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February Recipes

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It’s cold outside and we’ve all put in some hard runs . Time to treat yourself to some hearty indulgencies! I’m a big believer in feeding our cravings, in moderation, of course. It’s when we suppress cravings that we tend to fall off the wagon hard! As runners we generally have a healthy diet which allows for some deviation. Nothing to feel guilty about. Below are a couple of things I cooked that I enjoyed making as much as eating. Bon a petit!

Bacon Mushroom Mac ‘n Cheese

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
6-8 slices of bacon cut into small pieces
8 oz. mushrooms – sliced
half of a small onion – chopped
1 stick of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup flour
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack
8 oz. (uncooked) elbow macaroni
salt
pepper
dried rosemary
dried thyme

Topping
3/4 stick of butter
2 cups panko
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook bacon until lightly browned then add onions, pinch rosemary, and pinch thyme. Cook until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are wilted down in size. Drain excess fat and set aside.

Boil enough water to fully submerge pasta. Salt water and cook pasta as directed on the box. Drain when cooked.

While pasta is boiling melt butter in medium pot along with olive oil. Add flour and mix throughly. Cook for a couple of minutes to make sure the gritty flour taste is cooked away. Add milk and stir until thickened. Add more milk if roux is too thick. Add cheeses then salt and pepper to taste. Turn off burner then fold in mushroom and bacon mixture.

In a large glass bowl or pot combine pasta with cheese mixture. Grease casserole baking pan and add macaroni.

For topping melt butter and mix in bread crumbs and cheese.

IMG_0396Top with bread crumbs and bake until topping is golden brown.

 


 


 

Chocolate Cherry Pecan Bread

2 cups milk
1 stick butter
3 eggs
1 package yeast
1/4 + 1/4 sugar
teaspoon salt
5 + 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Egg Wash Mixture
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar for dusting

Note: I don’t have a mixer so I did everything by hand. If you have a mixer…good for you!

Warm milk to the touch. Too hot and it’ll kill the yeast. Combine warm milk, yeast, 1/4 sugar in a large mixing bowl. Let sit for a minute. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl and mix into milk mixture. Add 4 cups of flour, salt, 1/4 sugar, and melted butter. Mix until dough comes off the side of the bowl. If it’s too wet continue to add more flour (up to 1 cup more) to get the right consistency. Better for the dough to be slightly wet than dry. Use a fold and roll technique when kneading. Don’t over work the dough. Grease a large pan and place dough to proof for an 1.5 hours. (Use the extra 1/2 cup of flour to dust dough, hands, and work surface).

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

IMG_0410After initial rise, press dough down. Mix together nuts, cherries, and chocolate in a bowl. Flour tabletop and work in dry ingredients. Knead in nuts mixture a little at a time. Form dough into a ball when all ingredients are mixed in. Roll out into a log the length of the baking pan you’ll be using.

IMG_0411Place into baking pan and let set covered with a kitchen towel for at least 30 mins. and not more than an hour. Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and place in oven for about an hour or when top is golden brown.

IMG_0413Let the bread rest in the pan after you take it out of the oven for 10 minutes. The inside is soft and the bread will collapse on itself if you take it out too soon.

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