• erin

    Dumplings with my family
    A recent graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, I found myself with no money, no kitchen equipment, and an exceptionally huge appetite. Ideas, improvisations, and yummy meal solutions were discovered in the kitchen of my very first apartment.
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    I've been getting a lot of requests and suggestions for the apartment kitchen. I LOVE these suggestions, keep them coming!

    If you have anything you'd like me to consider (recipes to develop, shortcuts for recipes, great ingredients, or even blog formatting), shoot me an email and let me know!

    em570039@mycia.net

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Bacon and Tomato Mac and Cheese

Driving in the car yesterday, trying to decide what to make for dinner, an interesting question was posed by my mother. In an effort to use up some leftovers, she suggested a sort of taco bowl for dinner, and I had suggested mac and cheese. Since we couldn’t decide, we just had to make both. Yes, both. Yes…I am sort of ashamed. But not so ashamed that I won’t share the recipe for this very successful mac and cheese with you.

My apologies for such a horrible picture, it certainly does not do it justice. But I pumped up the flavor of this mac and cheese with bacon and some canned tomatoes (we used my mom’s canned tomatoes from her garden so it was extra delicious). Onions, garlic, and lots of cheese were the finishing touch on this, dare I say, jaMAZING dinner.

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Green Chile Mac and Cheese

This year, I did something I have not done in four years. I went home for Thanksgiving. And in three weeks, I’ll be home again for Christmas. While this makes me happier than I can truly express, it also made me a little nervous. When I go home, I tend to treat it like a big, delicious, vacation. So I attempted to prepare myself by eating healthier in the weeks up to heading home for the first time.

Key word, attempted.

Normally, I don’t have too much trouble eating well the majority of the time, allowing for the occasional ridiculous extravaganza of eating. This was just that – an incredibly ridiculous, outrageous, definitely not good for you (but so, so, so, SO good) dish: green chile mac and cheese. The only thing I’d change next time is reduce the cream and increase the cheese. I think this will boost the green chile flavor and make this totally out of this world. Now, the recipe list may seem long, but it’s not complicated. If it still stresses you, make the green chile cream ahead of time. It will hold, refrigerated for a couple days.

Chicken with Mustard Dumplings

I love chicken and dumplings, and it’s something I haven’t made yet in my own kitchen (my mom’s version is delish). I wanted to make it a little different by adding a burst of flavor to the dumplings. Matt is a mustard lover, and I’m a recent mustard convert, so I figured I’d give it a try. The result was great – slightly different but still staying true to the basic flavors in it already.

Using whole grain, spicy brown, and Dijon mustard pumped up the flavor in a warm way that complemented the chicken and the broth. Since we’ve had our first frost here, I was delighted to have something this warm and tasty for dinner (and for lunch the next day)!

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White Beans with Sausage, Tomato, and Mushrooms

I saw a recipe once on Epicurious for a dish with white beans and sausage. I loved the idea, because white beans (you may have heard me gush about them before) are so creamy and delicious. Combining my favorite beans with sausage (turkey or chicken sausage for a healthier option) and some homemade tomato sauce and I had the perfect substitute for pasta. At the same time, the beans added a heartiness that really filled me up – a wonderful warm, chunky stew of sorts that was tossed together in no time, especially if you have tomato sauce on hand. Even if you don’t, this meal takes less than a half hour.

Chanterelle Mushroom and Leek Soup with Roasted Corn

Even though it hasn’t quite gotten chilly yet, I was craving soup and thought it would be the perfect way to use my remaining chanterelles. Is it possible to be in love with a mushroom? I think so, but in my case…it’s multiple mushrooms (I’m an equal opportunity fungus lover). The point being, this pureed soup was earthy with a silky texture sans cream that is absolutely craveable. Stirred in some roasted corn for an end of summer touch and ate it with toasty baguette croutons. And even though it wasn’t too cold out, I still enjoyed the cooler breeze as I ate my soup – real soup weather is almost upon us!

Stuffed Peppers

Comfort food can be healthy…which is something I was reminded of when Matt and I made stuffed peppers with tomato sauce this week. We didn’t get home until 8:00 pm from a meeting, and we needed something to cheer us up and fill us up. I topped the quick and delicious chicken and brown rice filling (precooking the filling saves time) with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese for a crispy crust out of the oven – and then finished it with a tasty fresh tomato sauce. After what had been an extremely long, hard day, we went to bed happy and, of course, full.