Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday Afternoon Quickie - Quick Stove Top Mac & Cheese

Hmmm, I feel a chill coming on ~ Fall is finally here!!
And what better way to kick things off then to whip up a delicious side dish like good old Mac & Cheese? Oh no no no...not the boxed stuff, I mean yikes, please...I'm talking the real thing!
I know, I know...there are literally THOUSANDS of recipe versions out there - and I'm guessing that you probably already have your version tucked away.  HOWEVER, what if there were an easy Mac & Cheese out there that you could slam onto the table is 15 minutes or less?  A Mac & Cheese that you could customize effortlessly - a little more cheddar, possibly slide some Asiago in there or maybe sautéed onions or even crumbled bacon - YUM!  I have a friend that even pops a few sliced jalapeños in her version - and I must confess, I would love to try that someday!
Being a busy mom, I rarely have the time to wait an hour or more for a side dish to complete baking in the oven.  That being said, this recipe is my go-to quickie Mac & Cheese solution.  Enjoy friends!!

Quick Stove Top Mac & Cheesemakes 4 servings
8 oz. elbow pasta
1 TBL unsalted butter
4-5 oz. sharp cheddar cheese - grated
2 oz. Velveeta - cubed
1/4 cup parmesan cheese - grated
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup 2% milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard - has to happen, trust me - don't leave it out
salt and pepper to taste (I use about 1/4 tsp of each)
dash of Texas Pete - or any favorite hot sauce (a tiny pinch of red pepper flakes will work too)
*Panko crumbs - optional* (but super yummy!)

Okay, this is super uncomplicated ~ just have all of your ingredients ready to roll and I promise this recipe will be tasty and painless. (wink!)
Prepare your pasta in a pot according to the package instructions...but try not to allow the pasta to become mushy!
While pasta is draining, pop the butter into the pot to melt.
Return pasta to the pot and add the cheeses.  Mix thoroughly until the cheeses have melted - turn the stove on low for a minute or two if you need to kick start the process.
Add the cream, milk, and mustard - mix until the sauce pulls together.
Now salt and pepper to your liking...and don't forget that little dash of your favorite hot sauce!
Serve right away!
Now sometimes, when I'm feelin' fancy...I'll take a small skillet and gently brown a handful of plain Panko crumbs with a tad of salted butter.  Sprinkle the crumbs on top of this dish, and you'll feel less guilty that it didn't spend an hour in the oven - ha!

Thanks for the QUICKIE (wink!), I'll see ya next week!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saturday Afternoon (on a SUNDAY NIGHT) Quickie - DIY All-Purpose Cleaning Spray!

Weekly Reminder: What is a "QUICKIE" anyway?...hmmmmm, found this online: "Very little foreplay, quick finish. Usually 5-10 minutes, start to finish.." Perfect! Since I've demonstrated how blog challenged I am this year AND last, a speedy, once a week drop-in is JUST what the doctor ordered (wink!).
So clear your calendars, I'm all yours for 10 minutes every weekend...rawr

I'm back and Spring is around the corner, so Let's Get Squeaky!...

I don't know about you, but I've noticed EVERYTHING-EVERYWHERE seems to be getting more expensive.  Even purchasing items in bulk (Sam's Club - Costco) doesn't seem to feel like the big "save" any longer.  Long story short, it's a sad day when you find me jumping up and down screaming, "SCORE!" because Walmart is offering a box of my boys beloved Twinkies® for mere $1.98!!
In my recent quest to save-save-save, I made it my mission to hunt down a "dupe" recipe for an all-purpose household spray cleaner that ACTUALLY would work on counter tops, mirrors, windows and even floors in a pinch!
Spring cleaning time is just around the corner - arm yourselves ~
You probably have most of these ingredients, so get under your sinks and dig this stuff out girls...
After reading and trying many recipes and after some tweaking - this is what I came up with:

Homemade All-Purpose Spray Cleaner 
makes approx. 88 oz. (0.6875 of a gallon)
aka Grease Cutter
64 ounces of hot water
5 ounces ammonia
3 ounces white vinegar
16 ounces rubbing alcohol
4 good squirts of Dawn dish soap (any kind will do...)

Take care to incorporate the dish soap gently (to avoid a bubble nightmare) after mixing all of the other ingredients together.  Pour into a clean spray bottle and there you go!  In my effort to recycle, I store the extra cleaner in a gallon sized empty Heinz white vinegar jug.
I have found this stuff to leave little if any streaks on my mirrors - but if you feel the formulation needs help in this area, simply add a tad more white vinegar...that should do the trick.

Below is a badly photographed (I was super "spent" that day!) before-and-after example of what this stuff did to a nasty, crusty, dusty, dirty file folder holder I found in the garage.  I simply sprayed the heck out of it, covering every surface.  I let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then used my hose to rinse.  My fingers NEVER scrubbed an inch - the cleaner lifted the dirt so well, that I was able to use the hose only to finish the job.  Wowzie ~



Just a note here...for tougher stains and spots simply spray and let it sit for a moment before wiping.  You might also notice small spots left over on glass or mirrors ~ there seems to be a "theory" out there that Windex adds a bit of wax to their formulation, and what you're seeing is "the left over wax" from your last cleaning session.  Once you get that stuff off, your homemade cleaner should keep your glass and mirrors "honestly" sparkling clean.
Here's to showing off your clean-y-clean home and picking up everyone's jaw off of the floor when they discover that you actually MADE the cleaner to do it!

p.s.: use at your own risk and/or discretion - I am not responsible for any ruined furniture or appliances!

Thanks for the QUICKIE (wink!), I'll see ya next week!

Monday, January 30, 2012's been WAYYYY TOOOO LONGGG!

Life is a roller coaster, and as soon as "my" ride slows down - I'll upload a new post!

A quick and completely sincere thank you to my pals who have stuck like glue ~ we're a small group, but a loyal one ;)

See you very, very soon......

Crickets!!! I'm hearing CRICKETS!!

Welcome back to my archaic blog. Started years ago as merely a creative "mommy" outlet, now, it is simply therapy for boredom. ;) ...