A few weeks ago my house turned into a video set and today you get to see why! Click play below to take a little sneak peek into my life, my home, and my kitchen. (And watch for the part where my 2nd grader gets clothes-lined in the back yard. #favoritescene.)
Kate and I have talked before about some of the funny misconceptions that exist when you’re a food writer and blogger. One of the most common, is that we must cook everything from scratch and spend hours in the kitchen for all of our super fancy organic meals. If you’ve read this post from this past Mother’s Day, you know how far off the mark that is! While Kate and I have been working together over the past 5 years, we’ve actually never lived in the same state. We had never even been to each other’s homes until very recently. Kate made the long drive up to visit me in Idaho and when she rolled in with tired, hungry kiddos, guess what we made? Here’s the Instagram picture for proof:
That’s right, classic Mac & Cheese
with a side of cheese puffs. On plastic plates. It was fast, easy, and the only thing that every single one of our kids happily agreed on. I mean what I said in that video- I really rely on pantry staples to create quick weeknight meals and many of my family’s most favorite meals fall into that “semi-homemade” category.
Of all the great new varieties of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, this Creamy Garlic & Herb Alfredo is my favorite. Just like the name suggests, it boasts a smooth and creamy sauce, dotted with Italian herbs and seasonings. It makes a terrific quick meal on its own, and works wonders as a base for endless add-ins. I’m going to show you how I cooked the recipe in that video! If you’d like to make this recipe all from scratch, just boil your own noodles and try our Guiltless Alfredo recipe.
I’m using a few things I almost always have on hand for this dish: some jarred sun-dried tomatoes (roasted red peppers would work well, too) marinated artichoke hearts for a punch of flavor, some cooked and shredded chicken breast (great use for leftovers!) and a little fresh spinach.
All of those ingredients are pretty much ready to go, so really all you need to do is toss them in the pot of the prepared pasta.
The creamy sauce coats everything in cheesy goodness. You could place the whole batch in a baking dish if you prefer, but I like to plate up single-portions. Besides looking adorable, it’s a great way to keep an eye on portion control.
For an extra punch of both flavor and texture, I made a quick breadcrumb mixture for the topping. This is a great way to use up that one last slice of bread that no one wants to eat; it’s even okay if it’s a little dried out! Give it a quick pulse in a food processor along with some grated Parmesan cheese and a little drizzle of butter.
Top each baking dish,
and broil it in the oven until it’s golden brown and lightly toasted.
You get a seriously flavor-packed bite. The artichokes sort of blend in with the color of the pasta and then surprise you with tangy flavor. The tomatoes add a little texture, and more of those Italian herbs, and the fresh spinach adds pops of color. Shredded chicken creates a hearty meal that fills up happy tummies.
I’m not exaggerating when I say this meal takes less than 20 minutes start-to-finish. Pair it with a loaf of crusty bread from the grocery store bakery and a quick green salad and you seriously have a filling, home-cooked cooked meal that’s casual enough for a weeknight dinner, and sophisticated enough for company!
Hearty Garlic and Herb Alfredo Bake
Recipe By Our Best Bites
1 box Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Garlic and Herb Alfredo Variety
1 cup cooked, diced or shredded chicken breast
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, torn into small pieces
1 6 or 7 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and diced
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and sliced
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter
Prepare Macaroni and Cheese according to package directions. Add chicken, spinach, artichoke hearts, and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir over low heat until everything is combined and heated through. Spoon mixture into a serving dish, or 6 individual ramekins. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, and butter, and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle evenly on top of pasta and place under a broiler just until crumbs are golden and toasted. Serves: 6.
Brought to you by Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.
Settle down everyone. I don’t think anyone left a ‘hater’ comment. No one was nasty or mean. Is it ‘hater’ to have an opposing opinion? Also no one said they hated the recipe or semi-homemade recipes in general. I think i can understand what some of these people are saying. I visit a lot of food blogs and this one does seem to have more than the average amount of ads….from what I’ve seen. That’s ok. No big deal but when the whole post is an ad you can’t be surprised that some people are put off by it. And these blogs posts ARE ads. It’s a paid endorsement…that’s an ad. No one is saying there can’t be ads on the blog. Everyone understands that. I think people are just concerned that this is going to be common place. If several of your posts every month are paid endoresments…then that might loose readers. That cant be surprising. I think that’s all people are trying to say. We want to see ‘your best bites’. Not ”your best paid bites’.
