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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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Lord have mercy do not bring hummus as a Christmas appetizer unless your entire family is vegan. I about got voted off the island for bringing hummus a few Christmas’ back. You know what, though? I am a grown up(kind of) and have my own blog now so I am just going to publish the recipe because I am a loud and proud hummus lover!

Embarrassing Fact: A few colleagues of mine had a hummus war competition and it just so happened to be on the day I was interviewing for a management position at my work. Well, ALL afternoon my stomach would not stop sounding like a blue whale searching for its family and couldn’t tell if I was just nervous OR overdosing on too much hummus.

P.S plain hummus is boring – make some exciting flavors and share them with me! I know roasted red pepper is pretty boring, too but I love it!!

Recipe

2 Cups chickpeas drained and washed
1/2 Cup Tahini (just buy it – I know it’s expensive but it’s what makes hummus HUMMUS)
1 whole lemon squeezed
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Cup Roasted Red Bell Peppers (I roast mine on the oven – stick them in a ziplock once black- let them steam – take off the char and done)

How To

How easy is this? Throw it in the food processor and hit the Go button. Blend until smooth and the consistency you’d like – you may need to add additional olive oil. I crack fresh pepper on top one plated, a squirt of lemon, and a final drizzle of olive oil. Eaasy breezy beautiful snack. Pita chips, veggie sticks, naan bread. Gurl.

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Bacon & Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

How did eggs get the name “deviled”? Hold on. I need to Google. “The term “deviled“, in reference to food, was in use in the 18th century, with the first known print reference appearing in 1786. In the 19th century, it came to be used most often with spicy or zesty food, includingeggs prepared with mustard, pepper or other ingredients stuffed in the yolk cavity.” Today we learned! You are welcome!

Okay, so, let me get real with you. I am famous for my deviled eggs…..seriously. My grandmother calls me before EVERY event and that is all she ever wants me to bring. I can make panna cotta, bruschetta, stuffed mushrooms, garlic bread, and a wide range of appetizers, and yet I am always called on for deviled eggs. Krystal, does it make you famous for something if only your grandma is asking for it? Um, yes, Internet, thank you. I will tell you why. My grandma is SASSY. Well, all my grandmas are sassy they are the ladies I get a lot of my own sas from but the grandma that loves my deviled eggs has the other two beat when it comes to honest opinions. We would often go to little diners for lunches or dinners growing up with my grandma, and if she didn’t like something she didn’t eat it anyways and remind herself not order it again, but send it back, and I always remember my parents being so embarrassed that she was sending food back or critiquing service. I didn’t really know what to think of it as a child, but as an adult I love her for it. You shouldn’t have to eat something you do not enjoy and you shouldn’t have to lie about something just to not hurt someone’s feelings. My grandma tells ME when she doesn’t like something I’ve made, in fact she is probably my best critic for my food because she doesn’t sugar coat. My deviled egg loving grandma is honest, blunt, and one of my biggest supporters in life. You bet your butt I make deviled eggs when she asks, and they ARE the best.

Now, let us discuss a can I cannot close once I open it. Mayonnaise. Deviled eggs, potato salad, pasta salad, and all other recipes requiring mayo are to be made with MAYONNAISE and NOT Miracle Whip…… I can’t believe I even typed its name it’s like saying he who shall not be named from Harry Potter. No, no, noooooo. First of all IF we are going to call MW food it is technically labeled as a salad dressing(vomit) so it has no business in these recipes. MW is sugar. Soooooo much sugar. MW is NOT mayonnaise so please do not disgrace yourself by using it! #endrant Please remember I am German…..I take my mayo very seriously.

I have yet to decide if I am going to share my OG recipe with y’all, but I do have many variations that I make. Hint: Grandma does not like the variations. My latest variation was Bacon & Jalapeno Deviled Eggs….make them. Yesterday.

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Ingredients

However many eggs you want to make – I made a snack so I used 6 eggs BUT I am giving your the recipe for if you were making 12
1/2 Cup GOOD mayo
1/4 Cup Dijon Mustard
S&P
4 Strips of Bacon (add a little bacon fat to your filling)
1 Jalapeno sliced in rounds then cut in half again (moons) – pickle these quickly in some red wine vinegar OR go to We Olive and get some pineapple balsamic because I pickled them in that real quick
Dash of your favorite hot sauce
Dash of a good quality olive oil (I used garlic)

How To

I wish I could tell you I am an expert hard egg boiler but I am not. I follow instructions via the internet – Place eggs in pot and cover one inch with cold water, bring water to a boil, cover and remove from heat for 8 minutes. They turn out nice and soft for me I just cannot ever get them to peel beautifully but other than that the egg itself turns out yummy! I do let the eggs chill for about an hour before peeling/preparing.

Okay, take the eggs yolks, mayo, mustard, oil, hot sauce, and S&P and throw them in a food processor. I prefer my filling to be smooth because I like to pretend I am fancy but you can ALWAYS mash the yolks with a fork and incorporate the filling that way. I throw the filling into a ziploc bag to pipe back into the empty shells, because fancy? Garnish with your crumbled bacon, slivers of jalapeno, and I added tomato and ALWAYS fresh cracked pepper or paprika or red chili flakes OR ALL! I hope you enjoy these!

