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Make your  Valentine “sweetie” one of these easy recipes. Our Favorite Mac & Cheese is the cheesiest!  This easy banana pudding is a real man-pleaser! And everyone loves a good brownie recipe. We promise this is one you’ll make often.

Favorite Mac & Cheese

 

2  cups Barilla Pipette tiny shells (or 8-oz. box small elbow macaroni)

3  Tbsp. butter, softened

8-oz. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

2/3 cup (5-oz. can) evaporated milk

1  large egg, beaten

¼  tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

½ cup grated cheese (for top)

 

Cook macaroni in lightly salted water till fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and add rest of ingredients, except the ½ cup grated cheese. Pour into a greased 1½ qt. casserole baking dish. (7x9x1-inch or 8-inch square is good)  Top with the ½ cup grated cheese; cover tightly with foil and bake about 20 minutes.   

Makes 6 – 8 servings

 

Note: The Barilla Pipette shells can be found in most grocery stores and really hold the melted cheese well. 

Easy Banana Pudding

An  easy “no-cook” recipe that doesn’t use eggs and doesn’t require meringue.

 

1  (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

  cups cold water

1  3.5-oz. (4-serving size)  pkg.

         Instant Vanilla Pudding & Pie Filling

8-oz. container Cool Whip, thawed

1 12-oz box Nabisco vanilla wafers

3  large or 4 medium size ripe bananas

         (be sure they very ripe, a little “speckled” is good)

Lemon juice ( for dipping banana slices)

 

In a large bowl, whisk sweetened condensed milk and water together. Add pudding mix, beating well.  Chill for 5 minutes.  Then fold in Cool Whip.  Place a layer of vanilla wafers in bottom of deep dish (2 qt. round is best).  Then 1 banana, sliced and dipped in lemon juice. Then 1/3 of the pudding mixture. Repeat layers 2 more times, ending with pudding on top. Cover and chill. at least 4 hours.

 

Optional:  French Vanilla Pudding & Pie filling.

Delicious Rich Brownies

 

2   sticks (real) butter, melted

2   cups sugar

¾  cup Hershey’s cocoa powder

4  large eggs, lightly beaten

1   tsp. vanilla

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼  tsp. salt

1   cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

 

Preheat oven to 350º. In medium size bowl, combine melted butter, sugar and cocoa. Stir by hand till well blended. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Sift flour and salt together (to be sure there aren’t any lumps), add to bowl, with nuts,  stirring till smooth and no sign of flour remains. Spread evenly into greased 9x9x2-inch square baking pan with rubber spatula. Bake for about 40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, almost with crumbs. Do not over-bake.  Cool completely and cut into 12 or 16 squares. 

For a great dessert: cut into 3-inch squares and top with vanilla ice cream.

 

Note:  This is a “cake-like” brownie, 1¼ inches thick… For a denser, chewier brownie, bake in a greased 9x13-inch pan for about 20 minutes.

For an easy chocolate frosting on top of brownies:  Sprinkle top with some chocolate chips as soon as brownies come out of the oven.  When they start to melt, spread with a spatula.
Always use "real" butter for cookies and brownies.  It adds to the flavor.
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