For our final #sausagesunday collaboration with BFR Meats, it was implored upon my son to make his favorite mac & cheese of all time, Everything Bagel Mac & Cheese. This recipe is inspired by Lindsay of The Hunger Diaries, who came up with this “hack” for her YouTube Channel. There are several meatless Everything Bagel macs on the interwebs and her hack includes sausage to give it that “breakfasty” kick. I had to make a few changes since she uses feta but it’s a close tribute to her recipe and it’s so so good. And I’m absolutely shocked that my son loves this mac so much because he typically refuses to eat anything that’s everything. I mean, has he ever in his little life tried an everything bagel, everything pretzels, everything seasoning? That’s a hard no. Go figure.
BFR Meats has gotten into the pork business lately and I love their pork products, especially this breakfast sausage. It’s not too fatty and has great flavor.
So when the little man said it was the best mac & cheese he’s ever tasted and one of the top 5 meals of his life AND he asked for it for his birthday, well it went down in the history books (after I was wiped up from the floor). If you give this recipe a try be sure to tell me what you think and share it on the socials!
1 8oz block cream cheese at room temperature 1 lb pasta (short, spirally like cavatappi and be sure it can handle the stirring) 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar 1 cup shredded gruyere (you can also add or sub asiago) ½ cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese or parmegianno 6 cups whole milk 1 turn (about 1/4 cup) heavy cream (optional) 6 cloves garlic, minced Salt/Pepper Drizzle of EVOO 1 lb. breakfast sausage, crumbled and browned 2-3 tbs. everything but the bagel seasoning
Directions: Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Place cream cheese in the center of a large round casserole or a 13-inch baking dish.
Spread the uncooked pasta and cheeses around the cream cheese, pour milk around the center, add garlic, and salt. Mix it in lightly around the exterior and try to cover the pasta as much as you can but leave the cream cheese in the middle. Add freshly cracked black pepper to the top and drizzle the cream cheese with some olive oil.
Bake at 350 for 55 min. Give it a good mix about halfway through baking.
Meanwhile in a medium size skillet, crumble and brown up your sausage and set aside.
Once the mac & cheese is bubbly, remove from oven and stir in the sausage. It should be creamy and cheesy. If it’s not quite ready, gritty or needs more creaminess, add some milk and return to the oven for a few more minutes. You can even top with more cheese here if you wish and bake another 20 minutes. If you look closely, my cream cheese did not get entirely creamy but I was running out of time since we were headed to the movies ;).
Top the finished mac with everything bagel chips, everything but the bagel seasoning, and chives or parley for some color (you’ll see I didn’t do that since a certain someone won’t eat it if I add something green). Enjoy!
This mac & cheese reheats well with a little bit of cream to loosen it up and fresh crushed bagel chips on top.
Slow cook Sundays is our current collaboration for the month of February with our friends at BFR Meats. You can find BFR’s meats including steaks, ground beef, sausages, ribs. pork, jerky. Check them out online and on High Country Food Hub.
Here’s my spin on Mississippi Pot Roast, featuring one of my favorite ingredients, Red Weapons. It’s a fun twist on an already twisted viral recipe.
Unless you’ve been under a rock the last few years, Mississippi Pot Roast is an insanely popular recipe all over the interwebs, and pinterest is full of a host of different versions. It’s quite delicious, but often laden with dried dressing or seasoning blends and soup mixes, which means the recipe can reach stratospheric sodium levels. On this collaboration with BFR Meats, I wanted to try a different version of MI Pot Roast, using their boneless chuck roast but with an Eastern NC spin, mainly featuring famed Chef Vivian Howard’s “Red Weapons,” which I keep on hand in my fridge as an aptly named flavor hero.
We love to serve our pot roast with mashed potatoes or pureed cauliflower but I thought with the slight spiciness and acidity of Red Weapons, that making creamed corn and then pureeing to a rustic texture it would be delicious. I was right and it’s quite rich, so not an every day combo for us. It was pretty too and a nice departure from potatoes.
