The Cooking Chronicles: Three-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

I suggested vegetable pasta for dinner one night. Mack suggested macaroni and cheese. He won.

We headed to the Italian Centre to load up on asiago, romano and cheddar, the cheeses that form the base for a recipe in the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives cookbook. And though we searched high and low (read: the Italian Centre and Superstore) for panko bread crumbs, it just wasn’t our night, so we gave up and used homemade breadcrumbs we had in the cupboard instead.

As expected, this is not a low-cal recipe. The sauce was the colour of Cheese Whiz and had the texture of Velveeta, and lovingly enrobed the macaroni, with a lot to spare. After 15 minutes in the oven with the breadcrumb topping, we really felt like we could have been sitting at the counter of a diner. Super-cheesy, with the crunch of the breadcrumbs and just a hint of cracked black pepper, even a small bowl was almost too rich.

Three-Cheese Macaroni

We both had seconds.

The Cooking Chronicles: Banana Chocolate Pancakes

I had no idea the Food Network show Diners, Drive Ins and Dives had an accompanying publication until I stumbled upon it while on Amazon one day. As Mack and I love the show (and have to make sure we’ve already had a meal prior to watching an episode), we ordered up the book right away, and were keen to see which recipes he selected to include in the book.

It arrived last week, and while I didn’t have time to sit down and read it, I was surprised to find that the book was filled with more than just recipes – two-page profiles of choice establishments provided a context for the recipe, and potentially bridge readers who may not be familiar with the show.

Flipping through, I was intrigued by a recipe for Chunky Monkey Pancakes, knowing that there were overripe bananas and a can of orphaned whipped cream begging to be used. I modified it a bit, however, as Mack doesn’t like nuts, we didn’t have chocolate chips on hand, and wrapping an entire banana with a pancake didn’t make sense to me.

Instead, I drizzled Nutella in place of chocolate chips on the dollop of batter (a great trick that I only just learned that works so well versus trying to incorporate additives at the batter stage). It burnt a little, but was manageable. Also, I sliced the bananas and heated the cinnamon-dashed fruit in a skillet of melted butter, and Clinton Street-style, sandwiched the slices in the middle. I finished the plate with a dusting of icing sugar, tower of whipped cream, and more bananas.

Banana Chocolate Pancakes

These banana chocolate pancakes were definitely too indulgent for an everyday breakfast, but were a nice weekend treat.