Mac & Cheese. What a match made in heaven. If I had known the homemade kind was this easy all along I would've stopped making it from the box years ago. Move over Kraft. Move over Annie's white cheddar shells. Helllooo creamy, dreamy, cheesy white cheddar homemade macaroni and cheese.

Spring break starts next Friday, and I'm going on a cruise. Yet somehow or another I find myself making this. What can ya do? When carbs call, I answer.

This is just as simple as any boxed version of macaroni and cheese. The only problem I ran into making it was that I accidentally managed to get a cloud of red pepper in my nose and mouth when breaking into a new spice container. This sent me into a coughing attack, which then made my eyes water, which then caused spontaneous coughing for the next hour. It's a good thing I'm by myself in the kitchen sometimes.

I chose to make this with sharp white cheddar instead of the regular cheddar the recipe called for. Though I do love white cheddar, the only reason I had it on hand is because it was on sale at the grocery store. I'm sure regular sharp cheddar is great as well. I feel like with this recipe you could experiment with any type of cheese in that genre. The same thing goes for pasta. I chose shells because I used to love Kraft shells since they were like little pockets of cheese. Use whatever you have on hand or whatever sparks your interest at the store. One important thing that I have read on countless macaroni and cheese recipes is to make sure you don't buy pre-shredded cheese. It will take you one minute longer to grate the cheese yourself, and from what I've heard the difference is night and day.

You will love this recipe -- enjoy!

Stovetop Mac and Cheese
Recipe from Evil Shenanigans
Serves 4-6

8oz macaroni, or any smallish tube shaped pasta
1 tablespoon butter
6 oz evaporated milk
6 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
Hot sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper
Boil the pasta according to package directions, but reduce the cooking time by one minute.  Drain and pour back into the cooking pot.
Over medium-low heat, add the butter and stir until melted.
Mix the egg, milk, and spices and pour over the pasta.  Stir until it begins to thicken, about three to five minutes. 
Remove the pan from the heat then add the cheese in four installments, making sure the first is melted completely before adding the next.

Hectic weeks sure do get in the way of posting. It's a shame because the number one stress reliever is proven to be chocolate, so just when I need it most I'm too busy to make any chocolate treats. Thankfully I have a very large emergency stash of chocolate and animal crackers for times like this. Does anyone else have an obsession with animal crackers? I load up on them in the $1 section of Target, but I've begun to realize no one else likes them.. To each his own!

Anywho, the question is: why did I decide to try out a new chocolate chip cookie recipe when I have already given my heart to this recipe? I guess it was something about the picture. It also might have been the description that said "Readers, whatever you're doing, stop. Right now. Make these cookies NOW."

I didn't make them right when I read that, but it did move them to the top of my "must make list."

The secret/odd ingredient in these is cornstarch. They are incredible. My dough was a bit warm when I finished, so I stuck it in the fridge for 30 min or so before making them. That's the only thing I changed about the recipe. The longer you can put them in the fridge the less they will spread. The final result is a chewy, moist, flavorful cookie. As far as I know, it's impossible to have just one. Regardless of whether you already have a favorite cookie recipe, this is absolutely one to try. I don't know if it beats my previous favorite recipe, but it's pretty darn close! Enjoy!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from Apple a Day

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened 
3/4 c. brown sugar 
1/4 c. granulated sugar 
1 egg 
2 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 c. all purpose flour 
2 tsp. cornstarch 
1 tsp. baking soda 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.

3.  Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks.

4.  Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges.  (The tops will not brown, but do NOT cook longer than ten minutes.)

5.  Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes.  Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.  Makes approximately 3 dozen.  Try not to eat them all.

There are few things in life better than a full cookie jar.

This is a perfect example of the kind of food I simply cannot have around my house. It's effortless, bite-sized and addictive. I have a theory for puppy chow: it is 10x better when you double the toppings and keep the amount of chex mix the same (it's truly a wonder that I'm not 400lbs by this point in my life). Still, if you want to make the best puppy chow around, try it out. No one likes digging around in the bowl for the pieces with the most topping.

This lemon puppy chow reminds me of lemon cooler cookies from the grocery store (their real name is escaping me). I'm enjoying them as a nice break from chocolate, but I will also be happy when the bag of them isn't tempting me in my kitchen. I've grabbed a handful pretty much every time I've been in there...and I'm in the kitchen a lot. If you're ever looking for something quick and easy to bring to a party, this is it. I'm the type to spend days coming up with what I will contribute to a buffet, but I'm also finally coming to the realization that it's often the easiest things that get the best reviews. Enjoy!

Chex Lemon Buddies
Recipe from Joyful Whimsy

9 cups Rice Chex cereal 
1 1/4 cup white vanilla baking chips 
1/4 cup butter or margarine 
4 tsp grated lemon peel 
2 Tbsp lemon juice 
2 cups powdered sugar

Measure cereal into a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a microwaveable bowl, microwave chips, butter, lemon peel and juice uncovered on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 more seconds or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Pour into a 2-gallon re-sealable food storage plastic bag. Add powdered sugar, seal bag and shake until all the cereal is well-coated.