Tag Archives: mac & cheese

Week Six: Meatball Parmigiana Sliders, Panera-Style Mac & Cheese, and Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls


Even though I’m not a fan of her racist outbursts, Martha Stewart’s recipe for sliders is delicious.  When I made them they ended up being on huge rolls though, hardly tiny appetizers.  I also wanted to make creamy mac and cheese like they serve at Panera so I tried a copycat recipe that was amazing!!

Meatball Parmigiana Sliders



  • 2 slices white or sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 8 ounces ground beef (85 percent lean)
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 4 ounces ground veal
  • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • Coarse salt
  • Marinara Sauce


  • 2 dozen brioche rolls, split
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated mozzarella cheese (5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
  • Small basil leaves


  1. STEP 1

    Make the meatballs: Soak bread in milk for 5 minutes. Gently mix bread and milk with meats, pecorino Romano, parsley, garlic, egg, and 1 teaspoon salt. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  2. STEP 2

    Roll mixture into twenty-four 1-ounce balls (each about the size of a golf ball).

  3. STEP 3

    Heat sauce in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Drop meatballs into sauce, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook, partially covered, until meatballs are cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

  4. STEP 4

    Make the sandwiches: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Working in batches, arrange rolls, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Place 1 meatball, a spoonful of sauce, 1 tablespoon mozzarella, and 1 teaspoon pecorino Romano on bottom halves. Bake until cheese melts, about 3 minutes. Sandwich with basil.

photo 4-18

Panera-Style Mac & Cheese

8 to 12 ounces small or medium Shell pasta
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
3 slices white American cheese, chopped
2 ounces Cream Cheese
1 ounce shredded Parmesan
6 ounces shredded extra-sharp White Vermont cheddar
(for a lighter flavor, use only 4oz instead of 6oz)
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2-3 drops Frank’s hot sauce

1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, do steps 2 – 4

2. Melt butter over low heat. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.

3. Gradually whisk in milk; cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture starts to thicken. Reduce heat to low.

4. Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce, stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth. Add a small amount of whole milk to thin out if needed. It should look kind of like vanilla pudding, but a little bit thinner.

5. Stir in pasta and cook over medium heat for 1 minute (or until thoroughly heated).

Serves 4-6

photo 1-21

Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls

I had been hankering to make a dessert with peanut butter for a while.
photo 3-21
Mix together:
2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 cup rice crisps
1lb (3cup) powdered sugar1/4 cup melted butter
Make balls and dip in melted:
2 (maybe 3) package milk chocolate chips
photo 2-21
Put on cookie sheets in fridge to harden. Enjoy.

Makes about 70 balls.

Okay so just to give a few pointers since I’ve been making these since I was a little child. They are kind of labor intensive. Once you get the powdered sugar in, it is almost impossible to stir. I wash my hands really good and end up using my hands to mix in the rice krispies. I gave a friend the recipe and she used a mixer. She said it turned out good, but I am too afriad to ruin a good thing so I stick with what I know.

Depending on the peanut butter you use, you may have to add more powdered sugar. You will know when you try to make a ball. If it is too sticky, add more. I’ve always had to add more except this year I used my new favorite peanut butter, Skippy Natural with honey. The recipe worked perfectly. If the balls are too crumbly, add more peanut butter.

The original recipe my mom used called for a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips and a bar of milk chocolate. They are still really good like this, but I prefer just to go all out and use all milk chocolate. Yep that’s how I roll. And it seems that no matter how much chocolate I melt, I have to melt more so make sure you have extra on hand.

photo 3-23 photo 5-17


Week Two: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese and Strawberry Brownie Kabobs


Here’s a link to this week’s delicious recipe from blogger PinchofYum… boo, just a pinch?!  Most of these recipes come from things I’ve pinned on my Pinterest food board. Of all the delectable meals, mac & cheese seems to push through the forefront, so much so that this summer may end up being a quest for the best recipe of mac & cheese. I figured I’d start off with something out of the ordinary though.  It also seemed like a good idea to start making desserts, as my board was half composed of them.  These did not disappoint.


Prep time:  5 mins
Cook time:  30 mins
Serves: 4
  • ½ box whole grain elbow macaroni (about 2.5 cups dry)
  • 1 cup canned butternut squash puree
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 oz low fat cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 large crispy apple, chopped or grated
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled bacon
  1. Heat butter in a skillet over low heat. When melted, add onions and let caramelize for at least 30 minutes for the best flavor. Keep heat on low/low-medium.
  2. Cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Add butternut squash, chicken broth, evaporated milk, and cream cheese. When combined, add in salt.
  3. Add onions and apples to the pasta. Stir to combine and add a tablespoon more broth or milk if needed.
  4. Just before serving, mix in cheese and stir until melted. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon bacon.
Because there’s very little butter, it can “dry out” quickly, especially once off the heat. Add a tablespoon of water, milk, or broth if you need to get it back to its original creaminess.  
My brother was fortunate enough to receive the task of modeling the dessert for us. This time I made sure to create a collage on the gram for your enjoyment.

My brother was fortunate enough to receive the task of modeling the dessert for us. This time I made sure to create a collage on the gram for your enjoyment.