Cooking Challenge - Recipe Invention! - Cooking Without A Net Blog at - 267215

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Cooking Challenge - recipe invention! 
Feb. 11, 2012 6:48 pm 
Updated: Feb. 12, 2012 10:33 am
When I said "yes" to becoming an Allrecipes Allstar Ambassador for 2012, I knew that it would introduce me to some new challenges and different ideas.  This month's challenge was right in keeping with that.  I and my fellow Allstars were asked to craft a recipe using FiberOne Cereal from General Mills.  My first thought was "I don't need any more fiber in my diet!"  And my second thought was, "wow, this sounds hard. I'm not a chef, can I really do this?"   Well, I guess if I can throw together a dinner out of leftovers and canned veggies out of the cupboard and have it come out tasting good, then I can certainly give this a try.   

First I tasted the cereal, you know, just ate it with milk.  It's pretty tasty, has a nutty flavor.  But I prefer flakes and clusters,  so I wasn't all that thrilled with the texture of it.  Ok, now I know what it tastes like, what is this going to be good with?  What kind of texture is it going to have if I cook it?  I made a list (I'm a big list maker!) of all the things I might do with it.... like pie crust, breading chicken, maybe even adding it to stuffed peppers?   I thought I had a good start.

Next I checked out Fiber One's website, because they must already have some recipes on there and I don't want to duplicate what they've already done.  And yes, they have recipes on there.  And they have already done all the things I was thinking of... even the stuffed peppers were already done! Now what?

I don't know what made me think of mac & cheese.  Maybe the topping? Maybe the taste?  At any rate, I was thinking this flavor might really go well with that. So I got out my ingredients and a small casserole dish and started experimenting.

Using a casserole dish that is about big enough for just two servings so I wouldn't waste too much food if it turned out awful, I added some macaroni, cheese, some crushed cereal, and a few spices. Hmmm.... not that good. Pretty dry, needs more flavors, but overall the dish had promise.  Riekin, my husband, ate about half of it.  Next night, second attempt.  I added less cheese, more cereal, added onion, and some basil (his idea) and milk.  Better, very close to what I want.  We ate the second attempt for dinner, and gave the leftovers from the first attempt to the dogs.

Tonight I got it just the way I think I want it, and I invited over my daughter and two grandsons to give the final experiment the taste trial.  Didn't tell them right away what was in it, I wanted them to taste it first and really find out if it was good or not. Luckily they liked it.  My five year old grandson REALLY liked it, he gave it two thumbs up.  He's kind of a mac & cheese connoisseur since that's they only thing he orders when we go out to eat.  So his taste for this dish is quite developed.

Here's the recipe that I came up with:<

In addition to adding the crushed FiberOne cereal, I also sneaked in some additional protein in the form of unflavored protein powder.  Ok, cheese has protein, but it's the one thing that vegetarians are always keeping an eye on.  So a little extra in this dish means that it's a more complete meal.  Just whisk it into the milk along with the flour and salt, pepper, and butter, and no one is the wiser.  I also sneak it into soups that way too. 

The addition of the basil was Riekin's idea, he thought that the flavor would complement the cereal and it really does.  I've never had basil in mac & cheese before, and it works.  Who knew?  And I added the pepperjack cheese and used the four mexican cheese blend because I like a little spice. You can hardly taste it, as it's absorbed by the other ingredients, but it's there just under the surface keeping this from being bland. 

All in all I'm pretty happy with my results.  And it sure isn't my grandma's mac & cheese!


I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador(a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Cooking Without A Net. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Beth Field.
Photo Detail
Feb. 11, 2012 6:56 pm
Great idea, looks good!
greg h 
Feb. 12, 2012 5:27 am
very inventive.
Feb. 12, 2012 10:33 am
Luv mac & cheese, and this looks like good.
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Beth Field

Member Since
Mar. 2011

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Baking, Stir Frying, Slow Cooking, Asian, Mexican, Indian, Italian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Healthy, Vegetarian, Quick & Easy, Gourmet

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About Me
I am a married mother of 2, stepmom of 2, and grandmother of 8, who loves to camp, kayak and canoe, cook, knit, crochet, cross-stitch, read, play guitar and sing. I lived in New England for my first 25 yrs and then moved to Florida to beat the rush. :-) One reason I learned to cook was because I was always on a diet of some sort, and the diet food was awful. When I first got married one of my mother's friends gave me a cookbook as a wedding gift because she knew how bad I was in the kitchen and wanted to make sure my husband survived. Once I figured out how to read a recipe and follow the directions, I found that it was fun to try new things and easy to learn.
My favorite things to cook
I love to try new recipes, or new flavor combinations. Some of my favorite long time recipes are a veggie pot pie that tastes so hearty people think there's meat in it, and pumpkin pie made from fresh pumpkins. I love cauliflower and pumpkin soups because they are so easy and yet so rich and flavorful. I love to substitute veggies or low fat yogurt for higher fat items in a recipe and then tweak the flavor so it's even better than the original. I also really enjoy taking leftovers out of the fridge and chopping them up on a pizza crust to make the most interesting homemade pizzas with different combinations.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I always try to make the pumpkin and apple pies for the family get togethers because I make them from scratch and they just taste so much better than the frozen ones. For my Dad who is diabetic, I substitute sweetener for most of the sugar so that he can enjoy it too. Roast chicken with roast potatoes and carrots was always a favorite Sunday dinner, and again, very easy to make. For the holidays, we get pitted dates, stuff them with peanut butter, and roll them in powdered sugar for a treat, and now we have the grandkids making them too.
My cooking triumphs
I "inherited" my grandmother's mustard recipe (no one else wanted to make it, too much work!) and then I added to it and tweaked the ingredients to make several different kinds of spicy mustard. I don't make it often, because it's labor intensive, but all my family and friends absolutely love it and bring the jars back for refills. I also am happy with the spaghetti sauce recipe I developed which is sweet and full of herbs and spices. My favorite thing to do when we go out to eat is to write down all the flavors I taste and then try to make the recipe at home. That's how I got started trying to make Indian and Asian food, and shopping at the Indian and Oriental markets, where I can buy the spices that make their cuisine unique. Once I learn what the spices taste like and what the best combinations are, then I can revitalize drab tasting dishes with new spice combinations. My husband loves to try my experiments and we critique them together.
My cooking tragedies
I have made some bread that turned out as bricks - as well as brick brownies. I used soy milk in pudding - yuck! I doubled the yeast in bread because it wouldn't rise - awful! (put it in the car instead with the windows closed, that works!) Growing up I used to burn everything because I had my nose in a book and paid no attention to what was cooking once I put it on the stove. I once boiled all the water out of the teapot and the bottom of the teapot became fused to the gas stove burner! My mother was furious! I used to burn potatoes because I would put them in the pot and then put it on high and leave it. The house would fill with smoke before I would notice they were burning. If there's hope for me to learn to be a good cook, then there's hope for everyone because I was the WORST!
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