I’ve been a little slack about cooking since we returned for our Germany trip.  We’ve been eating out a ton and catching up with friends in the process.  This week, I decided to get my butt back into the kitchen.  And I’m so glad I did because we’ve had some awesome dinners this week!

It’s been cool and rainy in Atlanta this week, and Monday it was nasty out.  I decided that it would be a good day to make some soup.  Except I didn’t know where to start.  So I went to my favorite Web site to track down some recipes.  Food Network must have known I was coming, because on the homepage I found a link to 50 easy soup recipes…sweet!

I read through most of them until I found one that jumped out at me.  On page 2, there it was.  Potato Chowder (recipe #16).  I’d never made a potato soup before, so I was a little nervous.  But it was actually really easy to make and souper (haha) tasty.  We added in some cheese and ate a baguette with it, which was perfect for dipping into the soup.

Yesterday I started coming down with a cold, so I was definitely craving some comfort food for dinner.  T suggested we make more potato soup, but I was craving something different.  I always read about how amazing lobster mac and cheese is from other bloggers, so we decided to make some ourselves.

A few weeks ago, Ina Garten had a comfort food episode where she made the lobster mac and it looked amazing.  Since I wasn’t feeling well, T went to the store and bought the ingredients.  Let me just warn you – making lobster mac and cheese is expensive.  T spent $40 alone on the lobster (he was only able to find frozen tails in the store by us, it may be cheaper if you can get a whole lobster).  We thought that the lobster wasn’t indulgent enough, so we fried up some bacon to crumble in it as well.  We made fresh bread crumbs, sprinkled them on top, and baked it all until it was golden brown.

Let me just tell you, that mac was amazing!  It made a pretty large amount, so we have leftovers for tonight!  And it wasn’t really too hard to make.  I’ve never really made homemade mac and cheese, but I think I might start doing it now because it just tastes so damn good!

I wish I had some pictures to show you, but alas I don’t.  So sorry.  I’ll past the recipes below in case you want to try them for yourself, which I highly recommend you do!

Potato Chowder

Sauté 4 ounces chopped bacon; add 2 tablespoons butter, 2 sliced leeks and 2 teaspoons each sage and thyme. Add 4 cups chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups cream, a bay leaf and 3 chopped potatoes. Simmer until tender; top with chives.

I also added 3 cloves of garlic and topped it with a handful of cheddar cheese.  I simmered it for about 30 minutes  – it cut the potato chunks pretty small so they would cook faster.

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

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  • Kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
  • 1 quart milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and lobster and stir well. Place the mixture in 6 to 8 individual gratin dishes.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

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