Homemade Pimento Mac & Cheese with Tillamook

A new take on a Southern Staple
Filed Under > Everyday Dinner

Spending a lot of time out on the West Coast I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying Tillamook more times than I can count. But finding it in the South has always been difficult. So when I heard Tillamook made their move to Southern distribution I jumped in the car and made a beeline to my nearest Publix and loaded up on their ice cream and all of the cheeses. I’m talking blocks, slices, and pre-shredded, it’s that good y’all.

For those not familiar with Tillamook let me give you a cliff notes version of why they’re the best. Based in Oregon, Tillamook has been around for over 100 years and through that entire time they’ve been farmer owned, made up of about 80 farming families. They’re committed to the best practices and stewardship, and are guided by the belief that everyone deserves real food that makes them feel good every day. And feel good is what their food does. It really is the absolute best.

In celebration of Tillamook now being readily available in the South they partnered with Sweet Auburn BBQ on an event called Melty Fest. If you saw my stories on Instagram the other night you would have seen just how amazing the event was, if you missed it you can check out my highlight reel. Anyway, Sweet Auburn has been using Tillamook since the beginning in their Pimento Cheese Stuffed Won Tons. Yep, you heard that right, Pimento Cheese Stuffed Won Tons. We even had the opportunity to create a few of our own.

Wanting to get in on the action, and being inspired by all things Tillamook and Southern I decided why not combine two of my personal favorites; pimento cheese and mac & cheese. Wow, I’m so glad I did.

The idea that homemade mac & cheese could never get any better was immediately flipped on its head with the addition of pimento cheese. The ooey-gooey flavor we’ve all come to love from mac & cheese was simply enhanced by the classic Southern Staple of a recipe. The pimentos, hot sauce and Worcestershire gave it a subtle bite that you’ve come to expect from pimento cheese, but combining it with the noodles and even more Tillamook cheese and then baking it with breadcrumbs, well there really are no words!

Below you’ll find the recipe that may or may not change your life for the better. A few things to note; you absolutely can make a lot of this ahead of time, but the key really is in moving quickly with the rue and stirring like crazy with the cheese addition on the stovetop. So make sure you have all of your ingredients ready to go and your oven pre-heated. Enjoy friends! Truly, MKR

Tillamook Pimento Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

1 pound pasta (cooked with 2 tablespoons salt, drained and set aside)

1 qt. whole milk

9 tablespoons salted butter

6-8 tablespoons flour

1 package Tillamook extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 16oz.

1 package Tillamook colby jack cheese shredded, (you can also buy the Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut shreds as well)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

1 tablespoon hot sauce

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

2 cups panko breadcrumbs (I prefer Italian)

1 jar diced pimentos drained

2 bunches of fresh chives or green onions finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

In a large dutch oven, cast iron skillet or deep pan melt butter over medium/high heat.  Once melted, reduce heat to medium low add flour, Worcestershire, and hot sauce whisking constantly until you have a rue formed. 

Once rue is formed increase the heat to medium/high and gradually whisk in the milk, bringing it to a low boil and continue to whisk and cook for 5 minutes.  

Turn the heat down to low and add in cheese, lemon, pimentos, salt and pepper. Continue whisking until it’s a cheese sauce consistency. Once it’s at the desired consistency cover and turn off the heat.

In a small bowl melt 1 tablespoon butter in the microwave and mix in panko breadcrumbs. 

Add cooked pasta to a large baker of your choice and fold in cheese sauce. Top evenly with panko breadcrumbs. Cover with tin foil.

Bake in the oven covered for 15-20 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and uncover the dish. Broil until breadcrumbs form a crust and turn golden brown.

Remove from oven, top with chives and enjoy.

Photography Rustic White Interiors | This is in partnership with Tillamook, a brand I love and adore. All opinions, recipes, and photos are 100% my own.

