Macaroni and cheese is almost everyone’s favorite childhood food, and we’ve made this grown up version by adding smoked gouda, bacon and spices. The crunchy bread crumbs come together in the food processor and add a nice crunch to the soft mac and cheese when you bake it in the oven. And bacon? Well, who doesn’t like bacon? This is the ultimate in rich comfort food, and it’s great for leftovers because it’s even better the next day. The recipe is also perfect for feeding a crowd – just pair it with a salad and a good beer selection and you have dinner for a dozen people.
Brussels sprouts are the quintessential “gross vegetable”, admonished by children across the country and prompting most to say “Ewwww!” at the mere mention of their name. However, most grown ups who’ve mercifully given the tiny cabbage a second chance are surprised at just how delicious they really are. We at Hamilton Beach believe the secret to good Brussels sprouts is a good roasting or pan fry (not boiling), so we’ve included a recipe below to get you started. When creating your own Brussels sprout recipes, remember they pair beautifully with bacon, parmesan and other savory and salty accompaniments. Following these basic guidelines, you’re sure to have an entire family of Brussels sprouts converts.
Brussels sprouts were popular in the Belgian city for which they are named as far back as the 1500s. They grow along the sides of long stalks, a funny sight if you’ve never seen them sold this way at the grocery store! The stalks can grow up to four feet high and produce up to three pounds of sprouts each. The sprouts are part of the same family as cabbage, kale, broccoli and kohlrabi, and they contain vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fiber.
To prepare Brussels sprouts, trim the ends off the buds and remove any loose outer leaves and any yellowing or spotted leaves. Rinse and dry the sprouts. At this point, the sprouts can be cooked whole, or they can be cut in half or quarters. We cut the sprouts in half for this recipe because it allows for more surface area to crisp up during the roasting process, and we think the crispness of the sprouts is delicious.
A number of years ago, I hosted my own Thanksgiving dinner for twelve friends and family in my 1,000-square foot apartment in the city. I’d thrown my share of dinner parties and get-togethers, but none of those offered the same crushing intimidation as the biggest food holiday of the year. I was single with two dogs and my kitchen was divided into two rooms (yes, really) – one room with the fridge, the dog bowls and the metal shelves full of appliances and one room containing the oven and stove, the dishwasher, and the sink in a line down one wall. I had no counter space and the dining room was up the hall, but I had gusto!, and sometimes that’s all you need.
I worked on my menu daily until I figured out something that resembled a delicious meal worthy of elastic pants, seconds and familial acclaim. I tried to save some time, hassle and space on my makeshift buffet table by preparing a few dishes in individual servings, hoping it might reduce the which-way-do-I-pass-the-stuffing conversations. (It did.) I served individual stuffings that I baked in a muffin tin; if I’d had a toaster oven at the time, I would have baked them there to save space in my cramped main oven. Dinner was a Herculean success and a wild disaster, but everyone loved the stuffing. It was the perfect portion for each person, and leftovers were effortless for each guest to carry home. Here’s the recipe for our savory stuffing muffins, or “stuffins,” loosely inspired by that crazy Thanksgiving dinner years ago.