everything bagel mac and cheese

Ok, as long as no one we know gets surprised engaged and decides to surprise go to Hawaii and get married at the last minute, we are done going to weddings for a few good months, which I’m kind of sad about because the Rent the Runway dresses I’ve been finding have been off the hook. And I love a good dance party. And the far off destinations that we get to go to. This past weekend we were right on the Idaho/Wyoming border for an Eggcousin wedding at a ranch that made me want to go back and watch Hey Dude reruns. (Was that a good show? Or just an obstacle on the way to Bug Juice and Double Dare? Will we ever know?)

It was my first time in Wyoming and I gasped when I saw the scenery. Mountains are so good. On our first night we stayed at the adorable Anvil Hotel in Jackson and had a delicious and inspiring crispy honey chicken with creamed corn at Glorietta. I pretty much never order chicken at a restaurant unless it’s schnitzeled but our server said get the chicken so we got the chicken and it was one of the best decisions we’ve made at a restaurant all year. The next morning we hiked up Snow King mountain, ate an apple and peanut butter at the top, and then came down and drove across a Teton to the ranch in Idaho for the wedding. Wowee zowee, it was beautiful. We rode horses, saw a bunch of wildflowers, sat around a campfire, and Eggboy played music for the ceremony!! It was the best. 

Now we’re back, just in time for National Macaroni and Cheese Day!!!! Which is the only food holiday besides donut day that I take seriously for now. It’s on Saturday. And I know, it’s kind of dumb to have it fall in the middle of summer when we should be taking advantage of fresh summer vegetables, but I don’t make the rules. So here is a recipe that I’ve been making in my low key mission to everything bagel (v.) all of the things. It was partly inspired by Alex and Sonja’s Everything Bagel Pasta, which looks sooo good. And the things that make this mac bagel-y are: 

-Cream cheese in the cheese sauce, which adds a delicious tang 

-Chives, because chive cream cheese is the best cream cheese

-Just a tiny bit of barley malt syrup, a sweet sticky substance that’s a key ingredient in making bagels taste bagel-y 

-Tons of everything bagel seasoning on top. It seems like a lot when you’re making it but it gets all crunchy in the oven and adds perfect texture. (I’ve included measurements below to make your own seasoning but you can certainly use store bought. If you use storebought: sprinkle it on to taste because some of them, like the one from Trader Joe’s, are extreeeeemely salty.)

 

-And if you’re feeling extra, sub out the panko breadcrumbs for bagel crumbs!

-And for bonus points: add hot dogs or veggie dogs and then it’s bagel dog mac and cheese.

…And there is no bagel-driven reason for the ketchup. I just like it.


Everything Bagel Mac and Cheese

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 lb (226g) pasta, I prefer rigatoni
Olive oil
1/4 c (68g) unsalted butter
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt
1/4 c (33g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 c (590g) whole milk
4 oz (113g) cream cheese
4 oz (113g) white cheddar or gruyere or a mix of both, shredded
1 oz (28g) parmesan, shredded
1 1/2 tsp barley malt syrup, optional
Crushed red
Black pepper
1/2 c chopped chives or scallions
Bonus points: 2 cut up cooked hot dogs or veggie dogs

Topping

3/4 c (75g) panko breadcrumbs
1 tb unsalted butter, melted
1 tb each: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion
A few pinches of Kosher salt

Ketchup, for serving
 

Clues

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the box, cooking for one minute less than directed. Drain, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and set aside. 

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium high. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the milk and cook, whisking continuously, until thickened, and then repeat with another cup, and then the remaining 1/2 cup. Add the cheese and stir until melted, and then add the barley malt syrup (if using), a few pinches of crushed red pepper, a few turns of black pepper, and salt to taste. Stir in the pasta, chives, and hot dogs, if using. Transfer to an 8” baking dish or a dish that’s a similar size. In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and melted butter and then distribute it over the top of the mac and cheese. Combine the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried minced onion, dried minced garlic, and salt in that same medium bowl and sprinkle it liberally over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let cool slightly and then serve with ketchup.
 


-yeh!

mac and cheese photo by chantell and brett


P.S. I have a few fun appearances on Food Network this weekend!! 

On Saturday at 11am eastern I will be making peanut butter cake on one of my favorite shows, The Kitchen!!!!

👆🏼👆🏼Feeling very at home in the presence of Jeff Mauro and his great Chicago accent.

And on Sunday at 9pm eastern I will be a guest judge on Food Network Star!

Bobby and Giada were soo nice!!!! 

