Southern Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese

Southern Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups elbow macaroni uncooked
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup Colby & Monterey Jack shredded (cheese blend)
  • 6-8 oz Velveeta cheese shredded (feel free to cut back on the Velveeta if you don’t want it to be super creamy)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar shredded (can use less if you don’t like a sharp taste in your mac n cheese)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup smoked cheddar cheese shredded (a must)
  • paprika optional

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Cook macaroni until just al dente or a little under al dente. (Look on the back of the box to see how long you need to cook your pasta for it to reach al dente.) Be careful not to overcook.
  • Drain pasta and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add milk, heavy cream & cheeses (except for the smoked cheddar).
  • Stir to combine.
  • Taste the milk mixture and add salt & pepper until it has a good taste. (You can also add in other seasonings like onion powder, paprika, etc. Tasting will help avoid having a plain, bland baked macaroni & cheese.)
  • When you are content with the taste, add the eggs.
  • Stir well until combined.
  • Butter a 9 x 9-inch baking dish.
  • Add macaroni to the baking dish.
  • Pour cheese mixture over macaroni.
  • Make sure the cheese is distributed well.
  • Top with the smoked cheddar cheese. (I add a little more Colby jack as well.) Sprinkle with paprika and/or black pepper, if desired.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes. Do not overbake. It may be a bit jiggly when you take it out of the oven. It will firm up as it cool.
  • Let cool for about 10-15 minutes or until fully set.
  • Enjoy!

***Recipe from Divascancook***

Spaghetti Carbonara

Fettucine Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fried and crumbled bacon
  • 1/4 cup diced ham
  • 6 ounces dried spaghetti or linguine, cooked al dente
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano
  • 3 tablespoons shredded or shaved Parmigiano
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine eggs and heavy cream in a small mixing bowl, and whip together well. Set aside.
  2. In a 10-inch sauté  pan over medium heat, heat olive oil, bacon and ham until sizzling.
  3. Add pasta and toss well.
  4. Slowly pour egg-cream mixture over top while pulling up spaghetti with tongs until coated.
  5. Add Parmigiano, salt, pepper, and toss well.
  6. Portion into serving bowls and top with shredded or shaved Parmigiano and parsley.

Asparagus and Pea Soup

Tasty asparagus soup on table

Asparagus and Pea Soup

Instructions:

  • 12 oz green asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen peas, 1/4 reserved for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Zest of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon reserved for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Mint leaves, for garnish
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved for garnish
  • Parmesan crackers

Directions:

  1. Remove the base of the asparagus and discard. Separate the spears, remove this tips and reserve for garnish, and chop up the remaining pieces.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add the butter and cook over medium heat until melted. Add the leeks and cook for 5 minutes, or until they have softened.
  3. Add the chopped asparagus, 1 cup of the peas, and the parsley. Cook for 3 minutes, add the vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that the soup simmers and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Transfer the soup to a food processor, puree until smooth, and strain through a fine sieve.
  5. Place soup in a clean pan. Add cream and lemon zest, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.
  6. Bring a small pan of salted water to a boil. Place the asparagus tips in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender. Remove tips, submerge in ice water, dry, and set aside.
  7. Ladle the soup into warm bowls, garnish with the asparagus tips, reserved peas, mint leaves, reserved lemon zest, and parmesan, and serve with Parmesan Crackers.

