Thanksgiving Day Macaroni & Cheese

I make macaroni and cheese……like……a lot. An unholy amount of mac’ n cheese has been put into this body. I didn’t plan to make mac’ n cheese for Thanksgiving this year, but when the night came to make my scalloped potatoes I just couldn’t resist making one more thing. Over achiever much? The sauce for my scalloped potatoes was a base for mac’ n cheese so how could I really say no? This is what I refer to as “last minute mac” because I used penne in replacement for elbow noodles, because, hello, I didn’t know I was making this so of course I didn’t have the right pasta on hand. I threw in some spicy Jimmy Dean sausage because Kyle is constantly bitching at me that the freezer is too full….so I used something from the freezer, probably the smallest item in the freezer, but still counts!

Ingredients
1 box of penne pasta (or elbow if you’re smarter than me)
3 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
3 Cups of Whole Fat Milk
3 Cups of a three cheese blend or the cheese of your choosing
1 Stalk of green onion diced
1 package of Jimmy Dean Spicy Sausage
1 Cup of Panko
4 Tablespoons of Kerrygold Butter
4 Tablespoons of Flour
S&P

How To
Don’t be an idiot like me and wait until you are done with the sauce to boil the pasta – you should do that first. Remember the pasta trick with the water – your pasta water should look and taste like ocean water – more flavor!

I fried up my sausage next, and once it was completely cooked through I added the garlic and onions. Next, I added the butter (all in the same pan, sausage fat and all, this is Thanksgiving!), let the butter melt down over medium heat, and then add in the flour. Cook this mixture for about 3-4 minutes, and then stir in the milk and begin to whisk. Whisk until your arm falls off OR you no longer have lumps of flour/butter. Cheese, cheese, and more cheese, but only add one cup at a time and wait until it’s melted down into the sauce to add the next. At this point I also take a small ladle of the pasta water and place it into the cheese sauce. The starches released from the pasta while it bowls will help the sauce really adhere to the noodles.

Butter a casserole dish and mix your sauce and noodles all together. I bake this at 400 covered for 30 minutes, and then take it out, place panko all over the top, drizzle the panko with olive oil, and then broil for 5 minutes. Delicious! Last minute mac!

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Thanksgiving Day Scalloped Potatoes

The most decadent recipe I have made to date, I believe. Now, I have talked about these potatoes in several Sunday videos, and last Friday Mikaela and I actually made them over live stream. What a beautiful disaster that video was. I encourage you to go watch it before making these.

The biggest debate during thanksgiving was: are scalloped potatoes the same as au gratin potatoes, and the official answer is no. “Scalloped potatoes are a milk based potato dish. The potatoes are usually sliced very thinly although what technically makes it ‘scalloped‘ is the milk base. A gratin on the other hand is any dish that is topped with cheese and/or bread crumbs and layered with bits of butter and is baked until brown and crispy.” – Thank you Google. I did however make au gratin macaroni and cheese which I will be posting next. On to the potatoes!

Ingredients
3lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes (Slice these about 1/8 of an inch)
3 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
3 Cups of Whole Fat Milk
3 Cups of a three cheese blend or the cheese of your choosing
1 Stalk of green onion diced
Pancetta or substitute bacon, but I love pancetta for the holidays. Pancetta and bacon are extremely similar as they are both cured pork belly, but pancetta is typically sliced paper thin, and gives off a less salty taste.
4 Tablespoons of Kerrygold Butter
4 Tablespoons of Flour
S&P

How To

About the potatoes, I sliced mine long ways as I am sure you can tell in the photo. Do not ask me why as it is just what I decided to do in the moment. I also sliced my potatoes by hand to give a more rustic approach. I slice my potatoes first because let’s be honest it is the worst part of making this dish, and then I place them in a bowl of ice water to prevent discoloration.

Cube and fry up that pancetta baby. We want it to be nice and crispy! Save the fat though!

