Tag Archives: Penn State

White Cheddar Baked Mac ‘n Cheese

18 Jan

There is just nothing like the ooey-gooey goodness that is baked macaroni and cheese.  It is the comfort food of comfort foods, and one of my very personal favorite foods in general. Every holiday, I insist upon a dish of baked mac n cheese being present.  Fortunately, my Grandma knows this and of course never lets me down.

There are so many variations of baked mac and cheese, but one of my favorites is a White Cheddar cheese recipe that was part of a cooking class required for my major.  When I tasted that delicious cheesiness, I was in love.  And so was my roommate, Megan.  We’ve gotten ambitious enough on some of the days we’ve craved mac n cheese to make this recipe at home (honestly, the only recipe I’ve ever made at home from that cooking class).   Yesterday was one of those days. 🙂 This recipe is perfect for serving as a side dish for a family or, if you’re like Megan and I, eating the whole pan between yourselves!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 lb elbow macaroni (about 1/2 of a box)
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 lb sharp white cheddar cheese, grated (One 8 oz block)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (~ 2 small handfuls)
  • 1 9X13 baking/casserole dish
  • 2 cups medium white sauce  (as follows)
    – 4 tbsp butter
    – 4 tbsp flour
    – 2 cups warmed milk
    – 1/4 tsp salt
    – 1/8 tsp pepper

When we make this at our apartment, Megan starts off grating the cheese while I get water boiling for the noodles and start the white sauce.  This is also a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  To start the white sauce, melt your butter in a sauce pan, once it is melted, quickly whisk in the flour by the tablespoonful.  I had Megan adding in the flour while I whisked to avoid making a giant mess (Yeah, it didn’t work…).  Then whisk in the warmed milk, and continue whisking until thick and add the salt/pepper & 1/4 tsp dry mustard.  Don’t forget to keep an eye on your boiling water! Once it starts boiling, add in the noodles.

While waiting for the noodles to finish, turn the heat to low on the white sauce, and whisk occasionally.  When the noodles are finish, drain them and place them in a large bowl.  Mix in the grated/shredded cheese with the warm noodles.  Then, slowly mix in the white sauce.  Put the noodles & cheese sauce mixture into a casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray and coat the surface with breadcrumbs.  Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes and enjoy!!!!

Yum! Baked cheesy goodness!

WE ARE… awesome mac n cheese chefs!!!


Mark Your Calenders!

17 Jan

Everyone mark your calenders and plan to make a trip to State College!
Monday, March 21st & Monday, April 18th will be the official meal dates of my HRIM 430: Cafe Laura theme dinner! We need at least 100 people to attend each dinner and would love it if you could stop by!
We’re planning a lot of great dishes and can’t wait to see you all there!

And don’t worry, even though I’m going to be pretty busy this semester, LION BITES has an update or two in the works! Get ready for Hawaiian Punch Cupcakes & Cheddar Mac n Cheese!

Please, check back for details about our theme dinner and keep your eyes open for a Facebook Event & flyers around campus! We would genuinely appreciate all of your support!


WE ARE… in shock that we’ve made it to this class already! Time’s running short here at PSU.

Restaurant Review: Faccia Luna

15 Dec

Although unfortunately I have no pictures, I HAD to write a review on this restaurant.  Located on South Atherton Street in State College PA (and two Virginia locations), this is hands down the best Italian I have ever had in State College.  I’ve been dying to try it out for months, and finally went with my mom this past weekend!

Faccia Luna is well-known in the area for their wood-oven pizzas.  DELICIOUS.  This is exactly what I was coming here to try…but we’ll get to that! Let’s start off with the appetizer we ordered: Tomato Bruschetta with fresh mozzarella cheese.  Diced chopped tomatoes with olive oil, basil & garlic top thickly sliced crusty baguettes.  Add fresh mozzarella (for $1.50) and you will be in heaven with this delicious appetizer.  I’m pretty sure we were served 5 (possibly 4)  large pieces of toasted baguette topped with a heaping mound of the tomato & basil mixture.  I highly recommend it, especially with the mozzarella.

Now, we move into entrées!  My mom ordered  crab cake caesar.  Anyone who knows me, knows I am not a fan of seafood, but I decided to be brave and take a *tiny* bite of the crab cake.  And I have to say, it was pretty good!  Would I order it? No but I don’t like seafood…should you order if it you like seafood?  YES!

