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**

Beef Wellington

Carved Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington

For the Duxelles:

  • 3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms
  • 2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Beef:

  • One 3-pound center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 thin slices prosciutto
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
  • 1 pound puff pastry, thawed if using frozen
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • Minced chives, for garnish

Green Peppercorn Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 box beef stock
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1/2 cup green peppercorns in brine, drained, brine reserved

Directions:

  1. To make the Duxelles: Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add butter and olive oil to a large saute pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
  2. To prepare the beef: Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil – about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile set out your prosciutto on a sheet of plastic wrap (plastic needs to be about a foot and a half in length so you can wrap and tie the roast up in it) on top of your cutting board. Shingle the prosciutto so it forms a rectangle that is big enough to encompass the entire filet of beef. Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of duxelles. Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard. Allow to cool slightly, then roll up in the duxelles covered prosciutto using the plastic wrap to tie it up nice and tight. Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll to completely encompass the beef. Roll it up tightly in plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely and hold it in a nice log shape. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to ensure it maintains its shape.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together. Remove beef from refrigerator and cut off plastic. Set the beef in the center of the pastry and fold over the longer sides, brushing with egg wash to seal. Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef – saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired. Top with coarse sea salt. Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.
  5. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife ¿ this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven and rest before cutting into thick slices. Garnish with minced chives, and serve with Green Peppercorn Sauce.

Green Peppercorn Sauce:

  1. Add olive oil to pan after removing beef. Add shallots, garlic, and thyme; saute for 1 to 2 minutes, then, off heat, add brandy and flambe using a long kitchen match. After flame dies down, return to the heat, add stock and reduce by about half. Strain out solids, then add 2 cups cream and mustard. Reduce by half again, then shut off heat and add green peppercorns.

Elote Hot Dogs with Garlic Fries

Picture1

Elote Hot Dogs

Ingredients:

For the lime mayonnaise:

  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of chili powder

For the hot dogs:

  • 4 hot dogs
  • ¾ cup corn
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • Chili powder or smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Lime wedges, for serving

For the street corn:

  • 4 ears corn, cut off the cob
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • squeeze of lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

For the lime mayonnaise:

  1. Stir together the mayonnaise, lime juice, smoked paprika and ground cumin. Add the chili powder to taste.

For the street corn:

  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the corn and chili powder and cook for another two minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the two tablespoons of mayo, a squeeze of lime, and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Add the cilantro and cotija and stir again to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the hot dogs:

  1. Grill the hot dogs.
  2. While the hot dogs are grilling, char the corn and prepare the buns. Char the corn in a small skillet over medium high-heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
  3. Brush the tops of the buns with the melted butter then lightly sprinkle with either chili powder (spicy) or smoked paprika (not spicy) depending on whether your preference. Toast the buns.
  4. Put a hot dog in each bun. Divide the lime mayo between the hot dogs. Use half the cotija cheese to sprinkle over the mayo, reserve the other half. Divide the corn between the hot dogs then top with the remaining cotija cheese. Garnish with the chopped cilantro, lime wedges and a dusting of chili powder and/or smoked paprika.

 

Garlic fries

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen french fries
  • 6 cloves of garlic , very finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • chopped parsley for garnish

Directions:

  1. Cook the fries according to the directions on the bag.
  2. When the fries come out of the oven, put them in a large bowl.
  3. A minute or so before serving the fries, put the garlic in a small fry pan with the oil.
  4. Heat on medium and cook for 15-30 seconds, not long enough to brown the garlic, just long enough to take mute the raw garlic flavor.
  5. Toss the fries with the garlic oil mixture and salt.
  6. Serve hot and garnish with parsley if desired.

Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz Con Pollo

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs 6 ounces each
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken broth plus more if needed
  • 1 cup short-grain rice such as Calasparra, Arborio or Calrose
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley optional
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas thawed

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine wine and saffron; let stand until ready to use.
  3. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, skin side down, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Flip, and cook until golden brown; transfer to a plate.
  5. Drain any excess oil, leaving 1 teaspoon of oil in the pan.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, red bell pepper and garlic, stirring often, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in wine-saffron mixture, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the bay leaf.
  7. Cook until wine is almost completely evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Add chicken thighs, broth and rice; bring to a simmer.
  8. Cover the pan and place it in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven. Stir the peas into the rice.
  10. Top with parsley and serve.