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Yummy Healthy Dinner!

Recipe: Kristy’s Only Homemade Macaroni She’ll Eat

This was the summer Steve decided it was time for a new grill. Our propane one had just reached the end of it’s life and sat all dejected and sad on our deck. A piece had broken off and after looking, Steve realized it was going to be such a pain to fix it that it was probably a good idea just to go ahead and bite the bullet and get a new one.

We decided to switch directions though and despite the fact that we did love the convenience of a propane grill, both of us agreed that we missed the good down home simpleness of charcoal. So out he went on a quest and eventually came home with a classic tried and true Weber grill.

I love it because it’s small enough to not take up a ridiculous amount of space on the deck and even though you can’t just fire it up and go, the taste of the charcoal is completely worth it.

Fast forward a few weeks after we got it and Steve decided he wanted to try and smoke a pork butt. So we gathered all of the supplies and get up at 5am on a Saturday morning to start smoking. Sixteen hours later we sat down to a beautifully smoked and delicious meal of pulled pork.

I knew we needed a side and I can’t eat pulled pork without macaroni and cheese. And since he had put so much work and love into his dish, I figured I could step my game up a bit from our usual powdered Kraft mac-n-cheese (because I LOVE that stuff! All you foodies can pick yourselves up off the floor now) to some homemade stuff.  The problem I’ve always had with homemade stuff is that it’s usually either too dry or too lacking in flavor. Until a few weeks ago when we went over to a friend’s house for dinner and she served us this delicious flavorful macaroni and cheese that I immediately asked for the recipe for. She complied and pointed me towards this on All Recipes and said they had just modified it by adding crushed croutons on top.

So I knew I wanted to recreate this dish in our house when Steve decided to make his pulled pork. But as with any new recipe, I like to make substitutions according to our tastes and what I think might amp it up. I’m like the Tim Taylor of cooking, sometimes with the same disastrous results and sometimes with excellent results.

Needless to say, the macaroni and cheese dish that came out of our modifications was hands down the best homemade macaroni and cheese I’d ever had. It is one of the few leftovers that was completely finished before we had to throw it out (we are awful about leftovers – save for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner we usually only eat them maybe one night before we’re done with them). Also, just a note, it was totally Steve’s idea to add the Swiss cheese and it was a wonderful decision  because, and I quote him, “It really lends a grown up flavor to the dish”.

This ain’t your Kraft dinner y’all.

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Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup

Recipe: Easy Slow Cooker Italian Wedding Soup

I have a love-hate relationship with cooking. For the most part, I love finding new recipes to try and actually enjoy cooking on the weekends. But I don’t really like recipes that are too labor intensive or make a wreck of the kitchen. This is especially true on week nights when all I want to do is come home to a hot meal that requires minimal effort and even less cleanup.

Because of this, anyone who has remotely discussed cooking with me will know that I LOVE my slow cooker (aka crock pot, as I’ve always known it). There is something so awesome about being able to dump a bunch of ingridients in the pot and letting them cook all day then come home to a delicious smelling house and a warm meal that requires no more effort than dumping the finished product into a bowl and shoving it in my face.

This is a recipe that I’ve been for about a year now. It’s kind of my version of Italian wedding soup that I’ve modified along the way to accomodate our cooking needs and tastes. I ran across a version on a blog somewhere that required you to cook it on the stove and I thought to myself that I could make it in the crock pot and have been doing it ever since.

My goal is to make the ingredients easy to obtain and store so you don’t have to rush to make it before any fresh produce expires. It’s also easily modified to fit your tastes. And it is so, so delicious on a cold winter’s night – or anytime of year, really. Because of the broth, I think it works year round.

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Food, Things I Buy

Things I Love Right Now

(Note: you might have seen a very very rough draft of this pop up in my RSS feed the other day. Apologies for that – I accidentally hit publish when I meant to just update my draft. Here is the real post.)

It has been hot, hot, HOT here in Charleston the past few days. I’m talking the kind of oppressive heat and humidity where you can’t catch your breath, the air feels like you’re walking through think pea soup and the only sound you want to hear is the constant running of the A/C and whirring of the fan blades. Needless to say, when it’s this hot out, there’s not a lot of things that make me happy. Except these:

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