And on Sunday at 11am eastern on Girl Meets Farm, we will be celebrating Eggsister's baby shower!!! There will be donuts!! And ~walking tacos~! 

latke hotdish

Made a latke hotdish because I couldn’t not, right?? And also because hotdish Hanukkah is the theme of this year’s holiday party. I probably won’t do this ever again unless you pay me a million dollars but that’s just meant to say more about my current overwhelming desire to be lazy, nothing about whether or not this is good or not. 

This is in fact very good!!! It’s meat and potatoes at its best: hella braised brisket and fried potatoes. There is nothing not to like.

Why is this hotdish different from all other hotdishes?

1. Obvious: it’s topped with latkes!! Tater tots are basically little latkes already so this route essentially just makes our favorite hotdish topping even better. It takes a lot more effort. But as someone who is royally dreading having to shred potatoes again this weekend, I can tell you that you definitely should at least try a brisket juice covered latke once in your lifetime. And I mean, if you’re going to be making latkes anyway, it really would behoove you to make a few extra, throw them on this hotdish, and then freeze it and reheat it for the last night of Hanukkah when you are totally done with flipping latkes. 

2.   It is dairy free!! While the traditional hotdish contains meat and creamed soup, it has also been important to me to find good dairy free/kosher options. In Molly on the Range, one recipe goes the coconut milk route, and I’ve made my classic hotdish a few times using olive oil in place of butter and stock in place of milk. But my new favorite option, I just realized, has been staring me right in the eye since Eggboy and I first started dating! The first recipe that Eggmom ever sent me (before we had ever even met I think) was her tomato soup that is thickened with squash puree. It is delicious and has proved to be one of the most popular recipes in MOTR. So thickening this tomato-based hotdish mixture with butternut squash puree is exactly what I’ve done here and the squash adds the most delicious warming undertones that make me forgive it for being such an easy vegetable to get sick of. 

3. It’s got an apples! Which is a nod to latkes + apple sauce, h/t to Kristin for this connection.

4. And rosemary and red wine and all sorts of things that will make your house smell so good that your guests will have no choice but to melt right down into the holiday spirit. I suck at decorating for the holidays but what I lack in greenery and tiny light up houses, I make up for in house smells. And that’s just as important, right??

Q: Omg you want me to braise a brisket, roast a squash, puree it, shred potatoes, and fry latkes all at once? Is this The Onion?? 

A: You can totally make the braised brisket mixture (including the part where you stir in the squash) a day in advance. It’ll probably even taste better that way. The latkes can also be prepped ahead. Assembly can also be done ahead. That’s one of the most beautiful things about a hotdish, it can all be prepped in advance and the only thing that really changes is how much time it spends baking. If you’re baking from the refrigerator, it’ll probably just need a few more minutes. If baking from frozen, cover with foil and bake at 350º for an hour, and then uncover and then increase the heat to 400º and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the innards are heated through. 


latke hotdish

serves 6

ingredients

2 1/2 tb canola or vegetable oil, divided

2 lbs brisket, cut into 2” pieces

Kosher salt

Black pepper

1 large onion, sliced

2 carrots, chopped into 1/2” coins

2 celery stalks, chopped into 1/2” pieces

1/2 c red wine

1 tb brown sugar

2 tb tomato paste

1 (14-oz) can chopped tomatoes

2 c beef or vegetable stock

Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

2 apples, cored and sliced

1 small (2-2 1/2 lbs) butternut squash, halved and deseeded

A good pinch of crushed red pepper

1 batch latkes, recipe follows

Chopped fresh parsley, to serve, optional (if you’re feeling fancy)

clues

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the brisket, season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and a few turns of black pepper and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the red wine and cook for a few minutes until it’s reduced by half. Add the brown sugar, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, stock, rosemary, and apples and simmer uncovered for 2 1/2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender. You want this to reduce and get quite thick and saucy, however if it reduces too far to where it’s more gloopy than saucy, add a bit more stock. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375ºf, brush the innards of your squash with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and a few turns of pepper and roast until a fork pokes easily into the center, begin checking at 1 hour. Puree the squash and then stir it into your hot dish mixture with crushed red pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning

Increase the oven heat to 400ºf. 

