There are very few breakfast foods I love more in this world than the blueberry muffin.
Whether it’s fresh out of the oven or one of those generic ones you get in plastic wrap at the corner store, there’s just something about a blueberry muffin that is so satisfying. Not a chocolate muffin, not a poppyseed muffin, and definitely not a CORN muffin (Pointless. WHY? Just eat some cornbread). I don’t know if it’s the buttery flavor, the sweet blueberries, or the temporary carb-induced euphoria, but whatever it is, I loooove it.
For someone who HATES germs and carries two hand sanitizers around at all times, my home cleaning habits are not quite as predictable.
I don’t make my bed every day. In fact, I make it almost never. I clean my room whenever it suddenly hurts my soul to walk inside of it, which could be at any moment, and at any degree of messiness. Last week, I managed to wait a few days until about 33% of my floor was visible to cave. But today, I walked in at 9:30 PM super exhausted and almost lost it, even though my room wasn’t really that bad… There was a tiny stack of clean laundry that needed to be put away, a few shirts lying around that were rejects from this morning, an opened package from Amazon on my bed, and an empty coffee cup/bag of trail mix next to my stand from when I tried to stay awake while practicing at 4 PM. I would call this a pretty standard Sarah mess. But it all just REALLY NEEDED to go, and it needed to go RIGHT AWAY.
Donuts are my kryptonite. There are very few things in this world that make me forget that I have self control, and donuts are pretty much all of them.
I usually avoid them for this reason, but while on Spring break earlier this month visiting my cousins in North Carolina, I decided to treat myself to a toasted amaretto donut. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. And in those few, all-too-short minutes of edible bliss, I fell head-over-heels. Of course, the honeymoon was short lived, because I came sugar-crashing back to reality almost instantly. But it was worth it.
“I received free samples of Cabot Cheese mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe challenge sponsored by Cabot Creamery and am eligible to win prizes. I was not additionally compensated for my time.”
They say it’s football season, but I don’t watch football. I’d rather cook game-day food for you while YOU watch football.
I’ve been going to Superbowl parties for years, and have never been in the room where the game is on for any time period exceeding five minutes. I’d need three hands to count the number of times I’ve had football explained to me, and it’s just never going to happen. Thus, my job is to wander aimlessly between the dining room and the kitchen, sampling the waves of various bite-size things that come out of the oven. You know, for quality control.
Usually, the standard fare for Superbowl parties includes bite-sized treats like wings, mini hot dogs, mini meatballs, mini quiches, mini pizzas, etc. Another big thing is dips, and one of my all-time favorites is spinach artichoke. So I combined all these concepts into a super creamy mac and cheese, and then baked them in adorable little paper baking cups I found at Michael’s, which may in fact be my newest obsession (see above).
Did I mention that it also contains two kinds of cheddar cheese? Cabot Creamery was kind enough to send the Recipe Reduxers (count ’em) SEVEN different kinds of cheese this month. You can imagine my heaven. I am a huge Cabot fan, because not only is the cheese amazing, but they’re owned by family farmers and give all of their profits back to the 1200 farms that provide the dairy for their products. Just when I thought I couldn’t love cheese any more.
So, I used two cheddars for this recipe: Cabot’s Seriously Sharp and Alpine Cheddars. I’ve always loved the Seriously Sharp, and buy it regularly to keep on hand for snacking. It is SO good that once, I bought the cracker cuts to try and make my portion-controlling easier. The opposite effect occurred, so I (begrudgingly) went back to buying the block. 😛
The Alpine, which I’d never had, was SUPER nutty and delicious, and I totally associated it with cheesy spinach artichoke dip. I also threw some Cabot greek yogurt into the mix, which upped the creaminess by about 200%. SO good.
I’ll just leave all of this here. Go forth and be cheesy.
- 12 paper baking cups (available in crafts stores)
- 1 lb. whole wheat elbow macaroni pasta
- 5 large canned artichoke hearts, chopped
- 1 package frozen spinach (8-10 oz.), thawed, squeezed thoroughly, and chopped
- 4 oz. (1/2 block) Cabot Alpine cheddar, grated
- 4 oz. (1/2 block) Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar, grated
- 1/2 cup Cabot Greek-style yogurt
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup unseasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 1 tbs. Cabot Alpine cheddar, grated
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Put pasta into a pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil to the water. Bring water to boil. Shortly after coming to a boil, the pasta should be cooked. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest.
- Return the reserved pasta water to the macaroni. Add cheese and mix until melted.
- Add yogurt and garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Fill each baking cup with a generous portion of macaroni.
- Combine topping ingredients and mix until oil is evenly distributed.
- Sprinkle topping evenly over the individual mac and cheeses.
- Bake until topping is golden, about 10 minutes.
- Depending on the size of your baking cups, this recipe may yield up to 16 servings.