About Red Weapons: From Chef Howard’s book, This Will Make It Taste Good, it’s a pickled tomato and jalapeño mixture that is filled with aromatics like ginger, garlic and scallions, mustard seeds and spices. You allow the mixture to boil then you jar it for a few days and watch the science happen as the veggies and brine settle to the bottom and the flavorful “oil cap” rises to the top. After 3 days of “pickling”, it’s ready to be used for as long as you have it. There’s some suggestion that it’ll last up to 3 months in the fridge simply jarred if you don’t use the canning method, but I have not died and it’s been at least four months. Need to make more now. This is by far my favorite recipe in her cookbook and I encourage you to support authors and buy this book as I will not be placing the Red Weapons recipe here, however during the promotion of the book, the recipe was shared online so you can easily find it. But buy the book! Make RW then come back to this recipe in 3 days, mkay?
Red Weapons Pot Roast
Ingredients: 2-3 lb chuck roast Ranch seasoning blend (I used a tsp each onion powder, garlic powder, dill weed, basil, thyme, parsley, salt). You can use a ranch packet if you prefer.) Packet Au Jus Seasoning (optional) Note: I used BFR Meats au jus but you can use better than bouillon or anything that may further ratchet up the beefiness. Have fun with this part 1 1/2 cups Red Weapons Twin B (the veggies and brine) 3 TBS Red Weapons Twin A (the solidified oil) 1 cup (approx) beef broth or water if needed Salt/Pepper
Directions: Generously salt and pepper the chuck roast. Sear on both sides until browned. This step is optional but does add depth of flavor. It’s helpful if you can do this in your slow cooker providing it’s equipped but again, if you don’t want to mess up two pots, skip it.
Add the seasonings, Red Weapons veggies, brine and oil to the roast then add about 1/2 cup of broth, just enough to reach halfway up the roast. Keep the remaining if needed toward the end of cooking. Set the slow cooker for 8 hours on low. Give it a peek near the end and add a little broth if needed. See Pressure Cooker method below.
After the scheduled time, the meat should be very tender, juicy, and falling apart. She won’t be the cutest thing you’ve ever seen but she’s succulent and unbelievably good. Beefy, tangy, slightly spicy and soul warming. Serve the roast and its gravy on mashed potatoes, or if you’re feeling indulgent, pureed creamed corn. Make it keto or paleo by serving on pureed cauliflower.
Note: This is the perfect recipe for the Instant Pot or pressure cooker as well. In fact, that’s usually the way I make this version of pot roast. Simply reduce the water or broth by half and cook on high pressure for 65 minutes, allowing for a natural pressure release. Shred the meat and serve as suggested above.
Slow cook Sundays are our current collaboration for the month of February with our friends at BFR Meats. You can find BFR’s meats including steaks, ground beef, sausages, ribs. pork, jerky. Check them out online and on High Country Food Hub.
My family and I recently enjoyeda beef short rib version of Bo Ssam, traditionally a pulled pork dish served with all kinds of toppings and sides and has been made famous by Momofuko’s David Chang. Ssam, is Korean for “wrap” and butter or bib lettuce is used as a vessel to hold decadent and unctious pork shoulder that’s been cooked for hours and hours. It’s paired with kimchi, toppings and sauces. While we are no strangers in NC to a great fall off the bone pork butt, I wanted to try it with BFR Meats Beef Short Ribs and the result was fantastic. It still takes a few hours so, let’s put your slow cooker to use. Ssam is great fun with family and friends who can choose to wrap or make a plate or bowl. Try out all the flavor combos and just go to town.
Ingredients 4lbs. beef short ribs 4 cups stock 1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari 1 tbs. turbinado or coconut palm sugar (white sugar will do) 5 tbs. brown sugar 1 tbs. salt
Marinade 3 tbs. tamari 3 spring onions, sliced 1 tbs. rice wine vinegar 2 tbs. sesame oil 4 tbs. Gochujang sauce or sambal oelek 1 inch knob fresh ginger, grated or sliced (you can use jarred) 3 cloves garlic smashed or minced Salt/Pepper
Directions: Generously salt and pepper short ribs. In a bowl mix the marinade and pour over the ribs. Work it in well. Conversely, place ribs in a plastic bag and pour over, giving it a good massage. Let marinate overnight or at least 2 hours.