Yum. Pasta is a staple here too, and on occasion a good, fancy but quick meal like this is perfection. I’ve never tried artichoke hearts with my . Hmm. Must consider…
Love this one too. It looks so easy and so good. I’m excited to try it out with my family. 🙂
This is my most favorite of the Mac n’ cheeses. What a great, quick dinner idea. I love the video too! Your family is adorable.
How did you get the trampoline in your ground like that? I think that was even cooler than the recipe.
I love the fact that you are posting some semi-homemade recipes! As much as I would love to make everything from scratch all the time, there’s just no way I can do it. I have another food blog that I follow (although you guys are my all time fave) and this woman makes everything homemade. She even makes her own hamburger buns! Who has time for that?! I think all she must ever do is cook and clean up. Thanks! Keep at it! Love you guys!
First of all, settle down people!:) A couple recipes with a base of something we all have in the pantry (admit it or not) is not a sell out – nor is it not ‘real food’. Yes, feeding your family a box of mac and cheese every night is not great. Every now and then – and with some fresh ingredient add ins – is perfectly fine and shows how real life works. Next time I’m shopping, I will look for the new flavors and I probably wouldn’t have done so without you showing me some ideas on how to make it even better. So thanks!
Second, seeing your son get clothes lined was hilarious! I appreciate the video for that alone!
I keep writing comments and deleting them.
I just want to say that I’ve been a big fan of your recipes for a while. And I do understand that it’s your blog and you need to do what works for you. I just hope that the blog eventually comes back to a focus on easy recipes made with real food.
Well done! Loved watching this.
Love the video, especially seeing how your family interacts with one another. Thanks!
I don’t feel like you are selling out. I may be being naive, but I actually trust that you gals try to advertise things you sincerely do like. It isn’t like the World Olympics athlete advertising a Big Mac that they couldn’t or wouldn’t ever eat. I buy ice cream and mac and cheese. Why not buy the ice cream my favorite foodies love? It is nice to have someone else’s opinion on products even when they get paid for it as long as I can trust that they pick to be paid for the things they sincerely like. I’m sure you have lots and lots of potential things to endorse and you carefully pick and choose the ones you do.
You got it Ellen! We literally get hundreds of offers to work with brands on sponsored content and we partner with a very select few. From the very beginning we’ve told our readers that we won’t endorse anything we wouldn’t/don’t use ourselves and we stick to it! My family buys good ol’ Mac and Cheese by the case at Costco- so it’s definitely something we use!
Love the totally cute video, Sara!
Personally, I don’t see your sponsorship as selling out ~ I think there are a lot of mom’s out there who use boxed meals as a base (Rice-A-Roni, scalloped potatoes, etc.) and add in some kind of protein and vegetable to make a casserole. Maybe only once in a while, on soccer nights, but most of us understand that you aren’t telling us to make these boxed meals our new cooking norm, I think you are trying to offer a very fast choice for the one night we may need a clever idea. I know that you have a wide audience and there are bound to be some disenchanted readers, but there are still a ton of use who understand that busy moms sometimes sacrifice a perfect meal for more time to play with the kiddos 🙂 Also, you are very understanding, I hate to say it, but I’m not sure I’d be as diplomatic with rude people…. Gold star for you!
Sara, not only are you sharing a great recipe with us, you’re also sharing a part of your home and family with us, something you definitely don’t have to do on a cooking blog, but I love that you’ve shared personal parts of your life with us! I’m sad that some blog followers can’t seem to appreciate that. You and Kate are amazing, and your blog and recipes have changed my life! I will always be a grateful and true follower. And I love the added aspect of videos. Anyway, I didn’t plan on getting so long-winded, I just wanted to say that I love you and Kate and ourbestbites.com!
I don’t say this to be hurtful, but it disappoints me to see you selling out. I’ve always loved your blog, but I’ll visit less now.
Such a fun video! Loved the kids playing and everyone eating around the table glimpse…seeing your husband, and the BYU picture–woohoo!
You are adorable!!! I loved the video and seeing your cute family and beautiful house.
This looks good, I know my daughter would eat it. I am going to throw in some julienned basil in place of some of the spinach. My basil plants are going crazy right now.
What a yummy looking recipe! Loved the video! I feel like I know you girls from the way you write, so it’s fun to actually hear your voice!
