+Anne Coleman

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Green Chile Mac and Cheese
Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Not for the faint of heart or calorie conscious, this pasta is spicy and rich. The poblanos add heat and flavor while the Mexican crema cools things down at the same time. Topped with crunchy Panko crumbs, you'll go back to this mac and cheese again and again.

This recipe took so many tries to get exactly the way I wanted it. I think my testers got sick of eating so much mac and cheese in such a short period of time. The end result is perfection, though and so worth the time it took to get right.

Properly Roasted Poblanos

Roasted Poblanos in Plastic Wrap

Removing skin, seeds and ribs from poblanos.

Green Chile Mac and Cheese
Green Chile Mac and Cheese
Green Chile Mac and Cheese
Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 50 minutes
Yield: Serves 8-10


3 large poblano peppers
1 cup cilantro leaves
4 green onions, green and white parts chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided (1 teaspoon total for table salt)
1 cup Mexican sour cream (crema) or regular sour cream
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
4 cups shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
1/2 cup Panko crumbs
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions until al dente


1. Heat oven broiler.
2. Place poblano chiles on a baking sheet and broil, turning several times each, until skin is blackened all over. Alternatively, you can place them directly over a gas flame and turn often until the same is achieved.
3. Remove from oven and turn oven temp to 375 degrees F.
4. Place chiles immediately in plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes.
5. Remove charred skin from chiles as well as stem, seeds and ribs.
6. Place chiles in a blender along with green onions, cilantro, garlic, salt, crema and evaporated milk. Puree until smooth.
7. Put hot pasta in a large bowl and add pepper jack cheese. Pour chile mixture over top and  blend until all pasta is well coated.
8. Pour pasta into a large greased casserole about 13x8 inches and 3 inches deep.
9. Blend Panko and butter together and top pasta.
10. Bake for 30 minutes until crumbs are golden brown and cheese is bubbly.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Daniel East's Over-The-Top Tuna Pasta Salad

I've shared recipes of Dan's before, (see The Soup and Daniel East's Classic Turkey Noodle Soup)  but this one takes the cake, I didn't have ONE child who didn't love this - me, too!

While I was putting it together I kept thinking, "This is too much ... this isn't enough" but I kept going and had watchful little eyes all the while; my 8 year-old was on the edge of her seat to try this. She would glance at the clock and back at me and then say, "It's not lunchtime, can we eat this when it's done?" Adorable.

Daniel East's Over-The-Top Tuna Pasta Salad
Daniel East's Over-The-Top Tuna Pasta Salad 

Regardless of what I thought when assembling it, this was absolutely perfect. The heat from the black pepper was there, but not too much, the dressing was divine and the garnish exactly right. Everyone who tried it fell in love. Give this a try and see what you think!

Daniel East's Over-The-Top Tuna Pasta Salad 

Yes, there are a lot of ingredients, but most are commonly found and help make this look as good as it tastes. 


1-  16oz box rotini pasta (regular or wheat)
2-  4.5oz cans of premium white tuna in water


1 c Hellman's mayonnaise
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice (fresh or bottled)
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp paprika 
1 tbsp ground black pepper 
1 tsp sea salt or Kosher salt 
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce


¼ c sliced toasted unsalted almonds
¼ c diced red onion
¼ c shredded carrots
¼ c chopped yellow bell pepper
½ c shredded/chopped fresh baby spinach 
¼ c diced ripe tomato
¼ c chopped broccoli 
1 tsp chopped oregano (1/2 tsp dry OK too)
1 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ c shaved Parmesan cheese (fresh preferred but grated is OK too)

Cook, drain and cool the pasta. Set aside.
Drain the tuna and break apart with a fork; then, add to pasta.
Add garnishes to pasta and toss to incorporate.
Combine mayonnaise, olive oil, Worcestershire, lime juice, and dry spices in a small bowl. Blend well.
Pour dressing over all and toss gently until evenly distributed.
Chill for 20-30 min and serve. 


©2015 Daniel M. East. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

Is there any better tool in a busy person's cooking arsenal than a slow cooker?  The best part about them is the fact that they can be used year-round, as well. If it's too hot to cook, pull out the slow cooker. If you want something warm and comforting in the cooler months ... the slow cooker is just the thing!

