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.
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!
We’re really enjoying playing around with NC’s Lusty Monk Mustard. Keeping following along as we get creative with this delicious local condiment that can be used in so many ways. Head over to Instagram to enter a giveaway for a trio of their flavors, Original Sin, Sweet Temptation, and Burn in Hell.
I just love a crispy schnitzel. Be it chicken, veal or pork, if it’s fried perfectly crispy, I’m here for it. This schnitzel pairs perfectly with the creamy, slightly sweet and spicy mustard sauce and it’s like grown up chicken tendies wtih honey mustard dipping sauce and that my friends, is another blog post that is a throwback to a childhood favorite. In case you missed it, we have Corn Dog Minis here. Note: I bread my schnitzel or fried cutlets a bit differently. Lately, I do not dredge in flour. It gets perfectly crispy without the flour and the crispy coating actually sticks better to the chicken if you don’t do it. But if you’re a diehard believer in the flouring first, by all means, you do you.
4 chicken cutlets, about 1/3 inch thick (or as many as you need). I took chicken breasts and sliced it through the middle horizontally along its equator. 1 egg 1 cup Italian or seasoned bread crumbs 1 cup panko bread crumbs Italian seasoning, garlic, smoked paprika or favorite seasoning combo Salt/pepper 2 tbs Lusty Monk Sweet Temptation Honey Mustard 1 clove grated garlic 1/4 -1/2 cup cream 1/4-1/2 cup broth Brandy, sherry or white wine (optional) Micro greens, parsley or chives for garnish
Instructions: To prep the chicken, cut the chicken breasts into cutlets. You can even pound them with a mallet a bit to get them to about 1/3 inch thick. Whisk an egg in a shallow dish and place the breadcrumbs in two separate plates. Season the chicken with salt & pepper then dredge both sides in egg mixture, followed by the breadcrumbs then panko.
Heat a skillet with a good bit of olive oil. You’ll want enough oil for the chicken to sit in the oil and not be totally covered, but nearly. Once the oil shimmers, carefully place the chicken in the skillet, flipping once the bottom side is golden brown. Once completely golden on both sides, set aside on paper towel or wire rack and give it a sprinkle of salt.
For the sauce: You can prepare the sauce before and keep warm or if you feel good about your multitasking skills while the chicken cooks, you can quickly bring it together. Add a touch of oil to a skillet, add garlic and stir a few minutes until fragrant but not browning. Next, add the mustard. Add your 1/4 cup brandy or wine, about half the broth and allow to cook down. Stir in the heavy cream and simmer until thickened. Do not let it boil too hard as I find that it can make a grainy mustard bitter. Loosen, if necessary, with additional broth.
To serve, plate the chicken and top with sauce. Garnish with micro greens, parsley or fresh chives. Serve with a beautiful veggie, spaetzle or mashed potatoes.
A few years ago, my mama Sara, endeavored to record her own recipes as well as track down ages old recipes by ancestors and friends to create an awesome cookbook that is nothing but a bunch of memory triggers. Few things take you back like a familiar dish, right? She mainly wanted a place where all of our family’s favorites could be in one, tangible place for my sister and me. So in this cookbook are my mother’s and grandmothers’ and great-grandmothers’ recipes, their friends’ and people I’ve known my whole life who …you know who they are…they’re the ones that make THE dish at the potluck and you know they better make that dish or else or the day is just not the same.
There are even a few random recipes of my own (my sister too).
This cookbook is available in a few stores and churches across the area but we just discovered a couple more boxes, so if you’re interested, you can purchase here and we’ll mail it to you (US only please).
Favorites From Our Table
A collection of recipes in a ring-bound hard cover book featuring old school favorites that have been tried and true for generations. $18 includes shipping (US only).
First of all, I pro’lly need to get down to the business of admitting I have a problem.
A condiment problem.
I love them. I love them if they’re artisan. I love them if they’re hot. I love them if they’re salsa, jammy…I have shelves of them both chilled and not.
Did I just make a rhyme? Sigh…Anyway. I also have found myself with a plethora of mustards and hot sauces and syrups among other things and it’s getting pretty ridiculous. I do have 2 refrigerators. Blessedly the 2nd one is just filled with drinks like milk, soda, tonic water, beer. But I recently decided I needed to intervene myself. So I went over to Jen’s Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and she does this Pantry Challenge and she uses up all her ingredients on meals and they don’t shop for anything unless it’s absolutely necessary (think butter, milk, some produce).
But as you can see I have another problem. A too much stuff problem. Just shelves crammed with all the things. And it started out so neatly (sorry, no photo for proof). But let’s back up a second.
We sold our house with the 2 (yes TWO!!) pantries because I turned a utility closet under my stairs into a pantry just so my crock pot and canisters and baking ingredients could have a place to be. I don’t like so much on my counters. Then there was another “cooking” pantry with spices and pasta, cereal, snacks, etc. Stocked full those two pantries were. Because I like condiments (and anything else the store sells).
Went from two pantries to one measly pantry in the house that we rent while we build THE house with the pantry (YOU SHOULD SEE MY FUTURE PANTRY–it’s sexy). So it’s just spilling over…see? It’s pretty bad over the last few weeks since summer break. That row with the canisters and the ones above it looked like Pinterest, man.
So I decided that it’s time. I hate to waste…not about to throw stuff out unless it’s expired (and sometimes not even then) so I’m asking you to join me in this great pantry raid. Won’t it be fun? I need you to help me do this, foodies. I need your ideas. I’ll share mine.
To start off last night, I used frozen chicken tenders and used some Texas Pete Buffalo Wing sauce plus some Texas Pete Cha! and BBQ sauce for half of them. The other half got some Trader Joe’s Thai Chili sauce and some soy sauce. Used up some leftover pimento cheese grits and some salad and the last bit of Kitchen Roselli Italian Island dressing. And I must say it did feel good getting rid of the…the chicken and grits. Ugh! See, I still have lots of sauce left as I didn’t use up all the sauce. Not that I worry about sriracha and bbq sauce…they’re kind of staples.
So one of the brave things I want to do is a suggestion Mr. foodie has and that’s do a mystery grab for the marinade or sauce for the proteins. Maybe it’ll be tasty to grab dijon and add it to blueberry preserves. We shall see! I mean, this is what the fridge and freezer looks like and it makes me sad.
Sad because there’s apparent abundance here. And I really dislike cooking in this rental because it’s so small and not what I’m used to. So we do eat out a bit more here. But there are people hungry and we just let food in our pantry just sit there. Like, I don’t eat enough sandwiches for all the mustard. If mr. foodie and I get back into the habit of eating smoked chicken sausages then we’d be cleaning this thing out properly. We really don’t eat enough carbs to enjoy all the pasta and rice. So I think a donation to a food pantry is definitely in order. And I’m not a coupon-er. At all. I guess it could be worse.
Are you with me? Follow me on Instagram /@triadfoodies and Facebook and we’ll do this together. Show me your purge. If you want to cook what’s on your shelves, let’s get to it! Don’t shop unless you absolutely have to. I’m going to try to bake something from those mixes every week, maybe twice a week. What did you do with the frozen rotisserie chicken and black beans? What about your mustards? Share away. Use the tag #pantryraid and tag @triadfoodies and we can eliminate some excess together.
Good luck and a few prayers for guidance would be nice 🙂