Mac and Pimento Cheese

 

Mac and Pimento Cheese

mac and pimento cheese close up

Yummy

 

I’m pretty sure that every southern woman worth her salt, has a pimento cheese recipe or two or three. We like to shake it up and add in some unexpected ingredients. Some horseradish in this one or some cream cheese in that one. Well, I really shook up my pimento cheese recipe. I added macaroni to it. Why not? It seemed like a natural thing to do. Mac & cheese is a perfect combination. Pimento cheese is a perfect combination of peppers and cheese. Why not combine all three? So, I did and it’s done and it tastes great. It’s a natural combination.  Like chocolate and peanut butter, milk and cookies, potato chips and ketchup. OK, maybe not the potato chips and ketchup. That’s just some freaky thing my sister did. But, macaroni and pimento cheese is a good combination. Give it a try.

The cast for this evenings dish.

m & c ingredients

Getting it together.

Cook the box of macaroni according to the box directions. Drain and set aside.

cooked macaroni

Use your noodle!

Shred the cheese, saving ¾ cup to top the casserole. Open and drain the can of pimentos. Pat them dry and open them to lay flat. Give them rough chop.

chopping pimentos

Chopping the pimentos

Save out two thin strips so that you can decorate the casserole dish, nice and purty.

While the pasta is cooking, put 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pot.

melting butter

Mmmm, melty.

Melt it over medium heat. Then, whisk in 4 tablespoons of flour and let that cook for 2 to 3 minutes. I used whole wheat flour, so mine is browner than if I used white flour.

making a roux

Bubbly flour

Pour in the milk and add the salt, pepper and dry mustard and stir to combine.

adding in spices

Add in the spices

Whisk while cooking until it thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the shredded cheese, chopped pimentos and mayonnaise.

Adding the cheese, mayo & pimentos.

Add the cheese, mayo & pimentos.

Fold in the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour it all out into the greased casserole dish and sprinkle with ¾ cup of that shredded cheddar. Then, artfully arrange those pimento strips.

ready to cook

Ready for the oven

Bake. Eat. Enjoy.

ready to eat

Let’s eat!

Recipe time!

Mac and Pimento Cheese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A new twist to a creamy, cheesy favorite, mac & cheese.
Ingredients
  • 1 - 16 oz box of macaroni
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 Tablespoons AP flour. I used whole white wheat.
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 cups milk. I used Almond milk
  • 1 – can of pimento peppers 4 to 7 ounce size.
  • 2 – 8 oz packages of cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
Instructions
  1. Prepare macaroni noodles according to package directions. When done, drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350º. Coat a 2 quart casserole dish with spray oil.
  3. Drain and pat dry the pimentos. Give them a rough chop. Reserve two long strips for garnish, if desired.
  4. Shred cheese and reserve ¾ cup to top casserole before baking.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add in the flour and whisk until smooth. Continue whisking for 2 to 3 minutes to cook the flour. Pour in the milk and add the salt, ground pepper and dry mustard. Raise heat to medium high and continue whisking until it thickens, around 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the shredded cheese, chopped pimentos and mayonnaise. Whisk until the cheese is mostly melted and the ingredients are fully combined. Fold in the cooked macaroni and mix well.
  6. Pour the cheesy macaroni into the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese and arrange the two pimento strips on the center of the dish.
  7. Bake at 350º for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cheese top and melted and started to brown. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

 

Pumpkin Streusel Breakfast Strata

 

pumpkin streusel strata

Company food.

This is what we call “company Food”. You know, something so sumptuous, you save it for company. You set this in front of them and wait for the complements to start. Good food. Great food! Food sooo good that you don’t even care about the calories. This is that food. Plus, it’s super easy. I love those kinds of company food. This casserole you prepare ahead of time and stick it in the fridge to bake in the morning. That way, you’re not rushing around, trying to fix something while everyone wants morning coffee or orange juice. Pull this out and set it on the counter, crank up the oven and go take a hot shower before everyone else uses all the hot water. Then, come out looking glamorous, pop the casserole in the oven and relax!

It’s sharing time!

Set up your ingredients.

ingredients for strata

Assembly time

This calls for a stale loaf of french bread. I cut a hunk off for dinner the night before and this was leftover. Bread doesn’t usually make it to the leftover stage around here. You’ll need the bread, eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, sugar, flour and some pecans. And pumpkin, you’ll need some pumpkin puree.

To make the cinnamon streusel, in a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

streusel topping

make some streusel topping

Mix together with your hands or a fork, until you have a crumbly mixture. Stir in the chopped pecans. Cover and refrigerate the streusel topping until needed.

streusel topping

Cover and refrigerate.

 

Take the loaf and cut in into thirds, lengthwise. Then cut it into 1 inch strips and then crosswise into 1 inch cubes.

cubing the bread

It’s a crumby job.

