Food

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.

Oven-Baked Rosemary Parmesan French Fries

using frozen, yes frozen fries, I put a new mouth-watering spin on a favorite
Filed Under > Appetizers & Sides

I’ve been meaning to share this recipe for about a year now, because that’s about how long I’ve been making this super easy spin on homemade french-fries.

Using a mix of frozen (yes frozen) sweet potato and regular fries I’ve combined olive oil, garlic, fresh Parmesan cheese and rosemary for a new take on an old classic.

I discovered this combo while vacationing last summer on 30A. We had this big, beautiful kitchen to cook in and had the urge to whip up burgers and all the sides. But without frying or wanting to take the time to cut up the potatoes and soak them I opted for high quality, organic frozen fries (I prefer this brand).

While the fries roast in the oven, per the bags directions, finely chop up a a few sprigs of rosemary and shred about a cup of fresh Parmesan cheese, then set to the side. Next, combine 4-5 cloves of diced garlic to about 1/2 cup – a cup of olive oil on the stovetop and cook until warm. You want to try not to cook olive oil on too high of a temp as that’s when possible carcinogenic toxins can occur.

Anyway, once the fries are done drizzle the garlic-olive oil concoction over the fries and top them immediately with freshly grated Parmesan & rosemary. The result, mouth-watering french fries that transported me to a seat at the bar of my very favorite gastro pub. Trust me, everyone was a fan. Not only of the taste, but also of how easy they were to make.

And while I’ve been loving these as an easy summer side to burgers, this would also be fun for a “fancy” steak night at home, or if you’re trying to be healthier pair them with a great summer salad. And if you’re hosting a party, think about rolling parchment into a funnel shape and filling it with fries. Literally the possibilities are endless. Enjoy! Truly, MKR

Photography: Rustic White Interiors

A Favorite Tradition To Gift

Giving the gift of Godiva each and every year
Filed Under > Desserts

Growing up there were few things as symbolic of a holiday or special occasion than a gold GODIVA box.  Out of everything, and anything, it was probably my mother’s favorite gift to give and get.  

We’d open the box together, carefully choosing our favorite flavor, savoring each and every piece, never able to pick an actual favorite.

And to this day, that golden box still holds that same excitement and love for our family.  As I’ve grown I’ve extended the love of GODIVA well past that of our family.  Yes, mom still always gets her gold box, but GODIVA has easily become my gift of choice for all of those people I want to make feel extra special during the holiday season.  Co-workers, neighbors, and my personal favorite all of my UPS, FedEx, and USPS delivery men and women.

As you know I own a small retail shop, and I would be absolutely lost without the delivery men and women in my life.  So each year, my small metal sleigh sits by our door with plenty of my favorite holiday GODIVA boxes stacked up and ready to gift to all of those amazing individuals. This simple, and delicious gesture is so appreciated and each year it’s fun to see what the GODIVA Holiday Collection will entail.

This year GODIVA’S Holiday Desserts Collection gift box is like no other.  Truly, capturing the flavors of the season inspired by all of the most decadent holiday desserts such as Dark Chocolate Pecan, Dark Pear Vanilla, Chocolate Ganache, and Milk Chocolate Almond Cookie.

I of course had to sneak a few pieces for myself while preparing Santa’s Sleigh and I’ve got to say, this might be the best holiday box I’ve tasted in years.  Not to mention the most gorgeous. That’s one of the other brilliant things about GODIVA, the boxes are beyond gorgeous so you don’t need to worry about wrapping. And this year GODIVA even came out with Peppermint Bark and the most adorable Hot Cocoa Toppers. Seriously, just when I think it couldn’t get better than the classic gold box, it does.  

Hope you’ll be making someone’s season this year with the gift of GODIVA.  I know I will! Truly, MKR

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