Monday, October 31, 2011

the goose loves halloweenie

 Happy Halloweenie!!

This is a very special post. I want you all to know that today is STILL Halloween, which means that this post is perfectly ON TIME! I'm not writing this two weeks later and pretending I'm on time!

These photos are so fresh that the mac n cheese is still warm. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Okay this picture is actually like three days old. Our dear friend Jackie came over on Thursday night to celebrate pre-Halloween, since she works tonight (as an ER nurse - wowza). Here she is decorating her punkin like a piggy!
 It even comes with a tail! It's like pumpkin-meets-potato-head.
 Then on Saturday night, our good friends (and sisters!) Carolyn and Stephanie came over on their way to go partay-ing to show off their cute costumes. Carolyn is Dorothy and Stephanie is Eeyore, if you are having trouble there. P.S. Stephanie scared the sh** out of Bentley - something about the big furry ears and paws and stuff made him howl for a good 10 minutes straight. It was AWESOME. I'm having trouble uploading the video to the blog, otherwise you'd all be enjoying that spectacle.
 Okay so now we're caught up. Here's Jackie again, with her sweet puppy-bee Dakota. They look like they're in costume, huh! Well Jackie's actually just going to work. As a nurse. Haha. Kody is with us for the night, having a sleepover with Bentley.
 So after Jackie dropped Dakota off, Billy and I got to work on our delish dinner. We hid from the trick or treaters - we're too cheap and lazy to pass out candy. Our front door is really far from our kitchen/living room, and we'd have to cross the dog gate and keep two dogs from bolting out the door or howling at the poor little princesses and pirates, so we decided to skip it.

We celebrated the holiday with food, instead! Yep, Lucy's Famous Mac n Cheese.

Not necessarily famous in a good way, though, if you ask Carolyn. She's had one of the failure batches. But tonight's was a real winner. I'll share the top secret recipe with you, my friends.

Chop half an onion and a few cloves of garlic, and saute it all in butter. Or Smart Balance, if you want to be healthy. We do.
 Once your garlic and onion is toasty brown and fragrant, whisk in about 2 tbsp of flour. You want to make sure you still have a little butter or oil or smart balance liquid in there - a dry pan with the onions won't do. You're making a roux here. Sounds fancy and french, but it's really no biggie.
 While you're vigorously stirring your flour mixture, measure two cups of milk (you can throw in some half and half or heavy cream if you happen to have some on hand. defeats the purpose of being healthy with the smart balance, though...) and throw it in the microwave for about a minute.
 Once your flour and onion mixture is nice and mixed up - not chalky/powdery, but a little bubbly and thick, start slowly pouring in your two cups of milk. And when I mean slow, I mean pour a quarter cup at a time, and whisk vigorously for a minute or two in between each pour. Using the whole glass will take a good 5-8 minutes. You don't want to get all the liquid in there too fast, or your flour will clump. Having the milk a little warm (hence the microwave minute) also helps it gel well with the flour.
 You should notice your flour-y mixture slowly getting creamy, like sauce. This is a bechemel sauce, technically speaking. Not sure I spelled that right, though.

So to celebrate Halloween in our own way, I thought we'd go extreme with the orange. I started with adding some yellow food-coloring gel to the sauce.
 Side note - yummy cheddar cheese, to be added later.
 Then I added red, to get a nice deep orange. There's the spirit!
 Once your sauce is good and bubbly, pull it off the heat and stir in your cheese - about three cups. We usually use a combo of mozzarella and parmesan, because that's what we usually have around, but we went with the holiday spirit and got a small block of medium cheddar, shredded by Mrs. Cuisinart.
 Once your cheese is pretty melty, fold in your pasta. We had pre-cooked mini wheels.
 Ughmmm. I could eat this stuff as is.
 But no, here's an opportunity to practice self control. Pour your cheesy pasta into a baking dish of any shape or size, and then sprinkle generously with parmesan (or other) cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake for about 20 minutes at 375, then broil for 5 minutes at about 400 (or high).
 Meanwhile, take photos of the pumpkin that you decorated earlier that evening.
 I was going for my own take on this Pinterest pumpkin, but not entirely sure I succeeded. I wanted to use bigger dots, but now you can't see the swirly effect as clearly.
 That's okay - it kinda reminds me of spiders, which is equally halloweenie.
 After you finish taking photos of your pumpkin and finish cleaning your kitchen, your glorious mac n cheese is complete. So take some photos of it.

Close ups are important.
 Mmmm, cheesy-bread-crummy-crispy-top.
 Bubbly mac-n-cheese goodness on the sides.
 Like how that mounds? I do.

 And then serve, but don't give to your husband until you get a few more shots. That's okay, he can wait. He's still cleaning up the kitchen anyway.
 Yay for cheesy-orange wheels. This stuff actually reminds me of the Kraft stuff, but with real cheese...
So Happy Halloween, y'all. Hooray for catching up in posts! See you soon.

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