Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!

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Macaroni and Cheese

IMG_6928I purchased an arsenal of cheeses recently and wanted the gooey goodness of macaroni and cheese.  The four cheeses I used were Fontina, Gruyere, White Cheddar, and Romano.  I topped the macaroni and cheese with fresh breadcrumbs.  Baked it in the oven for 30 minutes at 375 °F.  It did not take long for the vultures um I  mean family members to descend upon it and finish it off.

Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese


Serves 6


  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 3/4 cup milk, heated in microwave 2 minutes
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 oz grated Fontina cheese
  • 3 oz grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3 oz grated white cheddar cheese
  • 3 oz Romano cheese
  • 8 oz cooked elbow macaroni (just underdone)
  • Topping:
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from French bread)


Cook the elbow macaroni according to instructions, but drain before they are completely cooked through, but no longer crunchy.

Preheat the oven to 375 °F.

In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat to melt it.  After the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and salt.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Add the warm milk to the roux slowly, whisking constantly to get the lumps out.  Cook until it is bubbly and begins to thicken.  Reduce the heat.

Add the grated cheeses and stir until the cheese is melted. Turn the burner off. Combine the cheese sauce with the drained elbow macaroni.

Butter a baking dish and pour the macaroni and cheese into the prepared dish.

Sprinkle the top with the remaining Romano cheese.  In a small bowl, combine the melted butter with the breadcrumbs and stir to combine.  Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

Bake in 375 °F preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden brown and toasted.

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The Salmon Caper

IMG_6909My husband took me out to eat at Agora’s in Irvine a while back and they served a wonderful baked salmon that also had lemons, capers, black olives and seasonings.  Tonight I made grilled packets of salmon drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and oregano and lemon thyme.  The salmon was topped with sliced lemon and capers.  I grilled these at medium high for about 10 minutes.  They were delicious and did not disappoint!  I will be making this dish again.  There is something about the  combination of lemon and capers with salmon that is very satisfying.

Grilled Salmon Packets


  • 4 filet of salmon, about 1 inch thick
  • salt and pepper, to season
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, (or basil or thyme)
  • 8 slices of lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tsp capers


Preheat your grill to around 375- 400°F.

Place each salmon filet on a  piece of aluminum foil large enough to fold over the salmon and create a packet.

Season the salmon with salt and pepper and sprinkle each filet with 1/4 tsp dried oregano.  Place two thin slices of lemon on each filet.  Drizzle each filet with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and lemon juice.  Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of capers over the salmon.  Wrap the foil over the salmon and seal in the edges so the juices do not run out.

Place on your grill and close the lid.  Cook the salmon for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through.

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Asian Slaw with Spicy Peanut Dressing

IMG_6889Pinterest strikes again… I made this Asian Slaw yesterday for lunch, but the dressing did not impress me.  Today I made it again, but used a dressing I made with  Yard House’s Norwegian Salmon.  It was perfect. The dressing yields about 2 cups, so I save the dressing to use with chicken later in the week. This recipe is inspired by:


Here is my rendition:

Asian Slaw with Spicy Peanut Dressing

goodcookbecky  Serves 4

For the Slaw:

  • 1/2 head Napa Cabbage, cut thinly
  • 1/4 head medium size red cabbage, cut thinly
  • 1 cup sugar peas
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts
  • 1 avocado. diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, optional


  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped ginger
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine the slaw ingredients in a large salad bowl.

Prepare the salad dressing by combining the ingredients in a food processor or blender (or use an immersion blender) and process until smooth.
Refrigerate until needed.

Toss slaw with 1/2 cup dressing and serve.

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I will be making this one again – and again!

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Orange Zest Cookies with Sweet Orange Glaze

IMG_6803I meant to blog this recipe last year.. wait, now two years ago.  I made them for the first time 2012 for Christmas and they reminded me of cookies my Mom used to make.  I made them again this past Christmas, but they would be good any time of year of course.  I found this recipe through Pinterest.. it linked to Stephanie’s Kitchen.  This cookie has become a favorite of ours.  I did increase the zest in the cookies to 3 Tablespoons from 2 to up the flavor even more.  I find the cookies best if they are fresh – keep them in a zip-lock bag to keep them from drying out too much or keep some in the freezer.  If your family is a lot like ours they will not last long.

Orange Zested Cookies w/ Sweet Orange Glaze

makes about 2-3 dozen (depending on the size)

adapted from Stephanie’s Kitchen


  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 egg

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • fresh orange juice


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest.  Stir together and let sit for a few minutes, allowing the sugar to absorb some of the oils in the orange zest.
  3. In your Kitchen Aid mixing bowl, cream the butter and the zest infused sugar.  Add the egg and orange juice and cream until combined.  Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until all the flour is mixed in, but do not over mix.
  4. Place the dough in a bag and refrigerate for 1 hour or even overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Roll the cookie dough into small 1/2 inch size balls and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes.  Cool the cookies on wire racks.
  6. Make the orange glaze: Combine the powdered sugar and orange zest.  Add just enough orange juice to make the glaze smooth and creamy.  Glaze the cookies and allow the glaze to dry.

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Ham and Potato Soup

IMG_6841My husband loved this soup! He pretty much wanted me to make another batch right away. My kids were not as thrilled with it, and I thought it was pretty good too, but not enough to rave about it to the extent that my husband did.  I used a recipe from all recipes as base and made a few changes.  I added carrots since I had some to use up instead of celery which I was out of… I sautéed the onions, carrots in pancetta (bacon would be a good substitute too), drained any fat and then followed the recipe pretty closely.  I did also add some bay leaf and dried thyme to the soup for added flavor.

Ham and Potato Soup

Serves 6

adapted from allrecipes (Delicious Ham and Potato Soup)


  • 4 oz pancetta (or bacon)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 1/2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • 3/4 cup ham, diced small (remove fatty pieces)
  • 3 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon granules (originally 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 Tbsp butter
  • 5 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk


  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium high heat.  Add the pancetta bacon, carrots, and diced onions to the stock pot.  Sauté  the vegetables in the bacon until the onions are softened and the fat in the bacon has fully rendered.  Pour off any excess fat.
  2. To the cooked vegetables, add the diced potatoes,  ham, water, chicken bouillon, bay leaf, dried thyme or basil, salt, and pepper.  Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low and continue cooking about 15 minutes or until the potatoes test done, stirring occasionally.  When the potatoes are tender, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer while you finish off the soup.
  3. In a separate sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the flour and whisk into the butter until it is well combined, then cook for about 1 minute.  Heat the milk in the microwave.  Slowly add the milk, whisking as you add it until it is smooth.  Continue cooking the milk mixture until it is thickened, about 4 or 5 minutes.  Add the thickened milk mixture to the soup and stir to combine.
  4. Heat through and serve immediately with crusty French bread.

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