This summer, I went through a phase in which I was ‘prepping for India’ by leaving my windows open and air conditioning off while it was 95F outside. The afternoons were particularly miserable, but I’ve never seen our electric bill so low for July in ‘Hotlanta.’
Even though I don’t have a trip to Antarctica to prepare for, since we have been having a relatively mild winter, I’ve been keeping our heat off as well. While I can’t stand being hot, the cold doesn’t bother me at all. I’ll just throw on another sweater and cuddle under a few more blankets. The cats have become very sweet these past few months too, snuggling up right under my arms to share the warmth.
My other tactic to staying warm is to use my oven. It’s surprising how well the appliance heats my apartment, and to be even more energy efficient, I’ll keep it open to let all the heat dissipate into the room once I’m done baking and have turned it off. I know everyone loves to use their slow cooker in the winter, but that little thing does nothing to create warmth.
So, when Cooking Slow showed up in my mailbox a few weeks back, I couldn’t be more excited about how some of it’s recipes fit perfectly into my house-heating scheme. The beautifully designed and photographed book introduces you to six techniques, like roasting and baking, that let you put beautiful, slow-cooked meals with big flavors on the table with very little hands on time. If you’re a meat eater, I would highly recommend the book as it is filled with tons of recipes to create gorgeous looking meals that only require a few minutes to assemble, tricking guests into thinking you slaved away in the kitchen for hours. But even for us non-meat eaters, there are quite a few recipes inside that are table worthy.
Since this winter has also seen my limited mobility in the kitchen due to my foot injury, the idea of being able to toss something together in 10 minutes and create an impressive meal was very appealing to me. So for a Thanksgiving pot-luck Roark and I attended, I gave the book a try and tossed together it’s ‘One Pot Mac And Cheese.” It was as easy as it promised, 10 minutes of prep time, and 6 hours of baking time that also gently warmed my house on a cold day.
While I spent the day reading and learning Italian (my new pursuit in life), that Mac and Cheese filled my apartment with the most wonderful smell. The recipe calls for extra sharp cheddar, which is my favorite. And the best part is that you don’t have to precook the noodles. Because of the long, but low, baking time, the noodles absorb the milk poured into the dish, making this an extra rich concoction. We loved the taste and ease of assembly so much that we made it again for our Christmas dinner, which you see pictured here (along with my favorite Two Vinegar Carrots!).
Even with my foot on the mend (I’m walking again, albeit very slowly), I know I’ll be using this book. The Slow Fried Potatoes, Honey-Barbecued Stuffed Squash, and the Overnight Lemon Cheesecake are calling my name. If they are as easy and tasty as this Mac and Cheese, I have a feeling Cooking Slow and I will become fast friends!
Finally, I want to announce the winners of the One Degree Organic Spelt Flour Giveaway. Congratulations to Amy and Jordon. Your bags of flour are on there way!
*I was sent Cooking Slow as a review copy. My review reflects my true opinion on the book, as I only share items that I truly love myself.
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
- 12 oz Whole Wheat Dried Elbow Macaroni
- 1 lb Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 4 Cups of Whole Milk
- 2 teaspoons Brown Mustard
- 1½ teaspoons Fine Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon of Black Pepper
- 1 Cup of Fresh Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs
- ½ teaspoon of Dried Thyme
- Preheat the oven to 200F.
- Brush the inside of a 2-quart Dutch Oven or Casserole Dish with 2 teaspoons of the melted Butter. Make four layers of the Macaroni and Cheese, starting and ending with the Macaroni so that the layers sandwich the Cheese.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together the Milk, Mustard, Salt, and Pepper. Carefully pour the mixture into Macaroni and Cheese. Sprinkle the top of the Macaroni evenly with a mixture of the Bread Crumbs and Thyme, and drizzle with the remaining Butter.
- Cover the top of the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 6-8 hours, or until the cheese has fully melted. Before removing from the oven, take off the aluminum foil and crank the oven heat to 450F. Bake until the top of the Macaroni is browned, about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it though, as it can go from brown to burned in a flash. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.