And now for our feature presentation:  WOOD OVEN PIZZA.  Confronted with a list of 13 signature pizzas, options to choose my own toppings, white sauce or red sauce, 3 sizes, thick pizza or stuffed pizza, I had quite a decision to make.  I wish I could have tried them all, but ended up going with a small Roma pizza, topped with sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil.  It was not small.  It fed me for two days. And it was perfection.  Best pizza I’ve had in State College without question.  The wood-firing gave the crust an awesome sort of smokey taste, and I’m always a fan of tomatoes & mozzarella! At $11.90 for the small, it was a great value too, since it fed me two meals.  AND the crust tasted even better cold!  Toppings themselves however were better hot, and the pizza was good reheated.

While the food was amazing and everything I ever expected, I also have to comment on the appearance.  I loved that you could see into the kitchen and watch them putting the pizzas into the oven.  There was an indoor seating area & an outdoor one.  We sat in the outdoor which was sealed and cozily heated for the winter.  It was kind of nice to get the feel of an outdoor eating area in the middle of winter!

So if you ever find yourself in State College, wondering where to go for dinner, venture down South Atherton and find Faccia Luna with it’s neon sign.

In second thought…don’t. More pizza for me!!! (just kidding!)

WE ARE… happy to have found a new favorite restaurant!!!!

Southwest (Tex-Mex) Soup

16 Nov

Hey everyone!! Sorry for the late update! I know I’ve been bad at getting this out on Sundays lately but I have been super super busy.  My entire weekend I didn’t even have an hour that I didn’t have something specific to do! It was crazy!

So the weather has been getting colder, and that always puts me in the mood for soup.  ESPECIALLY soups like chili.  The LION BITE for this week is a chili-like mexican inspired soup that my mom got the recipe for last year. When she made it I loved it immediately.  I have made it multiple times since she acquired the recipe, making little variations each

time.  It’s so easy to personalize this soup to your liking.  The best part is that the only effort required is to brown the meat & give it an occasional stir! This truly is a dump and stir recipe.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey (Both work excellently. I usually use whatever is cheaper…broke college student :-/)
  • 1 can black beans (drained)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I used fired roasted this time for some extra spice)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes & green chiles
  • 1 can of water (can just be from the tap)
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning or chili seasoning
    If desired: 1 tbsp garlic powder,
    diced onion, diced peppers, etc

To start off the recipe, I brown my ground beef/turkey in a skillet with garlic powder and    salt & pepper (chopping into small chunks the whole time as though you are making    tacos). Although I didn’t this particular time, I would add the onion in with the browned  beef if I were using it.   While the meat is browning, start a large pot over high heat with  both cans of diced tomatoes, drained black beans & water and allow that to start to  simmer.

Once the beef/turkey is cooked entirely through, I would then drain off the excess grease   from the meat & add this to my sauce pot.  After this simmers awhile, I stir in about half a  packet of either taco seasoning or chili seasoning (save the other half for next time!), and  turn the heat down to medium-low.  Cover and allow this to simmer for about an hour,  stirring occasionally and enjoy!!! This recipe makes enough for multiple people or enough  for you to have the next day for lunch AND dinner if you want!  That’s one reason I really  like it.  It’s simple, quick and delicious.

I like to top my soup with shredded cheese & tortilla chips!


My Tips:

  • If you don’t like spicy things, stick with the mild chiles & diced tomatoes, but they have a “hot” version for all you heat lovers out there!
  • This is a great way to use up leftover taco meat by just adding it to the soup & skipping adding the seasoning packet later.  You can also use up any leftover onions & peppers you have in your fridge.
  • Don’t forget to check on it occasionally! You might need to adjust the heat on your stove. You don’t want it to boil over!
  • Serve topped with shredded cheese & crunched tortilla chips!

WE ARE…. having a potluck dinner tonight so check back soon for another update!!!

A Trip to the Cheese Farm!!!

7 Nov

Any of you that know me know that I LOVE cheese (in fact, I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t enjoy!), so you can guess how excited I was when we took a trip with the Catering Club to a local cheese farm!

