mac and cheese

Food is where the heart is

My mom's favorite saying is "We eat to live, not live to eat". I, however, disagree with this saying 100 percent. Taste is by far the best of the five senses.

I enjoy cooking up new recipes for myself and for family gatherings. Not every risk I take in the kitchen turns out delightful, but I am building my skills one recipe at a time.

I generally get all of my cooking recipes from the Food Network, which makes sense because any time I spend in front of the TV is spent watching the food channel, especially Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri.

A few of my favorite quick cook-ups

My all time favorite comfort food is BACON MACARONI AND CHEESE. I found this treat tucked away in the pages of the Food Network Magazine. Not the quickest meal to make but the contrast of the crispy bacon and sharp cheeses is worth every minute spent cooking.

A classic quick-meal is BEEF AND CHEESE STUFFED PEPPERS. This was one of the first meals I was able to cook on my own, with no help from my dad. Definitely a great choice for beginners, there isn't much room for error when you're stuffing a pepper with pan-seared hamburger meat, boiled rice, cheese and tomato sauce.

HOMEMADE PIZZA is great for interactive gatherings and friendly family competitions. Growing up, every so often we liked to take the gloves off and get a little messy, raising the stakes with pizza cook-offs. My brother, mother, father and I would each have our own personal dish and see who could whip up the best creation, my dad always won of course. There is no right or wrong way to make a pie; you know how you like it, so dress it up as you please.

Some Holiday delights

pumpkin roll

For a quick appetizer try putting together a simple CREAM CHEESE BALL. These are easy to make, and who doesn't enjoy the occasional cheese platter.

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE is a Thanksgiving classic, but have you tried kicking it up a notch? The "Mean Green" as Guy Fieri calls it, is sure to be a hit. I tried this recipe last Thanksgiving, and my family couldn't get enough.

I saved the best for last that is the dessert of course. While many people stick with traditional pumpkin pie, I take the route less traveled and spice things up with my all-time favorite recipe, LIBBY'S PUMPKIN ROLL. Just thinking about the thin pumpkin cake filled with sweet cream cheese filling, rolled to perfection and topped with layers of powdered sugar gets my blood sugar racing. After trying this recipe once, you will catch yourself craving the sweet pumpkin roll year-round.