Holiday, Meat

Valentine’s Day Dinner: Putting it All Together

seasoned ribeye, mac and cheese, and asparagus

 

So now you have each of the individual recipes for this dinner, but how the heck do you coordinate all of these dishes without setting fire to the house?!  Do not fear my friends, find all the answers you need on timing and prep in this here blog post 🙂

[Prep Steak]

 

seasoned ribeye in a skillet, with sides of mac and cheese and asparagus

 

First place to start, is the steak marinade.  Either the night before, or a coupe hours before dinner you’re going to want to put the marinade on your steak.  This will take all of 5-10 min, and when you’re finished, just wrap it tightly and set it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. 

Depending on your time or how you want to set up dinner, the side dishes can be made right before serving, or prepared ahead of time, and then baked in the oven 30 minutes before serving.

[Prep Side Dishes]

mac and cheese and asparagus before being baked

 

Let’s start with the seasoned asparagus first!  Prep work for this is very minimal, and really just requires assembly.  Make sure to rinse your asparagus spears, trim the bottoms off and then lay in a greased baking dish.  Drizzle with oil and season with Everything But the Bagel Seasoning, cover with foil, and set aside.  If being prepped more than an hour before baking, store in the fridge.

 

close up of mac and cheese and asparagus in two skillets on a white table

 

Next is the mac and cheese!  Make sure to cook your noodles before starting the cheese, that way you can stir them in as soon as the cheese is ready!  If you let the cheese sit for too long it will start to harden, and then you have to go through the process of heating it up again, which is just a pain!  Once you add the panko crust topping, cover with foil and set aside, or store in fridge if prepped more than an hour before baking.

A tip to save you time…cook your noodles the night before and store in a air tight zip lock bag in the fridge.

[Bake side dishes]

45 min before the estimated dinner time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  When the preheat is finished, pop the side dishes in and bake for 30 min.  Cover both with foil for first 20 min, then remove for last 10.

While side dishes are baking, pour yourself a nice glass of wine to sip on, because you’re dinner is almost done!  Last step…cooking the ribeyes!

 

macaroni and cheese and asparagus in skillets with a bottle of wine

 

[Sear Steak]

Remove your ribeyes from the fridge and set on the counter.  Take a large frying pan or skillet and add butter.  Set to medium-high heat.  Once the butter is melted, begin searing your ribeyes.  This will take anywhere from 7-15 min.

 

two ribeyes in a skillet with a side of mac and cheese and asparagus

 

By the time your steaks are done, your side dishes will be finishing up in the oven!  Serve however you like and enjoy!

 

ribeyes in skillet with side of mac and cheese and asparagus

Ribeye Steak Marinade

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: dinner, marinade, ribeye, steak
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 ribeyes bone-in, or no bone
  • 4 tbsp grass-fed butter

Steak Marinade

  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning enough to cover both surfaces of ribeye

Instructions

  • Prepare steak marinade by mixing together oil and garlic paste in a small bowl.  Brush over both sides of each ribeye.
  • Cover both sides of ribeyes with Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Wrap tightly and let marinate in fridge for a couple hours or overnight.
  • Begin cooking right before serving.  Heat a large pan or skillet over medium heat on stovetop.  Add butter and let melt.
  • Once butter has melted, add ribeyes and sear 1 minute on one side, and then flip and sear 1 minute on the opposite side.  Repeat process until desired temperature is met.  This will take anywhere from 7-15 minutes depending on desired temp.  As a reference point, for a medium steak cook for 10 min.
  • During periods of searing, take a spoon and scoop melted butter and fat drippings over top of ribeyes.
  • Serve after cooking.

 

Seasoned Asparagus

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: asparagus, baked, everything but the bagel, healthy, seasoned, simple, trader joes
Servings: 2 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 1/2 bundle fresh asparagus
  • 2 tbsp EVOO or avocado oil
  • Everything But The Bagel Seasoning Trader Joe's

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a small baking dish.
  • Take bundle of asparagus and cut an inch off the bottom stem.
  • Rinse asparagus, then lay in baking dish.  Drizzle oil overtop and season with Everything But The Bagel.  Add as much seasoning as you'd like, or enough to cover surface of asparagus.
  • Bake for 30 min.

