I use this as a base for so many recipes, I thought I would include it here. This comes from Marion Cunningham’s wonderful update of the Fanny Farmer cookbook. If you don’t have a copy, I would go to Barnes and Noble right now and purchase one. It’s a bargain, at only $7, and has every basic recipe you need. Someday, I will write you a lengthy discourse about why Marion Cunningham is my very favorite cookbook author. Suffice it to say right now that all of her books are rare gems.
And Cheese Sauce itself? An absolute inspiration. Make it into potatoes au gratin, mac and cheese, rice casserole, cheesy broccoli… Mix it with virtually any starch and/or vegetable, bake it in the oven at 350ish til bubbly, and you’ve got dinner.
- 2 T butter
- 2 T flour
- 1 1/4 C milk, warmed
- 3/4 C grated cheddar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter, then add the flour. Stir into a paste and cook over medium/low heat (don’t let it brown) for 2 minutes. Add the milk, slowly so you don’t get lumps, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for about 2 more minutes. Take off the heat, then stir in the cheddar, salt and pepper.
When I was growing up, pinto beans were a staple meal at our house, one we all enjoyed. It’s still one of my favorites. I can make a pot of beans for dinner one night, then stretch that to lunch for at least two more days. And it takes about 5 minutes to put together, then the crockpot does the work.
- 1 – 2 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed and picked over (sometimes you find little rocks in them you have to get rid of)
- Leftover chunks of smoked ham* (about the size of half a fist)
- Salt to taste
Place your rinsed beans in a crockpot and cover with water until there is about 1.5 to 2″ on top of the beans. Add in the ham. Cover, and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 to 8. Add salt to taste.
*We had a bunch of ham leftover from Easter, so I portioned it out into freezer bags and use it for beans, right from the freezer. If you don’t have any leftover ham, you can always use a piece of bacon. Just throw it in there whole.
I like to serve these with hot sauce (I love Sriracha) and simple quesadillas. The quesadillas are deeelish dipped into the soupy beans. They are also good topped with pickled jalapenos. The next day, you can mash these up over heat until most of the liquid is cooked out. Then use them in a burrito with cheddar, more sriracha, and a little sour cream.