Grown Up Mac & Cheese

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One of the first things I ever learned to make is Macaroni and Cheese because let’s face it, it’s super easy right? Well as I’ve matured grown up cooked more than my fair share of M&C I’ve realized that it’s not exactly the healthiest dish. So my goal was to make the dish last longer (aka more of it) and to make it healthier. I thought basically I need to add protein and vegetables and I need to add lots of them.

Now, I started off as a Kraft girl (cheesiest all the way) but then I was turned onto Annie’s Mac & Cheese! It’s fantastic and as my taste buds have evolved I realize it doesn’t taste like I’m eating plastic.

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Colonel Mac & Cheese

This M&C is so named after Colonel Mackenzie in JAG, she’s a US Marine and wears green all the time so this recipe has lots of green in it!

Add: peas, chopped zucchini, and broccoli. If you’re really in the green mood add sliced avocado on top! Chicken optional

 

Mac & Under the Cheese

This M&C is named after the add ins. Fish and veggies that you can’t see!

Add: tuna and roughly chopped cauliflower

 

Mambo Mac & Italiano Cheese

This M&C is named because the resulting dish is the colors of the Italian Flag and the taste is similar to a caprese salad.

Add: sauteed spinach, slicked cherry tomatoes, make sure your M&C is made with white cheese. Again, chicken optional

 

Champagne Pancakes

Everyone loves a good brunch right? I mean brunch means sleeping in, champagne, and breakfast food. How can anyone not like brunch?! This weekend I whipped up these Champagne Pancakes and boy they were delicious! This champagne pancake recipe involve the best things about brunch: 1. champagne (in them and in my glass) 2. breakfast food (pancakes are American for goodness sake!) and 3. sleeping in (these are super easy to make and you won’t have to get up early to make them)

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So pull out your skillet, warm some syrup, get the orange juice, and pop the champagne cork because these pancakes will make you the brunch baroness! Every recipe I adapted this one from said something about “leftover champagne” and I scoffed. That’s like saying ‘leftover wine’ that does NOT happen in my apartment. So if you’re just making these and don’t plan on having mimosas (le horreur!) then use a small bottle of champagne instead of opening a big kid bottle.

champagne pancakes

Champagne Pancake Recipe

Ingredients: 

1.5 cups flour

2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt & a pinch

2 large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 tbsp butter

3/4 cup champagne (and some for the cook)

 

Directions: 

1. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and butter together

2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together

3. Stir in the wet mixture into the dry, lumps will happen, that’s okay. Set aside for 15 minutes.

4. Fold in champagne (with sips for the cook)

5. Cook like any other pancake

6. Enjoy like no other pancake because this one has champagne in it!

 champagne pancakes

Bonus points if you serve these with a mimosa bar. Super bonus points if I get an invite!

champagne pancakes

So when are we brunching?

 

Pink Drinks

Here are some drinks that would be perfect for your valentine’s date night, your gal-entine’s dinner, or your personal netflix binge watching this weekend.

The recipes are delicious and I might be biased (okay completely biased), but they are seriously worth you ordering two.* Plus, drinks just taste better when they’re pink right? 

Some of my favorite pink drinks: 


Pink Gin Fizz

2 ounces orange juice
1 1/4 ounces gin
1 tablespoon simple syrup
4 ounces fresh pink grapefruit juice
Seltzer

In a glass, pour orange juice over ice. Combine gin, simple syrup, and pink grapefruit juice; slowly pour over orange juice. Top with seltzer.

This drink doesn’t look pink in this picture but that was because I didn’t pour it slowly over the OJ. I was too excited!

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Kir Royale

1 oz Creme de Cassis
Champagne

Pour Creme de Cassis in the glass and tilt the glass and fill it with your champagne or sparkling wine.

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The Paloma

¼ cup tequila
¼ cup club soda
¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp sugar
Small plate with sugar
Grapefruit wedge

In your cocktail glass combine grapefruit juice, lime juice, and sugar, mixing until sugar dissolves. Add tequila, club soda, and ice.

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Also if for some reason you happen to end up at the Four Seasons (especially in Austin) you need to try the Pretty in Pink. It’s fantastically delicious and how could it not be? It’s pink, has alcohol, and it’s named after a John Hughes movie. Amazing combo. 


Is your go-to drink pink?


*just please don’t operate a vehicle if you are intoxicated 
   


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Thirsty?

Yeah I know it’s one day early so I can’t really call it Thirsty Thursday (but you could read it tomorrow and have it be thirsty thursday) but this recipe was too good not to share with the WORLD! 


This drink has three five things that all the best drinks have…

1. Easy to make
2. Vodka
3. It’s refreshing (ahhhhhh so refreshing)
4. Fizzy
5. IT’S UNDER 100 CALORIES 


Do I have your attention yet? Your full attention? Well I should. 

That ‘easy to make’ point up there? I wasn’t kidding, here’s the recipe. 


Combine: 
1oz vodka (basically 1 shot)
7oz diet tonic water
1 packet splenda/sweet n low/stevia (whichever you prefer)
Juice from half a lemon
Ice 


Stick a straw (and umbrella) in that drink, slather on some SPF, and get out in the sun!

