Frank's Mac and Cheese and Pizza Casserole recipes

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 9, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 9 at 4:41 PM

Uncle Mike’s Really Easy Pizza Casserole

1 box small pasta shells

1 medium bag of mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 jar pizza sauce

Your favorite toppings(most kids like pepperoni, onions, green peppers, bacon, and ham, sometimes all at once and sometimes just a single item, depending on what you have on hand).

2 pats butter

 

Boil the shells according to package directions and drain them well. Then in a large mixing bowl, add a half bag of cheese, all the sauce, and the toppings and thoroughly mix everything together. When fully combined, transfer the mixture to a 9x13 buttered baking pan and top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until toasty brown on top.

Kids love this and it is quick and easy. It’s ideal for lunch at school if you pack it in a small Thermos. It also makes a great after-school hunger-breaker. They can warm it up in the microwave when they get home. Yummmmm!

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Frank’s Chalmetian-Style Baked Macaroni

When I did my initial survey on which foods were most popular among school kids, “macaroni and cheese” (baked macaroni) came up time after time! So here’s the recipe you can fix you young student.

1-1/2 pounds #7 macaroni, broken in half and cooked al dente

3 whole eggs, well beaten

1/3 cup finely minced parsley

1 stick salted butter, softened

1 cup pre-chopped seasoning veggies (mirapoix)

1 cup evaporated milk

2 cups medium-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded

3/4 cup Velveeta cheese, shredded

3/4 cup small young green peas, drained (optional)

2 teaspoons Frank Davis Sprinkling Spice or your favorite Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

 

Start off by placing your cooked macaroni (which you’ve thoroughly drained) in a buttered casserole dish and thoroughly mixing in the 3 beaten eggs and the parsley. By the way, because the cheese in this dish is going to harden and stick to everything, you might want to make this recipe in a disposable aluminum pan. Just a suggestion.

Now, in a 3-1/2 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and sauté the mirapoix until it fully wilts and softens. At this point, stir in the evaporated milk and cook it into the butter and seasonings until everything is blended well. Then, a little at a time, start adding the cheeses to the sauce (first the cheddar, then the Swiss, and finally the Velveeta). By the way, use only half of the cheddar in the sauce—the other half goes over the top of the macaroni.

The one thing you want to be sure of is to stir constantly as you add the cheeses so that they don’t stick to the saucepan and burn. Incidentally, keep the heat on medium-low as you blend the sauce.

Next, quickly whisk into the pan the green peas (if you decide to use them), season the cheese sauce with Sprinkling Spice or Cajun seasonings and black pepper to taste, and pour the creamy mixture over the casserole dish of macaroni. Don’t be afraid to re-mix everything thoroughly, though.

When you figure that the blend is just right, evenly sprinkle the remaining grated Cheddar over the top of the macaroni, place the pan into a 350 degree preheated oven, and bake for 35-45 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted and golden brown.

Here’s a chef’s hint: Before serving, I suggest you also slide the dish under the broiler for a few minutes to toast the cheddar on top of the macaroni. Then call the kids inside and enjoy.

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Homemade Back-To-School Fruit Smoothie

1/2 ripe refrigerated banana (should be ice cold)

1/2 cup frozen berries (any kind your kid likes)

1 cup ice-cold whole 2% milk

 

Drop all the ingredients into a blender. Then on high speed, whip everything together until totally smooth, creamed, and thickened (it should have the consistency of a thick malt). For a little added oomph, have the ingredients and the blender ready and let the kids make their own smoothie. Oh—I’d also make them clean up their own mess when the “creating” is done.

Note: If you have a large commercial blender, this recipe may be doubled. To thicken the frostiness, you can add a few ice cubes to the mixture.

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Frank’s Southern-Fried Cornpone Pancakes

Here’s a great way to send the kids off to school in the morning. . .or a tasty way to welcome them home after school in the afternoon! It’s an adaptation of an old Indian fry-bread recipe and kids love it!

1 egg, well beaten

2 cups cultured buttermilk

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1-1/2 cups plain yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup corn or canola oil

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

6 pats salted butter

 

This is one of those recipes that is not only easy to prepare, but easy on the palate as well. Cornmeal fashioned into flatbreads, muffins, sticks, or even wedges is always a welcomed addition hot from the oven to any table. But when it’s pan-cooked in an old-timey, black, cast iron skillet, it takes on a whole different taste.

To make country-fried cornmeal pancakes, take a big bowl and a wire whisk and whip together the beaten egg, the buttermilk, the all purpose flour, the plain yellow cornmeal, the baking soda, the corn or canola oil, and the salt. Note: you want to stir the mixture just until it turns smooth and lump-free (don’t overwhip it—you’ll make the batter tough).

When you’re ready to cook, heat a heavy, 12-inch, cast iron (or non-stick) skillet to the point where a drop of water dances off in a sizzle. Then pour in a scant amount of corn oil (or spray the pan with a nonstick coating) and ladle in the cornbread mixture in portions equivalent to the size of coffee table drink coasters.

Cook them on one side until large bubbles appear in the batter and the bottom side turns golden brown (you can peek at it with the spatula). Then flip them over and continue to cook them on the other side until they stop steaming and the flip side browns, too. I suggest you serve them right away, piping hot from the skillet, but they’re not all that bad after they cool off, either.

They’re almost like regular pancakes, only hardier and crispier.

Chef’s Notes:

Use only a good brand of stone-ground cornmeal for this recipe. Do not substitute prepackaged mixes. This is one of those “from scratch” recipes.

For the best quality, taste, and texture in the finished pancakes, make every effort to formulate the batter just moments before you cook them. This keeps the baking soda “alive” in the mix and produces lightness instead of flatness.

I recommend you serve them to your kids covered with either cane syrup or their favorite jelly or jam.

 

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