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Mac & Cheese

September 27, 2015

Last night we was my first time making homemade mac & cheese. We had a party to go to and I was asked to bring it. As usual, I scoured the internet for “best” recipes and read a lot of the comments. What I ended up with is combining several recipes to come up the following. Since Jeff loved it and two others asked me for the recipe, it’s going to go in my file so I can remember how I made it!


For the topping:
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
• Several small tomatoes, sliced thinly (about 4)

For the macaroni and sauce:
• 1 pound dried elbow macaroni
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
• 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 4 cups whole milk
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces grated extra-sharp cheddar
• 4-5 ounces grated Gruyere
• 2-3 ounces grated Romano
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
• 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard powder
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

• 9- by 13-inch baking dish, buttered


Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in the middle of oven. Butter the baking dish. Set a large, covered pot of salted water over high heat to boil.

Brown panko and two tablespoons of butter over medium low heat. Watch the panko as it has a tendency to burn quickly. Set aside.

Add macaroni to boiling salted water and cook for 7-9 minutes according to instructions to al dente (do not overcook) Drain macaroni and set aside. In a small pot add the milk and crème, set on burner on medium low to warm up but do not let boil. In the meantime, make the roux. In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour once the butter is melted, stirring constantly to avoid burning and until the roux is a light golden brown (about 4 minutes). Once the roux is done, gradually add the warmed milk and cream, whisking constantly to incorporate and make a béchamel sauce. Raise heat to medium-high and bring sauce to a low boil, whisking constantly. Reduce to a simmer, whisking occasionally, and cook until béchamel sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes more. Add the salt, pepper, mustard powder and cayenne to the béchamel and stir well to incorporate. Then add the cheeses gradually, continuing to stir and making sure all the cheese is melted.
Add the cheese sauce to the drained macaroni and stir well to coat. Transfer macaroni mixture to the buttered baking dish. Top first with sliced tomatoes, and then sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and bake until golden and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.

• Before you begin cooking, measure out the salt, pepper, cayenne and mustard into a small dish so you can just dump all at once into your sauce
• Cook the macaroni before you begin making your sauce.
• You can make the macaroni ahead of time, put it all together but wait to make it until right before you are going to serve it.
• Rather than grate the cheese, I used my food processor to save time.
• This creates lots of dishes! See if you can get someone to clean up after you!


Chile-Lime Rub for Chicken

October 24, 2014

Recently this is my go-to recipe when I spatchcock a chicken. I found the original recipe here If you are feeling really energetic, save the bones and the skin in the freezer to make broth once you are finished eating the chicken. It’s awesome broth to use with this French Onion Soup

3 tablespoons chile powder, preferably New Mexico chile, or Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1 3 1/2-to 4-pound chicken
Cilantro, lime juice or salsa for serving (optional)


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There are many positives to beekeeping but it’s not all fun as I have continually been reminded this past summer season. And then again yesterday. Due to low honey stores in the hive during our last inspection, I am madly feeding the girls from both the top and the front of the hive, hoping they […]

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Best French Onion Soup (from America’s Test Kitchen)

March 19, 2014

Oh my God, this soup is so good! I followed the recipe exactly EXCEPT I made my own 6 cups of broth from both raw and cooked chicken remnants that I had frozen. Into the broth I also added onion and carrot discards as well as rinds from various cheeses. I keep all the stuff […]

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Roasted Potato Fries

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Potatoes Olive oil Salt & Pepper Preheat oven to 425-450 degrees Slice potatoes lengthwise into approximately ½’ square slices. Place in a roasting pan. Sprinkle oil, salt and pepper on the potatoes. Cook for 20 – 30 minutes, remove from oven and use a spatula to mix and release any potatoes that are stuck on […]

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Onion Tart

January 1, 2014

I found this recipe in the Food & Wine Magazine awhile ago. I made it for the first time last Fall. Jeff loves this stuff ~ I think almost better than chocolate cheesecake. Ingredients Dough 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled 5 tablespoons ice […]

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Facebook YAY or NAY?

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Although my personal Facebook post stated on December 21st, that I was staying off social media through the Holidays, I realize now that yes I am addicted. I’ve decided now that five plus days was enough, and this morning I found myself checking Facebook on my iPhone underneath my covers at 4:30am. Within minutes, I […]

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Mourning Cloak

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A Mourning Cloak has visited our yard twice since my dad died on June 27, 2013 The first time we saw it was the day after he died. Most recently and the second time we saw it was the day after Thanksgiving. FACTS: My dad was a butterfly collector as a child and also collected […]

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