or green beans for the peas. Use brown or black rice instead of white.


When I spoke in Kentucky it was a wonderful treat from Dena and the gang to take me to Churchill Downs Racetrack to see a horse race. It had been on my bucket list for years!! It did not matter to me that it was not the Derby, it was just as exciting. To be up close and personal with those stunning horses was such a dream. We sat very close to the track in our own little box. It was the perfect day. Sweater weather. There were 3 or 4 races that day at different times. During one of the intermissions we went outside where the food trucks park. We chose the CUP OF Q truck. All the women I was with said it was their favorite! The line was the longest there, so I knew it would be wonderful. And it was!!! Delicious. I knew then and there I would be copying that idea. The cup was warm when I held it. The meat and beans were the perfect temperature. Scooping up some of the entire mixture with my fork, going deep into the cup to make sure to get some cornbread was instant heaven for me. We took the cup back to our seats and finished eating it while watching another race with some potato chips and a diet coke. The only thing I was wishing at that moment in time is that I had ordered the large!!!!!! We hope you will have fun creating this FN CUP OF BBQ for your next Family gathering or the Super Bowl. xoxo Northern Style Corn bread

FN BBQ in cup

(Use Kirkland Chinet Big Red Cup 18 oz.)

  • 2 15 oz cans Bush’s Southern Style White Beans or Food Nanny Pinto Beans Book 2. Page 109
  • 2 lbs Smoked Pulled Pork (Kirkland Brand) already cooked. Make sure to remove any extra fat. Add ½ cup BBQ sauce to the pork. Or Food Nanny 3 Day Brisket. Book 2 page 178 or Louisiana Style Braised Pork Loin. Book 1. Page 169
  • 1 recipe Northern Style Corn Bread. Food Nanny. Book 1. Page 241 or Food Nanny Southern Style Corn Bread. Book 1. Page 241
  • 2 cups coleslaw. (double the recipe) Food Nanny Book 2. Page 163
  • 2 cups BBQ Sauce store bought (we like Sweet Baby Ray’s) or homemade FN BBQ Sauce Book 1, page 157 or Book 2. Page, 178, both of these are so good!! ½ cup honey
  1. If making beans from scratch start the day before. You can also Cook the beans ahead of time and freeze them.
  2. Prepare the meat as desired. May prepare ahead of time as as well and freeze, if desired

  3. Prepare the corn bread. Let cool. Cover and set aside on the counter until ready to use.

  4. Make the coleslaw. Cover and refrigerate.

To assemble the FN BBQ IN A CUP:

  1. Make sure the beans, meat and bbq sauce are all very warm. (cornbread may be warm as well)

    Cut a nice slice of cornbread (the best cornbread you will ever eat, and if you’re not a fan of cornbread you will be now). Place the cornbread in the bottom of the cup. Drizzle with honey. Spoon on the beans. Now add the meat. Spoon on extra BBQ sauce. Top with the Coleslaw.

    Serve immediately

If you love juicy like we do, make the beans from scratch and get some of the juice from those homemade beans to go into the cup as well……delish !

Northern Style Corn bread

Bangkok Stir-Fry

Bangkok Stir-Fry

Bangkok Stir-Fry

Finally a true stir-fry! When Katie was living in Bangkok her cook, Sue Nan, taught us how to make this wonderful stir-fry that takes just minutes to prepare. It is so delicious and so healthy. I hope you will all enjoy this special stir-fry. This is real comfort food when you are hungry for veggies and rice.

  • 1 Large carrot, peeled, cut in rounds ½ inch thick, then cut in half
  • 1 Small head broccoli, each flower bud cut into 3-4 small pieces, no stems
  • 1 Small head cauliflower, each flower bud cut into 3-4 small pieces, no stems
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Large cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 Fresh snap peas, snap tops and pull string along both sides, snap bottom, discard
  • 7 Small white button mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 Heaping teaspoon oyster sauce (found in Asian food section of your grocery)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce (found in Asian food section of your grocery)
  • 1/8 tsp gray French Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Cups jasmine Rice, cooked
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breast (optional)
  • If using chicken breasts: Cut the breast into strips ½ inch wide, then cut strips into ½ inch cubes. Add 2 teaspoons soy sauce, mix together, and set-aside until ready to stir-fry.
  1. In a saucepan, bring 3 cups water to boil. Add carrots, and boil 2 min. Add broccoli and cauliflower together. Boil 4 min.