Transfer the mixture to an 8” by 12” casserole dish and top with latkes lined up in nice neat rows. Bake until the mixture is bubbly and the latkes are deep brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly and then top with chopped parsley, if using, and serve. 


latkes

Makes enough mini latkes for this hotdish, plus a few more to nosh on as you’re cooking

ingredients

1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes

1 large yellow onions

3/4 tsp kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 tb lemon juice

1/3 c (43g) all-purpose flour

Black pepper

 

Canola or vegetable oil, for frying

clues

Shred the potatoes and onions in a food processor or with a grater or mandoline. Place in a strainer that’s been lined with cheesecloth. Toss with salt and let sit over a bowl for 30 minutes. Gather the top of the cheesecloth and then use your hands to squeeze out as much excess moisture as you can. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the eggs, lemon juice flour, and a few turns of black pepper. Heat a skillet with a 1/4” oil until shimmering. Working in batches as not to crowd the pan, fry up loosely packed rounded tablespoons of the latke mixture until browned on both sides. Add more oil to the pan as needed. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside until ready to use. 


-yeh!

paprikash hotdish

I am not up and at ‘em at 3 o'clock in the morning like I thought I would be because it turns out I’ve not been caught by westbound jet lag, which is a shame because westbound jet lag is almost as good as airplane ravioli. It's all because we became night owls in Berlin. While at home we can barely stay awake to finish Homeland, in Berlin we had no bedtime and stayed out well past the last call for hummus, discussing deli culture and gefilte fish over *just one round of arak* (in Berlin, i know, we'll get to that!). And then in the mornings we were lucky if we'd acquired our ein kleiner kaffee zu mitnehmen bitte and gotten on the u-bahn by 11. It'd weird me out when I’d get text messages from friends at home around then, “What is Michelle doing texting me in the middle of the night?!" I'd think, and then it'd occur to me that it was a normal New York waking hour. 

Which is all to say that we did a terrible job of adjusting to Berlin time, and thus have very little work to do now in the way of adjusting back to Grand Forks time. (And which is also to say that we could have easily spent our entire Friday night at the Berghain if Eggboy would have allowed us to attempt to get in lol.) 

I have a bunch of photos that I'm going to put together for you and then I'll tell you more about my trip, but today I've got to get going on testing Passover recipes and unpacking and telling you about this hotdish! According to a lot of instagrams and the fact that Eggboy is laundering all of his insulated coveralls at once in order to put them away for the warmer months, spring is here. Peas are here, rhubarb is here, chives are here, supposedly, but out my window it is still deliciously cloudy parka weather, which means that hotdishes are still *ok*. And I am really excited about this Paprikash hotdish because if Chinese hotdish is my stripper name, Paprikash hotdish is totally my other stripper name, as a nod to my Hungarian half. I love Paprikash and typically have it with dumplings or crusty buttery sourdough, but do you know what is equally as good as both of those things? Tater tots, duh. 

The filling is based on my chicken pot tater tot hotdish but it's flavored like a paprikash, meaning more onion and a load of paprika. So much paprika. Get new paprika because paprika loses its flavor really quickly if it's sitting on your spice shelf. I realize that peas and carrots aren't traditional paprikash ingredients but neither are tater tots, and in the interest of adding more veggies to make this a one-pot meal, I've dumped some in. The result is a v creamy, v comforting supper that's best when shoveled into your mouth out of a large deep bowl. And as you can see, this can totally be wrapped up and stuck in the freezer for later or to bring to a friend's house, just allow for an hour and a half or so in the oven if you're baking it from frozen!

Happy hotdishing! 


paprikash hotdish

makes 6 to 8 servings

ingredients

1/4 c butter

2 large onions, sliced

3 large carrots, chopped

Kosher salt

Black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tb hungarian sweet paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 tb tomato paste

6 tb flour

1/2 c dry white wine

2 c whole milk

enough chicken broth base for 2 c liquid** 

20 oz pounds boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1/2- or 3/4-inch pieces

3/4 c peas

20 ounces tater tots

**a bouillon cube or something of the equivalent, like better than bouillon or homemade concentrate. since different brands require a different amount of mix per cup of liquid, check the manufacturer's instructions. don't dilute it in water! 

clues

preheat the oven to 400ºf. 

in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium high heat. add the onion, carrots, a good pinch of salt, and a few turns of pepper and cook, stirring until the onions and carrots are soft, about 10 minutes. add the garlic, paprika, cayenne, and tomato paste and cook for one more minute.

stir in the flour so that it gets evenly distributed and cook for one more minute. add the wine and stir until thickened. then add half of the milk, stirring constantly until thickened, and repeat with the other half of the milk. stir in the chicken broth base and chicken. cook, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink, 15 minutes. stir in the peas. taste and adjust seasonings as desired. 

transfer the mixture to an 11" by 8" baking dish (or other 3-quart ovenproof dish) and cover with tater tots. arrange them snugly and neatly. bake until the tots are golden brown. begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. let cool slightly and serve!

or, let cool slightly, cover tightly with plastic and refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook. it'll last 2 days in the refrigerator and 3 months in the freezer. 