 

THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: creamy, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, nutmeg
Servings: 8 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 pint half and half cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 block velveeta cheese cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 block sharp white cheddar cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg ground
  • 1 1 lb box rotini pasta cooked
  • 1/2 cup panko

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay out all of your ingredients ahead of time, as the sauce will need to be stirred while cooking to prevent hardening or burning.
  • Prep the cheeses by cutting them into thin slices (that way they melt in the saucepan quicker).  Allow cream to get close to room temp, to avoid curdling.
  • Once ingredients are laid out, add butter to saucepan over medium heat.  Allow to melt and then whisk in flour.
  • Slowly pour cream into saucepan in stages, while continuously stirring.  This will thicken and create the roux for your cheese sauce.
  • Once you have added all the cream and created your roux, start to add the cheeses and continually stir.  Add cheese in stages (a handful of velveeta and cheddar at one time).  Stir in cheese until it melts, then add another handful until everything is blended together. 
  • Sprinkle in nutmeg and stir.
  • Add most of your cooked noodles to the cheese sauce and stir (I leave out a handful of noodles so it's extra creamy!).
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a separate bowl and stir in 1/2 cup panko.  Take panko mixture and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 30 min with foil on top for first 20 min.

Notes

  • I use Vermont Sharp White Cheddar by Cracker Barrel for my choice of cheddar.
  • Rotini pasta is my favorite to use with mac and cheese, because I find that its shape is best for grabbing the sauce.

 

Holiday

Valentine’s Day Dinner Part 2: THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

creamy macaroni and cheese in skillet with buttery panko topping

 

Up next on the Valentine’s Day dinner menu is THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese!  This is one of those classic dishes that will never get old and keeps the heart, soul, and taste buds happy 🙂  It pairs nicely with any greens (whether it be a salad or veggies), and is actually a simple recipe to make!  In this case, it pairs nicely with Seasoned Asparagus !

 

skillet with macaroni and cheese with skillet of seasoned asparagus

 

If you want to make a creamy mac and cheese for your v-day dinner (or for any occasion), there are three simple steps you should follow every single time!  Shall we get started?!

How to make the best creamy macaroni and cheese:


  1. Start with a roux: “roo” is French in origin, meaning “browned butter”.  It sounds scary and complicated, but it’s actually a simple cooking method used to thicken sauces!  It’s created by adding equal parts flour and fat (for this recipe, I use 2 tbsp grass-fed butter and 2 tbsp almond flour) to a heated pan and whisking the ingredients together.  In order to blend the flour and butter, you must melt your butter in the heated pan first, then whisk in flour. 

    Once the roux is made, your next step is to take cream and slowly add it to your roux.  The best way to do this is in stages, approximately 1/3 cup at a time, while constantly whisking. You will notice the cream start to thicken as you stir, all thanks to that roux!  This will act as your base for the cheese sauce to make sure it doesn’t become runny or thinned out over the noodles!

  2. Stir cheese in slowly: in order to prevent cheese from burning, the best thing you can do is add cheese to your roux in stages and whisk constantly.  This not only helps prevent burning, but melts the cheese faster due to constant distribution of heat.  In order to add cheese in stages, I cut my cheese into slices (as pictured below) and add a couple pieces of each kind at a time.cheese on cutting board cut into thin slices
  3. Add extra flavor: get creative and give your mac some personality!  Even the “plain” recipe needs a little something, something…and for that I use Nutmeg!  A little bit of fresh ground Nutmeg makes a world of difference and you’ll never go back to regular mac and cheese again.  Or if you want to take a walk on the wild side, stir some bacon and chives into your sauce before adding noodles!  Or lobster, or BBQ pulled pork, or hot sauce…omg the options are endless! 

Whatever flavor floats your boat, just make sure to stir it into your sauce before adding in noodles!

Once your cheese sauce is made, noodles stirred in, all that’s left is to add a panko topping and bake for 30 min.  For panko topping I melt 2 tbsp butter, then stir in 1/2 cup panko so that it soaks up all the butter.  Top your mac with the panko/butter mixture to give the dish some texture.

