Three Cheese Macaroni

Comfort Food: Lasagna

BBQ Grilled Cheese

Pork Sandwiches

Maple Apple Breakfast Bake

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'm always looking for ways to recreate breakfast with something exciting and easy to make. I tend to take breakfast pretty seriously, since dairy farming and child raising seem to use up a lot of energy.

In order to make breakfast easy on myself, I tend to keep certain food items on hand: croissants, frozen fruit, maple syrup, etc. I can whip together a great egg bake the night before and either slow cook or bake it the next morning. There is nothing more comforting than a warm breakfast waiting for you after milking cows for three hours. Nothing. Well, maybe a hot bath. Yes, I went there.

I've come up with a new creation that uses up some apples from our orchard and some great maple syrup (grade B is my favorite). No other sugar is necessary. This dish will warm you up and get you rip roarin' for your day. Are you ready!? Be sure to read through to the end, I have a great suggestion you won't want to miss.

Want to learn more about 'real' maple syrup? Be sure to check out Pure Canadian Maple Syrup for more recipes, how maple syrup is made and explanations of the grading process.

Maple Apple Breakfast Bake

6 large croissants, cubed
6 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes
2 large apples, sliced
8 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup, plus more for serving

Grease a 6.5 qt slow cooker dish and place half of the croissant cubes inside. Evenly drop the cream cheese and half of the apple slices over the croissants. Top with remaining croissant cubes and apple slices.

Combine the eggs, milk, maple syrup and butter in a large glass measuring cup and pour over bread mixture.

Cover slow cooker dish and bake on high for 2 hours, or until browned and no longer jiggles.

Serve with additional maple syrup as a topping. This dish can be prepared the evening prior and baked before serving.

*Leftovers can be served with ice cream as a dessert or blended in a mixer with ice cream as a maple-apple shake with an additional 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup. I'm salivating just typing this.

Pre Game Warm Up: Mixed Berry Popovers

Saturday, September 28, 2013

We're one of those crazy families that owns season tickets for the Golden Gopher football team (that's the University of Minnesota if you weren't sure). My daughter decided to to wake up at 5:30 this morning, so I had some time to make a good breakfast before we headed out for the two hour drive. 
I completely changed a recipe into my own, because it had whole wheat flour with awful texture (for popovers). I don't mind whole wheat on a normal basis - just to be clear. I also happen to not have half of the original ingredients, so I had to improvise. Thank goodness- they're so much better now! My daughter and husband approved. 

Mixed Berry Popovers
Makes 11-12 popovers

1 cup sour cream
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Dash of cinnamon
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup mixed berries (raw or frozen)
2 tablespoons butter


Preheat oven to 450*F. 
Place sour cream, water, eggs, and vanilla in a blender. Blend until combined. 
Add baking soda, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Blend until frothy and bubbly, then let sit for 10 minutes. 
In the meantime, place a muffin tin in the oven and heat for about 3-5 minutes. Once heated, brush the butter into the muffin tin with melted butter using a pastry brush. 
After mixture has rested, blend once more. Pour into muffin tin, filling about 3/4 full. Sprinkle each popover with a few berries. 
Bake for about 10 minutes, without opening the oven, reduce heat to 350*F and bake another 8-10 minutes (mine took 8), or until pancakes are puffy. 
Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately, using caution with the hot berries. 

Sinful Muffins and a Prayer

Monday, September 2, 2013


I have this great-aunt that is a fabulous cook. Her and her husband used to run a bed and breakfast not far from home. My girlfriends and I had the chance to stay there last spring before they had to close shop - and I'm so glad we had the opportunity! The place was full of my family history including a book full of love notes between my great grandma and grandpa. It was very sweet and quaint.

My great-aunt again has cancer and is now in the middle of fighting. I am appreciative of my great-uncle's CaringBridge journal as we are able to keep up with how she's progressing. I kept trying to think of something I could do to help or a special way to pray for her and I could only think of one thing: food.
She has a cookbook that was made for the bed and breakfast and it's full of stories and great recipes (many of which were made during our stay last spring). Our families were dairy farmers, so the butter and cream are not skimped out. I love it.

