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Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese

When I saw that there was no pre-cooking for this recipe, I literally “squee’d” out loud.  I pinned this from Keri Challen’s board, which she found on Tip Garden.  There were warnings posted on the site explaining the Southern-style of macaroni and cheese and how it should be cut like a brownie (which I was all for because that’s the best kind), but what I wasn’t expecting was the over-bearing sour-taste from, what I believe to be, the condensed milk.  Hopefully someone can give me some insight.

Recipe:
Ingredients:

Cooking oil spray
2 cups skim milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups preshredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
I used exactly the ingredients the recipe called for and I followed the recipe exactly:
Once everything was mixed together, I dropped it into the pot and let it go for 4 hours.  It looked like mac and cheese, and it smelled like mac and cheese, so I was very excited to try it out.
 
When served, it had the exact consistency of the custard mac and cheese and it smelled absolutely delicious!  However, upon the first taste, I found it had a very strange taste that I cannot pinpoint.  It was almost sour-tasting.  I thought maybe it was the evaporated milk, but upon further reading in the comments on Tip Gard, I thought it might be the egg?  I’m not sure, but I couldn’t eat more than 6 or 7 bites before the aftertaste completely overwhelmed me.  Mike ate the entire pot over a 3-span day, and he said he didn’t have the same taste experience I did.  I’m at a loss for words to explain the way I felt about this recipe.
Verdict:
Mike’s opinion:
Taste: 4/5
Presentation: 5/5
Jen’s Opinion:
Taste: 2/5
Presentation: 5/5
Ease of preparation: 5/5
Ease of cleanup: 5/5
Availability of ingredients: 5/5
Next time, I’ll omit one of the ingredients (either the egg or the evaporated milk) and see which ingredient is the “offending” ingredient.
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Posted by on September 2, 2012 in Crockpot

 

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Lasagna Soup

This is the first week for us to be back at school; we spend our days attending meetings, setting up classrooms, sifting through piles of data, and reconnecting with teams and departments.  It’s a good week (or not) to start a new menu routine.  On Sunday, Mike and I planned out our entire week of menus and used my handy-dandy new menu grocery list to shop.  So far, not bad.  This recipe was a fluke pin from Elizabeth Eyler (who found it on Deen Bros), as I never expected to make it; however, it somehow managed to make it on the menu on our rainy Tuesday, leaving me to plan a meal with the most ingredients I’ve ever used.  Surprisingly, it only took a total of 40 minutes…40 well-worth-the-wait minutes.

Recipe:
Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 ounces broken whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 noodles)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

My alterations:  Turkey sausage had cheddar cheese in it, onion flakes instead of a chopped onion, no green peppers (we don’t eat them), regular lasagna noodles.

First, I combined the oil, the sausage, the onion flakes, and the garlic in a large nonstick saucepan and cooked over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sausage was slightly browned (12ish minutes).

Once the sausage looks done, add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, and the crushed red pepper and bring to a boil; once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.  The boiling will look like rings of various colors appearing on the top of the soup:

Add the noodles (the smaller the breaks, the better.  Too big and they will stick together and make a sandwich that refuses to separate) and bring back to a boil until the noodles are done.  Remove from the heat; it says to stir in the mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil until well-blended, but I let those ingredients sit on top for a while and sink naturally–this allowed the cheeses to melt completely without wrapping the strands around the spoon.

Serve alone or with breadsticks.

Verdict:
Mike’s Opinion:
Taste: 5/5
Presentation: 5/5
Notes: Surprisingly filling (I was full on one bowl!).  I’m not a big soup person, but this is a recipe I would actually request.
Reheatability: 5/5

Jen’s Opinion:
Taste: 5/5
Presentation: 5/5
Ease of preparation: 5/5 (just add, stir, and heat)
Ease of cleanup: 5/5 (rinse the pot before washing so it doesn’t harden)
Availability of ingredients: 4/5 (we don’t usually keep turkey sausage and lasagna noodles in the house, but they are easily obtained in any grocery store)

We had enough left-overs to have a meal large enough to share with two of our friends tonight–it tastes even better after being reheated.  This recipe is fantastic, and I highly recommend it to anyone who may or may not like lasagna.  It’s filling, it’s easy, and it’s delicious 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Soup

 

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