  2. Pour vegetables into a colander and rinse with cold water. The vegetables will still be a bit crunchy. Set aside.

  3. Using an electric skillet (set at 350°), wok, or frying pan, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil. (Tip: You will know when your oil is hot enough if you drop in a small piece of bread and it fries quickly to a light brown color.)

  4. Add minced garlic, stirring until it is light brown in color. (If adding chicken, do it now and cook chicken cubes until light brown.) Add carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower in skillet, stir and cover with lid. Cook 1 min.

  5. Add peas and mushrooms. Stir. Cover and cook 1 min. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and salt. Stir. Replace lid. Cook for 30 seconds.

  6. Add sugar. If adding bean sprouts, add them now. Stir and cover. Cook 1 min.

  7. Remove from heat and serve immediately with Jasmine Rice.

Variation: Add 1/2 pound, cleaned and deveined, small shrimp with the bean sprouts at the very end. You can also substitute pork in place of the chicken.

Chicken & Noodles over Mashed Potatoes

Chicken & Noodles over Mashed Potatoes
Our homemade Chicken & Noodles over Mashed Potatoes are simply comfort food at its finest! So unique and so very delicious. We also love to eat these homemade noodles served on the side with any meat! xo Liz + Lizi

Chicken & Noodles over Mashed Potatoes

This recipe is a whole meal! It goes way back in my mother’s family, back when people were often more physically active and needed hearty fare like this. It was always such a big treat that the neighbor kids wanted to eat with us every time we had it! Now we enjoy it occasionally and in small portions. This dish does not have a “burst” of flavor; the salt and pepper make it flavorful. It is pure comfort food: not too spicy, just yummy.

  • 11/2 to 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts skinless
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 6 medium russet potatoes about 2 pounds (peeled andcut into 2-inch chunks)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk warmed
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces uncooked wide noodles or Homemade recipe on next page
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour optional
  • 1/2 cup water optional
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 cups frozen peas thawed
  1. Put the chicken and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Decrease the heat, cover, and simmer 18 to 20 minutes, until the chicken is tender and no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the pot to cool, reserving the broth in the pan.
  2. Meanwhile, put the potatoes in another pot and cover with water. Add a few shakes of salt and bring to a boil. Cover, decrease the heat to simmer, and continue cooking until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and, with a potato masher or portable electric mixer, mash the potatoes in the pot. Add the butter, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm.
  4. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, tear the meat into pieces with two forks. Stir the chicken pieces into the broth and place over high heat.
  5. When the broth boils, add the noodles. When it boils again, decrease the heat to medium and cook the noodles until tender—following package directions, or 2 to 3 minutes for homemade noodles.
  6. Stir in the peas until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    To serve, mound the mashed potatoes in the center of a platter and ladle the chicken mixture over it. Season generously with additional salt and pepper.

For a thicker broth, make a paste by whisking 1/2 cup flour into 1/2 cup cold water in a small bowl until smooth. Pour a little of the paste into the pot after the noodles are cooked. Stir until well-blended and boil for 1 minute, adding more thickening as desired.

Minestrone Lovers Soup

Minestrone Lovers Soup
We simply LOVE Minestrone Soup, especially when it is chilly outside. It is so satisfying and so incredibly healthy for you! This recipe will surely be on repeat over here. Thank you, Sharee, our dear friend for over 30 years. xo Liz + Lizi

Minestrone Lover's Soup

I love Minestrone Soup especially when it is chilly outside. It is so satisfying and so healthy for you! Thank you, Sharee, our dear friend for over 30 years.

  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup celery (chopped)
  • ½ cup carrots (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 14.5 oz. can (diced tomatoes with basil garlic and oregano)
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup cabbage (shredded)
  • ⅓ cup zucchini (chopped (zucchini optional))
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz. can cannelloni beans
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup elbow macaroni
  • ½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Sauté until the onions are soft.
  2. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, cabbage, zucchini, chicken broth, tomato paste, cannellini beans, parsley and salt. Stir. Let this come to a boil.
  3. Cover and reduce heat slightly to allow soup to simmer for 40 min. or until vegetables are just tender.
  4. Add pasta and simmer for 11 min. longer until the pasta is al dente but not too soft.
  5. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Serve with: Everyday Artisan Bread page 236 or Artisan Beer Bread on page 247. Variations: Pressure cook your soup in 10 min. Then stir in the already cooked pasta. Or, crock pot: cook on low for 8 hours adding in the macaroni in the beginning.

