A New Use for Beer: Beer Macaroni and Cheese

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Yes.  That’s bacon.  And cheese.  And the easiest macaroni and cheese sauce I will ever make in my life.  Counting the bacon (and yes, I wimped out and did the fully cooked real bacon bits), there are five ingredients.

No, it’s not really a recipe to make when the outside mercury soars into the hundreds, but, due to storms south of us, we won’t see temps above 90 this week.

And…Muffin likes the macaroni and cheese.  So much so that when we ate it for supper last Saturday night, he had the macaroni for breakfast Sunday morning.

Seriously, though, what made it so popular with me was its ease of making it.  Basically boiling the macaroni and shredding the cheese are the hardest parts.

I found this recipe again as I looked through my Dropbox recipe files that I had “printed as a PDF” and saved it to my Dropbox.

And this is one of the gems that I rediscovered.

Beer Mac and Cheese (with Bacon!)

Source:  A Spicy Perspective

1 pound macaroni noodles (would love to try it with shells next time), boiled and drained according to package directions

12 ounce bottle beer (I used a lager)

8 ounces cream cheese

1 pound shredded cheddar (as sharp as you can get it), off the block (not pre-shredded)

1 cup crumbled bacon

Pour a bottle of beer into a large pot.  Place it over medium heat, add the cream cheese and swirl it around with a whisk until it starts to melt.  Once it is about half melted start slowly and carefully whisking it into the beer until creamy and smooth.  Add the cheddar cheese a few handfuls at a time, whisking until smooth.

Pour the pasta into the cheese sauce.  Reduce the heat to low, then stir and cook another three minutes to thicken.  Salt and pepper to taste.

When serving, sprinkle the bacon over each serving.

Muffin Approved

Meal Plan Monday: I Hope I Follow This One!

Meal Plan Monday

Last week, I was fairly successful with the meal plan.  The only item that never got made was the ramen noodles, oddly enough.

The problem with planning a week’s worth of meals and NOT making them is that you often find yourself committing expensive mistakes.  First, you have massive food spoilage.  Second, you then waste money in the drive through or, worse, at more expensive sit-down restaurants.

I’ve been guilty of both.

Now, I’ve already spent the money and bought this week’s groceries.  So, it’s extremely important that I make the list count and work for me.

I have several new ones on my list, so I’m kinda worried about it.

Just as last week, I lazily ingeniously focused on one main blog of recipes I had saved from Dropbox (A Spicy Perspective), I did the same this week with Deep South Dish.

At the last minute, I switched around the menu.  Tonight, we attend Muffin’s first official meeting as a cub scout.  So, I’m hoping that the plan still happens as planned.

So, here we go!

Saturday:  Pizza Meatball Subs (Kraft Recipes), Welch’s strawberries from Aldi  (Note:  I decided not to cube the mozzarella into the meatballs, but I instead put sliced mozzarella directly on the bread.  I couldn’t find any Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette, so I put some more chopped sun-dried tomatoes in the sauce mix with some Tuscan Italian salad dressing–Kroger brand.)

Sunday:  Cabbage Patch Casserole (Deep South Dish):  This is a meal-in-one-dish.

Monday:  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup (A Spicy Perspective)

Tuesday:  Beef and Bean Burrito Skillet Dinner (Deep South Dish), chips and salsa

Wednesday:  Pancakes, sausage, fruit

Thursday:  hot dogs or leftovers

Friday:  pizza

Saturday:  Deep South Pinto Beans and Rice (Deep South Dish), cornbread

Sunday:  Bacony Chicken and Rice Bake (Deep South Dish), green veg

What’s on your meal plan this week?

Meal Plan Monday: On-Call and Back at Work!

Meal Plan Monday

Good morning, Pinteresting Blogosphere!  It is a super busy week here!  This is week two of me being back at work, and Josh is on-call this week.  In addition, Muffin has decided that he wants to become a cub scout (thanks to a flier sent home from school), so he and I will be attending his first cub scout meeting this week, as well!

