Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Baked Gnocchi & Cheese

Sorry about these pictures, guys. It was all gross and rainy and fall-like outside when I made this yum yum yummy side dish and it impeded my light. But I had to share this recipe with you soooo we shall have to muddle through these photos! Remember, it tastes much better than the pics look!
I absolutely love homemade ricotta gnocchi-it's insanely easy to make. However, I hadn't really had anything to make the gnocchi for UNTIL I SAW THIS RECIPE! You can totally use store-bought gnocchi, but really...it takes nothing to make the homemade. And I just adooore the pillowy texture and perfect flavor of it. Regardless, let's chat about the dish as a whole and not just the noodles!
This is essentially a recipe for a small mac'n'cheese-like dish (which is actually lovely because so many of my mac and cheese recipes make way too much for me to eat on my own!) You make a lovely sauce with delicious gruyere (sorta like fancy cheddar?) and fontina (sorta like Parmesan) cheeses. Then it's topped with some Parmesan cheese which-when baked-becomes wonderfully golden brown and a bit crisp-a much needed contrasting texture from the soft gnocchi and rich sauce. It's cheesy and flavorful and like an Italian'd up macaroni and cheese! I absolutely loved it and I think you will too :) A great recipe to serve when having people over for dinner!

 Baked Gnocchi & Cheese

Adapted slightly from Noble Pig

Serves 5
Ingredients:


  • 1 lb. gnocchi (purchased or homemade)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Fontina cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded/grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional-fresh basil leaves, parsley, or chives-to garnish

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Spray a 1 and 1/2 qt. shallow baking dish (or 7"x11" casserole dish) with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Prepare gnocchi according to directions. Drain and place in a single layer in the prepared baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds-until fragrant.
  • Whisk in flour until smooth and bubbly.
  • Add milk and whisk until it is slightly thickened and bubbly, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add Gruyere and Fontina cheeses, a small handful at a time, waiting until they completely melt before adding the next handful. Once all is melted season to taste.
  • Pour the sauce evenly over the gnocchi. Sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano on top.
  • Bake until golden brown and bubbly-about 25 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Seriously....that gnocchi...all that cheese. Who can resist!?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Browned Butter Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups with Graham Cracker Crusts

After my last attempt at caramel sauce in a chocolate chip cookie...I decided to try again. I was hopeful the caramel would be more noticeable. Good news: it was! Slightly. But it helped that I drizzled the cups with caramel too. And that I used browned butter...actually....browning butter is just helpful, period. Mmmmm...
Anyway, when I decided to make this recipe I realized that I was lacking in pretzels (which were what originally crusted these cups)--so instead I made little graham cracker crusts. Which meant these cookie cups taste a little s'moresy...ya know...minus the marshmallows...stay with me on this.
Cookie cups are great-you never have to worry about if they're going to rise correctly or spread too much or anything. They just bake up in their little muffin cups and you are guaranteed a thick, chewy, gooey cookie. Plus, now there's a whole world of putting a crust on your cookie. So it's like cookie + pie. Amazingness.
These cookies are perfectly portable yet soft and gooey on the insides. The browned butter adds that bit of depth, and the caramel drizzled on top with the salt adds that mmm mmm salty goodness to the sweet. The graham cracker crust is buttery and delightful and...chocolate chips...always our friends. They're crazy addictive and simply irresistible. Find out for yourselves, my friends!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Something Saturdays (10/18/14)

Um...so at first I did not realize the song "Jealous" was sang by Nick Jonas. But now that I know I'm like "Duh." and I'm also happy for him. I wasn't a big fan of the Jonas Brothers, but I always knew that Nick actually had talent so good for him going back to being solo and rocking it. Pretty cool. I also enjoy the song :P (that music video is hella weird though. It's also a little strange to see him all grown up and stuff.--quick Google search showed me he is my brother's age. Ok. Also learned that he's acting on a DirecTV show??? THAT should not be allowed...dude is an awful actor. Whatever...I ended up talking about this way longer than anticipated...)

I think I may have amassed almost all my bridal accessories. I have my bustier/bra-thing, my shoes, my veil, my tiara--and I think I just got the perfect pair of earrings, too! I'll be 100% certain next week after my next dress fitting/consultation but it's looking good. All I still need is my garter (and maybe underwear? Or I could just wear a pair I already have lol) :)

We've also booked our florist! We went with Seifert's Flower Mill-they have an extremely strong and long relationship with the church we're getting married in (St. Mary's exclusively uses Seifert's for most of their events), they're also friends with my grandma and aunt. And---lowest quote by far with the most perks thrown in (they'll do sample arrangements for free, day before the wedding we can come and view the arrangements and make sure they're to our liking, delivery and complete set up and take down, etc. is a total of $8.99--where most florists charged $1-200 for that.) Super excited about this!

In injury news: 2 days after I got stitches (so...last Saturday) Michael was sword fighting with his best friend (David bought Michael and himself heavy duty PVC sparring swords for his birthday) and his pinky ended up getting hit so hard that it split and there was blood everywhere and it was swollen and....he ended up going to urgent care BUT he didn't have any broken bones or need stitches. And he's much better now. And my stitches are out and my finger is on the mend!

Also we finally are almost done getting the apartment together (*cough* 5+ months later...)--we just have a few more things to hang up and then I might finally take some pictures to show you all!

PINTEREST UPDATE ALERT: (courtesy of Stephie Cooks)
For everyone who uses Pinterest, they recently started incorporating Sponsored pins into the stream and very quietly (they sent an email, but you might have missed it) switched everyone's account to different settings to accommodate it.
What this means is that your Pinterest stream is no longer organic (based on who you follow and when they pin), but on "web cookies" that track your recent browser history. They use this info to deliver the pins they think you want to see, plus sponsored pins that are tailored to you based on the sites you've previously visited.
I don't know about you...but I don't like sites telling me what I want to see. I'd rather choose for myself and see the results organically.
GOOD NEWS: You can shut these settings off and switch back to the original stream. Here's how:
 1) Go to your Pinterest profile and click on the gear icon at the top right of your main profile box. A box will drop down. Choose "Account Settings". Scroll down to the section labeled "Personalization" and choose NO for both options.

Please make sure to hit the "save changes" button at the bottom, so it goes through!

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