New Years Day Mac & Cheese

New Years Day Mac and Cheese Bake

1 lb al dente macaroni (i like penne or old fashioned elblows best)
2 cups diced ham
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup swiss cheese
1/2cup Gruyere cheese
1 cup whole milk
1 clove garlic
1/2 stick butter + 2tsp of  flour for the roux
fresh croutons (or Panko) and your fave herbs and spices

Here's how I like to do it.  In a sauce pan, make a roux with the flour and butter.  Slowly add milk and mix well.  Add in most of the cheeses, reserving some of the top of the dish.   Season with garlic, a pinch of herbs de Provence and pepper. Simmer on very low until all cheese in incorporated.  Meanwhile, grease a large (and deep) baking dish.  Next, make layers in the dish with mac then ham...then mac, then ham.  You get it, right? Pour the cheese mixture over the mac and ham.  Top with reserved cheese and croutons and enjoy!

You can easily use whatever cheese you like with this, but I wouldn't recommend reducing the fat on the milk.  I tried that once, and it just wasn't as tasty. 



Sweet Potato Fries

If you know me at all, you know I don't like to follow recipes.  So forgive this sloppy recipe:

In a large bowl combine combine about 1 lb of sweet potatoes (cut into the french fry shapes of your choice) with 1/2 cup garlic olive oil (if you don't have just use olive oil and add chopped garlic.) Toss well, and then start seasoning.  For the tasty treats above, we used about 1 TSP each dry mustard, chopped shallots, curry powder, smoked Salish sea salt, coarse ground pepper, chives, Ancho chili powder, Chipotle powder and smoked paprika.  Cook in a preheated 450 degree oven until crispy or for about 25 minutes.  They're best if you flip them half way through.