This week I return to the cook and prep on the weekend in readiness for the week.  Last week was a mess because I didn’t cook and prep on the weekend.  It was catch-as-catch-can and grab stuff on the way home.  Oh, and shove things to this week.

So, I am determined to be more successful this week.

Oh, and please don’t judge me for Wednesday.  Every once in a while I get nostalgic for things like ramen noodles, and, in an extremely odd bout of August weather, it’s supposed to be rainy and (fairly) cool that day.  I consider (especially the way I make them) ramen noodles to be soup, and I am going to stretch things a bit and say Wednesday will be soupy weather.

So, here we go!

Saturday:  Beer Macaroni and Cheese (with bacon!) from A Spicy Perspective

Sunday:  chicken fried rice, egg rolls

Monday:  Asian chicken quarters (made in the slow cooker), rice, vegetable

Tuesday:  Ranch Chicken Enchiladas from Life in the Lofthouse, Mexican rice (Mahatma), chips and salsa

Wednesday:  ramen noodles (possibly with a veg added), fruit

Thusday:  hot dogs or leftovers

Friday: pizza

Saturday:  Pizza Meatball Subs (Kraft Recipes)

Sunday:  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup (A Spicy Perspective)

What’s cookin’ with you this week?

We Plan Wednesday: The December 2015 Meal Plan

We Plan Wednesday

…a bit late.  I know.  I’ve just been busy prepping the 25 Days of Holiday Goodies, and I knew that the post the Wednesday before should cover that rather than the December menu.

So, here goes…

1:  Jambalaya

2:  leftovers

3:  Josh’s birthday dinner out

4:  pizza

5:  Natchitoches Meat Pies from Our Best Bites

6:  Cheesy Bacon Ranch Chicken and Potatoes from Back for Seconds

7:  One Pot Chicken Pasta with Light Basil Cream Sauce from A Spicy Perspective

8:  Muffalettas (going to find one close to Central Grocery–meat-wise, at least)

9:  Cowboy Christmas Breakfast from A Bountiful Kitchen

10:  leftovers

11:  pizza

12:  soup and grilled cheese or soup and cheese and crackers

13:  Apple and Cheddar Stuffed Chicken Breasts from Broke A Gourmet

14:  faculty dinner Christmas party

15:  taco Tuesday

16:  One-Dish Skillet Chicken Enchiladas from Clarks Condensed

17:  leftovers

18:  pizza

19:  Orange Chicken, rice, eggrolls, stir-fried snow peas

20:  Artichoke Chicken Rustigo from Cooking with Ruthie

21:  Homemade Dirty Rice from Southern Plate

22:  taco Tuesday

23:  present opening tids and bits at the LFam house

24:  Christmas Eve tids and bits at my parents’ house

25:  Christmas dinner

26:  leftovers

27:  leftovers

28:  Undercover Chicken from Call Me PMC

29:  Spasagna from Country Cook

30:  Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes from Dishing with Leslie

31:  NYE Fiesta

What’s your meals-in-process for the month of December?

We Plan Wednesday: The November 2015 Meal Plan (with Links!)

We Plan Wednesday

If you’ve been tuning in for the last few months, you know that I’ve created a meal plan for the rest of the year.  So far, I haven’t exactly followed them, but I know they are available as old standbys if I need them.  As November begins Sunday, it is now time to share the November menu.

1:  Salmon Patties (Deep South Dish)

2:  Nacho Casserole (Buns in My Oven)

3:  Bacon Cheeseburger Tatchos (Frugal Foodie Mama)  This link seems to be broken, but if you message me I will send my file to you through e-mail.