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Chicken Fried Steak Bites!

Okay, so like, did everyone know as a kid that chicken fried steak was actually steak and NOT chicken? I know I know it is in the name, Krystal but it tricked me every time! I would get so excited thinking we were having fried chicken to only be served this chewy fried steak. UGH.  I never really liked red meat as a kid and even now as an adult I rarely eat it. I tend to stick with fish, chicken, and 3-4 nights a week vegetarian. I am not a big red meat eater and when I am it has to be done right, and so I generally leave it up to the expert: 2nd dad. I can make chicken fried steak though, right? Yes! I made these a little differently by cutting the cube steak into pieces rather than “steaks” and making bites to dip in black pepper gravy. Baby, these were good. I am now a fan of chicken fried STEAK.

I found that chicken fried steak (CFS) is all about the gravy. Gravy is life. Gravy runs through these veins. I served these with mashed potatoes, because what else? These would be an excellent appetizer for a party.

Ingredients

2lbs Cube Steak (I cut mine into pieces) Cube steak is generally just top round that has been tenderized
2 eggs
1 1/4 Cup Flour (can substitute almond or coconut here) – reserve 3TBSP for gravy
S&P
Garlic Powder
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
25-30 Saltine Crackers
1/4 Cup Panko
Vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk (coconut milk can be substituted)
1/2 Cup Beef Stock
3 TBSP Kerrygold Butter

How To

Set up your batter section while your oil is heating up for frying. As always with 99% of fried foods you COULD bake these by getting some color on them and then placing in the oven, but we are going authentic today. Beat your eggs in a bowl. In a separate bowl add the crushed saltines, garlic powder, pepper, panko, and flour. I do not add salt to this because the saltines have salt.

Cut the cube steak into strips. Place strips into eggs, then into the dry batter, and then into the fryer! Since these are strips and not full steaks they only take 4-5 minutes a piece in the oil. Place them on a paper towel once out of the oil to get rid of excess oil. Taste one to see if they have enough salt for your liking.

Now, the most important part – the gravy. Country gravy. I always make gravy with pan drippings but it isn’t possible with chicken fried steak since you know….you fry it. We will pass on using oil in our gravy. Melt your butter and make a roux with those 3TBSPs of flour we reserved. Once your roux is cooked add the milk and beef stock. I added the beef stock as a little trick for one you could split the milk/stock ratio and save some calories, and two it adds a beef flavor that the gravy would lack due to the pan drippings situation. Let your gravy thicken and right before serving add a TON of freshly cracked black pepper. Delicious!

I still prefer fried chicken…… but these were bomb! Bring these to your next event and as always if you make this recipe tag us on Instagram or Facebook!

 

Macadamia, Coconut, & Panko Crusted Salmon

So, could this title have more words in it?

True Story: I have not had salmon in about 13 months, because I am allergic(maybe) to shellfish. Yes, I knoooow salmon is not shellfish, but nonetheless my experience was quite traumatizing for me. You may read all about it here if you wish: boring

So, I am writing this before I eat….life of a food blogger is eating cold food since no good picture has steam in it. This may be the last and final time you hear from me unless Jared keeps up with my blog as he is my designated afterlife social media continuer……who won’t even read this. Both fitting and ironic. We continue!

Now, you may call me a hater but I never got(until now) what the big deal was with crusting fish. I mean white fish battered and deep fried with vinegar…..yes but beautiful salmon….why? Why, Why, Why? So, I tried it for myself and it is spectacular. Crunchy toppings go quite well with the buttery flakes of salmon. I imagine you could do this with any kind of fish but salmon, halibut and even shark are your “meatiest” of fish and they hold up well to a wide range of cooking methods. Best part? You can eat in 20 minutes!

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Ingredients – Makes 2 Servings
2 – 4oz Salmon Steaks
Insert Krystal’s Rant: pleeeeeease buy wild salmon! I know it is hard to find and I know it’s expensive but it is so worth it and so so soooo much better for you! End Rant
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Panko
1/4 Cup Toasted Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup Toasted & Crushed Macadamia Nuts
1/2 Lemon Zest
S&P

That’s it!!

How To

I toasted both the coconut and the nuts together just in a pan over low-medium heat….once you can small them they are done pull off the heat. Wait for them to cool down and then pulverize in food processor/blender.
Add in a bowl the panko, nuts/coconut mixture, lemon zest and S&P. Separate bowl: crack and whisk your egg.
I only crusted one side of the fish but you do you.
Dunk one side of the salmon steak into the egg wash and then into your dry mixture. This is where you really want to make sure your dry mix is sticking and you have a nice layer.


In a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat melt your butter/oil. Place fish crusted side down for 2-3 minutes and depending on how you eat your salmon get some color on the naked side of the fish and then pop in the oven or cook another 2-3 minutes on the side, pull, rest, and enjoy medium salmon. Remember cooking time all depends on your personal preference of the salmon’s temperature as well as the size of your steaks, but you can always show these pictures to your butcher and they should be more than happy to cut them to this size.

Beautiful! I ate this completely on its own because I had been cooking for hours and this seemed to be a sufficient snack, but it would go well with a small salad or grilled veggies. Keep salmon lite!

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