I would like to announce the birth of my beautiful niece Mia Rose! She was born on April Fool’s Day (no joke) at 11:54 pm, weighing in at 7 lb 7 oz and she is just adorable, and with a full head of dark brown hair! We now have two beautiful, healthy, precious little girls in our family!
I knew my brother and sister-in-law would be absolutely exhausted upon getting home and could use all of the rest they can get with a newborn so I decided to help them out and cook them a few dinners and save them some time/money! I even had my other niece, Arianna, ‘help me out’ in the kitchen! What a great little helper she is too!
I wanted to think of things that would be super easy for them that they could just throw in the oven or heat up so I settled on homemade mac & cheese with prosciutto and a chicken broccoli cheese casserole. The casserole is so amazingly simple yet delicious, it is a must have on our menu rotation! And of course, I baked them something as well, a zucchini bread.
Macaroni & Cheese with Prosciutto
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- Prosciutto, ham, bacon cooked and chopped
- 3 T butter
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 3 T flour
- 2 cups milk
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 t mustard powder or 1 – 1 1/2 t mustard
- 8 ounces american cheese, chopped up
- 4 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
- parmesan cheese
- bread crumbs or panko
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a casserole dish or 9X13 pan. Cook macaroni in boiling salted water until al dente, drain. Meanwhile, melt butter in saucepan, add onion and saute until soft, 5-7 minutes. Once soft, add flour, whisk and let cook 1-2 minutes. Add milk slowly, whisking to incorporate flour. Add salt & pepper to taste and let come to a boil and begins to thicken. Lower heat and add in american cheese and 2 cups of cheddar, stir until melted. Combine sauce with macaroni and pour into baking dish. Top with other 2 cups of shredded cheddar. Mix bread crumbs or panko with parmesan cheese, sprinkle over top and bake 30 minutes. (I fried up some prosciutto in a little olive oil beforehand to get it somewhat crispy and mixed it in with the cheese sauce and macaroni before baking). You can add any type of meat you like, or leave it out completely, whatever suits your fancy!
Chicken Broccoli Cheese Casserole
- 1 package broccoli (I use eat smart veggie bags)
- 1 bag cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3-4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
- 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
- 2-3 T lemon juice
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the cream of mushroom soups, the lemon juice and half of the cheddar cheese. Add cooked chicken and broccoli. Pour into prepared pan and top with remaining half of cheddar cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through. See, I told you it was easy! We like to serve ours over white rice, but you can use whatever you like or just eat it plain! Also, you can add in any other veggies you like, we always add mushrooms with ours but since my brother is ‘allergic,’ I omitted them! I say ‘allergic’ because he really is not, he just doesn’t care for them so he tells restaurants that he is allergic so they don’t make the mistake of putting them in any of his food! Cracks me up! But I did get him to branch out a little and try, and even like, a blue cheese mushroom marsala sauce for steaks (http://wp.me/s1InCv-saucy)!
Last but not least:
- 1 cup oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 t vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1 t baking soda
- 1 t baking powder
- 3 t cinnamon
- 1 t salt
- 2 cups grated zucchini
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9X13 pan. Dissolve sugar in oil, add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda, powder, salt and cinnamon. Add wet to dry, mixing until just incorporated. Fold in zucchini. Pour into prepared pan, fill 2/3 of the way full (if there is extra batter, use for muffins or whatever you’d like…but I fit it all into one pan and it just made one very large super loaf)!