 

creamy macaroni and cheese in skillet topped with panko crust

 

THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: creamy, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, nutmeg
Servings: 8 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 pint half and half cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 block velveeta cheese cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 block sharp white cheddar cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg ground
  • 1 1 lb box rotini pasta cooked
  • 1/2 cup panko

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay out all of your ingredients ahead of time, as the sauce will need to be stirred while cooking to prevent hardening or burning.
  • Prep the cheeses by cutting them into thin slices (that way they melt in the saucepan quicker).  Allow cream to get close to room temp, to avoid curdling.
  • Once ingredients are laid out, add butter to saucepan over medium heat.  Allow to melt and then whisk in flour.
  • Slowly pour cream into saucepan in stages, while continuously stirring.  This will thicken and create the roux for your cheese sauce.
  • Once you have added all the cream and created your roux, start to add the cheeses and continually stir.  Add cheese in stages (a handful of velveeta and cheddar at one time).  Stir in cheese until it melts, then add another handful until everything is blended together. 
  • Sprinkle in nutmeg and stir.
  • Add most of your cooked noodles to the cheese sauce and stir (I leave out a handful of noodles so it's extra creamy!).
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a separate bowl and stir in 1/2 cup panko.  Take panko mixture and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 30 min with foil on top for first 20 min.

Notes

  • I use Vermont Sharp White Cheddar by Cracker Barrel for my choice of cheddar.
  • Rotini pasta is my favorite to use with mac and cheese, because I find that its shape is best for grabbing the sauce.

Have you made this recipe?!

If so, comment below or hashtag #lulustable on Instagram to show me your homemade creation!  I’d love to see what you’re doing in the kitchen!  

Follow @lulus.table on Instagram for more recipes as they get posted. 

Holiday

An Ode to Thanksgiving: A Few of My Favorite Things

stuffing in red casserole dish, mac and cheese in red casserole dish, with cranberry sauce on black table with decorations of nutmeg and herbs

 

GUYS.  We are days away from Thanksgiving, which I might add…is my ALL TIME fav Holiday.  Thanksgiving is the epitome of what this blog is all about, which is why I’m so excited to share these recipes with you!  Not to mention, this Holiday is basically an entire day that revolves around food.  Can I get an amen?!

In honor of Thanksgiving being my favorite Holiday, I decided to feature 3 of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes to share with you guys!  So without further ado, let me introduce you to the crew…

  • THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

This mac and cheese will change your life forever.  I’m serious.  It’s so dang good that anyone you serve it to will become your new best friend.  This was a recipe my mom used to make for us growing up, and it continues to be a classic to this day.  AND to make this all the more exciting…there’s a secret ingredient!  Yup…NUTMEG.  Adding nutmeg takes this mac to a whole other level, and will seriously challenge your will power to not eat all the cheese sauce before adding pasta!

THE BEST Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: creamy, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, nutmeg
Servings: 8 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 pint half and half cream
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 block velveeta cheese cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 block sharp white cheddar cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg ground
  • 1 1 lb box rotini pasta cooked
  • 1/2 cup panko

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay out all of your ingredients ahead of time, as the sauce will need to be stirred while cooking to prevent hardening or burning.
  • Prep the cheeses by cutting them into thin slices (that way they melt in the saucepan quicker).  Allow cream to get close to room temp, to avoid curdling.
  • Once ingredients are laid out, add butter to saucepan over medium heat.  Allow to melt and then whisk in flour.
  • Slowly pour cream into saucepan in stages, while continuously stirring.  This will thicken and create the roux for your cheese sauce.
  • Once you have added all the cream and created your roux, start to add the cheeses and continually stir.  Add cheese in stages (a handful of velveeta and cheddar at one time).  Stir in cheese until it melts, then add another handful until everything is blended together. 
  • Sprinkle in nutmeg and stir.
  • Add most of your cooked noodles to the cheese sauce and stir (I leave out a handful of noodles so it's extra creamy!).
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish.
  • Melt butter in a separate bowl and stir in 1/2 cup panko.  Take panko mixture and sprinkle on top of mac and cheese.
  • Bake for 30 min with foil on top for first 20 min.