-yeh!

butternut, bacon, and apple hotdish

tomorrow i go home to eggboy, the autumn, and probably a bunch of leftover containers that are still in the fridge from before i left two weeks ago. i am so gosh darn excited for two of those things! and to eggboy's credit, there are a zillion experiments in our fridges, some of them intentional and some of them unintentional, which i sometimes actually need for recipe development purposes so he's become trained not to throw anything away without explicit instructions. (like, have i told you that the clown cone, sprinkle cake, and cookie salad from molly on the range are still in my freezer because i was paranoid i'd lose all of my photos and would have to reshoot everything?)

so what's currently in our fridge is likely a bunch of butternut squash dishes. we got so much squash from our garden this year that i went wild with my cookbooks and cooked up a squash storm every day before i left. two of my favorite dishes were anna's butternut and cannellini gratin and claire ptak's squash cobbler. anna's dish is less creamy than a typical gratin, it's more like a hearty vegetable soup, and claire's dish opened up a world of savory cobblers to me. i couldn't get them out of my brain so eventually i combined them, added apples from our apple trees, and called it a hotdish like the lady of the north that i am. it pretty much follows the hotdish equation:

meat* + vegetables** + creamed soup*** + a starch****

*bacon

**squash and onions

***okay, even though there's soup in here it isn't creamy but there's cheese on top so that's some good heavy dairy that counts for something?

****flakey buttery biscuits! 

the base has the lightness of anna's dish, but the biscuits add some oomph that make it a good special occasion meal or sunday supper.  i had chantell and brett over from fargo to enjoy it on a crisp fall morning the other day. we wandered around the farm, collecting squash from the garden, apples from our trees, and eggs from macaroni for the biscuit egg wash, and i wore my new fall fashions from old navy. you guys i'm so excited to be partnering with old navy again because you know how i won't shut up about how my current favorite aesthetic is naptime-chic? (as in garments that double as blankets so that no matter where you are, you are always as cozy as you'd want to be for a nap? think huge scarves and piles of soft layers.) old navy has all of that right now. blankety scarves, shirts that are comfy enough to be pajamas but nice enough to wear when guests are over, and that red and black lumbersexual number pictured above that's soft like a robe. and of course i like layering on all of my tops over their jeggings, aka yoga-pants-disguised-as-jeans, aka good apple tree shimmying pants.

the whole situation is as cozy as a nice hot bowl of this butternut hotdish so i'm hoping this post is encouraging you to be cozy both inside and out. 


butternut, bacon, and apple hotdish

serves 8

ingredients

1 lb thick cut bacon

2 large purple onions, thinly sliced

kosher salt

2 lb squash, seeded, peeled, and chopped into 1/2” cubes

leaves from 6 sprigs fresh thyme

black pepper

crushed red pepper

2 large apples, chopped into 1/2” cubes

1/4 c white wine

1 c vegetable broth

for the biscuits:

2 c flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp kosher salt

14 tb unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1/4 c heavy cream

1 large egg

cheese, optional

clues

preheat oven to 425ºf.

in a large skillet or pot, crisp the bacon. Transfer it to a paper towel. drain off most of the fat from the pan, you’ll want a thin coating to remain, add the onions and cook over medium high for 10 minutes, until soft. add the squash, thyme, a few turns of pepper and a few pinches of crushed red pepper and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally, and then add the wine and broth. give the bacon a rough chop and add it to the pan along with the apples. bring the mixture to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, while you make the biscuits. 

to make the biscuits, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. add the butter and, using a food processor or pastry cutter or your hands, incorporate the butter until the mixture is the consistency of oatmeal. mix in the cream until the mixture comes together to form a dough. turn it out onto a floured work surface, pat it out to 3/4” thick and then cut out round biscuits, re-rolling scraps as needed.

(note: you can also use torn crusty bread as the topping for your hotdish. i like this as a lower maintenance weekday option.)

pour the squash mixture into an oven-safe vessel such as a casserole dish or cast iron pan or dutch oven and then top it with the biscuits. brush the biscuits with the beaten egg and top with black pepper and grated cheese, if desired. bake until the biscuits are golden brown, begin checking for doneness at 25 minutes. enjoy!


-yeh!


pictured: jacket // shirt // sweater // jeggings // scarf

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