Happy Valley Chow

gour-mand (noun): one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking

Filtering by Category: "pasta"

Twisted Mac n' Cheese

Lee and I got on the topic of Hard Rock Cafe the other day and she said she loves the Twisted Mac n' Cheese there. So, after doing some looking around, I came across a few recipes for it and we decided to make it one night. It turned out delicious! The roasted red pepper in there really gives it a nice flavor and I may never eat mac n' cheese again without roasted red pepper. It also made me realize, why buy the kraft mac n' cheese, when you can make the same exact thing, in the same amount of time for less money. The recipe is not labor intensive at all and I think we'll probably never buy another box of craft mac n' cheese again. Enjoy!

  • 4 cups cavatappi pasta
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 8 ounces velveeta
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 teaspoon grounded cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grounded black pepper
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, roasted and diced
  • 4 teaspoons seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 4 teaspoons parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley, minced
  • Sauteed Chicken Breast Recipe
Set the rack in your oven to the highest position, set the oven to broil. Cut the top off the red pepper, seed and then cut the pepper in half. Put the red pepper halves, skin side up, on a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Drizzle some olive oil on top of the pepper and season with salt and pepper. Broil on high, until skins are scorched and black. Remove from oven and place in either a brown paper bag or a resealable plastic bag and let cool completely. Once cooled, remove the scorched skin, it should peel right off and then dice. 

Use a large saucepan to cook pasta following directions on packaging. Don't forget to properly salt the water!! 

While the pasta is cooking, combine the milk, velveeta, cheddar cheese, jack cheese, cayenne pepper, and black pepper in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until the cheese is melted and you have a smooth cheese sauce. Once pasta is al dente, drain and return to pan, add in the cheese sauce and red pepper, mix to incorporate.

This step is optional, as you can see I didn't do it in the picture. Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan and parsley in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture on-top of the mac n' cheese. Serve the mac n' cheese by it self or with my sauteed chicken breast recipe that you can find in the Chicken Club recipe!


Did you know that Lasagna may in fact be British and not Italian?? The Forme of Cury is the oldest cookbook written in English. It was compiled about 1390 by the master cooks of King Richard II. Researchers studying it made a surprising announcement in 2003 - the book contains a recipe for lasagna. The dish, called loseyns in Old English (prounounced "Lasan"), consists of noodles rolled as flat and wide "as paper," cooked in broth, layered with cheese, and baked. This recipe predates any Italian reference to the dish, which leads to the surprising conclusion that lasagna may be British. You learn something new everyday! :)

The recipe for Loseyns in The Forme of Cury
  • 2 containers (15 oz ea.) ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 oz. diced prosciutto
  • 2 jars of your favorite sauce or sauce recipe below
  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • Lasagna noodles, fresh or dry
  • 1/2 lbs Mozzarella, shredded

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F

In a small saute pan, saute prosciutto until crispy, about 5 min. In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, eggs, salt, pepper and prosciutto; set aside. 

In a large saute pan over medium heat, brown ground beef. Add in your jar sauce of choice and let simmer until your ready to assemble lasagna. If you're using the sauce recipe below, disregard that last step and follow the directions there. In a large pot, boil salted water and cook pasta noodles as per box directions. I usually buy store bought fresh lasagna noodles, you can usually find them in the cooler section. Cooking time for fresh is about 4 min, cooking time for dried about 10-12 min. 

In a 13x9 inch baking dish. Spread about 1 cup of the meat and sauce mixture on the bottom. Top with lasagna noodles, then add 1/2 of the ricotta mixture and another cup of sauce; top with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese; repeat. Top with remaining noodles to cover, add another cup of sauce and top with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. 

Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove tin foil and top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until bubbling. Let stand for 10 min before serving. Garnish with fresh basil. 

Sauce Recipe (optional)
  • 1 3/4 lbs ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a Dutch oven, cook ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. 

This is a great red sauce in general, you can make a large batch of this and can it or freeze it for quick meals. 
Song of the Recipe

I've been in love with Incubus for awhile now and seeing that this is a Food blog, I figured the title would be appropriate :)

Crock Pot Mac n' Cheese

This post may give you the impression that I'm addicted to mac n' cheese, I'm not really, but I sure do love it. Especially crock pot mac n' cheese, it's so simple! You just throw all the ingredients in the pot and after a few hours you have a creamy, delicious batch. This isn't a really good recipe to let cook all day, only 2 hours, but if you have a timer for your crock pot, then by all means throw it in and make the necessary settings. Hope you enjoy!

  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cheddar cheese soup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 

Boil the macaroni in salt water for six minutes and drain. In crock pot, combine macaroni, butter, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, egg, sour cream, cheddar cheese soup, salt, whole milk, dry mustard and black pepper. Mix well and incorporate through. Cook on low for 2 ½ hours stirring occasionally. 

 Kitchen Tips 

Why add salt to water when boiling pasta?? To some of you this may seem like a silly question. Some may add salt to water, but don't really know why they are doing it. Then some...wait you're suppose to add salt to the water before cooking pasta?? So again, why salt the water before boiling pasta? Because, it is really the only point in the cooking process where you can season the pasta and you should be generously adding salt to the water, it should taste like salt water. Some of the salt is absorbed into the noodles during the cooking process, not doing this will give it a bland taste. But, can't I just season it later?? No, since you aren't cooking the pasta anymore, the salt has no medium (i.e. water) to absorb into the pasta. Instead you will just have a bland piece of pasta with a salty exterior. Really whenever you are cooking, you should be salting each individual element of the cooking process. Doing this will ensure that the whole meal is properly seasoned. Meaning your guests will be less likely to say "pass the salt." 


<script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8">

                        var disqus_forum_url = 'happyvalleychow';


                    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://mediacdn.disqus.com/1364932970/embed/squarespace.js"></script>

                    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://disqus.com/forums/happyvalleychow/embed.js"></script>