Darth Vader cake

The other night we had one of those evenings in our house where some people aren’t eating dinner until 10:30 pm and the logical progression is to then make a Darth Vader cake.  We have all had one of those evenings, right?  (Spoiler alert:  this post is not at all foodie….I used a box cake mix and store bought icing.  I’ll let you know when we do this again with some actual culinary skills put into place)  🙂  I’ll also admit that I didn’t allow the cake to cool before I iced it…I already explained that it was at least 11:30 pm by this time right?  😉  Still…not bad for dessert or for breakfast the next morning 🙂

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homemade mac-n-cheese

The day after Brett and I returned home from our Christmas holidays the weather was icky and wet.  As the day went on though, the temperature dropped and all of the wet became frozen.  Wanting to stay out of the horrible weather, we rented a blu-ray and made homemade mac-n-cheese….it made for quite a relaxing day 🙂

The macaroni and cheese recipe that we used was completely made up…on the spot 🙂  I took 2 packages of shredded cheddar cheese and combined them in a bowl with an egg and about half a cup of milk…I’ll admit that I didn’t measure the milk and had more of a dollop in mind when I was pouring.  I just wanted to give the egg and cheese mixture a little bit more moisture to stick all together and be creamy.  I then added about half a cup of parmesan cheese to the mix.  I also added ground mustard and garlic powder.  I stirred the cheese-egg mixture into full box of cooked, shell noodles.  The hot noodles quickly melted the cheese and became all coated and gooey 🙂  Then I spread the coated noodles into a casserole dish.

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In a sauce pan, I melted 3 tablespoons of butter and added a cup of seasoned bread crumbs…honestly I wouldn’t have used seasoned ones if we had just plain bread crumbs but the weather was icky and seasoned was what we had!  I also don’t think that a cup was completely necessary….half a cup is what I will use in the future.

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Anyway, I spread this bread crumb mixture on top and popped the whole thing in the oven.  35 minutes at 350 degrees and dinner was ready!

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Such a nice, easy, and warm dinner to enjoy with a fun movie 🙂  Next time I really want to use some sour cream with the cheese mixture.  Do you all have any favorite macaroni and cheese recipes?  🙂

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homemade cranberry bread pudding

Brett and I had people over for dinner a few weekends ago.  Raj was going to join us and so I asked him what he thought I should make for dessert.  He suggested a blueberry bread pudding.  Well!  Since blueberries and bread pudding are basically two of my favorite things to eat in the world I immediately latched onto the idea.  Once in the grocery store though, the dramatic realization that it was November and that blueberries were $4.99/pint made this blueberry bread pudding idea less appetizing.  Cue the cranberry display to the rescue!  🙂  I had never cooked with fresh cranberries before…and once we got home, both Brett and I realized that we’d never eaten a raw one either!  🙂

I used a recipe that I found here and made a few substitutions…the most obvious one being that I substituted in cranberries where the recipe called for blueberries 🙂  I also reduced the 4 cups of heavy whipping cream (crazy!) for 1 cup of half and half and 3 cups of 2% milk….and I think that our arteries thanked us for it (hehe!).  I couldn’t find the white baking chips that it called for so I used white chocolate chips (are those the same thing? haha).  While I had completely intended to cut up my own bread into cubes, given that it is Thanksgiving season there were already made bread cubes in the store for the same price!  Score one for Mallory 🙂

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I mixed up the custard with my milk substituted instead of all of that whipping cream…I think I may have added just a smidge more vanilla.  Because who doesn’t like vanilla!  🙂

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I mixed in the white chocolate chips and the cranberries…

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…and let the bread soak into the custard, fruit, white chocolate mixture.  The recipe calls for letting this all sit for about 15 minutes…I admit that I gave it slightly more time than that.  I had a lasagna in the oven at the same time and didn’t want to rearrange the racks in order to get both of these large dishes in there at the same time.  🙂

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I actually greased the pan as the recipe asked (I don’t usually do this) and plopped the mixture in.

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The bread pudding baked and…voila!

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The sauce was made from 1 cup of half and half and another package of white chocolate chips.

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This was seriously one of the best desserts that I have ever had.  My mom made bread pudding on so few occasions that I assumed making it was really difficult….definitely not the case.  Mix, soak, bake, sauce, done!  🙂  I made the same recipe for Thanksgiving but with semi-sweet chocolate chips in the bread pudding instead of the white chocolate and it was not anywhere near as good.  Don’t try it!  🙂

Do you have any favorite bread pudding recipes?  Brett, Raj, and I watched an episode of Shark Tank where a woman was opening a bread pudding store!  We need one of those in Chambana!  🙂