Holiday recipes from our staff to the stressed college student
Worst things about the holiday season: all the stores are crowded (with cranky people), I never have any money, and finals… need I go any further? The one thing that makes up for all the craziness between Thanksgiving and New Years… Calories don’t count, of course.
With that in mind, my roommate and I hosted a cheese-themed birthday party this past weekend. These recipes are group-friendly and perfect for the holiday season. I found all these cholesterol-packed goodies on Pinterest.
Mac and Cheese (courtesy of Alison Hale, UIS alumna)
1 (16-oz) box elbow macaroni
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine, preferably Parkay
1 tablespoon flour
1 to 1 ½ cups milk
1 (16-oz) package Velveeta cheese, diced
1 (16-oz) package sharp cheddar cheese, diced
1 cup bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large pot of boiling water, cook macaroni with oil and salt until al dente. Drain.
In a large saucepan, melt margarine over low heat. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for one minute. Add 1 cup milk and egg. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in Velveeta cheese and half the cheddar; cook on low heat until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth. If sauce is too think, stir in up to ½ cup milk.
Add cooked macaroni to sauce. Stir over low heat for one minute. Taste and add extra salt, if necessary.
Pour mixture into a large greased casserole dish or baking pan. Top with remaining cheddar and breadcrumbs. Bake for 30 minutes or until top and bottom are browned. Cool slightly, cut, and enjoy!
Baked mozzarella balls (courtesy of How sweet it is)
Serves 2-4 [I ended up doubling this recipe]
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed
½ cup flour
2 egg whites
1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried parsley [When making, I added more parsley to give the mozzarella balls more color.]
Cube the mozzarella and set it in the freezer for 12-24 hours. This can simply be done the night before you make it. When ready to make, preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Add the flour, slightly beaten egg whites, and Panko plus parsley in three separate bowls. Lay a wire rack on a baking sheet and spray with non-stick spray. A wire rack is not required [I didn’t use one and they turned out fine!], and you can also use a plain baking sheet- line it with parchment paper and then spray it with non-stick spray.
Make sure the oven is at the correct temperature. Moving quickly, take the cheese out of the freezer and dredge it in the flour, dip it in the egg whites, and coat it in the Panko plus parsley mixture. Set it on the rack or sheet and quickly finish the rest. Spray each cube with cooking spray and pop it in the oven for 10-12 minutes. As long as you move quickly, cheese should not melt fast. Remove from oven when golden brown and crispy. Serve immediately.
[I served the mozzarella balls with a store bought marina sauce]
Chocolate-Covered OREO Cookie Cake (Kraft recipe)
1 pkg. (2-layer size) devil’s food cake mix
4 squares BAKER’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
¼ cup butter
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
2 cups thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping
12 OREO Cookies, coarsely crushed
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake batter and bake in 2 (9-inch) round pans as directed on package [Neither pan will be completely full. Try to make sure that both pans have the same amount of batter in them so that the layers will be even]. Cool cakes in pans 10 min. Invert onto wire racks; gently remove pans. Cool cakes completely.
Microwave chocolate and butter in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool 5 min. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gently stir in COOL WHIP and crushed cookies.
Place one cake layer on plate, spread with cream cheese mixture. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread top with chocolate glaze; let stand 10 min. or until firm. Keep refrigerated.
We served the mozzarella balls as an appetizer along with a veggie tray (carrots, tomatoes, celery, and peas in the pod with ranch dipping sauce) and a port cheese wine spread (store bought) with crackers. It was the perfect beginning to a cheese filled night.
The mac and cheese really hit the spot. The breadcrumbs really set this recipe apart from other mac and cheese recipes I have made.
The OREO cookie cake (If you are wondering how this fit in—cream cheese filling, silly!) was ahmazing. The recipe warns that this will become a requested birthday cake among your guests and they were right- my boyfriend has already requested it for his upcoming birthday.
Hope you enjoy these recipes! Happy Holidays!