4:  Breakfast Croissant and Potatoes (Life in the Lofthouse)

5:  leftovers (It’s Thursday, after all)

6:  Chicken Ranch Pizza (Life in the Lofthouse)

7:  Crock Pot Asian Chicken (Country Cook)

8:  Easy Chicken Breasts with Creamy Mushroom Sauce (Foodie Crush)

9:  Arroz con Pollo (Make Ahead Meals Busy Moms)

10:  Taco Time Crisp Bean Burritos (Let’s Dish)

11:  Marinated Root Beer Grilled Chicken (6 Sisters’ Stuff)

12:  leftovers

13:  Slow Cooker Pizza Chicken (Heather Likes Food)

14:  dinner at hotel for anniversary

15:  snacky dinner from Central Market:  cheese tray

16:  anniversary dinner out

17:  Mexican Pollo Spud (My Name Is Snickerdoodle)

18:  Chicken and Cornbread Casserole (Bread, Booze, and Bacon)

19:  leftovers

20:  Pizza Pasta (How Sweet It Is)

21:  Frito Chili Cheeseburger (A Spicy Perspective)

22:  Sweet Tea Fried Chicken (Growing Up Gabel)

23:  Parmesan Chicken (Broke Ass Gourmet)

24:  Avocado Chicken Enchiladas (Six Sisters’ Stuff) through their My Recipe Magic Site

25:  Eggnog French Toast (A Beautiful Mess) and Homemade Sausage

26:  Thanksgiving dinner

27:  leftovers

28:  leftovers

29:  Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken (Recipe Girl)

30:  Chicken Pecan Fettuccine (Deep South Dish)

How do you see your November shaping up?

We Plan Wednesday: The September 2015 Menu

We Plan Wednesday

When I sat down a few weeks ago and planned out the menu for the remainder of the year, I did so in an attempt to sketch out something useful for the remainder of 2015, knowing that once school started things were going to be busy.

Note that I said, “sketch.”  This monthly plan is not intended to be the end all and be all.  If I can’t manage to follow the weekly meal plan 100% of the time, I DEFINITELY can’t expect to do so for the monthly plan.  Life and poop happens.

That being said, I think this advance planning will alleviate the meal plan monotony that hit a few months back.  I’ve included new recipes with a mixture of old favorites hopefully leading to some level of comfort with the menu.  I tried to be seasonally conscious.  I tried not to heat up the kitchen too much in the planning for August and September.

And the kicker is, I’ve tried not to plan too much for weeks that I know will be busy.

There is a method to my madness, as the old bard once said.  I hope there is no madness in the method.

1:  Beef Nacho Pie from The Tidy Nest

2:  Mini Bacon and Egg Toast Cups from Fifteen Spatulas

3:  leftovers/scrounge

4:  One Pot Pizza Pasta from Budget Savvy Diva

5:  Happy Birthday, Mom!  (Make S’mores Granola Bars from Recipe Girl)

6:  Crock Pot Simple Chicken Spaghetti from Crock Pot Gourmet (This was planned for earlier this month, but we re-did the Houston trip.)

7:  Red Beans and Rice (in the slow cooker!)

8:  Chick-Fil-A calendar card meal

9:  Bacon, Corn, and Cheddar Pancakes from Foxes Love Lemons

10:  leftovers/scrounge

11:  Pizza Rolls from Broke A** Gourmet

12:  Crock Pot Pizza Meatball Subs (I will also make Chex Lemon Muddy Buddies from Six Sisters’ Stuff.)

13:  Slow Cooker Garlic Chicken from Recipe Girl

14:  Slow Cooker Easy Quiche from A Spicy Perspective

15:  Chicken Street Tacos from Life in the Lofthouse

16:  Grilled Margarita Chicken from The Slow Roasted Italian

17:  leftovers/scrounge

18:  Salmon/Tuna Patties from Deep South Dish

19:  Crock Pot Asian Chicken from Country Cook (I will also make No-Bake Biscoff Granola Bars from Two Peas and Their Pod.)

20:  Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken from The Recipe Critic

21:  Super Quick Spaghetti Carbonara from Budget Savvy Diva

22:  Beef and Bean Burrito Skillet Dinner from Deep South Dish

23:  Herbed Baked Eggs and Praline Bacon, both from Fifteen Spatulas

24:  leftovers/scrounge

25:  Pizza Quesadillas from Macaroni and Cheesecake

26:  Crock Pot Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwiches from Life in the Lofthouse (I will also make Loaded Rice Krispie Treats from Life in the Lofthouse.)

