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Monday, May 28, 2012

Homemade White Cheddar Cheese-its

Yes, it's true.  You CAN make your own cheese-its at home!  They're way better than store-bought ones, and therefore disappear faster...
I had a giant block of free white cheddar cheese lying around from competing in the Grilled Cheese Invitational, so that's what I used for this.  Oh, and here was my sandwich that I entered:
It was called "A Cheesy Romance"

White Cheddar Cheese-its
makes about 2 cups
Adapted from A Golden Afternoon

8 oz white cheddar cheese (or really, most cheeses will work), shredded
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup flour
2 tbs cold water

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cream together cheese, salt, and butter.  Add flour, and mix until it looks like crumbs.  Add water, and mix so that a dough is formed, adding more water if absolutely needed.
3. Roll out dough on a floured surface so that it's 1/8 inch thick.  Cut as desired.  I made boring squares because I know they wouldn't make it off the pan.  However, my artist roommate painstakingly made fancy ones (see below)
4. Put crackers on a cookie sheet (I used parchment paper, but maybe you don't need it?) and bake for 12 minutes.  Try not to burn your mouth on the hot crackers!

They're best on the day you bake them but they're still good for a few days (If they last that long!)

(Habanero cheddar flower-shaped cheese-its)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Toasted Ravioli

Bored of pasta in sauce?  Have I got THE thing for you! (though you can dip them in marinara sauce if you'd like)  The yumminess to effort ratio here is fantastic!  Could be an entree or a finger food appetizer.

Toasted Ravioli
servings vary

Refrigerated ravioli (follow serving suggestions from the package)
Zesty Italian Dressing
Italian Bread crumbs

1. Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees
2. Pour Italian dressing and bread crumbs in to two separate bowls.
3. Dip each piece in dressing, roll it in bread crumbs and put it on a cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 10 minutes, and enjoy!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti

Lemon and garlic is such a great combination, and this is really easy to make if you have only about 20 minutes to make a meal

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti
serves 1 (but it's easily doubled or quadrupled)
modified from i nom things

4 oz spaghetti (I approximately divide 16 oz packs in to 1/4's)
1/2 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
2 tsp olive oil
2 tb shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tb lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best)
black pepper, to taste

1. Cook olive oil and garlic in a metal measuring cup (weird, right?) over medium-low heat, until fragrant
2. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package
3. Dump the non-spaghetti ingredients in a bowl and mix quickly so the cheese doesn't clump.  Add spaghetti, mix, and serve

Monday, May 7, 2012

Brownie-Candy Bar Hybrid

I got this originally from a friend of mine who calls them "Philanthropy Brownies" since they're irresistible at charity auctions. Seriously, these things are really addictive.

Brownie-Candy Bar Hybrid
serves around 18
Thank you Sara Ford for the idea, Brown Eyed Baker for the brownie/topping, and the Food Network for the frosting!

Brownie base:
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 2 tbs semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and generously butter a 9x13 pan
2. Melt unsweetened chocolate, butter, and 1/4 cup + 2 tbs chocolate chips, carefully, either in the microwave or over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Set aside to cool.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.  In bowl #3, whisk eggs well.  Add sugar and vanilla until well-mixed. Add chocolate mixture.  Stir in the powdery ingredients.  Add 1/4 cup (or more if you like) chocolate chips.
4. Pour into pan and distribute evenly into a thin layer.  Use a spatula to get as much batter as you can out.  Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Let cool for at least an hour, and then make the buttercream.

Buttercream frosting: (this is my go-to vanilla frosting recipe)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter 
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbs heavy whipping cream

1. Cream butter (I find it's easiest to leave the butter out for several hours so it's really soft).  Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream.  Mix well, and add more cream, if necessary for a spreadable consistency.
2. Spread evenly on brownie pan.

Peanut butter crunch topping:
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup smooth (non-"natural") peanut butter
1 tb butter
1 1/2 cups rice crispies cereal

Melt chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter in microwave or on stove, until just melted and smooth.  Stir in cereal, and spread over the brownie and frosting pan.  

Chill for several hours and cut into squares. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Best Mac n' Cheese I know of

This is the greatest mac n' cheese I have ever eaten. Ever. You won't regret making this!

Awesome Cheddar Lover's Mac n' Cheese
serves 4 hungry people
Adapted from My Cooking Quest

8 oz (about 2 1/2 cups) pasta of your choice
Cheese Sauce (see below)
Additional 2 oz cheddar cheese (1/2 cup shredded)
1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder
3 strips cooked bacon (optional)

Cheese Sauce
2 tbs butter
1/6 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
8 oz cheddar cheese (approximately 2 cups shredded)
1/4 tsp kosher salt (or table salt)
1/4 tsp chile powder
1 clove of garlic, minced

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a dish of at least 8 x 8, and no larger than 9 x 13.
2. Cook pasta according to package, but undercook it slightly.  Drain, and set aside.
3. Make sauce by melting butter in a pot over medium heat.  Mix in flour.
4. Slowly add milk to pot.  Wisk constantly for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens and starts slowly bubbling.
5. Remove from heat, and mix in the 8 oz shredded cheese, salt, garlic, and chile powder until cheese has melted.
6. Add pasta and bacon to sauce, and gently mix.  Pour in to the buttered dish, and top with the 2 oz cheese and chipotle chile powder evenly.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese starts bubbling in the middle.