Tag Archives: SEC

Mac n’ Cheese Bites… A Tailgate Favorite

3 Oct

Macaroni and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Most of us remember mac n’ cheese from the blue box as one of our first culinary triumphs. I remember helping when I was little and having such a feeling of accomplishment when the yellow powder melted into a creamy cheese-ish topping.

Have you had the blue box as an adult? Not as a college kid alternating between that and Ramen Noodles, but as a  real working adult? You probably think I’m going to say that in retrospect, the blue box isn’t that great and our palates should be much more sophisticated by now, but I’m not. The blue box is still pretty awesome. Nothing beats a little nostalgia here and there…

But in all seriousness, homemade mac n’ cheese is super easy and takes only a few minutes longer than the boxed stuff. Not to mention it isn’t full of ingredients you can’t pronounce and you use real cheese as opposed to a weird smelling cheese-ish powder.

Don’t let homemade mac n’ cheese intimidate you. If you whisk your sauce constantly and don’t let it burn, you’re golden.

You can make this recipe as little bites, like I’ve done, or you can just throw it all into a casserole dish and make it a family style side dish. Little bites make for the perfect party food. They are even good room temperature. Yum!

Mac N’ Cheese Bites

Time: 20-25 min.
Level: Medium
Servings: 48 mini macs

1/2 lb. elbow macaroni
1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for brushing
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. milk
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 c. deli-sliced American cheese, chopped
1  egg yolk
1/4 tsp. paprika

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the macaroni about 5 minutes. Drain pasta. Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick spray. Sprinkle muffin cups with 2 tbsp. of the Parmesan.  In a large saucepan, melt butter. Whisk in  flour over medium heat for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk and cook, whisking constantly, until boiling, about 5 minutes. Add cheddar and American cheeses and whisk until melted. Take the saucepan off the heat and whisk in the egg yolk and paprika. Fold in the drained macaroni.

Spoon macaroni into muffin cups.

Sprinkle the remaining 2 tbsp. of Parmesan on top. Bake the mini macs in the oven for about 10 minutes, until golden. Let cool for 5 minutes. Yum!

Tips
– After sprinkling the cups with  Parmesan, add a small crumble of bacon for extra flavor. Ham would work well, too!
– You can make the mac n’ cheese the day before and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to bake.

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Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull Apart Bread

22 Sep

This recipe came directly from plainchicken.com and boy, was it good! We had a football party (go SEC!) the other day and I made this bread. It was a huge hit! Everyone loved it and it couldn’t have been easier to make.

I will definitely be making this bread again for the Mississippi State University football game this weekend. Nothing is better than tailgating in the Junction. If you’ve never done it, you’ve definitely got something to add to your bucket list. Enjoy!

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pull Apart Bread

1 unsliced loaf of (round is preferable) sourdough bread
8-12 oz cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
3 oz bag real bacon bits
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp Ranch dressing mix

Using a sharp bread knife cut the bread going both directions. Do not cut through the bottom crust. Place slices of cheese in between cuts. Sprinkle bacon bits on bread, making sure to get in between cuts. Mix together butter and Ranch dressing mix. Pour over bread. Wrap in foil the entire loaf in foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Unwrap. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Yum!

Simple Sabroso Salsa

7 Jul

Sabroso means tasty in Spanish… I’m not sure if I used it in the right context or not, but hey, I only have a minor in the language so I’m not expected to know, right?

This salsa is called Sabroso Salsa because it is simply that, a tasty sauce… especially the next day, once all of the flavors sit and have a chance to mingle with each other.

If you have any leftover grilled corn, use it! If not, no worries! Canned corn will do just fine.

I served this salsa with tortilla chips but it would also be delicious served on crackers or bite sized baguette slices topped a little avocado and cheese. Appetizers, anyone?

Don’t forget to check the tips section for 2 great ideas for using up leftovers!

Simple Sabroso Salsa

Time: 5 minutes
Servings: A lot! It made about 3 -4 cups of salsa.
Level: Easy

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
1 can Rotel, drained
1 tbsp. jalapeños, diced
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. lime juice

Mix all ingredients together and let sit in the fridge until ready to serve. Yum!

Tips
– Play with the spices. You can add as little or as much of each as you’d like!
– I spooned leftover salsa over grilled chicken for dinner the next day. Yum!
– Another idea for leftovers!!!! I used the rest of the leftover salsa to make a simple pasta dish. I heated the salsa in the microwave and mixed it with cooked, drained pasta shell noodles and leftover shredded chicken. It was so yummy!!