When ready to cook, remove ribs and place in your slow cooker. Add the 1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari, 1 tbs. of turbinado or coconut sugar, and stock to just cover the ribs. Cook on low for 8 hours. Check after 6 hours to see if the ribs pull apart from the bones. Once the meat is cooked and very tender, remove from the liquid and then remove the meat from the bones, roughly shred, and place on a foil lined pan. ***Note***At this point, you may choose to remove some of the connective tissue from the meat, as it makes for a more enjoyable and visually appealing eating experience. It’s not entirely necessary but we do it. It won’t take long if the meat is cooked until tender. Save and strain the cooking liquid for later.
Mix the brown sugar and the tbs. of salt in a small bowl. Spread the shredded meat on the pan and sprinkle with the brown sugar and salt mixture. If it looks a little dry, drizzle a bit of the cooking liquid onto the meat. Bake at 500 degrees for 10-15 minutes until the meat is caramelized with some crispy edges.
Ginger Scallion Sauceinspired by Momofuko Ingredients: 1 bunch thinly spring onions, white and green part splash soy sauce 1/4 cup freshly minced ginger (I use jarred) 1/2 cup olive oil 1 tsp sherry vinegar salt to taste
While the meat cooks, mix together ingredients for Ginger Scallion Sauce, adjust seasonings to taste.
Ssam Sauce inspired by Momofuko Note: Here’s where I had to modify as I don’t have access to the suggested recipe’s ssamjang. 2 tbs. ssamjang or fermented bean &n chili paste. I used 2 tbs. gochujang (found with Asian sauces) 2 tbs. tbs. chili garlic paste or sambal oelek 1/2 cup sherry vinegar 1/2 cup neutral oil
Mix the sauces and vinegar and slowly add oil until desired consistency. Adjust for taste.
Once the short rib meat is caramelized and the sauces are made, place on a platter and surround it with your ssam sauces and toppings. Serve with rice and have fun making the different combinations.
Oven method: Follow the marinade recipe as instructed. Drizzle the bottom of a braiser or dutch oven with oil and place the ribs in a single layer as much as possible. Add stock, soy/tamari, tbs. of sugar, pop the lid on and cook 300 degrees for 3 hours. Continue with the rest of the recipe above.
I’m constantly inspired by the local seasonal ingredients around us to create fun, fresh salads to keep lunches interesting and add a cool component to dinners. Try some of our favorite salads we’ve been loving this summer. Most of these recipes are built for 2 4 people as a side or entree salad. Adjust your ingredients if you’re feeding a crowd.
Summer Squash Salad
I’d be remiss if I didn’t kick off the list with our favorite summer salad, with summer squash taking center stage. It made its debut here a few years ago. It’s crunchy, herbacious and satisfying. Try slicing the squash into ribbons for a fun twist but sliced thinly is superb. Click here for the recipe.
Farmer’s Market Power Salad
It’s lettuce season. It’s corn season. It’s blueberry season. It’s squash season. It’s cucumber season. One visit to the farmer’s market and you’re on your way to this banging power salad. Simply add cooked quinoa and your favorite dressing. This month, I was gifted Oleamea Olive Oil so I used that. It’s organic extra virgin olive oil sourced from Aydin, Turkey, and I have to say, I’m impressed. It’s fruity and clean and the Everyday Extra Virgin used here made a perfect Shallot Vinaigrette. The premium Extra Virgin will be beautiful on caprese and with fresh bread. Typically, this salad would include freshly chucked corn in its raw form, but feel free to use cooked. I had leftover skillet cooked corn so I simply used what I had. But, raw corn on a salad? 100% yes do it. With the squash salad above? That too.
Ingredients: Salad greens (I used arugula, mâche and tender romaine here) 1/4 cup blueberries 1/4 cup RAW corn or cooked if you prefer 1/2 zucchini quartered 1/2 cucumber quartered 1/2-1 cup cooked quinoa Place greens and other ingredients in a large bowl Dressing: 1/2 shallot chopped 1 clove garlic grated 1/4 cup vinegar (champagne or white wine is great here) Juice of half lemon 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used Oleamea) Salt/Pepper to taste Whisk all ingredients together, adding lemon juice, s/p to desired taste. Disclaimer:After being contacted by their representatives, I was gifted a set of Oleamea Extra Virgin Olive Oil to give honest feedback as well as taste test for our Holiday Gift Guide. You can find Oleamea at The Fresh Market in North Carolina or online.
