Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This is about to be devoured

This is about to be devoured

As soon as the weather even so much as teases colder temperatures, I find myself chomping at the bit to make soup. To me, soup is as comforting to make as it is to eat. It’s so simple and you have the ability to layer flavors and add in hidden veggies–so what’s not to like? This Broccoli Cheddar soup came from a Google search in which I landed here. I was looking for something that didn’t use a ton of cream because I wanted to keep it as light as possible.

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Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Mozzarella

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The Smitten Kitchen never lets me down. I have been using way too many of Deb’s recipes as of late and know I should branch out already but they just never let me down! I made her Raspberry Buttermilk Cake again this weekend because it was so delicious the first time–except this time I forgot to add the egg. The egg! How do you forget this!? I realized it right when I put the cake in the oven and in an “oh shit what do I do now” moment, I took the cake out and whisked in the egg. All that delicious sugar that was on top intended for the crispy topping got mixed in with the egg and I sulked. I sulked again a few minutes later when I realized I forgot to add more sugar for the topping now that the intended sugar was mixed into the batter. Aghhh!

Luckily, cooking this dinner went a lot smoother. Other than a lottttttt of chopping, this was a super easy meal to make! The prep on this alone took me almost 45 minutes but most of the can be attributed to the fact that I’m so slow at chopping veggies. It can take me 10 minutes to chop garlic sometimes…

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Strawberry Ricotta Cupcakes

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I love holidays and even holidays that I don’t celebrate because there always is an excuse to bake something delicious!

I wanted to make cupcakes and try something new, but not too new because I’ve never messed up cupcakes before and didn’t want to start now! Trust me, I have a never-ending baking bucket list that includes all kinds of crazy cupcake ideas, but after reading so much of Mark Bittman’s books, I think his “simple is better” edict is starting to sink in and I chose not to make the crazy stuffed cupcakes I had in mind originally.

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Best Baked Shrimp Scampi

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Even though I love cooking and more importantly, love eating, I don’t know very much about the culinary world. I watch Top Chef and someone will say “This tastes great but needs more acid!” Acid? I nod in agreement with Padma but I really have no idea what’s she’s talking about.

But with this baked shrimp scampi, I know what I’m talking about. I also know it has acid because it has lemon juice and lemon zest–suck on that, Padma. What I really mean when I say I know what I’m talking about is that I knowwwww this shrimp is the best shrimp you might ever have.

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Peanut Butter Banana Bread

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I haven’t bought very many cookbooks since you can find so much online for free! and because my mom has always had some good ones that I could use as resources. But there are a few books that I have been hoping to get my hands on for a while, one being Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything. 

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Last Friday I was checking out one of my favorite used bookstores during my lunch break and saw the book sitting there and I quickly grabbed it and got it for a bargain! I walked with the massive text back and forth from work, carrying it like a prize. When I got home I dug right in and have been obsessing over it ever since.

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Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

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My photos are worse than they’ve ever been…this just proves the amount of stress I felt making this…or proves I should use the camera I own instead of my iPhone….

I’m posting this recipe in the “dinner” category, but I think it falls more into the line of like football Sundays, tailgating, party food.

First, this is just not a recipe to whip up for dinner on a Wednesday night like I did. It says it should take 20 minutes of prep time but I think I might have tripled or quadrupled that.

Second, it has like five million calories in it so you probably don’t want to serve this for dinner regularly.  This is a cautionary statement a la the new and improved Paula Deen.

So those are the cons. But luckily the pros are really great. First and foremost: it was delicious! The recipe is spot on with everything you could want or expect in a buffalo mac and cheese. I loved the idea of frying the chicken (after it had been marinating in beer!) and then coating in with hot sauce.  The cheese sauce was amazing and blue cheese and bacon were the perfect additions. I was so delirious while I was making this that I couldn’t find in the directions what I was supposed to do with the bacon. Today I see with clear eyes that I should have added it to the cheese sauce and mixed it throughout but I was in a serious cooking haze and just crumbled the bacon on top. It was great this way! I’d say that I would make it the right way next time, but I don’t see myself taking on this cooking challenge for a long, long time.

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