Freshly Picked

A Citrus Themed Table Setting Perfect For A Summer Brunch, Lunch or Baby Shower
Filed Under > Entertaining

In all my years of parties thrown and dinner parties hosted I’ve never been one to go all in on a match-matchy theme. Typically, I to like working from a specific color palette, or menu and let things organically flow from there. But if there was any theme I could completely get behind, especially in summer, it would be citrus.

Citrus is a great theme for numerous reasons. First, it’s completely relevant to the summer season. Second, citrus is an extremely easy idea to incorporate into your recipes. From drinks, like a refreshing Aperol Spritz (recipe HERE), to dishes such as a simple fruit salad (similar recipe HERE) the possibilities are endless.

Lastly, citrus is an easier and more inexpensive way to decorate than flowers. Bowls and vases full of oranges, lemons, and limes have never been labeled ” high maintenance” nor will they cost near the price of a few dozen peonies.

Now that we’ve got the food and decor taken care of lets talk about the table itself. For this particular tabletop I kept things light, bright and easy by using paper table runners, placemats and place-cards. I’ve used and carried these paper accents at Waiting On Martha Home since the beginning and I never tire of the way they always add a whimsical and fun touch to any table and because of their price you won’t feel guilty by constantly switching things up.

Being summer and wanting to keep things on the lighter side of fussy I mixed my VIETRI melamine plates, acrylic tumblers and serving dishes with my more formal ceramic melon and orange plates. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I love investing in a core white place setting, like VIETRI Lastra, and mixing in fun salad, appetizer, and serving pieces when the mood strikes.

Finally, I topped the look off with the white bamboo flatware I cannot stop using and VIETRI paper cocktail napkins and neon Le Jacquard dinner napkins sure to pack a citrus punch.

I can honestly say this was the easiest, and most fun table I’ve ever put together and it was definitely a team favorite. It simply made everyone happy! So next time you’re thinking about implementing a theme for a dinner party, brunch, bridal shower, or really any time you just want something more on the sunny side of the street I suggest thinking citrus! Truly, MKR

Photography Rustic White Interiors

Goin’ Coastal

An easy coastal themed tabletop perfect for relaxed summer entertaining
Filed Under > "Hostess with the Mostest"

With the first day of summer officially come and gone I’m focused on soaking up every bit that summer has to offer. Which for me means easy, relaxed dinners alfresco.

Typically in summer with the heat being what it is I like to keep the meals light, which usually means seafood. Grilled fish, shrimp skewers, and in today’s case white wine and garlic clams. And with seafood typically on the menu my summer table decor tend to lean in the coastal direction. Think blues, whites, and natural fabrics mixed in with no fuss accents. Which is exactly what I’m sharing today.

If you asked me to pick a favorite from this setting, I couldn’t. I honestly want every single piece. The updated take on spongeware by Mark D. Sikes mixes perfectly with my favorite blue and white stripes and coastal inspired melamine accents like these $5 dipping dishes and the bread board. And the rattan accents in the form of placemats, glassware and place card holders add that relaxed feeling that is summer.

And continuing on the theme of relaxed, our no-iron linen napkins are an absolute must for entertainers of all levels. They’re not too fussy and YES no-iron means no-iron. So you can wash them time and time again and they’ll be ready to go from the dryer straight to the table.

Lastly, I rounded everything out with ivory acrylic flatware in the shape of bamboo, melamine wine coasters, cobalt blue hibiscus VIETRI bud vases filled with tulips, and sea-salt citronella candles to keep the bugs away. And I pulled out my bamboo folding chairs. I ordered two sets of these years ago and I’m so glad I did. I love having them at the ready for extra guests or any extra seating needs. I really do use them all the time!

Jumping back to the flatware real quick; these stopped me in my tracks when I first spied them. I had wanted the traditional brown bamboo flatware for ages, but had never pulled the trigger and I’m so glad I didn’t because the ivory is STUNNING! Plus it goes with absolutely everything. I did say I couldn’t play favorites, but if I was pushed it would be these!

So that’s it friends. A relaxed summer tabletop ready for all those long summer nights ahead. Enjoy! Truly, MKR

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Photography: Rustic White Interiors

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