Last Monday, our club spent the day at Stone Meadow Farm in Woodward, PA, where we were treated to a presentation from the farmer who showed us how he makes cheese with raw milk from his own cows! Now that’s local cheese!  When we arrived, the farmer had already started his cheese-making process by adding rennet, which contains rennin (the enzyme to make cheese) to the milk. . After slicing down into the semi-solid milk/rennin mixture into cubes in a giant vat, they mixed that up & began to ladle it into cylindrical containers placed on mesh wire.  This allows the curds to stay in the cylinder and the whey to compress. That day, he was making Tellegio & brie cheeses. After some time, the curds compress upon themselves and whey drains out, so that the cylinders shrink down! I thought that was so cool! I had been to a cheese farm in Holland before, but never knew about this process!

Ladling the curds & whey into the cylinders

We even got to have some samples of various cheeses including: Tellegio, Cheddar, Jalapeño Jack, Camembert & Swiss.  They were all delicious! Some of us even sampled the whey.

While the curds & whey compressed, he took us into his storage cooler and showed us all the cheese he had stored in vacuum sealed packages. We had a picnic out on the yard & of course we all purchased some cheese to take home with us!  This was a really cool experience.  If you ever get the chance to see this, I really encourage you to do it!!

Support your local farmers at your nearby farmer’s market! It’s not all about the veggies & fruits! They’ve got some really cool products & I encourage you to explore everything they have to offer!

Hamburger Gravy

31 Oct

So, it’s  been a little crazy lately,  and I apologize for not posting as regularly, but I promise you’ll all love this simple comfort food recipe today!  This hamburger & gravy recipe is something my Grandma always made for me growing up and it is one of my favorites on a cold day! And the way this weather has turned around lately, you’ll definitely want something delicious to warm you up!

What You’ll Need: 1 lb ground beef, appx. 1/8 cup all-purpose flour, milk, salt & pepper and a loaf of your favorite bread for toast

Start off by browning your ground beef seasoned with salt & pepper in a large skillet, continually chopping/crumbling as if you were browning it for tacos.

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet w/salt & pepper.

Remove the beef from the heat & sprinkle with flour, continually stirring until beef is evenly coated.  Place the skillet back over medium heat & stir in 1/4 cup milk, then allow to thicken.  Add more milk until you get the texture/consistency you want.  I prefer a thick gravy. Season with salt & pepper.   Serve layered between and over toast & enjoy this leaning tower of awesomeness!

Leaning Tower of Awesomeness 🙂

Or you could skip all this and cheat using a packet of black pepper gravy mix (country gravy mix) from the store.  All it takes is about 60 cents and some water and it tastes just as delicious! Shhh! Don’t tell my Grandma!

WE ARE… still enjoying that win over Michigan! LET’S GO STATE!

Pineapple-Fried Rice

18 Oct

Some of you might remember my post about Ginger’s from my trip to the Big Apple in August.  Those of you that read that blog post, probably remember how much I raved about my meal there: Pineapple Fried Rice w/Chicken.  I’d never heard of it before, but took a chance and fell in love! Well…I really enjoyed it at least!  For awhile I’ve been wanting to recreate this dish, so after finding some canned pineapple in my while grocery shopping in my parents cupboards (what can I say? I’m a broke college student!) I decided I was going to go for the win and give it a try minus the chicken to make a vegan fried rice.

I looked up a recipe online, which you can find here, & gathered up the necessary ingredients.  To make fried rice, you should typically make the rice the day before (great way to use up leftover white rice!), but since I didn’t really plan ahead, I just stuck mine in the fridge for an hour (uncovered).  After an hour passed, following the recipe I added oil & soy sauce to my rice, and set it aside.

Veggies & Cashews

Next I heated up a pan with a thin layer of vegetable oil until it got hot and added my cashews.  Instead of using fresh garlic (which I’m sadly out of), I added garlic powder instead.  I let the cashews cook for a minute with the garlic powder before next adding about half a bag of Wegman’s Frozen mixed vegetables (mine had green beans, carrots, corn & peas). Then I stir fried these vegetables for about minute.  I chose not to add the egg (to keep this a vegan friendly dish!), but if you were going to do that (typically there is an egg in fried rice), this would be when you do it.

My next step was to mix in the canned pineapple (drained) to the pan, then the rice with soy sauce.  I kept stirring the rice until it made popping sounds & then I served it up in a nice big bowl! YUM!!!!


Next time I will definitely try it with the chicken because I loved that.  I will also maybe try using the egg next time as well.
My only tip for this week, is definitely use the cashews! That is what makes this so yummy!!!

WE ARE…recreating Ginger’s on Fashion Ave!