Cheers!

Here’s my easy margarita mix if you’re interested… 

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Spiked Strawberry Lemonade


Lemonade? No. 

Strawberry Lemonade? Nope. 

Spiked Strawberry Lemonade? YES PLEASE!
    

Oh heyyyyyyyyyyyyone day before Thirsty Thursday! This was a very fun and delicious post to make and write while drinking my concoctions. I might or might not have had to make two batches, just to, you know, make sure I had my recipes right… did you buy that? 


Here’s what you need: 
– 3 cups water
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 TBSP lemon zest
– Juice from 2 large lemons
– 2 pkgs strawberries, cleaned, hulled, halved
– 1 cup vodka (or your preferred libation)
– 1 lemon and few strawberries for garnish


Here’s what you do: 
– Add 2 cups water and the sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir in lemon zest and juice. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain into pitcher. 
– In blender puree the strawbs. Strain (or not, I did both and loved both) and add to pitcher. Stir, add the last 1 cup water and vodka. Stir. Refrigerate. 
-For some garnish add sliced lemons and strawberries. (You can also freeze the strawberries to use as ice!)


Bottoms up! 

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Have you entered the Summer Bow Bracelet Giveaway



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Rustic Pesto Pasta


Rustic Pesto:
4 bunches of fresh basil (remove leaves from stem)
handful of shredded pecorino cheese
1-2 cups of walnuts (roughly chopped-this is what makes it rustic)
2 pinches of sea salt
enough extra virgin olive oil to make the mix slightly damp

Roughly chop all the basil leaves and walnuts. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. If you don’t want the pesto to be so ‘rustic’ then toss everything in a food processor and make it ‘modern’. Personally, I like it rustic. 

I put this pesto on everything. Sometimes I just add some chicken or shrimp and eat it that way! Y-u-m-m-y! This time I spread it over some fresh pasta, added some diced roma tomatoes, and fresh shredded mozzarella! Then I threw on some shrimp sauteed in garlic for some healthy protein! 

Are you a fan of pesto? What’s your favorite pasta sauce? 
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Easy Chicken & Veg

Everyone has those days where all you want to do when you come home from work (or class) and the last thing you want to do is prep and cook dinner. I mean you could watch Real Housewives, you could read a book, or you could sleep. Sleep. Definitely sleep.

So I wanted to give you a super quick recipe that is easy to prep, easy to cook, easy clean up, and super yummy! 
Ingredients: 
2-3 chicken breasts            1 lemon
1 zucchini                          sea salt
1 yellow squash                 fresh ground pepper
1 potato                            EVOO (I use an olive oil mister) 
1 roma tomato
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay some tin foil out on a cookie sheet. 
Cut a zucchini into strips, cut a yellow squash into strips, cut a potato into chunks (or halve a couple red potatoes), and slice a roma tomato. Spray or spread EVOO on the tin foil lay the chicken breasts on one side of the tin foil, and the veggies on the other side. Spray some more EVOO on on the food. Season the chicken and veggies with fresh ground pepper and sea salt. Squeeze a lemon over the whole mess. Make a packet to keep the steam and juices in. 
Pop in the oven and let cook for 25-30 minutes. 
Eat! 
This meal takes me about 35 minutes tops to make. I’ve got this one down for those nights when all I want to do is pass out! Oh and since I loathe doing the dishes this works perfectly because all you have to do is toss the tin foil and put the sheet back in the cupboard! 
Boom. I just used the word cupboard. I feel like Snow White. Well I am pale enough. 

Check out this month’s sponsor:

recipe: open tomb rolls

A little Easter treat that 1) tastes delicious 2) reaffirms what Easter is all about and 3) is easy and fun to make!

Ingredients:
Big Marshmallows
Melted Butter
Cinnamon
Grands Rolls or Crescent Rolls
Directions:
Roll the marshmallow (Christ) in the butter and then cinnamon (he was anointed in oils and spices). Place the marshmallow in the middle of the Grands roll or roll it in the crescent roll (the tomb). Bake as directed. When you open the rolls at lunch/dinner the marshmallow is gone, cue the dinner conversation!

 Winston can’t wait for Easter egg hunting… I’m going to have to keep a closer eye on him this year…

What other yummy goodies are you whipping up for Easter?

recipe: vegetable risotto

I whipped this up a week or so ago and I can’t wait to make it again! It was a nice vegetarian option! It was rich and creamy and I added extra vegetables to compensate for the lack of meat.

6 cups vegetable or chicken stock              1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
1/2 cup white wine                                   6 tbsp parmesan or mozzarella cheese 
1 tbsp butter                                            fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sm/med onion roughly chopped             Extra vegetables I added: 
2 cups Arborio rice                                    half zucchini roughly chopped
10 sun dried tomatoes chopped                 3 long carrots roughly chopped 
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed                        half head of broccoli roughly chopped
1 tbsp garlic minced 

Directions

1. Bring stock to a boil in a medium stock pot, then reduce to simmer

2. Melt butter and olive oil in a heavy bottom stock pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and cook until softened. Add the rice and coat the rice with the butter and olive oil mix, do not let the rice brown. Approx 2 minutes.

