Saturday, August 3, 2013

How to Make Alfredo Sauce - And Other Recipes

I'm hungry. And I've been craving something alfredo-y for about two weeks now. But given my current financial situation, I'm forced to live like a broke college kid, except I don't eat ramen. But buy one get one free hot dogs I found at Food Lion a few weeks ago have been a hit (note the sarcasm). So I thought today, I'll indulge, or rather, let you all indulge, in my alfredo recipe that I'm always asked for. And because I'm not actually cooking today, just writing, please note that the pictures are supplements found through a Google image search.

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I'm going to give you the basics first, which some of you foodie's will think is dumb, but it's the biggest question I get about this type of recipe. Then, I'll divulge into how to make it into alfredo sauce, cheese sauce for mac and cheese, and enchilada sauce.

Some side notes: Buy cheese by the block and shred it yourself, it tastes slightly different than bagged cheese, however, I often use bagged cheese to save time. It can sometimes leave sauces slightly gritty. I more often than not, use garlic powder as opposed to actual garlic cloves. I think the flavor is more potent, use your own judgement. I like spicy food, so using rotel with chili's and a jalapeno or two (with seeds) is of no issue to me. But for the sake of the people I feed (friends, roommates, family, etc) I tend not to burn their tongues off. Milk will stick and burn in a pan, so be sure to stir frequently!

Milk Gravy

  • 16 0z heavy whipping cream or 1/2 and 1/2 (the smaller container)
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T flour
Melt the butter in a sauce pan or dip skillet at medium heat. My stove goes numbers 1-9, I use around a 5-6. When the butter is bubbly but not disappeared, add the flour, stirring until all the butter is absorbed and it turns a light caramel color. This is called a roux. Do not let the butter/flour mix burn! Add in the cream and stir.
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Easy peasy, right?! Now for the fun part, creating this milk gravy into something worth eating. Play with it! The three add ins I'm giving are the ones I use the most. Swap the cream for milk and up your portions and you have the start of a cream based soup (or leave the cream for extra decadence). Or add different cheeses to change the flavor of the sauce bases I'm giving you. The flavor at this stage is easily manipulated into whatever you are craving.

Alfredo Sauce

  • At least 16 oz of shredded Parmesan cheese ( I use probably twice that because I love the flavor)
  • 1t nutmeg
  • 1t black or white pepper
  • 1-2T garlic powder (more or less for your taste)
  • 1-2T onion powder (more or less for your taste)
Add in all the seasonings, leaving out the cheese, to the milk gravy. Stir and let bubble. I usually let it bubble for 2-3 minutes.
Turn down to low heat or simmer and let it get almost to the thickness you desire. I like mine really thick, others like it runny, however it will thicken as it cools, so keep that in mind if you serve family style rather than directly off the stove.
When it reaches your almost desired thickness, add in the cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat once cheese is fully incorporated.
It's ready to serve! I've made nachos, fettuccine, and fondue with this alfredo recipe. Toss in chicken, shrimp, veggies, and pasta for your basic fettuccine alfredo meal.

Mac and Cheese

  • ~16 oz shredded cheddar or colby jack (sharp cheddar is normal mac and cheese, colby jack tastes like cracker barrel mac and cheese or add your choice or combo)
  • 1t ground dry mustard
  • 1t nutmeg
  • 1t black or white pepper
  • 1-2T garlic powder (more or less for your taste)
  • 1-2T onion powder (more or less for your taste)
Follow the directions, same as before. I've been known to add broccoli, ham, or chopped hot dogs to my mac and cheese. But no matter how you mix it, it's comfort food!
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Enchilada Sauce

  • 1-2 cans Rotel (pick your flavor)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 jalepeno, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 1-2T garlic powder (more or less for your taste)
  • 1t cumin powder
  • 1t curry powder
  • 1t paprika
  • White cheese- I've gone back and forth, sometimes adding cheese, sometimes not.
When making the roux for the milk gravy, toss in your onions and jalapeno before adding the flour. Let them cook until almost soft, but still have some body to them. Then add flour and proceed with milk gravy.
Add in seasonings and rotel and let gravy bubble for a few minutes (3-5) on simmer while stirring occasionally. If you wish to add cheese, do so after the sauce has heated back through, removing it from heat/stove once the cheese is blended.

Again, use your personal tastes on how spicy you want this, taking into account what you will be adding the sauce to, as well. I pour it over tortillas rolled with shredded chicken, onions, and refried beans inside. Or over a plate of tortilla chips for easy nachos. Adjust your portions, don't allow the gravy to thicken, and toss in some shredded chicken, black beans and corn for an easy mexican soup.

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I thought I was hungry before, but dang, if I'm not starving now! Let me know what you think of these.