Cast Iron Baked Mac & Cheese

Alright y’all. As promised, I’m sharing this homemade Mac & Cheese recipe. The key to this recipe is baking with a Deep Dish Cast Iron skillet. Cast Iron skillets are great because they heat evenly. Food cooks faster without the headache of adjusting temperature. Another important thing to keep in mind when making this is the quality of cheese. I’m not saying break the bank, but buy a good quality cheese. It is time consuming, but shredding your own cheese provides a better result. Some of the pre-shredded cheeses contain fillers that make it nearly impossible for the cheese to melt properly. If you do buy shredded cheese, use a “creamy-melt” or the cheese available in the deli area. Let’s get into it!

RECIPE

  • 2 32oz containers of chicken stock
  • 1 box of elbow macaroni noodles (more or less depending on how much you’re making)
  • 8-9 cups of your favorite cheese (I use Mozzarella, Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar & Monterey Jack)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of sour cream (add more if needed)
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (don’t add too much salt. Cheese is naturally salty)
  • 1 stick of butter

The first thing you want to do is boil your noodles in the chicken stock. You don’t want to cook the noodles completely because they will cook more in the oven. Just make sure they are tender. Drain noodles. Add noodles to a large bowl and add your butter–stir lightly. Add the sour cream and mix in. At this point, you want to make sure the noodles are coated well in sour cream and the mixture is nice and creamy. If you need to add more sour cream, go for it. Next, add a little salt and pepper. Then add about 2-3 cups of cheese to the mixture and stir. Set aside and grab another bowl. In your fresh bowl, add the eggs, milk, and heavy cream and whisk together–set aside

Next, grease your Cast Iron really well with butter or olive oil to prevent sticking. Once completed, add a layer of the macaroni mixture to the skillet, then a layer of cheese, and then pour in some of the milk mixture and repeat this process two more times. You want to add about a cup or so of the milk mixture at a time. When you get to your final layer of cheese, make sure it covers all of the noodles. You really want to be heavy handed on the top layer of cheese. It needs to brown nicely in the oven. Bake on 375 for 50 minutes to 1 hour. If you want to check if the macaroni is done, stick a spoon in the corner of the skillet and lift. If you see the milk mixture is still a little runny, that means you need to bake a little while longer. Bake 10 extra minutes at a time until the mixture is no longer runny or to your desired texture.

Think of this recipe as a lasagna. All you’re doing is layering. You should have 3 layers of noodles, cheese, and milk mixture by the time you are done. If you are using a regular Cast Iron skillet and not a deep dish, you will only have 2 layers. I suggest reserving 1 cup of the milk mixture if using a regular Cast Iron. This is a recipe you can’t ruin. You can use as much cheese as you want. The only step I recommend following exactly is the milk mixture. If you use less cheese than recommended , you may want to cut down on the amount of milk and cream you use because you don’t want it to come out soupy. But honestly, if you’re not going to use a lot a cheese, don’t bother making this. It is not meant to be healthy, it’s meant to taste good! If you try this recipe, take a picture and tag me! I hope you enjoy!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Southern Fried Cabbage

Hi there! Thank you for stopping by to check out this easy version of fried cabbage. Fried cabbage is a southern staple–prepared all year long. With the holidays approaching, I wanted to give you one more recipe to add to your feast!

The great thing about fried cabbage is that you can make it as southern as you want or…not. This recipe can be made vegan with all of the same flavor. If you are preparing this dish for a larger party, double the ingredients.

RECIPE

  • 1 smoked turkey, beef or pork sausage link or 1 pack of bacon (all if you desire)
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of Texas Pete Hot sauce or Tabasco sauce (adjust hot sauce to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons of FRESH parsley for garnish.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons of liquid smoke (vegan option)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of poultry seasoning (vegan option)
  • 1 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and fry your bacon or sausage. When meat is cooked, remove from pan, leaving the grease behind. Chop your meat into bite sized pieces and set aside for later.

Add your chopped garlic, chopped onion and chopped bell pepper to the pot until onions cook down. Add your cabbage and stir in well. It is important you do not cover the cabbage with a lid. This will cause the cabbage to steam, not fry. When cabbage has cooked down to almost desired texture, return your meat to the pot. Continue to stir-fry cabbage for about 2-3 additional minutes. I like my cabbage cooked with a little crunch, not wilted completely.

Add your Tabasco or Hot sauce, smoked paprika and salt & pepper. When desired taste is reached, remove from pot and garnish with fresh parsley.

VEGAN OPTION

Follow the steps above, but do not use meat. Instead of bacon or sausage grease, use your favorite oil. When you begin to season your cabbage, add the liquid smoke and poultry seasoning.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Summer Blueberry Salad

First and foremost, thank you for checking out this quick and easy recipe! I’m just going to get to the point. I bought a salad bowl, and it triggered the desire for me to make more salads…and here we are.

So, I tried this super easy summer salad. It is a quick and easy meal you can easily dress up and make your own. This salad is also packed with nutrients and antioxidants.

RECIPE

Romaine Lettuce

Arugula

Spinach

Blueberries

Red Onion

Heirloom Tomatoes

Chicken, Shrimp, or Steak (Optional)

Eggs (optional)

Salt & Pepper

Olive oil (optional)

Shredded Cheese (Mozzarella or Feta)

Cut up the lettuce to your desired size. Wash and mix lettuce, spinach and Arugula. Slice the onion and tomatoes and add to the greens. Rinse blueberries and add to the greens. *I love blueberries so I go a little overboard sometimes.

Garnish with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil (optional). If you like some sort of protein in your salad, feel free to add eggs, grilled shrimp, chicken or steak. Complement this salad with fresh blueberry or raspberry vinaigrette if desired.

Health Benefits

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes are packed with nutrients that our bodies crave. Just remember, tomatoes are…fruit…yes, fruit, which means they contribute to your overall well-being. Tomatoes are a major source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. Heirloom tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. Not only are tomatoes good for you, but they always add a little color to any salad.

Arugula


Personally, I think arugula is not the tastiest leafy green–with an odd taste and peppery bite, but I can tolerate it every now then because it is super healthy. Arugula is full of antioxidants and full of calcium, potassium, vitamin C, K, A, and folate. Arugula is considered a Superfood which means it is a ” nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being”.

Blueberries

Ahh, yes, the humble blueberry. I think blueberries are underrated and taken for-granted. Blueberries are the King of antioxidant foods. Blueberries reduce DNA damage that can help protect against cancer and aging. Blueberries may help lower blood pressure and decrease chances of heart disease.