Awesome in November

Awesome in November

Awesome in November

Insert the usual astonishment here. How are we at the end of November already? Time is just so weird.

November was a big month. We made a trip to Washington state for my great grandmother’s 100th birthday party. I also got to take my baby to tour a university in the area. We had a blast together, but I don’t know how we got this old. We also ate a ton of greasy American food that we can’t get in Scotland. It was very indulgent. 

On the plane, I finally got a chance to watch The Big Sick. It was absolutely perfect. Such a simple and simultaneously unusual story that was deeply affecting. Luckily we were on a relatively empty flight, so no one was sitting next to me as I laughed, cried, and gasped in astonishment. If you haven’t seen this yet, you absolutely must. It’s genius.

The internet is absolutely jam packed with delicious holiday food right now. I’m hoping to try these Easy Flaky Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls because they look like a buttery bread pillow, and I want to eat ten million of them.

I’m feeling this Cheesy Herb Baked Mashed Potato Gratin because there should be a potato recipe for every day. 

This Pumpkin Buttercream Swiss Roll would be a real show stopper on your holiday table. I think we all need a bit of that in our lives right now.

Peanut Butter Fudge from Awesome on 20

You’re in full on holiday mode. Your favorite recipes this month were Peanut Butter Fudge, Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels, and Classic Peanut Butter Cookies. Sounds like a fantastic party. 

December is obviously the best month of the year. Let’s make it extra awesome.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Hopefully you’ve figured out by now that this is not the place to go for light and healthy, trendy super foods. This is not the place to go for your five a day or tips on how to get six pack abs. This is not the place for quinoa, chia seeds, or kale or whatever health food is currently trending. Most of the food you’ll find here might not even look that good on Instagram. Believe me, there are plenty of food blogs out there where you can get all those things. This is not that.

What you will find here is food that tastes really really good. Food that’s indulgent and easy to make. Food that’s so good you’ll want to dance and sing. I guess you could say I’m teaching you self-discipline because this is food you won’t want to stop eating but maybe should. All things in moderation, including Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese. I know my point of view, and I’m sticking with it.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese recipe has three different kinds of cheese, plenty of Transformer Chicken, and enough buffalo sauce to make your nose run. It’s not outrageously spicy, but there is a noticeable level of heat. Get into it.

This recipe is a bit involved and will dirty quite a few dishes. Nothing is difficult, but there are a few separate elements that all have to come together. It’s absolutely delicious, though, and makes enough to feed six very hungry people, so it’s undoubtedly worth it. My husband said this was the best macaroni and cheese he’s ever had, and I make a lot of mac and cheese.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

It’s a good thing to know yourself and be content. Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese makes me happy, and I hope it makes you happy, too.

Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
Serves 6
Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese is an indulgent dish with a serious kick.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2.5 ounces unsalted butter, divided
  2. 1 pound elbow macaroni
  3. 2 shallots, minced
  4. 2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 3/4 cups buffalo sauce
  7. 2 tablespoons flour
  8. 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  9. 2-1/2 cups half and half
  10. 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, cubed or shredded
  11. 8 ounces pepper jack cheese or cheddar with chillies, cubed or shredded
  12. 2/3 cup sour cream
  13. 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  14. 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  15. 1 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and spray a large casserole dish or 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add some salt, then cook your macaroni until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.
  3. While your pasta is cooking, melt 1.5 ounces of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add your shallot and cook for a few minutes until it softens. Next, add your chicken and garlic and let it cook for a couple more minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add 1/2 cup of the buffalo sauce. Stir this all together and bring it to a simmer for a minute or so to thicken the sauce slightly. Turn off the heat and set this aside while you get on with your cheese sauce.
  4. Melt 1 ounce of butter in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat. Whisk in the flour and mustard powder to make a paste. Slowly whisk in the half and half, about a half cup at a time, whisking until smooth before you add the next addition. Once you've created a smooth creamy sauce, you can then stir in your remaining half cup buffalo sauce. Once your mixture is bubbling gently, add the cheddar, pepper jack cheese, and sour cream, and stir until the cheese is melted and your sauce is smooth.
  5. Now it's time to toss together all the parts. If your sauce pan is big enough, you can add your pasta and chicken straight into that, but it may need to all go into the pasta pot to give you enough space to stir it all together. Once your mixture is properly combined, transfer the whole lot to your waiting casserole dish.
  6. Scatter the top of the casserole with your panko breadcrumbs, then dot the whole thing with blue cheese all over the top. Finally, sprinkle the parsley over everything.
  7. Bake this mass of cheesy goodness for 30-40 minutes until as brown and bubbly as you desire.
  8. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool before you try to eat this. It's best served straight away, but it's still pretty awesome reheated, though your cheese may become a bit oily.
Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything
http://awesomeon20.com/
Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
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Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cranberry Mule

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

By the time this post goes live, it will be 4:00 in the afternoon in the Pacific Northwest where my family lives. I was just there last week, and I’m still feeling the jet lag. We were awake for a solid 32 hours this weekend with only the occasional nod off on the plane. I managed to curl up on the floor of Heathrow airport in a nest of coats and almost sleep for about 20 minutes. When I got up, I had forgotten for a moment what city I was in.

Anybody who tries to tell you jet lag isn’t real is a damn liar. I feel like I should have been given at least two sick days as I attempted to recover. Instead, I worked for 12 hours yesterday and have another 11 hour day to look forward to tomorrow. If my boss ever tries to tell me I’m not dedicated, I might scream. It’s a good thing I don’t drive or operate heavy machinery because I definitely would have accidentally killed someone this week. 

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The afternoon before Thanksgiving might be the exact perfect time to have a sweet and festive cocktail dropped into your life. This Cranberry Mule will be the perfect start to your Thanksgiving weekend. It’s so fun and goes down easy. There’s a bit of a bite from the ginger beer, and a tart hint from the cranberry juice. Mix up a pitcher of these, and your family will never notice you gave them cranberry sauce from a jar.

Incidentally, it’s so easy to make your own cranberry sauce, you could probably do it while drinking a Cranberry Mule.

This drink can easily be scaled up or down. Mix it in parts and make as much or as little as you like. And if you really want to go all out, freeze some cranberries to use in place of some of the ice in your glass. If you happen to have some of those fancy copper mugs, what better time to break them out? I wish I was as cool as that.

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheers to family and turkey and cranberries and booze. Hope you have a lovely holiday.

Cranberry Mule
Cranberry Mule is the perfect sweet, festive cocktail to get you through the holidays.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. Ice
  2. 2 parts vodka
  3. 1 part cranberry juice
  4. 5 parts ginger beer
  5. Lime juice
Instructions
  1. Add vodka, cranberry juice, and ginger beer to your desired vessel. If you're making this one glass at a time, start out with the ice in the glass. Otherwise, mix up a pitcher and pour the drink over the ice as you serve. Add a squeeze of lime juice to each glass, from an actual lime wedge if you planned ahead, or from the plastic squeezy lime if you're being more spontaneous.
Notes
  1. If you start with all your ingredients well chilled, your drink get as watered down by the ice.
Adapted from Christmas by Nigella Lawson
Adapted from Christmas by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
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