I decided that I would start to cook out of her recipe book in honor of her and hope that the extra positive vibes would be sent her way. The muffins I made are called Sinful Muffins - which seems a little backwards in terms of the prayer I'm trying to achieve, but they're so dang good. I can understand why they got their name.

Sinful Muffins

by Aggie

3 cup flour
3 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup orange juice
2/3 cup chocolate chips
One, 11oz can mandarin oranges, drained
2 eggs

1 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. melted butter

Mix sugar and oil, beat in eggs, add orange juice, chips, mandarin oranges. Mix dry ingredients, gradually add to liquid mixture, stir just until blended.
Ice cream scoop batter into muffin paper lined muffin tins. Preheat oven to 375*. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle on muffin batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Makes 2 dozen delicious muffins.

Princess Kay of the Milky Way...a 60 year tradition!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Well... maybe 27 years for me, but none the less, it's a big deal. Princess Kay of the Milky Way - if you've never heard of her, you're about to.

See - when I was a little girl, my parents, sisters and I would get on the county-organized bus to ride down to the Twin Cities and watch the coronation of Princess Kay of the Milky Way. I always went. Even if I had eye surgery that day. I had a minor cyst under my eye, but that's besides the point. She was who I dreamed of being some day. This girl that got to be at the Minnesota State Fair every single day (12 days) and talk with people about how good milk is and how much we love our cows. I literally dreamed about it.

If you've kept up with my blog, you already know that I was a Princess Kay finalist back in 2006. No, I didn't win the big crown, but I still got to walk around the Minnesota State Fair for a few days representing the few thousand dairy farmers in our state. I worked in the milking parlor at the Moo Booth for the remainder days - so I still got to spread my annoying love for cows and dairy products.

My point is - that on that bus ride to the bandshell at the Minnesota State Fair - we got a Milky Way candy bar for dessert. Every year. I think it was the only time I would eat a Milky Way candy bar. So I decided to bring back memories, celebrate Princess Kay's 60th and make some homemade Milky Way bars. It's actually quite easy, but way better because you can make them as big as you want.

Tonight's the coronation - I can't wait!

Princess Kay of the Milky Way Bars

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7oz container marshmallow cream
Caramel (this could be Kraft caramels, homemade caramel, I used leftover caramel from Christmas)
2 cups milk chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Line an 8 inch square pan with wax or parchment paper.

Over a double-boiler, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat melted chocolate for about 30 seconds. Add marshmallow cream to melted chocolate and beat until well combined and fluffy, 30-60 seconds more.

Spread chocolate mixture evenly into prepared pan with a rubber spatula. Place in freezer for 15-30 minutes.

Melt the caramel; allow to cool slightly. Spread all of the caramel on top of the frozen chocolate mixture. Return to freezer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt milk chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and stir until well combined.

Remove pan from freezer and turn chocolate mixture onto a cutting board; cut into the size you'd like your candy bars. Dip frozen chocolate squares into melted chocolate to coat. Place on wax paper or cooling rack to set. Keep chocolates in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

So good!

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair! {Winner Announced}

Friday, August 16, 2013

Blackberry Malt - Don't Forget!
You haven't forgotten yet, have you (referring to pic above). I'm seriously salivating. Well guess what? The wait is over. We have picked a random winner for the 4 Minnesota State Fair entry tickets and 4 free malt tickets (courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association).

But first! Don't forget about the All You Can Drink milk stand - $1 for a glass of regular or chocolate milk - all you can drink... all day long. Get a bucket of Sweet Martha's cookies (per Beth's comment) and head over to the milk stand. It's like the best deal ever - and so dang good.

Ok fine - I'll announce the winner. She'll get to head over to see the Princess Kay of the Milky Way and her finalists get their likeness carved out of butter AND enjoy a good ol' malt. Blackberry, perhaps? I hope she reports back.

Congratulations Brittnie Homstad! Thanks for entering!

Now... to get you guys to comment like that on all of my posts... You're the best! Thanks to everyone for entering and sharing your favorite Minnesota State Fair moments with us. I hope you have some new great memories this year.

