Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

I think I lived off of mac & cheese when I was younger. I wish I was kidding. I revamped my diet to include things other than neon cheese in a foil packet, but once in a while I get that craving. My current craving has been lasting a few weeks so I finally pulled the trigger and decided to make it.

Guilty side note, this was on the same day that I made the butter cookies. I can't resist free time!

Anyway, my roommate doesn't eat chocolate. Therefore, I like to cook for her since she is much more adventurous than my boyfriend in that department. She also LOVES buffalo wings and I knew she was having a bad day, so I figured buffalo chicken mac and cheese from Pearls, Handcuffs, & Happy Hour could do the trick for both of us.

First, you just choose whichever pasta you'd like (I was always a fan of the shells) and cook/drain according to directions.Also, don't forget to cook your chicken! While that is cooking, make the sauce in a sauce pan. First, melt and let the butter bubble in a sauce pan. Then, whisk in some flour until it turns about golden-ish. Pour in your milk and let it thicken! (I may have missed the thickening step...). Add your cheeses until melty and smooth and then add the wing sauce. Yummmm.

Combine everything in a  9x13 dish....
Add some breadcrumbs to the top and some more cheese to coat...

then bake  @ 375 for 25 minutes until golden! 

Ingredients: 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked & cubed
1 tbsp. flour
4-6 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups milk
4 oz. grated monterrey jack cheese
1/3 cup sharply shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
Ranch dressing (optional)

Bake @ 375 for 25 minutes in a 9x13 pan.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gooey Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Monday was a holiday at work for me, which is a miracle in itself. I spent the somewhat long weekend in the Poconos with a bunch of my college friends and my boyfriend which I was very much looking forward to...just about until Saturday morning when I woke up with food poisoning. What a miserable experience that was! Anyway, I spent a good portion of Saturday laying down, all of Sunday laying down, which actually left Monday for some "me" time which was greatly greatly greatly needed.

Naturally, I spent my "me" time in the kitchen since I avoided the gym in fear of dehydrating myself more than I already was. I decided to bake cookies based on a "gooey butter chocolate chip cookie" recipe I found from Buns In My Oven. I was mostly attracted to the simplicity of this recipe...also because my boyfriend has a palate of a 12 year old boy and his favorite baked good is chocolate chip cookies.

For one, the batter of this was dangerously good. As in, I could sit there with a spoon (or shovel) and eat the entire thing. After the cookies were done, they tasted a little more like a very moist, dense, cake rather than a cookie (which I know my boyfriend will hate) but I have no problem eating them all myself. It was SO simply to make, uses boxed cake mix, and simple ingredients all around!

There should be an egg in here (oops!)

First, you just combine your butter and cake mix until you get a consistency similar to the picture below.  

Then, you add your egg & vanilla and beat until combined. Next, fold in your chocolate chips! 

Then just throw it on a greased cookie sheet @ 350 degrees and you will not be disappointed! 

1 box butter cake mix
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Beat together the cream cheese and butter until well combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the cake mix and beat until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until the top is set, but the center is still gooey.
Cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Back in college, I would bake, go to the gym, travel, hang out with friends, do whatever my little heart desired...whenever I wanted to. Sure, a few classes were sacrificed along the way, but college only happens once, right? Right. I feel like I studied in grammar school to get into a good high school, studied in high school to go to a good college, studied in college to get a standard 9-5 job that paid my bills (and hopefully a little more). Now I don't know when the standard "9-5" ended or began, but all I know is I work 8-6:30 every day and every hobby I ever had went flying out the window.

I decided to start this to kind of keep track of the few times that I get to keep these hobbies alive. Just a quick overview of what the broad term of "hobbies" is in my book.

I LOVE to bake. I found this little fact out back in college when I didn't want to study, but felt guilty leaving my apartment. A few dozen cupcakes and many racks of cookies down the road...I realized I really liked it.I had "baked good's Friday" back at my old job and definitely wished I had a way of tracking what I made, people's reactions, what I would change...low and behold, we have this.

When college ended and my parents deserted me in New Jersey alone (kidding, kinda?), I moved into an apartment by myself and realized I had to eat somehow. A few Pinterest pins and multiple grocery store trips later, I realized I can, indeed, cook. And I actually enjoyed it.

Now, when you enjoy spending every minute of your free time in the kitchen, that usually leads to a few side effects that make me often think "Maybe I should put the hand mixer down and head over to the gym...". So this isn't necessarily a hobby, because at 23 I have accepted I will never enjoy going to the gym. Ever. But my goal this year (and on...) is to just be happy with my appearance and hopefully run a 5k this year. Therefore, I want to use this as my own personal way to keep track of how I am doing in this aspect.

Lastly, I studied abroad in Ireland from January 2010-June 2010 and if you have ever had a conversation with me, you know that I utterly obsessed with it and the experience I had. Besides the fact that Ireland is the most beautiful place on the planet (see?), I got to travel a ton. I went to nine countries in Europe and loved each of them. But now, thanks to the tight reigns on dad's credit card nowadays and that silly thing called limited vacation time, I haven't been back. I'm trying to make a point to incorporate that more into my life again and I am hoping I can use this to help me remember it in case Facebook ever goes under.

Hope a few people decide to join this journey with me!