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Grrrr, I tried a new pastry crust method for this cashew cream vanilla apple tart, and it wouldn’t come together - I ended up adding water, and of course, the whole thing was tough as hell. At least it was pretty, though. Why is pie crust so haaaard?

- Nellie

Happy Thursday, Faux Pasta Tumblr fans! Just letting you know that we just created a Faux Pasta Instagram account. Be sure to follow us there for crazy tasty updates. @fauxpasta is the username.

- Nellie

Super Quick Cheddar Chili Mac & Cheese

I have to admit that I am not always a fancy lady with the most distinguished of tastes or opinions. Approximately 4% of my brain is also dedicated to really tacky celebrity gossip, thinking up bad new product ideas, and idle daydreams about my non-existent young adult novel. In this collection of assorted thoughts was this “recipe” that I made last night.

I thought I’d share it with Tumblr, since this is the kind of safe space that enjoys these kinds of combinations.

Ingredients

- 1/2 pound of leftover cooked “taco meat” - mine was beef
- 1 can of low sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
-  a box of Annie’s Classic Mac & Cheese
- 4 slices of American cheese
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- cilantro for garnish

Reheat your taco meat with your drained and rinsed can of kidney beans on the stovetop in a large skillet, saucepan, or pot. Prepare your mac and cheese as per the box directions, subtracting a minute from the cooking directions. Drain the mac and let it sit out for a sec. To make the cheese sauce, prepare in the saucepan you used to cook the noodles, and when you’re making the sauce, throw in four slices of American cheese. Organic, of course (or not).  Stir and let the cheese sauce melt, then top your bean & meat mixture with the cheese sauce, toss, add red pepper flakes, toss again. Add the drained noodles to your pot, stir, add salt if needed. Transfer to bowls and add some cilantro for color.

- Nellie

Pumpkin Baked French Toast with Sweet Cinnamon Glaze

"Why do you never make these kinds of things for me?" asked my forever boyfriend life partner husband person yesterday, as I hauled this hot ‘n heavy delicious breakfast dish out of the oven.

"Because you would have one piece and I would go back to the kitchen six times to pretend to get water and eat a piece each time in secret, secret shame," I said, glopping delicious glaze all over my contribution to the monthly marketing team meeting at work. 

Oh, you heavenly custardy crisp baked pumpkin french toast, you. This monstrosity is easily made the night before, kept in the fridge, and baked early in the morning before you head off to impress all your co-workers.

Did you notice I didn’t make a single nod to tightly-held cultural pumpkin theologies? Ten points on the food writing derby for Nellie.

You’ll need a 9x13 casserole dish and a very large bowl.

Baked Pumpkin French Toast

  • 10 cups of whatever fancy leftover challah or pain de mie or brioche or soft-ish slightly old white bread you might have on hand (this is important, in my opinion, because it’s a major component of the dish — you don’t want anything with super hard edges on it, because it crisps up further in the oven)
  • 7 large eggs (I personally like it a little eggy)
  • 1 cup of half and half (you can use cream, too), 1 cup of milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Almost a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 4 tablespoons of softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • wee pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

1. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan (I used salted and kind of loved it). Cut bread into one-inch cubes and place in a large bowl.

2. In another large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour evenly over bread and toss very, very gently. I do this because I want everything to be coated, but be careful when you do this. Transition to the 9x13 pan, and cover pan with saran wrap. Store in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. I like for the bread to really soak up the flavors.

3. When you’re ready to bake the French toast, set oven to 350F. Remove French toast from refrigerator and place in the oven as it’s preheating, because it’s Pyrex and Yahoo! Answers is a treasure trove of Pyrex conspiracy theorists and crazies.  Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the French toast is set and golden brown.

5. While the French toast is baking, use a stand or hand mixer to whip up the glaze ingredients. 

6. Cover hot French toast bake with your cream cheese glaze. 

7.  Cover your face with your hands and mutter to yourself, "Good God, what have I done?" 

- Nellie

Hey there. Do you like soup? Do you like toasty grilled cheese with soup? We highly recommend the Chrissy Teigen/Ina Garten roasted tomato basil soup (hate to be this person - Google it), except Nellie puréed it fully since there’s only really one setting on a Vitamix, which is obliterate. It’s very important to read the directions to your new blender when you get it, otherwise you’ll cover your house in soup and give yourself some pretty nasty burns.

Another tip from this month’s Bon Appetit: spread a little mayo on the exterior of your toast before you put it in the pan and you’ll get the most beautiful crispy flavorful grilled cheese of your life.
- Nellie