As I posted on the last blog post, I am smoothly, but slowly recovering from my hysterectomy surgery. I feel very fortunate to have my 14 and 13 year old daughters take care of me the past few weeks, but they are starting back with their new school year tomorrow!!! Never have I felt so sad and the feeling of making up some lame excuses to keep them home with me is very tempting… granted, all for selfish reasons.
Last night my daughters cooked Macaroni & Cheese and Foil Baked Salmon (both Giada De Laurentiis’ recipes) and they were absolutely divine!! They were both interested in cooking and baking, but I have seen their confidence grow cooking in the kitchen in the last month. Well, let me have my daughters tell you about it:
A – After that chicken jambalaya stunt, I felt a little more confident and willing to try more recipes. I like macaroni and cheese but making it from scratch was a first for me, so I decided on that. And then salmon is my favorite fish (self-explanatory). We started with the macaroni and cheese and used up all the milk in the house. The salmon was all right too, but I was a bit squeamish because I was never comfortable with handling animal protein. But they both turned out fine (actually, more than fine) and I overstuffed myself at the dinner table. I will definitely make the macaroni and cheese again, but salmon is up in the air because I am not a fan of handling meat. But experience is how we all learn, I guess.
J – We’re back! This time my sister and I made Mac and Cheese and Foil Baked Salmon. Luckily, nobody in my family is allergic to anything in these recipes, so we didn’t have to change anything or find different recipes like last time. This time cooking was fairly easy, maybe because the recipes were simple or because I’m getting more comfortable in the kitchen. The Mac and Cheese was pretty straightforward. Noodles + cheesy saucy goodness = majestic heavenly magic. It was gooey on the inside while the edges were crispy. I believe that there’s no such thing as too much cheese, and this recipe just proves my point. It went very well with the Foil Baked Salmon. The salmon with the tomatoes and onions (the recipe actually called for shallots but we didn’t have any so we just used onions) tasted just as magnificent as the mac and cheese. I will most definitely be making this again, and soon. I think I’ll have to revisit this recipe often to fuel my new cheesy, fishy addiction. Really though, if I haven’t made it clear yet, it’s so fantastical that you’ll have dreams about it so I advise you to double the recipe so you can have some more the next day and relive the dream. Okay, maybe I’m getting a little carried away. As you can tell, I get very emotional when it comes to food. Maybe I should stop talking now.
Macaroni and Cheese:
- Butter, for greasing dish
- 12 ounces wide egg noodles
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups (packed) grated Fontina
- 3/4 cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan
- 3/4 cup (packed) grated mozzarella
- 4 ounces cooked ham, diced, optional
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
**Ham was omitted from our recipe.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Butter a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish and set aside. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Drain well, but do not rinse.
Whisk the cream, milk, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in 1 cup Fontina, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup mozzarella, ham, if using, and parsley. Add the noodles and toss to coat. Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared baking dish. Toss the remaining 1 cup Fontina, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1/4 cup mozzarella in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the noodle mixture. Bake until the sauce bubbles and the cheese melts and begins to brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Foil Baked Salmon:
- 4 (5 ounces each) salmon fillets
- 2 teaspoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained
- 2 chopped shallots
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Sprinkle salmon with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir the tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.
Place a salmon fillet, oiled side down, atop a sheet of foil. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape. Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely; seal the packets closed. Place the foil packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat until all of the salmon have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Using a large metal spatula, transfer the foil packets to plates and serve.