Homemade Noodles and Porcupines

Everyone in my family has their own birthday meal. And for as long as I remember, come my mom’s birthday, spaghetti and noodles are on the table. She could eat only pasta for the rest of her life and never complain. My love for the dish isn’t quite that deep, but I can appreciate a delicious noodle, smothered in tomato sauce.Noodles & PorcupinesThis, admittedly, is not my mom’s birthday meal. It’s a little more involved than she gets with her dinner. But I had time to waste and was craving some pasta. And, surprise surprise, my brothers actually liked it. We’ll have to remember that for future meals. Continue reading

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Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Everyone has grown up with mac ‘n’ cheese. The blue box with the orange dinosaur, or maybe your family was fancy and used that yellow block of self-proclaimed “processed cheese product.” Either way, there comes a moment when you realize that there is so much more to this dish. It’s like a rite of passage into adulthood—when you are finally able to serve your favorite childhood meal to your adult friends with no sense of shame.
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I recently started working at a cheese magazine. Yeah, there is such a thing. And it’s exactly what you would think: boxes of cheese arriving at our door daily, cheese tastings as a required part of your job, extra cheese being handed out to everyone. And now with more cheese than I know what to do with (just kidding, I know exactly what to do with it), I have been perfecting my family’s mac ‘n’ cheese recipe. Seriously, this recipe is the culmination of years of family tradition, hours of free-time, and over $200 of cheese in my refrigerator. Continue reading

Spaghetti Squash & Cheese

When I was in my final semester of undergraduate, I enrolled in an 8-week short course on cooking for the college student, aka cheap, fast, and (hopefully) healthy. Unfortunately, I found myself a little over qualified. I was one of very few upperclassmen and the only person to have worked in a restaurant. Most days this discrepancy wasn’t an issue; I enjoyed the class because it gave me an hour a week to discuss food. But, while the class as a whole was fun, the first ten minutes were always a gamble. Class members traded off bringing in food that they believed was good for students. These moments served as quite the teaching opportunity. For example, some muffins reinforced that baking powder and baking soda are not interchangeable. Potatoes are not good mix-ins for spaghetti. “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” is not a substitute for butter in most baking.

When it came time for my turn, I decided to challenge myself . I would create my own recipe, keeping it cheap and practical. I’ve seen spaghetti squash recipes, but none of them utilized “cheese” like I wanted. And so I created a spaghetti squash & cheese recipe that I have since fallen in love with. Continue reading

Spaghetti Pie

September is officially here, and for me that means it’s time for perfect running weather. And perfect running food. Delicious pasta and lots of it. Unfortunately, there are only so many days of tomato sauce a girl has in her. I hit my limit pretty early on.

I learned this recipe when I was 14, and I’ve loved it ever since. Literally, the only thing wrong with the recipe is its name: Spaghetti Pie. When I get to this point, telling others about one of my favorite dinners, they picture sweet pie crust filled with piles of pasta. Do not make this same mistake. It is an absolutely amazing combination of spaghetti and cheese, baked together in a casserole dish.

There are a few different versions of this recipe, but I have chosen to give you the purest from them all. You can serve this dish with any sauce you choose, or none at all if you’re so inclined. And if you have time, maybe you can help me think of a new name for it. Continue reading

Lasagna

There are certain times that I like to have the kitchen to myself, such as when I’m trying to go quickly, or if I’m grilling something. However, there are other times when I yell through the house for a sous chef or two. Today was one of those days.

The kitchen was dirty from days of entertaining family, and the refrigerator was empty after all of the leftovers were reheated, packed for drives home, or wrapped inside a brown paper bag and ready for lunch. And now the family was gone. We were left with cold rainy weather and nothing to do. I reasoned it was as good a time as any for some comfort food.
I know that I’m cheating. I said these would be strictly family recipes. And it half is. But I have to admit, I tinkered a little. But in my defense, I was throwing this together. Also in my defense, I believe that chicken broth can make anything just a little better. Continue reading