With few ingredients and a very short prep time, this recipe is perfect for busy days. Throw everything in the slow cooker and go about your day. Using chicken thighs is a more affordable option than other chicken parts. The use of the slow cooker cuts out any frying, making this a healthier choice as well.

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 4 hours, 10 minutes
Serves: 4


4 skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic - minced
2 Tablespoons ketchup
Flour for dredging


1. Remove visible fat from chicken thighs and roll each in flour until well coated. Set chicken thighs in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2. Combine orange juice, marmalade, soy sauce, garlic and ketchup in a small bowl. Stir until well blended.
3. Pour sauce over chicken thighs and lid the cooker. Cook on LOW setting for 4 hours.
4. Remove thighs from slow cooker and stir sauce well. Top thighs with extra sauce.

Notes: Boneless and skinless thighs may be used.
       Do NOT use thighs with the skin still intact, it will create too much grease in the sauce and chicken may burn.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cheddar and Italian Cracker Snacks

Cheddar and Italian Cracker Snacks

Who remembers these? Way back in the 80's we were all making ranch flavored pretzel snacks and oyster cracker snacks for the holidays. Nothing new at all, but for this version I've changed up the flavor in a very delicious and slightly healthier way.

In lieu of the usual amount of oil and packet of ranch dressing, I've used a packet of Italian dressing and a new and wonderful find, Cabot Cheddar Shake! Powdered Premium Cheddar Cheese. Wow, is this stuff ever good and addictive.

We, of course, tried it first on popcorn and it took everything we had not to make bowl after bowl after bowl. After that I shook it on potato wedges before baking and fell in love with that, as well. Then the kids reminded me of the ranch cracker snacks and I got to thinking (not always a safe bet) and decided cheddar and Italian seasoning would be awesome. I was right.

These are so easy to make and use far less oil than the traditional version and I have two methods for making them. One is the usual oil and seasoning packet and the other is a lighter option using fat-free Italian dressing. Try both and see what you think. Either way, we like to bake ours until they begin to brown for added flavor.

Cheddar and Italian Cracker Snacks
Makes 10 cups
Hands-On Time: 5 minutes
Ready In: 35-40 minutes


20 to 24 ounces oyster crackers (usually sold in bags of 10 to 12 ounces)
1 packet dry Italian dressing seasoning mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup Cabot Cheddar Shake! Powdered Premium Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

1. Place crackers in a large bowl and pour oil over all. Reach in with your hands (or use a spoon) and mix them up well until all are coated.
2. Sprinkle the Italian seasoning over the crackers and again mix up well until all crackers are lightly coated with seasoning.
3. Sprinkle powdered cheese over crackers and mix well.
4. Spread onto a baking sheet or two so you have an even layer of crackers.
5. Bake for 15 minutes and stir once. Bake for another 15 minutes until beginning to brown lightly.
6. Remove from oven, stir and cool completely. You can add another two tablespoons or so of cheese at this time if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

*You can use 1/3 cup of fat-free Italian dressing in place of oil and Italian seasoning for a lighter version.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Butternut Squash, Potato and Cheddar Mash

In my family we have mashed potato lovers and butternut squash lovers, and those who love both. This dual mash with sharp cheddar is so good you'll want to make it for more than just holidays. It's savory-sweet with a tang from sour cream and cheddar that just puts it over the top on flavor. Serve with your favorite protein and a heaping serving of green veggies.

Butternut Squash, Potato and Cheddar Mash
Serves 8

2 pounds potatoes - peeled, cubed and cooked until tender
2 pounds butternut squash - peeled, seeded and roasted until soft
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 stick butter
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 cups finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

1. Drain potatoes well and combine with cooked squash in a large pot. Add butter and once it melts, mash well.
2. Add milk, sour cream, salt and pepper and mix with a hand mixer until smooth and fluffy.
3. Fold in cheese, mound in a serving dish, sprinkle with extra cheese and serve immediately.

*To cook butternut squash, peel and seed and cut into 1-inch chunks. Lay on a roasting pan and sprinkle with olive oil. Roast at 450 degrees F for 20 - 25 minutes or until soft and just beginning to caramelize.