Okie Dokie Artichokie Dip

12 Jun

I love artichokes. They are delicious on pizzas, amazing in pasta dishes, and great in salads. I love this artichoke dip recipe because it really brings out the bite that artichokes naturally have. Using a little citrus and tangy yogurt makes the artichoke come alive.

Having a can of artichoke hearts in the pantry can be a life saver when you need a last minute appetizer for impromptu company or for those lovely nights when your husband forgets to tell you, until you’re brushing your teeth for bed, that he signed up to bring something for the potluck at work the next day.  🙂

Artichoke Dip

Servings: 8
Time: 5 minutes
Level: Easy

1 can artichoke hearts
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/2 c. mayo
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. lemon or lime juice
1 c. Parmesan cheese, shredded

Drain artichoke hearts and chop them into bite sized pieces.

Mix all ingredients together and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Yum!

Tips
– Making this ahead of time will help enhance the flavor. Honestly, it’s not that great immediately. Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour if you can.
– I used non-fat yogurt and low-fat mayo.
– Try using Greek yogurt instead.
– Don’t have yogurt? Use  1/2 c. of extra mayo or 1/2 c. of sour cream.
– Serve dip with crackers or veggies.

BBQ Chicken and Bacon Mini Tarts

25 Apr

These little appetizers are delicious hot out of the oven and at room temperature so they are perfect for tailgating or entertaining. You can switch up the filling to include anything you want. I once used pizza sauce and pepperoni instead of BBQ sauce and chicken. The options are truly endless.

One filling I would like to try is cream cheese mixed with a little sugar and lemon juice topped with sliced fruit. Doesn’t that sound great?

BBQ Chicken and Bacon Mini Tarts

Servings: This recipe made 24 tarts
Time: 20 minutes
Level: Medium

1 tube crescent rolls
6 chicken strips, cooked and cut into tiny bite sized pieces (I used Tyson 100% white meat chicken nuggets… I keep them around to throw on salads)
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I used turkey bacon)
1/4 c. BBQ sauce
jalapeños, sliced
1/3 c. cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a mini muffin tin. Unroll crescent rolls and smoosh together to make one big rectangle of dough. Cut into 24 small squares.

Stretch each square a little and press down into each muffin cup.

Bake for 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and fill each cup with a tiny amount of BBQ sauce, a piece of chicken, a few bacon crumbles, a piece of a jalapeño slice, and a little shredded cheese.

Bake for 2 more minutes. Yum!

Tips
– Jason likes to dip his in ranch dressing. Go figure.

Sausage Balls

10 Mar

Are sausage balls a Southern thing? I’m guessing they are… but I’m not really sure. Southern or not, sausage balls are amazing. Typically, they are made around the holidays and served as an hors devour.

But, I make them all year round… and I eat them for breakfast. You will change your mind altogether about these little delights when you add the condiment that screams sausage ball’s name. JAM!

You have to try it. Sausage balls freeze incredibly well so they make for a great quick breakfast when you are on the run. Just grab a few from the freezer, pop them in the microwave for 1 minute, slather on some jam, and you’re done. Breakfast is done in under 2 minutes. Can’t beat that.

Make some this weekend. You’ll have a few breakfasts lined up for awhile. These balls save in the freezer for up to 3 months. WORTH IT!

Sausage Balls

Time: 15 minutes
Level: Easy
Servings: 2 – 2 1/2 dozen balls

1 pkg. Black Label cheese
2 c. Bisquick
1 roll hot breakfast sausage

Preheat oven to 375°. In a medium sized bowl, melt the cheese in the microwave. Put it in 1 minute at a time. Keep checking on the cheese until it is gooey enough to stir. Add all other ingredients to the melted cheese and combine.  Roll the mixture into 1 1/2 in. balls and place on a cookie sheet about 1 in. apart. Bake until slightly golden brown, about 10 minutes. Yum!

Tips
– Seriously, try the jam. Blackberry is my favorite complement but all others taste just as good.
– If you want to freeze these guys, put them back on the cookie sheet once they have cooled and then put the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Transfer the slightly frozen balls to a zip-loc bag for easier storage. Freezing them a little before bagging will help them not stick together in the bag. This will help you out tremendously when you only need to thaw out a few at a time.
– The breakfast sausage in the recipe is the kind that comes in a roll/tube type thing. You can find it next to the bacon.
– Black Label cheese can be hard to find sometimes. You can buy the Cracker Barrel brand from the grocery store or you can buy any brand of good sharp cheddar.
– If you want to add a little water to the recipe (maybe 1/4 c. or so) it will make your sausage balls a but lighter and fluffier. Mine are very dense and solid and some people like theirs a bit airier. Either way, they are great!

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