Triadfoodies House Side Salad aka Greens & Parm
If you’re fortunate enough to find some locally grown mâche in your area when its in season, I highly recommend adding them to your salad rotation. Great alone or combined with other salad greens, mâche (this from Daffodil Spring Farm in Valle Crucis) comes in these pretty rosettes and are a bit nutty, like watercress or arugula without the peppery bite. They complement every salad I’ve had them in. This salad, with any green or combo of greens I have on hand, is our go-to with entrees all year long, especially with pasta. But in the summer, you know we’re adding tomatoes. The two ingredient dressing is a must-try. You don’t even need a bowl…just drizzle oil & vinegar style. Super simple!
Ingredients: Seasonal greens like mache, spinach, butter lettuce, romaine Cherry Tomatoes, halved, optional 1/4 cup parmesan or pecorino, shaved or grated Dressing: 1/8 cup white balsamic dressing (I like Batistini Farms) 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil salt/pepper to taste You can simply drizzle the vin and EVOO over the greens adding more of either when necessary. Finish with s/p and cheese.
Everyday Cucumber and Tomatoes Salad
Inspired by Chef Vivian Howard and her cookbook, Deep Run Roots, this memory triggering salad reminds me of dinners at my Grandma’s. The cookbook re-introduced this perfect salad to me and provided the ratios too. Enjoy the colors and crispness with BBQ, ribs, burgers, fried chicken or really any dish. It adds the perfect amount of acid and freshness to your meal. And as she states in DRR, the recipe is highly adaptable for adding all kinds of seasonal freshness, from watermelon to corn to blueberries and peaches. You can add a boiled egg and call it brunch and I’ve happily done so.
Ingredients: 1 tomato quartered or cherry tomatoes (use ends from a tomato sandwich..no waste!) 1 cucumber, halved 1/4 red onion, sliced very thinly 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 2 tbs. sugar 1 tsp. salt Freshly ground pepper
Directions: Per Howard’s book, combine the cucumber and onion with the sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Allow to marry for about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and vinegar and allow to mingle again for another 20 minutes to four hours. Best served at room temperature.
Speaking of cucumbers and salad….
Everyday Cucumber Salad
Here’s another version of a cucumber salad, taking notes from Chef Howard’s recipe but adding some garlic with options of changing up the dressing for a different flavor profile. Note: Add sesame oil and rice wine vinegar in place of balsamic and extra virgin olive oil and you have the perfect dressing for an asian inspired cuke salad. Add a chili flavored oil with white balsamic or sherry vinegar for some heat and pair with seafood. Persian, Piccolino or English cucumbers are best here but use what you’ve got. Feel free to add mâche, watercress, avocado or onions here for even more flavor, but they are not necessary, because…well it’s a cucumber salad.
Ingredients: 1-2 Cucumbers halved Dressing: 1/4 cup balsamic dressing 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves garlic, grated salt/pepper to taste Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over cukes and give them a toss. It’s okay to do this a little while before you eat as the cukes have time to quick pickle in the dressing.
Asian Cabbage Salad w/ Ginger Dressing
Okay, so this stunner with all the colors of summer is absolutely simple to make. You can use any number of veggies here. Mr. foodie doesn’t love cucumber (lol that this post has several salads with cukes) so I didn’t add it here, but cukes would be delicious and I might say necessary. As for the dressing, you can make your own as I provide a recipe here, but I will offer no judgement if you use a favorite brand from the store. Been there. Done that. Makoto forever! And Little Black Dressing Co. too.
Ingredients: 1/2 purple Napa cabbage, shredded thinly 1/4 head Romaine lettuce, shredded thinly 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved 1 bell pepper sliced thinly Red onion, carrots, cukes optional Dressing: 2 tbs. fresh ginger, grated (jarred is okay ..it really is) 1 clove garlic, grated 2 tbs. soy sauce 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar 1/3 cup sesame oil (or combo of sesame and neutral oil) 1 -2 tsp. sugar or honey to taste sesame seeds (optional) Pepper to taste Combine all ingredients except oil, sugar and seeds and whisk. Slowly add the sesame oil, tasting as you go. If you like it less sesame-y, begin adding the neutral oil like olive oil. Sweeten to taste. Add sesame seeds if desired. Toss the salad and pour dressing over. Serve immediately.
