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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baked Salmon with 7 Cheese Mac 'n Cheese

I grew up in a small town with a population just under 2,000.  We had one restaurant, a soft ice cream shop that was open only in July and August, a tavern,  a bakery and two very small and I do mean small grocery stores.   Oh, and we had a canning factory so the whole town smelled deliciously like tomato soup in the fall.  To this day, my favourite fall drink in the morning is not coffee but rather tomato soup.  My high school Home Economics teacher was adamant that using good quality food and easy recipes  was all that was necessary to prepare tasty home cooked meals.  Well, she would have to because she lived in the same small town where the choice of ingredients to cook with was rather limited.  Mind you back then there was not the variety of ingredients readily available like sea salt, organic sugar, fresh seafood, exotic seasonings and those types of things.  There was a lot less commercially prepared convenience foods (eg. cake mixes, etc.).   Even back then she taught us the value of food dollars and how to get the most for our food dollars.  I still use many of the recipes learned in that class!  One of the very first dishes she taught us was how to make macaroni and cheese.

baked salmon with seven cheese mac and cheese

When I was growing up, the only fresh fish we had was smelt.  We had canned tuna, canned salmon and once they came to town, frozen fish sticks.  My Mom was not a huge fish fan.  I can remember my excitement the first time I saw fresh fish at the market!  Now I buy fresh fish at one of the grocery stores or nearby fisheries.  We also enjoy locally caught fresh fish like bass, perch and pickerel.  While I enjoy a wide variety of fish, salmon is one of my favourite.

I baked a salmon fillet for dinner a couple of nights ago.  The fillet was about 10 - inches long, enough for two people.  I served the salmon with homemade 7 Cheese Mac 'n Cheese (recipe below) and an Asian vegetable mix consisting of yellow and orange carrots, snap peas, shelled edamame, whole baby corn and garlic sprouts.  It was delicious, easy to prepare, and frugal meal!

Baked Salmon
recipe by:  Garden Gnome

1 salmon fillet
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp Herbes de Provence

Place the salmon fillet on Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Divide the butter into four portions then put the portions along the centre of the fillet.  Sprinkle the herbs evenly over the fillet.  Bake at 350ºF until salmon is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

seven cheese mac and cheese
Our Home Ec teacher taught us to make macaroni and cheese from scratch using a simple cheese sauce consisting of milk, flour and cheddar cheese.  It is still a classic method but I love experimenting with macaroni and cheese.  There are so many wonderful cheeses available so I've developed several versions of macaroni and cheese. The cheese sauce in this version is rich and creamy.  The liquid smoke is a secret ingredient I discovered in the macaroni and cheese served at Mike's Smokehouse BBQ & Grill in Tampa Bay, Florida.  It adds a wonder note to macaroni and cheese!  The trick when using liquid smoke is to add one drop at a time until you get the desired aroma and flavour.

7 Cheese Mac 'n Cheese
recipe by: Garden Gnome

¼ c Asiago cheese
¼ c Parmesan cheese
¼ c sharp cheddar cheese
¼ c mozzarella cheese
¼ c colby cheese
¼ c cream cheese
1 tbsp Cheez Whiz
¾ c milk
7 cups cooked elbow macaroni
4 - 6 drops liquid smoke

Grate the Asiago, Parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella and colby cheeses.  Stir the grated cheeses to mix.  Cook the elbow macaroni and drain.  Pour the hot pasta into a mixing bowl.  Stir in the cream cheese and Cheez Whiz.  Mix then stir in the grated cheeses.  Mix well then stir in 4 - 6 drops of liquid smoke.  Mix.  Pour the macaroni mixture into a 2 quart baking dish.  Pour the milk over the macaroni mixture.  Cover with foil and bake at 350ºF until cheese is bubbling.  Remove foil and bake until the top starts to brown slightly.  Remove from oven and serve.

[Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Connector program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.]

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