Cooking

  • Memorial Day Fun w/ A Special Truffled Mac + Cheese Recipe

    Memorial Day is typically a time for excitement as the unofficial start of summer is marked by the well-anticipated holiday.  Traditionally, it summons the season of graduations, family gatherings, outdoor festivals and the opening of pools, waterparks and beaches across the country.  With novel coronavirus still prevalent and not a viable vaccination in sight,coupled with the emergence of Multi- system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), Memorial Day 2020 will look very different than any other Memorial Day we’ve ever seen.

    Most families have been under stay in place orders for the past two months.  With some states just starting to slowly reopen, many families are very apprehensive about exposing themselves to the potentially deadly viruses. In a time of crisis, psychologists recommend that parents create a sense of normalcy for children if at all possible.  

    If you decide to stay in for Memorial Day weekend, here are some easy ways to create a safe, fun and memorable Memorial Day 2020 for your family.

    If nothing else, being quarantined has provided us with an abundance of time. Being creative this Memorial Day will help distract from the desire to participate in traditional activities.  This can be a great opportunity to create new traditions moving forward. 

     Instead of traditional fruit salads, cut fruits into shapes or if you have some shish kabob sticks laying around the house, make some fun fruit kabobs.  

    I must admit that I make a pretty tasty macaroni and cheese. About a year ago, I patronized a local restaurant and had truffle macaroni and cheese for the first time. It was so yummy!  I’ve since developed a love for truffle oil.  You name it and I’ve experimented with truffled mushrooms, truffled mayo… you get the idea.  However, my truffled macaroni and cheese takes the cake. Even the kids love it. Want to try it for yourself? Our Truffled Mac + Cheese recipe is down below!

    Here are a few recipes that our team will be making with their families this weekend.  

    Weather permitting, it’s possible to safely create some outdoor fun for your family.  If you’re able to get out to your local dollar store or superstore, you can take the fun to the next level.  We’re taking it old school on this one.  Watch out, the adults might just out-fun the kiddies.

    • Fill balloons with water for a friendly balloon fight.
    • Grab the sprinklers or purchase an attachment for hours of sprinkler fun.
    • When was the last time you played slip and slide?  Create your own private waterpark.  
    • Do you have a kiddie pool?  Create water game stations.
    • If you’ve been part of the WFH (work from home) crew, do you have a projector?  Use your laptop or smartphone to create a dine-in or drive-in theater.  Stream your favorite movies from your patio or backyard.  Bring out some refreshing lemonade for the kiddies, cocktails for the adults and you’ve just bought the boardwalk to the backyard. 

    Get the idea?  Need more suggestions? We’ll be posting ideas all weekend on our socials.  #KidCareConcierge

    The best part of the holidays is the ability to be with family and friends. This is the hardest part of quarantine for most of us.  It is possible to safely enjoy our loved ones this holiday.  Again, creativity is key. 

    • Invite family and friends to a joint cook-in.  Agree on a time and set up a zoom or google meeting.  There you have it, a multi-family holiday gathering.
    • If you have enough space in your yard for multiple cars, you could possibly invite family and friends to stop by your self made drive-in theater.  Consider safety recommendations when planning your event.  Instead of showing a 3 hour movie where visitors would have to potentially get out of their car to use your restroom, set up a shorter viewing of a 30 to 60 minute tv show.  
    • Make to-go bags for family and friends of the food you’ve prepared and leave labeled bags at the end of the driveway for a quick pick up, maintaining six feet or more distance between yourself and your guests.  

    Celebrations don’t have to be all or nothing.  Traditions are all about perspective.  If we create new rituals to reflect or now normal, we can safely have a great time with our loved ones without crowded beaches, long lines and tiresome traffic. So, this Memorial Day, bring the best parts of the holiday to your backyard – food, fun and family. 

    Truffle Mac + Cheese

    Enjoy one of our favorite side dishes!

    • 1 lb box of noodles (penne or elbow)
    • 5 tbsp butter
    • 4 tbsp flour
    • 2 cups half & half
    • ½ cup heavy cream
    • ¾ tsp salt
    • ¼ tsp garlic salt
    • 1 tsp ground pepper
    • 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
    • ¾ cup shredded Mexican cheese
    • ¾ cup shredded Colby jack cheese
    • 1 cup shredded mild cheese (Velveeta)
    • 3 tbsp truffle oil
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Very lightly spray a 9-by-13 inch baking dish. Set aside.
    2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add 2-3 drops of olive oil to the boiling water. Add the macaroni, stir once and cook to al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions.
    3. Drain, rinse pasta and transfer back to pot.  Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in the microwave. Pour over cooked pasta. Stir to incorporate the butter onto the pasta.  Season pasta by adding salt, garlic salt and pepper. Set aside.
    4. In a large saucepan, melt (not brown) remaining butter on medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, stir in flour, one tablespoon at a time.  Stir mixture slowly but constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure the mixture does not have lumps. Reduce heat to low. Carefully add half and half and heavy cream. Stir occasionally, keeping a close eye on the mixture to avoid scorching.  Allow mixture to slightly thicken. Once thickened, pour into the pot with pasta. Stir well until well incorporated.
    5. Add 1 Cup Shredded Mild Cheese, ½ Cup Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, ½  Cup Shredded Mexican Cheese and ½ Cup Shredded Colby Jack Cheese. Add 2 Tbsp truffle oil. Stir well.
    6. Transfer to the prepared dish. Top with remaining cheeses. Drizzle remaining truffle oil on top layer of cheese.
    7. Bake until the top is lightly browned. Start checking at 12 minutes.
    8. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
     

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  • Last Minute Valentine’s Day Parfait

    It’s the day before Valentine’s Day.  Once again, we’ve waited until the last minute to prepare for the class party.  Trust me, been there, done that.

     

    Here are some guilt-free, healthful snacks that you can easily prepare for your child’s class party.

     

    I always feel guilty about bringing in sugary snacks or allergen prone treats.  My daughter developed a red dye allergy when she was in the third grade which made me extremely cautious about serving foods with potential allergens.  

     

    Yogurt Parfait

     

    This was the first treat that I made for my daughter’s class after discovering her allergy. I never loved the idea of overloading kids with candy then leaving them in school for the remainder of the day with the expectation that they would be capable of paying attention, concentrating in class and sitting still.  Sounds like a set-up for failure, right? I agree.

     

    As long as foods look and taste good, kids tend not to even think about the more traditional treats, like candy and cupcakes.  The key here is to be creative and let allow them to help if time allows. The class teacher will love you for it. I was class mom for each of my daughters classes from Kindergarten through Fifth grade. (more…)

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