27:  jambalaya

28:  Crock Pot Chicken Parmesan from Mom on a Mission

29:  Wholly Guacamole Enchiladas from Mommy Hates Cooking

30:  Huevos Rancheros from Fifteen Spatulas

I’m very excited about this month’s menu!  I’ve always wanted to try huevos rancheros, and I never have.  I’m also excited about the carbonara, the praline bacon, and the chicken cheesesteak sandwiches.  Those are all out of my cooking comfy zone.

But the one dish I’m most hopeful about is the guacamole enchiladas.  When we go to Dallas and go to Abuelo’s, I always order the avocado enchiladas.  I hope these are just as yummy!

What’s your plan for September?

We Plan Wednesday: August’s Menu Plan

We Plan Wednesday

I sat down last week and planned out the menus for the rest of the year.

Now, don’t get excited.  I haven’t completely lost my mind.  I simply saw my Chick-Fil-A calendar sitting on the table, pretty much blank, and felt the need to fill it (or, at least, August-December) with meal plans.

Now, do I honestly believe that all of these items for the remaining four months of the year will be made (and eaten) as planned?  Uh, no.

But a girl has to have a plan as the school year gets ready to gear up.  I can always fall back to the plan in the event things get crazy and my mind is fried as far as Meal Plan Monday is concerned.

The goal for August?  To heat up the oven as little as possible.

Here we go:

1:  Korean “Beef” Over Rice from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

2:  Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole from Country Cook

3:  Perfect Mini Meatloaf from Artsy Fartsy Mama

4:  Mexican Pizzas from Life in the Lofthouse

5:  French Toast Kabobs, fruit, breakfast meat from A Beautiful Mess

6:  leftovers/scrounge

7:  mini pizzas

8:  Crock Pot Cashew Chicken from Favorite Family Recipes

9:  Pork Loin Roast with potatoes, onions, and carrots

10:  Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta from Gunny Sack

11:  Ranch Chicken Enchiladas from Life in the Lofthouse (Hopefully, this time I will get a good picture!)

12:  Marinated Root Beer Grilled Chicken from Six Sisters’ Stuff

13:  leftovers/scrounge

14:  Crock Pot Pizza Potatoes from Kayotic Kitchen

15:  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup from A Spicy Perspective

16:  Crock Pot Simple Chicken Spaghetti from Crock Pot Gourmet

17:  pulled pork (from freezer) sandwiches, cole slaw, chips

18:  tacos

19:  breakfast for dinner (pancakes)

20:  go to Chick-Fil-A (for the Chick-Fil-A deal) and lemonade for National Lemonade Day

21:  mini pizzas

22:  Fuji Chicken from Mandy’s Recipe Box

23:  Crock Pot Bacon Garlic Chicken from Crock Pot Ladies

24:  Mexican Lasagna (try to make it as a slow cooker dish) from Artsy Fartsy Mama

25:  carnitas bowls using carnitas from the freezer

26:  English Breakfast Burgers from Foodtastic Mom

27:  leftovers/scrounge

28:  Pizza Waffles from Life in the Lofthouse (plug the waffle iron in outside)

29:  Waffle Iron BBQ Chicken Sandwich from Buns in My Oven (plug the waffle iron in outside)

30:  Crock Pot BBQ’d Chicken and Cornbread Casserole from A Year of Slow Cooking

31:  Olive Garden Copycat Chicken Vino Bianco from The Slow Roasted Italian

I also plan to make two dessert dishes for inclusion in Muffin’s lunches.

On the weekend of August 22, I plan to make Churro Chex Mix from Six Sisters’ Stuff.  On the weekend of August 29, I plan to make Star Crunches from Crock Pot Recipe Exchange.

What are your favorite keep-the-kitchen-cool meals?