Time to Diversify: Creamed Swiss Chard

Thursday, August 15, 2013

By now you're probably sick of Swiss Chard and you've decided to just let it seed out in your garden because you can't keep up with it. If that's not the case, well then - do I have a treat for you! I made some creamed Swiss Chard about a month ago and even my dad liked it. It would go perfect with a grilled pork chop and maybe some apple sauce. Because well, you should always have apple sauce with your pork chop. It's like peas and carrots.

I do recommend leaving out the stems in this recipe. They say to keep'm, but they're too bitter for me. In fact - I never keep the stems any more. Sorry - does that make me wasteful? It's better than letting it all go to seed! Maybe.

The recipe I used is right here.

I used mascarpone and milk instead of half and half (50/50). Because I almost always do, that's just what I have on hand.

Everyone said if I just top off my Swiss Chard with bacon, it would be good. No matter what. They're right. I still have some more experimenting to do, but I've found that it can really take the place of spinach any day. I may still prefer spinach, but it's good to diversify (today's lesson).

It's Minnesota State Fair Time + A Giveaway!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Even though I love summer, I ways tend to 'wish it away' until August. Why? Because the Minnesota State Fair starts in August - why else? If you know me at all, you're not surprised. Who wouldn't dream of milk shakes, deep fried candy bars, pickles, cheese curds, mac 'n cheese, bacon... don't worry, I've signed up for the Milk Run and will be pushing a stroller. I'm not concerned.

I do miss my time showing dairy cattle during the Minnesota State Fair. It's completely awesome when someone stops my cow and me on the way to the milking parlor, asking if they could take a picture with the cow. 'Of course you can!' Be sure to stop by and visit those 4-H'ers... they love their animals and are happy to spend a few minutes with you. Speaking of 4-H, the State Arts-In performance is always on my to-do list. As a past theatre nut, I still regret not participating in the State Arts-In, my cows were more important. My mom was a performer back in the day, so I just live off of her stories.

Ok, so here's the fun part - butter heads. I know... 90lbs of butter carved into the likeness of a dairy farmer's daughter is a little bizarre - but it's a dream come true for them (including myself). I still have mine in my parent's freezer. I'm kind of hoping my daughter will compete in 20 years and we can pose our 'heads' together. We have to dream big, right? Princess Kay of the Milky Way 2033!

Why is this so fun? Because I have tickets, FREE TICKETS to give away. So while you're sitting there watching the butter heads spin around in circles, you can enjoy my favorite shake, with blackberries. Or whatever you want. But the blackberry ones are good. Blackberries. You can win four Minnesota State Fair entry tickets as well as four malt tickets (valued at $60.00). I am hosting this giveaway in partnership with Midwest Dairy Association.

How do you enter? Use the form below - option #1 requires a comment to this blog post. Don't delay, as you have 10 days to enter. That's it. I'm closing it down the morning of August 16th, 2013. If you win, I will see YOU at the Minnesota State Fair! (maybe... if we happen to go on the same day). Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Three Cheese Macaroni

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

There's this thing called cheese. The vegetable drawer in my fridge holds no vegetables. It's completely packed with cheese. Always. That being the case, my mac 'n cheese is never the same - because I always use a trio of different cheeses. This one was pretty darn good though... and my daughter couldn't get enough of it. Mothers - this is for you.

Three Cheese Macaroni

Serves at least 6

1lb dried elbow noodles
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda
1/4 cup Mascarpone
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon flour
1 cup chicken broth

Cook noodles according to directions on the box.

While noodles are doing their thing, get out a medium sauce pan and melt the butter on medium heat. Add the flour and stir until fully mixed in and lumps have disappeared. Stir in the chicken broth and cook until mixture thickens slightly (about 3 minutes).

Take the mixture off the heat and add the mascarpone. Once stirred in, slowly add the Gouda and mozzarella, continually stirring.

By now, those noodles should be cooked perfectly and drained. Add those noodles to your medium saucepan mixture and stir up all the goodness. It should be cheesy.

Sprinkle some ground black pepper on top to serve. Enjoy with a tall glass of cold milk.