 

Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add the milk, the spices and the sugar, then whisk.

eggs spice and milk

Ready to whisk

Then add the pumpkin in and whisk again.

milk spice pumpkin

Whisk again.

Dump in the bread and let it absorb all the liquids.

bread milk mix

Bread and milk mixture

 

Coat a 2 qt casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour the bread milk mixture in. Cover it up and stick it in the fridge.

strata mix

Cover and refrigerate.

 

30 Minutes before you want to bake, take the casserole dish out so it can start to warm up. Never, ever stick a cold dish in a hot oven. That’s a mess you don’t want to clean up. Believe me! Set the oven to 350º. Get out the streusel mix and spread it in a even layer, all over the top of the casserole.

streusel topped casserole

Topped with the streusel mix

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or longer.

baked pumpkin strata

All done!

You have to get that cup of coffee, you know. Set out the plates and syrup and let your guest serve themselves. Tell everyone you got up a 4am to fix this very special dish for them. They don’t need to know it’s easy, right?

Pumpkin Streusel Strata

Pumpkin Streusel Breakfast Strata

Pumpkin Streusel Breakfast Strata
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A delicious start to any morning.
Ingredients
  • For the streusel:
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • To make the strata:
  • 1 – 12 inch loaf of french bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups milk, Almond milk works fine.
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 6 large eggs
Instructions
  1. To make the cinnamon streusel, in a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Mix together with your hands or a fork, until you have a crumbly mixture. Stir in the chopped pecans. Set aside. If using the overnight method, refrigerate the streusel topping until needed.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, brown sugar, salt and spices. Add in the pumpkin and whisk until combined.
  3. Add in the bread cubes and toss to combine.
  4. Coat a 2 qt casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour in the bread and milk mixture. If using the overnight method, cover casserole and refrigerate until morning. If cooking now, top with streusel crumbs.
  5. Thirty minutes before baking, remove the casserole from the fridge. Remove cover and spread streusel topping evenly over the surface. If baking right away, no need to wait those 30 minutes.
  6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until top is golden brown and the center has firmed up. Serve with warn maple syrup.

 

 

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow chard

Isn’t this pretty

 

The nice thing about the produce co-op, is we get exposed to new stuff. Good stuff. This week’s new stuff was Rainbow Chard. It was new to me, anyway. I’ve seen it in the market but shied away from it. What was this technicolor mutant celery? It looked like rhubarb gone wild. I’m not a fan of rhubarb, so, no way was I going to try this stuff. Well, since I’m typing this, we all know I lied. I did try this stuff. And this stuff is good. The stalks cooked tender and the leaves had a peppery bite to them that I really liked. Chard is quite healthy for you! A half cup serving of chard packs in 28% of your RDA of Vitamin A, 26% of Vitamin C, 22 % Magnesium and 20 % of the iron you need.  So, don’t be like me and fear the chard. Embrace it. Then, clean it and eat it.

Today, for you, I will prepare Pasta with Rainbow Chard and White Beans.

pasta, rainbow chard and beans

Dinner’s ready!

 

You will need, hmm, PASTA! Any kind will do. Chard don’t care. I used Campanelle. They look like little flowers. Nice.

chard ingredients

Your dinner fixings.

Then you’ll need cherry tomatoes, garlic, cannellini beans, some shaved or grated parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, and some pretty, rainbow chard.

Cook the pasta according to the box directions. Drain, toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking and set aside.

campanelle pasta

campanelle pasta

 

Swirl some oil in a pan and toss in the quartered cherry tomatoes.

Cherry tomatoes, quartered

quartered cherry tomatoes

Saute them for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for another minute.

rainbow chard

So colorful.

Add in the chard stems and cook, covered for three minutes.

Then, pile on the chard leaves. Really, pile them all in, they’ll cook down to nothing.

Chard leaves

That’s a big pile of chard!

Cover and cook two minutes until they wilt down some. Uncover and add in the beans, red pepper flakes. Sprinkle on the salt & pepper.

add the white beans

add the white beans and spices.

Keep the cover off and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are fully wilted, about another three minutes.

Pour the cooked pasta in a large serving dish and top with the chard and bean mixture. Toss to combine fully. Top with shaved cheese.

bowl of pasta chard and beans

Big bowl of pasta, chard and beans

Sprinkle a little more cheese on each serving, just because you can.

pasta, chard and white beans

Good stuff!

 

Rainbow Chard
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A tasty dish of pasta and rainbow chard with white beans.
Ingredients
  • 12 ounce box of pasta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 bunches rainbow chard, stems and leaves separated and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup shaved Cabot monterey jack cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain. Return to pot, toss with 1 teaspoon oil and keep warm.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook about 2 minutes. Stir in the chard stems and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chard leaves, packing them down, Cover and cook until partially wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the cover and fold in the cannellini beans, ½ teaspoon each of salt & pepper, the red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the chard leaves are tender, another 3 minutes..
  3. Place the cooked pasta in a large serving bowl and top with the chard mixture. Toss to combine. Sprinkle shaved cheese on top.