Summertime Pasta & Corn Salad
Who doesn’t love a pasta salad with a light, yet creamy dressing? This herby salad has it all. Better still, you can make your own creamy dressing (think Greek yogurt, cilantro or other herbs, lime, s/p) or just use your favorite ranch. I used a Sriracha Ranch from a local restaurant, F.A.R.M Cafe in Boone. The dressing from the squash salad above would be fab with this. The salad is terrific the next day.
Ingredients: 1 lb cooked pasta (I used trottole, but any spiral or shaped pasta will do) 1 cup cooked fresh corn (the sweeter the better) 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1/4 red onion, finely diced 1 cup fresh cilantro Handful fresh chives (optional) Salt/pepper to taste Your favorite creamy dressing. Cook pasta, drain, add the rest of the ingredients to a bowl and toss. Pour enough over to cover well but not drench. You can always add more, right? Toss and enjoy.
I hope you enjoy these summery salads. Any one would be great with the addition of some protein to turn it into more of an entree. If you try them let me know!
Hi, friends! The past couple of weeks I’ve been collaborating with Lusty Monk Mustard, coming up with different creations like this Chicken Schnitzel. My friends at NC’s Lusty Monk have jumped on board for a giveaway of their trio pack of mustards! Keep reading for the recipe and how to win.
Way back 150 years ago when I worked at the Village Tavern in Reynolda Village in Winston Salem, my favorite burger was called the Mustard Pepper Burger. All I know about it is that it had a peppery kick and the bun was spread with dijon. It was kind of like an au poivre meets Dijon and very simple with lettuce, tomato and cheese if you wanted it. It’s no longer on the menu but it was such a good burger, I decided to make my own with Lusty Monk Original Sin mustard. I tried this recipe a number of times and the last time, I got it just right.
The burger meat (I used local Shipley Beef) is “marinated” with the mustard, worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt and plenty of pepper. The mustard inside the meat mixture is key and there needs to be a crust of pepper on the burger. I like to sear this burger in a cast iron skillet so I don’t lose any pepper and because it makes such a good crust, plus at the time of this posting we were 25 degrees with gusts of 20 and that’s not grilling weather. Once the burger is cooked, place on buns and top with a bit more mustard and your choice of fixings. It really doesn’t need much in the way of toppings. Honestly, I never want mayo on a burger unless it’s a patty melt but something about mayo is good with this Lusty Mustard burger. Let me know if you make this and what you think. If you do make the Lusty Mustard Pepper Burger, tag me on Insta!
1 1/2 lbs of ground beef 2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce 2 tsp. garlic powder 2-4 tbs. Lusty Monk Original Sin mustard (the more you use, the kickier it is) Salt to taste Freshly ground pepper (enough to make a crust)
4 quality hamburger buns (potato or brioche) Toppings of choice (lettuce is good here and I like a spread of mayo on this burger)
Instructions: Mix the ingredients for your meat mixture and allow to rest in the refrigerator for about an hour. When time to cook, patty the meat out to your desired size. We like 1/3 pound burgers. Crank your skillet to a high heat and add a little oil to prevent any sticking. Sear the burgers on either side until desired doneness. Add cheese if you want. Muenster or Swiss are good here but you don’t need cheese. Remove from heat to a plate to rest for 5 minutes. Build your burger with more mustard and toppings of choice. Enjoy!
Fun note: My hubby added the sweet Into Temptation mustard to his burger and really liked the contrast of the peppery crust and spicy kick of the original.
We’re giving away a trio pack of Lusty Monk Mustard featuring Original Sin (a grainy dijon), sweet IntoTemptation (a grainy honey) and Burn in Hell (a spicy Chipotle). Want to win? Comment below and for additional chances to win, head over to my Facebook and Instagram and comment how you’d love to use these mustards. I’ll draw a winner next week, March 5.