day o' food & mac n' cheese recipe

so, yesterday (as you know) was craig's birthday.  needless to say, i had a lot of food things planned.  i drove out to meet him for lunch during his lunch break.  we went to this place by his work that is rumored to have "the best" chicken caesar salad...and it did not disappoint.  besides having a yummy creamy caesar dressing and crisp romaine and buttery croutons, it also was topped with marinated portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions and breaded & baked chicken.  wow!  for dessert (yes, we got dessert with lunch.  it was his bday after all...) we shared a creme brulee.  the lemon zest they added to the custard was the perfect touch.

caesar salad

when i got home, i wrapped presents, set the table and finished making his cake.  well, actually not a "cake" per se, he requested a ganache tart with a peanut butter swirl.  fancy : )  i modified the recipe {here} with a peanut & pretzel crust, then added globs of pb to the ganache filling and topped with chopped peanuts.  completely decadent.

for dinner i whipped up homemade mac n' cheese and marinated chicken roll-ups filled with sauteed veggies.  we uncorked a bottle of bubbly and toasted the birthday boy.  good food.  good time : )

mac n' cheese

16oz medium shells
2 1/2 cups italian cheese blend (mozz, parm, prov)
2 cups sharp cheddar
2 cups milk
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
salt & pepper
dash of red curry optional (about 1 tsp)

1 tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

cook pasta according to the directions on the package.  drain.

heat the milk in a small pot, but do not boil.  melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pot and add flour.  over low heat, cook for a few minutes.  add the hot milk while whisking & cook for 1-2 min more, until thickened.

off the heat, add the shredded cheeses, 1 tablespoon salt & pepper.  add the cooked pasta and stir well. pour into baking dish.

sprinkle topping over mac n' cheese.  bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.  yummmmmmy!!!

present opened: vintage 1950s cocktail shaker!

it was a wonderful birthday!  (and i think craig enjoyed it too : )