Notes

  • I use Vermont Sharp White Cheddar by Cracker Barrel for my choice of cheddar.
  • Rotini pasta is my favorite to use with mac and cheese, because I find that its shape is best for grabbing the sauce.
  • Gluten Free Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffing 

Just to be clear…stuffing is the real MVP of Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s probably the one item that you could mix in with every other dish and it all tastes bomb.com.  Think about it…turkey? Yup.  Cranberry Sauce?  Yup.  Mashed potatoes?  Yup.  Pumpkin Pie?  Well, maybe not pumpkin pie.  

This recipe gives you a gluten free stuffing to make for the centerpiece of your plate.  Find yourself a GF bread, get yourself some sausage, and mix in all the veggies!  Mixing in wild rice is so yummy and gives it added flavor.

Gluten Free Wild Rice and Sausage Stuffing

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: gluten free, rosemary, sage, sausage, stuffing, thyme, wild rice
Servings: 10 people
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 3/4 loaf bread
  • 8-10 oz sausage cooked
  • 3 tbsp butter grass-fed
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 5 sticks celery peeled and chopped
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 pack portabello mushrooms chopped
  • 3 cups chicken bone broth
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice yielded from 1 cup dry wild rice
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a large casserole dish with oil.  Set casserole dish aside. 
  • Cook 1 cup of wild rice (should yield approximately 3 cups cooked).
  • Add 2 tablespoons EVOO to saucepan and cook sausage over medium heat.  Break apart with a spoon.
  • Take a loaf of gluten free bread, and cut 3/4 of the loaf into small cubes.  Take bread cubes and set aside in casserole dish.
  • When sausage is done cooking, pour over bread in casserole dish.
  • Chop garlic, onion, mushrooms, and celery.  Add 3 tablespoons of butter to saucepan with sausage drippings, add chopped veggies, and cook over medium heat. Sauté veggies for 8-10 min or until wilted.
  • Add chopped herbs (sage, thyme, and rosemary), and 2 cups broth to veggie mixture and stir.  Once broth is warmed up, remove from heat.
  • Whisk together 1 cup of broth, two eggs and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper. 
  • In the casserole dish, already containing the bread and sausage, add the vegetables with broth, and cooked wild rice.  Stir together and let cool a little.  Then add broth/egg mixture (want the dish to cool down so the eggs don't cook).  Stir all ingredients together.
  • Drizzle apple cider vinegar over the top to bring out the flavor.
  • Bake for 30 min with foil over top.  Remove foil for last 10 min of baking.

Notes

  • In order to cut down on time there are definitely parts of this recipe that can be prepped days ahead.  For myself, I chopped all the veggies the day before making it.  OR you could make the entire dish a couple days ahead of time and store in an air tight container or freezer bag.  Then on the day of serving, just grease the pan and pop in the oven to cook!
  • If made ahead of time, bring it to room temp, add a little more broth (as it was all soaked up while in the frig), blend and bake.
  • If putting the stuffing in a bird, just stuff and cook as usual.
  • Orange Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

There is something to be said about a really good homemade cranberry sauce.  This recipe avoids the refined white sugar and uses natural sweeteners, like honey and oranges, instead.  The sauce has a wonderful mixture of bitter and sweet, with added dimension from the orange juice, and some seasonal spice of cinnamon.  As if the taste isn’t enough to get you to try it, the color it makes is absolutely gorg!

Orange Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: cinnamon, cranberry sauce, fesh cranberry, homemade, orange
Servings: 10
Author: Lulu's Table

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cranberries fresh or frozen
  • 2 naval oranges juice
  • 1/2 cup raw organic honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Instructions

  • In a sauce pan combine cranberries, honey, juice from oranges, and cinnamon stick.  (Some chunks or orange fell into the saucepan while I was juicing them and I just left them in there!)
  • Cook on medium heat for 20 min.  Cranberries will start to pop.
  • Stir a couple times while over heat.  This will help blend the ingredients together, and you'll start to see the sauce forming.
  • Remove from heat to allow sauce to cool and thicken.  Once sauce has cooled, remove cinnamon stick.
  • Store in container or mason jar and refrigerate until time to use!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving this week and that we all take a moment to appreciate those around us.  Enjoy the craziness of family, the time with friends, and the moments shared with one another over some really good food:)