Friday, January 25, 2013

pulled pork mac & cheese

I've always had a thing for mac and cheese or really anything cheesy for that matter. So when the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board asked to create a mac and cheese recipe inspired by a classic dish, the first thing that came to mind was a grilled cheese sandwich. Because, well, it doesn’t get any more classic than a grilled cheese!
This mac and cheese is inspired by one of my favorite grilled cheese sandwiches (from a local Charlotte restaurant), that layers tender pulled pork, cheddar cheese, gruyere cheese and onions between two pieces of buttery Texas toast. Pork and cheese are rarely paired together making this dish such a treat. The pasta is undercooked initially and then baked with caramelized onions, Gruyere/Cheddar cheese sauce, pulled pork, and Texas toast crumbles until it is perfectly creamy and warm. 

Check out the 30 Days 30 Ways Mac & Cheese blog for the next month to see what mac and cheese creations other participating food bloggers came up with. I know I can't wait to try this Pancetta Mac & Cheese Panini.

And check out the breakfast mac and cheese I created for the mac and cheese blog last year!
Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese
Serves 6
12 ounces dried pasta (I used pasta shells)
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons barbeque sauce
3 cups (12 ounces) Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 cup (4 ounces) Wisconsin Gruyere Cheese, grated
One 2 lb smoked pork shoulder, pulled (store bought or homemade*)
4 pieces of Texas toast, baked according to package and crumbled
Preheat oven to 350°F. 
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 6 minutes for shells. Drain and set aside. 
Heat a large pot over medium-low heat. Add 3 tablespoons of butter, olive oil, onions, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown in color and caramelized. Increase heat to medium and stir the flour and 1 tbsp of butter into the onions and whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes to create a roux. Add in milk and barbeque sauce, whisking constantly, and stir for another 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Reduce heat to medium-low and add in grated cheese. Continue to stir until sauce is creamy and cheese has melted. Stir in shells and then pulled pork. Transfer mac and cheese to an oven safe baking dish and sprinkle with Texas toast crumbles. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown. 

*To make the pork at home, put the seasoned pork in a large roasting pan and cover with foil. Roast the pork at 300°F until the meat is falling off the bone, about 5 to 6 hours. Cool until warm enough to handle, about 1 hour. Once cooled, shred the pork by hand into 2 inch pieces.  
To reheat this dish, just add a few tablespoons of milk and stir. 

Disclaimer: this recipe was developed by me for Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board , all opinions are my own.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

30 minute skillet lasagna

In my family, when we eat lasagna we always skip the ricotta and load up on bechamel sauce. Bechamel is a roux made with flour, milk and lots of butter. The thing about bechamel sauce, you have to constantly stir it for close to 30 minutes to get it right. So after living through 20-something years thinking I only liked lasagna with bechamel sauce, I was completely surprised when I couldn't stop eating my grandma's ricotta- filled lasagna a few years ago. Unfortunately, both my mom's and grandma's lasagna recipes take close to an hour just to bake. Whereas this recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make, start to finish...meaning I can make lasagna any night of the week! And for being such a quick dinner, it really has great flavor and can easily be reheated.

Skillet Beef Lasagna 
serves 4

1 (6.8 ounce) All Natural Jones Golden Beef Sausage Links
8 ounces lasagna noodles, broken into thirds
1 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced 
2 (14.5 oz) cans of Italian diced tomatoes, drained
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
½ cup ricotta cheese
salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400°F. 

Prepare sausage according to package directions. Cut links into bite-size pieces and set aside. Cook lasagna noodles according to the package and set aside. Heat a large oven safe skillet (I used a cast iron skillet) over medium heat and add oil. Once oil is hot, add onion and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Stir in diced tomatoes, sausage pieces and lasagna noodles until everything is evenly distributed. Top with sliced mozzarella and scoops of ricotta cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until sauce begins to bubble and cheese has melted. 

Disclaimer: this recipe was developed by me for Jones Dairy Farm, all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

egg boats

I'm back to my normal routine after being on vacation over Christmas for two whole weeks visiting my family in California. Every morning I was at my parents house, I'd toast a slice of sourdough and top it with pastrami and Havarti for breakfast. I can't tell you how much I loved being able to sit and enjoy a hot breakfast with a fresh cappuccino on a weekday! But now that I'm back at work, I rarely make time to fix myself breakfast during the week so I save all my breakfast cooking (and mimosa drinking) for the weekends. These egg boats are a new breakfast favorite because they literally take less than five minutes to prep. Sourdough baguettes filled with sausage, eggs and lots of cheese, baked until hot and toasty... so so good!

Sausage Egg Boats
Makes 4-6 servings

4 demi sourdough baguettes (I found them in the bakery section of the grocery store)
1 (7 ounce) package of Jones All Natural Golden Spicy Pork Sausage Links
8 eggs
½ cup heavy cream
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated
3 green onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste 

Preheat oven to 350° F.
Cut and pull out the middle of all 4 sourdough baguettes, leaving ½ inch of bread in the bottom and on the sides. Set baguettes aside. Prepare sausage according to package directions. Cut links into bite-size pieces and set aside. In a medium bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and the cream. Whisk in remaining ingredients and sausage. Evenly divide and pour the mixture into each baguette boat. Place all 4 baguettes on a baking sheet and bake for 25-28 minutes or until set in the center. Allow boats to cool for 10 minutes, cut and serve. 

Recipe inspired by Spoon Fork Bacon

Disclaimer: this recipe was developed by me for Jones Dairy Farm, all opinions are my own. 

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