Sara, that was a very diplomatic response to the hater comments. Ugh. Sorry you have to deal with people who rather than show gratitude for all the work that goes in to provide readers with dinner inspiration (thank you!!!) choose to be angry about allowing you to run your site as a business and make money while doing something you enjoy. Just know that those mean spirited people are the minority and you and Kate’s work is much appreciated! Since my kids ask for Mac n Cheese for just about every meal, I am excited to try these with some grown up flair!
I love this comment! We as readers do not pay them for their recipes and hard work, so they need to make their money somewhere. Ads and sponsors are it. I wish people would just appreciate this free service and not complain if a recipe doesn’t suit them!
Well said Allison and Heather! I love OBB and all of the wonderful recipes. I love that you, Sara and Kate, are real. Great video, thank you for sharing a part of your life with us!
I agree with KS. I really thought this was going to be an I’m A Mormon video. Looks good though. Wish my daughter could have dairy I am missing mac and cheese.
Totally thought that was going to be a Mormon Message before the box of Mac and Cheese came on. Ha! I also have not seen this at Smith’s-which is the only place I shop. Maybe soon I guess!
LOL- I love the film style of those videos, this definitely takes the same approach. Love it! “My name is Sara. I’m a Mom, a maid, and a mac n’ cheese eater.” 😉
Looks good, but it seems like all your recipes lately have been based on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Is this your blog, or a commercial? How many recipes are going to be posted with Mac and Cheese? I don’t mean to be harsh. It just makes me think you’re just about using a product you’re being paid to advertise. Its been frustrating enough lately always wading through all the pop up ads you have on here. Are the recipes just going to be commercials too? Post ads on the side of your blog. Make links to great recipes using the products. Don’t make selling a product the whole subject of your blog. I’m about to stop checking in. I see enough commercials already.
Jenna, part of our full-time jobs involve working as freelance food writers. We’ve made it clear that we are enjoying developing original recipes for Kraft’s four new varieties (this is the 4th and final one) this month so that’s why we’re sharing them with our audience. Since we have a vast array of readers in our demographic, we post a vast array of recipe types, and some of those involve brands that we support and choose to partner with in sponsored content. There are over 750 in our recipe index, so while we understand that you might not enjoy these specific ones, we hope you’ll enjoy some new ones you haven’t tried before by browsing the index. Happy Cooking!
This is like a cheater shortcut for your bacon artichoke penne bake, which we love, but sometimes I don’t want to get all those dishes dirty or don’t have time. Having a shortcut that’s similar is awesome. Thanks!
Yes, exactly Ellie- good eye! 🙂
I was wondering where you got your cute individual sized baking dishes both in the video and in the blog post. Thanks!
I picked up those cute baking dishes at my local Marshall’s store. My store almost always carries similar items on a regular basis. Check it out and see if you can score a deal- I think those were only $2 bucks each!
Oh, and the blue/yellow/green ramekins are from World Market. I bought them this past spring, but they might still have them!
I’m making this for dinner tonight! Where did you get your adorable serving dishes? I love the red!
Steffanie- see my comment to Bobbi! Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Wow – I am looking for this tonight – I have some grilled chicken that needs to be eaten and this looks so good!!!
Ok I may have missed something along the way with these mac ‘n cheese recipes, I’m like the kid in class with the “huh” look on her face, but I went to Walmart the other day and could not find them. So where do we find the new flavors? Are they only in certain stores right now or a section in the store?
Elina, they’re new, so they might still be rolling out into stores near you. Where I live, all of my Walmarts carry them (they’re by the regular Mac n’ Cheese, and the box looks very similar, so you sometimes have to really look to spot them!) and I’ve bought them at my local Albertsons as well. I would imagine if they’re not in your stores yet, they should be very soon!
The Garlic and Herb one is the ONE I am dying to try and the closest store that carries it is over 30+ miles from my house. I live in Salt Lake, for crying out loud! 🙂 You can look on Kraft’s website (the link at the bottom of the page – Yes the ad!) will take you there and you can type in what you are searching for. It will tell you what stores by you have which kinds! Hope this help!
You and your family are the cutest ever!!! Thanks for sharing.
Looks delicious! Would you mind sharing where your cute measuring cups are from?
Those are from World Market! Here’s the link.
Fun video!! I’ve been drooling over your 2 recipes now with the new Kraft mac and cheese flavors. Gotta try them!!