Shrimp Lasagna Rollups

Shrimp Lasagna Rollups

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1/4 c. freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 1 3/4 c. shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 10 cooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 c. ricotta

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute, then add flour and whisk until combined and golden, 1 minute more. Stir in milk, parsley, and a pinch of red pepper flakes and let thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper. Add shrimp and cook until pink, about 2 minutes more. Stir in lemon juice.
  2. On a large baking sheet, lay out cooked lasagna noodles. Spread a thin layer of sauce in a large baking or casserole dish. Spread each with a layer of ricotta, then top with a thin layer of scampi mixture. Roll up and spoon more sauce on top of roll-ups. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup mozzarella.
  3. Bake until golden and melty, 20 minutes. Broil 2 minutes if you want the tops to look golden.
  4. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Southern Seafood Gumbo

Homemade Shrimp and Sausage Cajun Gumbo

Southern Seafood Gumbo

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz. andouille sausage, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 tbsp. cajun seasoning (without salt)
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (15-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • cooked white rice, for serving

Directions:

  1. In a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter, then add flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until dark caramel colored, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add onions, peppers, and celery, and stir until softened, about 5 minutes more. Stir in garlic and sausage, then season with Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in bay leaf, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.
  3. In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add shrimp. Once shrimp is pink and cooked through, taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in green onions, reserving some for garnish.
  4. Serve spooned on top of white rice.

Pickled Red Onions

Pickled red onions

Pickled Red Onions

Ingredients:

  •  1 red onion, thinly sliced (use a mandoline if you have one)
  •  1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  •  1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves (optional)
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  •  1 cup hot or warm water

Directions:

  1. Slice the red onions as thin as you can. I use a mandoline.
  2. Stuff all the red onions in the jar of your choice. A bowl will work too.
  3. In a measuring cup, combine apple cider vinegar, salt, sugar, and warm water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour this pickling mixture over your sliced onions, making sure they are immersed in the liquid, and let them set for an hour. After an hour, cover and store in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Best Ever Turkey Brine

Female hand squeezing orange in cooking pot with brine for cooking turkey

Turkey Brine

Ingredients:

  • 1 12- to 20-pound turkey, not kosher, saline-injected, or otherwise pre-salted
  • 3 oranges
  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 4 quarts water
  • 250g kosher salt (1 cup Morton, or 1 3/4 cup Diamond Crystal, or 3/4 cup table salt), plus more if needed

Directions:

  1. Prepare the turkey for brining: Remove the turkey from its package and pat dry. Place the turkey in a large pot, brining bag, or other container large enough to keep the turkey submerged.
  2. Prepare the brine ingredients: Strip the peels from the oranges and lemons using a vegetable peeler. Try to remove just the peel, leaving behind as much of the bitter white pith as possible. Roughly chop the sage leaves. Make sure the bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic cloves are measured out and ready to go. (Save the leftover oranges and lemons for stuffing the turkey during roasting!)
  3. Prepare the brine concentrate: Bring 1 quart (4 cups) of the water to a boil in a large saucepan or stock pot on the stovetop. Once boiling, add the salt and stir until dissolved. Add the orange and lemon peels, chopped sage, bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic. Let the water return to a boil, then remove from heat.
  4. Cool and then dilute the concentrate to make the turkey brine: Let the brine concentrate and flavoring ingredients cool until no longer steaming, then stir in the remaining 3 quarts of water. (If your pan is too small, you can do this in a pitcher or other large container.) Check the temperature of the brine; it should be room temperature or lukewarm.
  5. Pour the brine over the turkeyMake sure the turkey is submerged, though it’s ok if the boney tips of the legs stick out the top. If needed for larger turkeys, prepare additional brine solution (1/4 cup of salt dissolved in 4 cups of warm water) in order to cover the turkey. If the turkey is floating, weight it down with a plate or other heavy object.
  6. Brine for 12 to 24 hoursCover the turkey and keep refrigerated during brining.
  7. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse: When you’re ready to begin roasting your turkey, remove it from the brine and rinse it with cool water. It’s ok if the water is tinged pink. Pat dry.
  8. Roast the turkey as usual: There’s no need to salt the turkey before roasting, but otherwise, roast the turkey as usual following your favorite recipe. If desired, stuff the cavity of the turkey with leftover sage and the peeled lemons and oranges from preparing the brine. Roasting time may be shortened; begin checking the temperature of the turkey halfway through roasting.

**Recipe from SimplyRecipes**