Remove the crispy pancetta, and throw in your garlic and green onions. Let them cook for about two minutes to just wake those babies up.

Now, the roux. We have been over a roux a many times on WWB. Place your butter in a medium heat pan, and a dash of olive oil to prevent the butter from burning. Wait until your butter is nice and bubbly to throw in the flour. Let the flour and butter get along for 3-4 minutes or until it no longer smells like raw flour. Pour in your milk and immediately begin to whisk. Bring this to a simmer once there are no longer clumps of flour/butter. Your sauce should coat the back of a spoon when you test the thickness. Turn down the heat to low, and add your cheese one cup at a time and whisk whisk whiiisk. S&P for taste, and the sauce is complete!

Oven should be at 400 degrees.

I layer this dish like lasagna. I ladle a spoonful of sauce on the bottom of a buttered casserole dish, layer of potatoes, layer of pancetta/green onion/garlic mixture, and repeat until you just can’t fit anymore potatoes in there! I cover this with foil, place it on a cookie sheet because it will boil over, and let it bake for 45minutes, then remove the foil and let bake for 15 minutes, and last but not least add a fine layer of cheese and broil for 5 minutes.

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Cauliflower “Potato” Salad with Pickled Celery

You probably don’t want to bring this to a picnic or bring it instead of potato salad if someone specifically asked for potato because you know….people are haters. Try to convert people at your own risk. I learned my lesson a few Thanksgivings ago when I tried to bring cauliflower mash instead of mashed potatoes I thought I was going to be banished from my own family! I will post my cauliflower mash recipe soon though, I promise! I prefer cauliflower salad to regular potato salad and not because it’s healthier or because I can’t eat potatoes but I just generally like and prefer the taste of it. I like it warm the best….right when the cauliflower pieces come out of the oven and you coat them in the delicious dressing…..yes…..that is life.

I have a lot of friends and family that cannot or will not eat potatoes and so I decided to get creative and make a cauliflower version but spice it up some with some pickled celery pieces. Low carb potato salad….can you believe it?! Now, I roast my cauliflower because I believe it is the only way to get the real true delicious flavor out of cauliflower and we aren’t making raw cauliflower salad because I hate raw cauliflower but Kyle loves it  and almost ate half my head of cauliflower!

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Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients – 2 servings

1 head of cauliflower – chopped into 1 inch pieces – toss with olive oil and roast at 400 degrees for 25 minutes
1/4 Cup GOOD mayonnaise or yogurt/sour cream
2 TBSP fresh or dried dill
1 Celery Stalk
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
Red Chili Flakes
1/4 Lemon Zest
2 Hard Boiled Eggs
1/4 Red Onion Diced
Pickle or Relish
Garlic Powder
S&P
1 Jalapeno
*Traditional potato salad uses mustard but I wasn’t feeling it for the cauliflower – go ahead and use if you’d like*

How To

First – get your cauliflower roasting because it takes what feels like forever and a day.
Second- Celery Pickle – Personally, I would let these sit overnight but if you’re in a rush a half hour will do the trick. I diced my celery heart and a small piece of jalapeno and mixed them with the 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar and some salt. Set aside. I didn’t use the jalapeno IN the salad(would be tasty though) but it infused the vinegar/celery with some nice spice.

Third – mix the rest of your ingredients together with the mayonnaise and let it chill in the fridge until the cauliflower is ready. I thin out my dressing with a bit of the infused wine vinegar.

Finally – when the cauliflower is cooked and still WARM toss everything together! I like my cauliflower to still have a bite to it but the way you like it is how you should make it. You could also try this recipe with raw cauliflower and I’d only suggest letting the dressing and cauliflower sit overnight with one another to create a really good marinade. Your dressing, cauliflower, and the pickled celery pieces (not WITH the vinegar – add that a little at a time). Now, I like eating this warm but it is also delicious cold! I served this with some chicken wings that I baked rather than fried. HealthiER than potato salad….I wouldn’t call this meal the epitome of health haha. I hope you try this!