Baked sweet potatoes are so easy to make, making them an incredibly healthy side dish ready to be served with absolutely anything. One of the easiest and most useful ways to cook sweet potatoes is to roast them. The one question I get most often […]
Crusted Top Mac and Cheese is a family favorite in my household. We absolutely love it! As I began to prepare for our cookout yesterday, I opted to cook dishes that were a lot less time consuming than usual so I could just live in the moment and spend that extra quality time with my family. Of course, no one was having it, especially my boys. So after the third request to make “my macaroni and cheese,” I realized that no cookout is complete without it. This generously buttered casserole with the crusted top is the thing that dreams are made of. Well… my dreams at least but we’ll save that for a later discussion.
Growing up, homemade Mac and Cheese was always prepared the traditional way. It was delicious, but the same ‘ol boring Mac and Cheese finally needed an overhaul. It was always made from scratch, never the boxed stuff. I remember times when my boys wanted to go to Red Lobster just to eat the Mac and Cheese. I would say, “I can buy you 5 boxes of this from the supermarket for the same price as one.” As they have gotten older, they no longer make those kind of requests. I’ve actually been experimenting over the years with different cheeses, creams and milk and I have finally created a masterpiece. The most flavorful combination, in my opinion is Chardonnay, sharp cheese and toasted Ritz cracker crumbs. However, I’ve been mixing it with a couple of other ingredients to make it taste homemade. I must say, no one has objected! They like this Mac and Cheese recipe so much that they ask for it often. Who can blame them, because nothing pairs better with barbecue ribs and baked beans. This recipe requires a little more time and effort than boxed Mac and cheese but you will be oh so glad you did. If you’re not a fan of cooking with wine, then substitute it with sour cream. This is the closest ingredient to adding more flavor, with a similar taste in place of dry white wine. I guarantee you, the whole family will definitely approve!
Crusted Top Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 16 ounce box of elbow macaroni pasta
- 4 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 2 cups sharp cheese
- 1½ sticks of butter
- ½ cup minced onions
- 6 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups half and half
- 1 cup crushed ritz crackers topping
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil and cook the macaroni until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Melt ½ stick of butter and stir in the crushed Ritz crackers and toast until lightly browned.
- Remove breadcrumbs from the pan and set aside. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel and re-use for next step.
- Melt remaining butter, add onions and stir over low heat until onions are translucent. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika.
- Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add wine, then gradually stir in the half and half.
- Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly until the sauce is thickened and smooth. Add cheese and stir continuously until cheese melts.
- Combine the macaroni with the cheese sauce and mix well until it turns into a buttered casserole. Sprinkle extra grated cheese on the top along with the toasted bread crumbs.
- Bake in a pre-heated 350 oven for approximately 20 minutes or until heated all the way through and golden brown on the top and serve.
Summer Squash cooked in a butter and canola oil, lots of onion and sprinkled with rosemary. This combination gives the Squash the most most delicious, sweet, buttery and herb flavor. Summer is here so you can count on getting the best in season, tender, slightly […]
Mashed Potatoes are one of my favorite side dishes, especially if done right. Although it’s popular, many people hesitate to make them in fear of a less than creamy texture they desire. Adding heaving whipping cream and cream cheese will make this the hardest-to-resist side dish […]
That is some fine-looking cornbread. The inside is moist, the top nicely browned. It smells heavenly baking in the oven. Where I come from, many folks considered it a crime to put sugar in cornbread. They’re drop dead serious about it. They think if you put sugar in your cornbread batter it becomes cake, which is as confusing as heck since the Hot Water Cornbread made by the skilletfuls is called a “cake” of cornbread. As long as it looks and tastes just as good as this one does, I’m willing to be the test dummy.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 stick unsalted butter melted
- 1¼ cup buttermilk room temperature
- 1 tablespoon canola oil for skillet
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted (for glazing)
- 1 tablespoon honey for glazing
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Grease cast iron skillet with 1 tbsp canola oil, coat well and place in the oven for 5 minutes until hot.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter and sugar. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth. Add the buttermilk and mix to combine.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until only a few lumps remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Allow the batter to sit for 3 minutes before placing it in the oven to bake.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and insert a toothpick into the center to endure that it comes out clean. Remove from the oven, brush the top with butter and honey and allow to cool before serving.
Mushrooms add a hearty, meaty texture to any dish, and this recipe combines two delicious varieties sautéed with garlic for maximum flavor! Combining mushrooms in a single dish also amps up the nutritional value considerably. Shiitake mushrooms are rich in vitamin D, and baby portobellos […]
We all can remember a time when we didn’t like Brussels sprouts and were forced to eat them. These Honey Balsamic Bacon Brussels Sprouts are not only easy to prepare, but they are good for you. If you’re having company, be sure to make extra’s […]
Although grown year round, collards’ peak season is the first quarter of the year, so the time is now. Although uniquely tolerant of both cold and hot climates, collards (and kale) actually benefit from frost, which causes them to produce sweeter leaves.
Here are just some of its many virtues:
One cup of cooked collards contains 49 calories and 4 grams of protein. They are one of the best non-dairy sources of calcium, surpassing an 8-ounce serving of milk. (This is a tidbit worth posting on the refrigerator, especially for your lactose-intolerant loved ones.)
Collards boast a unique trifecta: Anti-inflammatories in the form of Omega-3 fatty acids (who knew?!) and Vitamin K; Antioxidants in the form of beta carotene, Vitamins C and E and manganese; and detoxifiers in the form of glucosinolates, compounds that are being studied for their abilities to ward off cancer as well as cardiovascular disease.
The only reason not to eat your collards is if you’re taking blood thinners or you’ve got pre-existing gallbladder or kidney issues (collards are a considerable source of oxalates). Everyone else: Jump in that collard pool!
Southern Style Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey
- 2 pounds smoked turkey wings necks or tails
- 4 lbs collard greens or 2 bunches
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 large onion sliced
- 4 garlic cloves diced
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon green jalapeno hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cushed red pepper
- salt & pepper to taste
- Wash, roll, cut and drain greens.
- Heat Canola oil on med-high heat in a large pot and add sugar and onions cooking until translucent.
- Combine turkey meat, brown sugar and vinegar and cook until sugar dissolves, stirring continuously.
- Add the collard greens and toss to coat the collard greens with the vinegar mixture. Add the chicken stock and green hot sauce and red pepper flakes. Season the collard greens with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Cover and allow greens to simmer and reduce the heat to low.
- Cook greens until they have reached desired tenderness, approximately 2 hours until.
- Remove turkey meat and separate from the bones and shread the meat into bite sized pieces. Discard the bones and skin and add the meat back in with the collard greens and stir.
- Season the collard greens taste with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and serve.
Traditional mac and cheese has always been my favorite but ever since I experimented with these unique little muffins, I may have developed a slight case of amnesia to the old way of doing things. Hey now.. don’t judge me. One of my favorite things […]