3. Add the white wine to rice mixture and let the rice soak up the wine. Approx 4 minutes.

4. Gradually add the stock in 1/2 cup increments letting the rice soak up most of the stock. Add the herbs, spices, tomatoes, and extra vegetables. Stir as needed.

5. Divide into 4-6 bowls, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and season with pepper to taste.

Enjoy!

margarita mix

 I just finished my last exam for the semester! Whoop! I am HALFWAY done with Law School! That’s crazy! To celebrate I am going to mix up some Texas Margaritas! The first time I had these was at a party for Summer Swim Team coaches, I was dating one so I was invited to the party  that was being put on by one of the sets of parents of the kids on the team. (I actually ended up watching their kids the summer before law school) The mom whipped these up for the party (I think multiple times) and I am pretty sure every coach was feeling it the next day at the meet. Thankfully I didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to get to a swim meet, but I will always remember that awesome night and these margaritas!

They are so easy to make! I might have to go get some Chuy’s take out to complement them!

Cheers!

Recipie: Pumpkin Bread

I’m going to let you in on a recipe that makes my apartment smell like Thanksgiving and my tummy jump for pumpkin joy! Best pumpkin bread recipe ever. It is actually from a neighbor back home who always made loaf after loaf because since she had three boys in the house it always went rather quick…

Personally, I don’t start decorating or thinking about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, after all I want to give Thanksgiving it’s due! I like to think of this bread as the Thanksgiving defense to the Christmas peppermint offense. I love Christmas as much as the next elf and am excited to decorate this upcoming weekend, but only after Thanksgiving!

To make this Pumpkin Bread you’ll need:

1 can pumpkin
3 1/2 cups flour
2 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup softened butter
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Easiest directions ever:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients together. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans (yes it does make two loaves!), bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean!

Then set the timer and see how long the loaves last: trust me they’ll go fast!

Happy Thanksgiving!

monster cookies

So I hope everyone read my last contribution to For Chic Sake about the yummy salad BUT just in case you didn’t you can now read TWO things! Go check out my post about my most favorite cookies in the entire world! Monster cookies! Credit must be given to my Aunt Linda as the recipe is originally hers and I am shamelessly using it to my advantage!

Don’t they look good!

Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Crumble Cake!

This morning I had to make breakfast for our Student Government Meeting. And by “make” I mean could have bought bagels but decided to get up a little earlier and bake something. And by “something” I mean this Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Crumble Cake, and it is oh so lovely. 
Ingredients: 
1/2 cup butter, room temp
2 tsp lemon zest (I just zested a big lemon and had tons of fun while doing so)
7/8 cup + 1 tbsp sugar ( 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp = 7/8 cup) (the tbsp is for sprinkling on top)
1 egg, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup buttermilk
Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup sugar until fluffy
2) Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. In a small bowl toss the blueberries with 1/4 cup of the flour and in yet another bowl combine the rest of the flour, baking powder and salt.
3) Add the flour mixture to the batter in groups, alternating with the buttermilk. When well mixed fold in the blueberries carefully!
4) Grease a baking pan , spread batter into pan and sprinkle batter with the tbsp of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with toothpick, return to oven if needed. Cool. Serve and devour. 
Serves 8 -10
Have a wonderful start to the Lenten season! I’m obviously not giving up sugar but I always give up something(s) and add something(s) to my life! This year the sacrifice has to do with tv and food and the addition has to do with more church and more time spent on getting healthy! What are you giving up or adding? 
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway

Oreo cupcakes

yes OREO cupcakes… cue the drooling…
the actual cupcake is so chocolate-ly and dense that really all you need is one (but they are so good no one is going to judge you for having 2… or 3…) 
Ingredients: makes 24
Cupcakes:                                                       Frosting:
– 2 1/3 cups flour                                             -1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp whipping cream
– 1 cup cocoa powder                                     – 3 tbsp powdered sugar
– 1 1/2 tsp baking powder                               – 1/2 tsp vanilla 
– 1/2 tsp baking soda                                       – 6 tbsp Oreo crumbs
– 1/2 tsp salt                                                    – 24 Oreo cookie halves
– 12 tbsp butter
– 2 cups light brown sugar
– 2 tsp vanilla
– 4 eggs
– 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Directions
preheat to 350 and line your cupcake pans
In a medium bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 
In a big bowl beat butter until smooth, add the brown sugar and beat until fluffy, beat in vanilla. Add the eggs beating in between each addition. Add the dry mixture in 3 additions alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry mixture. Mix until dry ingredients are incorporated. At this point the batter looks and tastes like chocolate mousse… go ahead take a little taste.
Bake for 18-20 minutes and cool. 
For frosting whisk the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk until stiff peaks form. Softly mix in the cookie crumbs with a spatula. Pipe the mixture on the cupcakes and add your Oreo half to decorate. 
Enjoy with some milk, after all, Oreos are milk’s favorite cookie. 
Hope yours turn out amazing! While you’re enjoying your cupcake remember to enter the giveaway