On the days when fall rain downpours, your el cheapo deluxe umbrella breaks, your hair resembles a wet dog, your fave leather boots are all soaked in disgusting rainwater and the wind chill is so cold that you want to cry, these are the days for which you should become savvy with cooking up a slew of heartwarming recipes.
Not to mention if you’re solo, sometimes the best thing in the world is to come home, cozy up in comfy pants and wool socks and cook up a satisfying, heartwarming meal that you can make exactly the way you want without some whiny, douchey, boyfriend in the way. So kick off your wet booties sister, pull that hair back and get cookin’. Its instant gratification at its best. These deelish recipes are as good for your hot body as they are for your soul.
Platinum Mac ‘N CheeseYeah, word. I said platinum, ’cause silver is sooo tacky and 2nd place, gold is for your ’90s minimalism comeback and platinum just means youre the shit. So is this recipe.
3 C elbow macaroni, uncooked, (shells or ziti work too, shells are just so fancy!You fancy huh?
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder (optional) but I love this extra bit of flavor to add a bit of a kick
2 C almond milk this is what makes this recipe skinny and clever, like you!
C Gruyere Cheese, fine grated
Sea salt, to taste
Top off with:
C breadcrumbs or panko (optional)
1 T fresh or dried basil, chiffonade (optional)
More Gruyere cheese? Please!
1) Cook the macaroni as directed. Cook in salted boiling water, 5 minutes or until al dente.
2) Strain the macaroni, cool and set aside. Toss in a light bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
3) In a large saucepan, melt the 1 tablespoon of butter, on medium low heat add in the 1 tablespoon of flour, stir with a wooden spoon or a whisk creating a roux (a thick paste, base for sauces).
4) Add in the garlic powder and almond milk, reduce heat to med-low and allow the sauce to thicken, about 20 minutes.
5) When sauce is nappe (coats the back of a spoon) add in the cooked macaroni, toss well to coat all the noodles, add in the C grated Gruyere cheese.
6) Now, you can add the basil and eat straight outta the pan, (oink oink, I do it all the time) or if you love an au gratin topping (aka a deelish golden brown, crusty, crisp top) Transfer mac ‘n cheese to oven-safe bowls, sprinkle some more Gruyere cheese, breadcrumbs/panko, place uncovered in your trusty oven on Broil– top rack, watch her now, she cooks up fast! Let her bronze up and tan and remove from oven, cool and effin devour that dish!
Sexy Velvet Butternut Squash SoupSounds way too fancy huh? Yeah, dude its not… You can make this with your hands tied behind your back after a few tries. Its a one pot throw and go, then whirl in the blender or food processor. Sexy genius. Did I mention its good for you too, cause youre too sexy. Keep it that way.
2 pounds butternut squash, roughly one medium butternut squash halved, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 Fuji apples, cut into small cubes, skin on is fabulous, fiber kids!
2 Tablespoons butter
3 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup almond milk
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (optional, cinnamon or nutmeg is just dandy also)
1) In a large stockpot, add butter and soften the onions for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
2) Slowly add the butternut squash and the Fuji apples to the pot. Try to get a real nice caramelized sear for about 20 minutes, watch and stir. Be good to her.
3) Once all of the onions, apples and squash are caramelized, add the chicken stock.
4) Simmer, uncovered, until squash is very tender, about 30 minutes or so. Again watch the bottom and stir frequently. Be a good mama and babysit!
5) Puree soup in a blender or food processor with the almond milk and maple syrup to tasteAdd pumpkin seasoning (ginger, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon), maple syrup, and sea salt to your acquired taste, sweetie pie.
6) Plate and enjoy! I love serving this sexy soup up in martini glasses and little soup/tea mugs. Perfect to warm up and smile on a cold bastard of a fall day!
And of course, my darling… you can always call the girls over to indulge in the fun of a heartwarming recipe. There’s nothing like a long day that ends in a hot meal, glass of red, comfy pants, a couch and a bestie group of girlfriends catching up on goss about your hot date with that Ken doll look-alike youve been eyeballing for weeks! Word up ? xxxo ck
All photos by Candice Kumai
After viewers fell in love with her on Season One of Bravos Top Chef, Candice Kumai became the co-host of Lifetimes hit series, “Cook Yourself Thin” and helped create the shows NY Times #1 Best-selling companion cookbook. With a culinary education from Le Cordon Bleu in California and as a former fit and print model, Candice is dedicated to making healthful, waist-conscious food that is as delicious as it is appealing. Now, Candice is a chef contributor on Cooking Channels Unique Eats and TLCs Home Made Simple. Rodale will publish Pretty Delicious, her first solo cookbook, in January 2011. Tweet her @StilettoChef and check out www.StilettoChef.com for more exclusive recipes and healthy eating tips.