Seems like weather is on everybody’s mind lately. Whether you’re hunkered down to weather the storm (We’re praying for your safety.) or just trying to stay warm (It’s in the 60’s here! I’m loving the cold but only because I’m wrapped up in blankets.), I would definitely say that comfort food is in order. We’ll get to that after a couple quick tidbits.
If you celebrate Halloween or just want a free doughnut, you might want to stop by Krispy Kreme tomorrow. I recently got an e-mail saying that if you go into a participating Krispy Kreme on Halloween while in costume you’ll receive a free pumpkin spice or Halloween doughnut. Yum!
My other tidbit might be considered a grown up Halloween treat. Y’all already know that I’m a fan of chocolate and coconut, including that wonderful treat, the Mounds bar. I recently tried Ghirardelli’s newest creation: the Coconut Rendezvous. It’s a delicious milk chocolate bar that’s filled with toasted coconut bits. The chocolate is creamy and sweet while the flavor of the toasted coconut really comes through. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves chocolate and coconut together. I’m certainly enjoying it. 🙂
As for the comfort food, let’s start with a perennial favorite: macaroni and cheese. Since the weather’s been so chilly, I wanted to bring something warm and comforting to this past Sunday’s potluck. I decided to try out a recipe for a slow-cooker macaroni and cheese. I chose this particular recipe because the ingredients weren’t terribly expensive (some recipes called for heavy cream, a couple of pounds of Velveeta, and other similarly pricey products) and it didn’t require a lot of stirring partway through the cooking time (since I can’t exactly leave church to go stir it). This recipe fit the bill and turned out to be tasty to boot. Though I would probably add a little salt to the sauce (I thought it could use just a touch more seasoning.), the end product turned out to be very tasty, especially for such an easy recipe. Since I made it at church, I wasn’t able to get a picture, but I have a feeling that I will definitely be making it again, so hopefully I’ll get one then. It’s certainly not a healthy recipe, but that’s what moderation is for, right? Another good point is that you could easily modify this recipe by adding proteins, vegetables, or other flavorings. Without further ado:
Cheddar Spirals (from Taste of Home)
1 16 oz. package of spiral pasta (like rotini)
2 c. half and half
1 10 3/4 oz. can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/2 c. melted butter
4 c. shredded cheddar
1/2 tsp. salt (That’s a personal guess, I’ll adjust it when I find the proper amount, but I’m starting on the low side to be safe.)
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain. (I cook it a couple of minutes short so that it won’t get mushy while cooking in the sauce.)
2. In a 5 qt. slow cooker, combine the half and half, soup, and butter til smooth. Stir in the cheese and cooked pasta. Cover and cook on low 2 1/2 hr. or til the cheese is melted.
I also decided that the cookie for this week needed to have some comforting fall flavors, so I found a cookie filled with nuts, apples, and fall spices. These cookies are tasty and were a perfect fit for my comfort cookie craving. Have a look.
Apple Spice Drops (from Better Homes & Gardens)
1/2 c. butter
2/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt (Again, this is a guess for what I think would work. The only complaint I had with these cookies was that they didn’t have any salt.)
2 tbsp. milk
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. finely chopped apple
1 c. chopped walnuts
1. In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium-high for 30 sec. Add the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, clove, and salt (if using) and beat til combined. Beat in the egg and milk. Beat in as much flour as you can with your mixer. Stir in the apple, nuts, and any remaining flour. Drop by rounded tsp. 2 in. apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
2. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 min. or til the edges are light brown. Cool on the pan 1 min, then cool completely on a wire rack. (I used a 1 1/2 tbsp. scoop, so mine were a little bigger. Because they were bigger and a little softer in the middle, I let them cool on the pan for 10 min. before transferring them to the wire rack.)
I hope you’ve found something to comfort you during a cold spell. I am going to try my best to stay warm, and I’ll talk to you soon.