 

Red Dragon Pie

Red Dragon Pie

Red Dragon Beans

Aduki beans

Beans. We don’t give them enough respect. They’re easy to grow and available year around. Fresh, frozen, canned or dried. So many varieties. Limas, lentils, kidney, black eyed, garbanzo, soy and many, many more.

Not only are beans good for your heart, they also contain saponin compounds that appear to protect cells from cancer causing damage. Cancer facts. Women who eat beans two or more times a week have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. They’re full of flavonols for antioxidant activity and fiber for, well, you know what fiber does. Beans are on the low end of the glycemic chart, so are better for diabetics. Dark beans have the added bonus of being loaded with iron. Beans – is it any wonder they’re called the magical fruit?

This recipe pairs dried aduki beans with rice to form a complete protein. Throw in a mashed potato topping, covered in cheese and man, you’ve got it made. The aduki bean is also called the red dragon bean. If you eat them, you are blessed with the strength of a dragon. Couldn’t hurt, could it. Then, you could really mean this – Meddle thee not in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and tasteth good with ketchup!

Crunch, crunch.

slice out of a Red Dragon Pie

Red Dragon Pie

Let’s get to cookin’! Start with a ½ cup of beans in four cups of salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. After they have simmered for 20 minutes, add in ¼ cup of brown rice and stir. Continue cooking until the beans are tender and the rice cooked. Drain over a bowl to save the broth. You’ll need to save one cup of broth.

aduki beans and brown rice

cooked aduki beans & brown rice

On to the mashed potatoes. Peel and dice up 4 medium to large potatoes. Add to a pot and cover with salted water. Boil until tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add some butter and cream. Mash away! If you like some lumps, leave some lumps. Lumps mean it’s real stuff, man.

mashed potatoes

mashed potatoes

Heat a large fry pan over medium heat. Pour in a little oil and add in a diced carrot, diced onion and some quartered white mushrooms.

Sauteed carrots, onions and mushrooms

Sauteed vegetables

Saute for about 5 minutes until they’re softened. Add in the beans and rice mixture. Sprinkle with the italian herbs. Add in the tamari sauce, the tomato paste and chili sauce.

condiments

Flavor!

Tomato paste in a tube. The world is a marvelous place. Pour in the reserved bean stock. Mix it all up. Add in some pepper and salt, if it needs any more salt. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the juice is absorbed.

dragon beans and rice mix

Mix it all up.

Preheat your oven to 350º. Get out a nine inch pie dish and butter the sides and bottom. Spread the bean mixture in a even layer over the bottom.

dragon bean mix

layer the bean mix

Spread a layer of mashed potatoes over that, covering the beans completely and sealing to the edges with the mashed potatoes.

layer of mashed potatoes

add a layer of mashed potatoes

Lick potato spoon.

Shred 1 cup of cheese. I used fontina but you can use any hard cheese. Cheddar would be dandy! Sprinkle the cheese all over the top of the dish.

top with shredded cheese

top with shredded cheese

Bake for 30 minutes at 350º. If the top is not nicely browned after that time, run it under the broiler for a few minutes. You just gotta have a crunchy, toasty, cheesy pie top. You just have to!

Aduki Cottage Casserole

Toasty goodness!

Red Dragon Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: casserole
Cuisine: vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A savory sheppard type pie featuring aduki beans.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup dry aduki beans
  • ¼ cup brown rice
  • 4 medium to large potatoes. Butter & cream to mash.
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • ½ cup carrot, quartered, then diced
  • ¾ cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 1 - 8oz package whole white mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp mixed dried italian herbs
  • 1 Tbsp chilli sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup of aduki/rice stock - reserved
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium sauce pan combine ½ cup of aduki beans in four cups of salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. After they have simmered for 20 minutes, add in ¼ cup of brown rice and stir. Continue cooking the remaining 40 minutes, until the beans are tender and the rice cooked. Drain over a bowl to catch the stock. You'll need to save one cup of stock.
  2. Peel and chop 4 medium to large potatoes. Add to a pot and cover with salted water. Boil until tender. Drain and return to the pot. Add some butter and cream. Mash them up.
  3. Heat a large skillet pan over medium heat. Pour in the oil and add in the diced carrot, diced onion and quartered white mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes until they're softened. Add in the drained bean and rice mixture.
  4. Sprinkle with the italian herbs. Add in the tamari sauce, the tomato paste and chili sauce. Pour in the reserved bean stock. Mix it all up. Add pepper and salt to taste. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the juice is absorbed.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350º.
  6. Get out a nine inch pie dish and butter the sides and bottom. Spread the bean mixture in a even layer over the bottom. Spread a layer of mashed potatoes over that, covering the beans completely and spread to the edges.
  7. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the dish. Bake for 30 minutes at 350º.
  8. If the top is not nicely browned after that time, run it under the broiler for a few minutes.