Recently at Betty’s: Cheesy Southwest Grains & Chorizo Zucchini Boats

For 2015 I really want to share more of the work I’ve been doing for Betty Crocker (and whoever else, for that matter). A lot of the stuff I do is similar in style to what you already see here–from scratch and homemade–some of it is super quick and easy, using different branded products, as well. I plan to share these new recipes on Fridays, when available. Sometimes I don’t have anything new on the Betty site, so I just won’t share those weeks.

Cheesy Southwest Grains and Chorizo Zucchini Boats

I think everyone cooks differently depending on their comfort level in the kitchen, their schedules, and lifestyles. Sometimes I get super caught up in wanting things to be homemade and from scratch that I get a leeetle bit stressed out about it and end up totally hangry and frazzled. I mean for the sake of my sanity, I’m not above boxed mac and cheese, y’all. I think it’s important to embrace a shortcut from time to time for the sake of happy bellies and happy brains.

This recipe definitely embraces the shortcut, using Suddenly Grain Salad as a large component in the recipe. It makes for a super easy, fast, and delicious dinner, though! I’m a huge fan of the zucchini boat thing (like these Three Cheese and Roasted Tomato ones). The filling for this version comes together with the Suddenly Grain Salad–a mix of brown rice, quinoa, corn, black beans–plus chorizo and cheese…which never hurts. Click over to see the recipe for these Cheesy Southwest Grains & Chorizo Zucchini Boats. And, I’m thinking if you are more ambitious or have some extra time you could totally make a from-scratch version of this with delicious results.

Recently at Betty’s: Slow Cooker Chicken with Apples & Crème Fraîche and Chicken-Bacon-Ranch Enchiladas

Chicken Bacon Ranch Enchiladas

 Chicken Bacon Ranch Enchiladas

I have a couple low-brow vs. high-brow chicken dishes to share with you today!

The low-brow is a super easy Chicken Enchilada dish that includes bacon and a creamy ranch sauce. It’s perfect for those ranch fiends in your life (we all have them)! Sean loves an enchilada and he was crazy for this version. It’s savory, a little spicy, cheesy, and so easy. The high-brow is a Slow Cooker Chicken with Apple and Crème Fraîche that includes my favorite cooking booze–calvados. It’s creamy, herbal, hearty, a little sweet, a lot savory, and perfectly autumnal. I’ve made this several times already this fall. The most important thing is that they are equally delicious. Win.

Slow Cooker Chicken w/ Apples and Crème Fraîche

 Slow Cooker Chicken with Apples and Crème Fraîche

Click on over to the Betty Crocker for the recipes and how-to’s:

Chicken Bacon Ranch Enchiladas and Slow Cooker Chicken with Apples & Crème Fraîche

Click HERE for a list of all of my Betty approved recipes!

 

 

Honeycrisp, Sage, & Bacon Shells and Cheese

Northern Hemispherians! It’s fall, or more properly, autumn!

I always look forward to the change of seasons, but Autumn is my favorite. It’s the cool change in the air that demands I bring back my cardigans from the depths of my closet, warm beverages, nights that require a fire, oven-baked everything, pumpkins and crazy looking gourds at the market, and apples.

I’ve been preparing for the change of the season by buying Casper tiny-plaid shirts that make him look like a lumberjack-in-training, hats that make him look like a baby-bear, and lots of honeycrisp apples for me to eat. I LOVE honeycrisps. I really fell in love with them when we were living in Michigan–they were abundant there and I am pretty sure that I ate at least my weight in them late last fall after I found out I was pregnant. So, basically, Casper is at least 1/3 honeycrisp apple–the other 2/3 being a mix of strawberries and pizza.Anyway, let’s talk about the perfect fall-flavored mac and cheese. This dish combines my favorite sweet-tart-crisp apple with my favorite fall herb–sage–plus bacon, cheddar, goat cheese, and parm for good measure. Triple-cheese-threat!

And it’s so good, guys! It has all the cheesy goodness you’d expect from classic macaroni and cheese, complete with a crisp topping, plus tart apples, sweet onions, salty bacon, and earthy sage. UGH. It’s so good. Sean was a little skeptical, I think, but I assured him that cheese and apples are friends so it totes makes sense. It’s one of those dishes that made me want to high-five myself when it was done, because it’s good…like, really.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

 

Honeycrisp, Sage, & Bacon Shells and Cheese

You can use any firm, tart-sweet apple you like for this recipe.

Serves 6-8

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 tablespoon bacon grease reserved from cooking

2 honeycrisp apples, diced and peeled

1 medium onion, sliced

1 tablespoon fresh, chopped sage

1 lb. small to medium shell pasta

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon flour

3 cups milk

6 ounces shredded white cheddar cheese

4 ounces soft goat cheese

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon melted, unsalted butter

Garnish:

Sage leaves

Canola oil

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon grease over medium-high and cook the apples and onions with a pinch of salt until softened. Remove from the heat and toss with the chopped sage and most of the bacon (reserve a few tablespoons for the top of the pasta).

Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water and cook about 2 minutes less than the package instructs. Drain in a colander and set aside.

In the same pot you used to cook the pasta, melt the butter over medium heat and stir in the flour to create a roux. Cook the roux about 1 minute before gradually stirring in the milk. Bring the milk mixture to a simmer and cook until it thickens a bit. Gradually add in the cheddar, goat cheese, and 1/4 cup of the parmesan, stirring to melt and combine. Stir in the nutmeg and add salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat. Add the cooked pasta and bacon, apple, onion mixture to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Scrape the pasta into a 9×13 baking dish, or two smaller dishes (I used a 10-inch round dish and 4x4inch square dish). In bowl, toss the panko with the melted butter and remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan, sprinkle over the top of the pasta evenly. Top the pasta with the reserved bacon and bake in the center of the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are browned and the edges of the pasta are bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

To garnish with fried sage, heat about 1/2 inch of canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat and fry sage leaves until crisp. Drain on paper towels before adding to the baked pasta.[/recipe]