Crunchy Parmesan Baked Chicken

Crunchy Parmesan Baked Chicken
We can't get enough of our Crunchy Parmesan Baked is so fabulous! We love to serve it with mashed potatoes, noodles or rice. Also...we have to shout out these delicious roasted veggies. They add the perfect touch to this meal. xo Liz + Lizi

Crunchy Parmesan Baked Chicken

I had always made my own bread crumbs for all my recipes, and then my friend Joni introduced me to panko, which is Japanese-style breading. It has a coarser texture that creates a deliciously crunchy crust for chicken recipes like this. Panko is available in most supermarkets.

2/3 cup buttermilk or buttermilk ranch dressing

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons garlic salt

2 pounds chicken breast tenders

1/3 cup butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an oblong baking pan.

  2. Pour the buttermilk or buttermilk ranch dressing into a wide, shallow dish or pie plate. Mix the panko, Parmesan cheese, and garlic salt in another wide,shallow dish. Roll each piece of chicken in the buttermilk and then dredge in the panko mixture to coat.

  3. Arrange the chicken pieces in the prepared pan. Melt the butter in a glass measuring cup in the microwave and drizzle the melted butter over all. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender and no longer pink. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

Serve with a green vegetable and Rice Pilaf (p. 213), Classic Mashed Potatoes (p. 211), or fettuccine with olive oil, coarse salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Variation: For a fast, easy dinner, simply dredge chicken tenders in panko crumbs seasoned with coarse salt. Fry in peanut or canola oil and drain on paper towels.

Warm Raspberries over Vanilla Ice Cream

Warm Raspberries over Vanilla Ice Cream

Warm Raspberries over Ice Cream

  • 2 Cups fresh or frozen Raspberries
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  1. Combine in a small saucepan over low to medium heat.
  2. Stir the berries carefully with a spoon so not to crush them but to remain whole.
  3. When warm and the berries have released some juice, gently spoon over excellent quality vanilla ice cream

  4. Enjoy!


This chicken is so moist and delicious you just fall in love. The sauce is divine. I got the idea to put the two recipes together after I baked this chicken the very first time. When I served this chicken to my family with this sauce, they went crazy !!


TUESDAY ITALIAN NIGHT Serves 4 Time: 1 hour Plan Ahead: Make sauce an hour ahead and re-heat. (I re-heat my leftover sauce the next day as well and it is delicious!)

  • 2 large boneless/skinless
  • chicken breasts (frozen)
  • ½ cup Romano cheese (grated)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 roll Ritz crackers (crushed)
  • (Ritz crackers come 4 rolls per box)

Beurre Blanc:

  • 1 Tablespoon shallot (minced finely)
  • ⅓ cup white cooking wine (or white wine)
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • Coarse salt (pinch)
  • ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ cup cold butter (1stick, cut into 1 Tablespoon portions)
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried tarragon
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°.
  2. Line a small baking sheet with foil. Place the frozen chicken on the foil. Bake 30 min. uncovered.

  3. While the chicken is baking, mix the grated cheese and mayonnaise together in a small bowl. Set aside.

  4. Put the crackers in a quart size plastic bag and crush with your hands. After the chicken has cooked 30 min., take out of the oven and cut the chicken breasts in half. You will now have 4 pieces of chicken. Spoon the cheese/mayonnaise mixture generously on top of the four pieces of chicken. Sprinkle the crackers generously over top the cheese mixture- some will fall to the side.

  5. Put the chicken back into the oven and continue baking for another 30 min. Prepare the Beurre Blanc while the chicken is cooking the last 30 min. Serve the chicken with the warm Beurre Blanc on the side as a dip.

Beurre Blanc:

  1. In a 8½ inch sauce pan combine shallot, cooking wine and vinegar. Stir. Bring to a boil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to simmer, stir occasionally and cook until reduced to about 2 Tablespoons, about 8 to 10 min.

  2. Take off the heat for a couple of minutes. Put back on the heat and add the cold butter, 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring until almost melted, then add in the next Tablespoon until all the butter is incorporated. Stir in the tarragon. Serve warm.

Serve with: Mashed potatoes or Linguini with Butter and Parmesan page 227. Steamed carrots, broccoli, cauliflower mix.

    Variation: Use Parmesan cheese in place of Romano.

      This chicken is so moist and delicious you just fall in love. The sauce is divine. I got the idea to put the two recipes together after I baked this chicken the very first time. When I served this chicken to my family with this sauce, they went crazy !!

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