Tag Archives: bacon

Langostino Mac & Cheese with Crispy Bacon and Chives #SundaySupper #JuneDairyMonth

Langostino Mac & Cheese

This post is sponsored by Florida Dairy Farmers in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

This week, I am partnering with Florida Milk to talk a bit about what they do as a part of my post.  I happen to be a fan of farmers.  I grew up surrounded by family farms, so I have an appreciation for them.  I am also acutely aware that without them, food would be scarce to say the least. 

When I moved to Florida a few years ago, I, like most people, really only thought of beaches or theme parks and not much else. But, did you know there are more than 130 dairy farms here and most of those farms are primarily owned and operated by second and third-generation farming families.  They are hardworking men and women who care for their cows and the land, and they are leaders in their communities. Meet some of Florida’s Dairy Farmers here!

A few fun facts about Florida Cows

The majority of the dairy cows living in Florida are Holsteins (the black & white cows) and most dairy herds range in size from 150 to 5,000 cows.  That’s about 123,000 dairy cows in Florida (with Lafayette and Okeechobee being the leading dairy counties) that collectively produce about 2.34 BILLION pounds of milk a year.  That equates to 277 million gallons of Florida-produced milk at the grocery store.

Cheesy Goodness

I’m celebrating “Dairy Month” with one of my all-time favorite foods: Macaroni and Cheese.  It has long been one of my comfort foods.  Mac & cheese has been around for hundreds of years, so I’m sure it has been a comfort food for many.  When I was a teenager, it was my favorite after school snack.  You know the one –  the box with the shockingly orange powdered cheese.  I hadn’t yet learned how to make mac & cheese from scratch, so to my untrained palate it was gastronomic bliss!  I have since learned the delights of real macaroni and cheese.  Thankyouverymuch. 

While I still enjoy plain macaroni and cheese (probably more than I should), I wanted to “fancy it up” a bit and add in sweet langostinos with a handful of crispy bacon.  (Langostinos look like tiny lobsters, but are actually more closely related to certain species of crab.)  Normally, I use extra-sharp cheddar in my mac & cheese because I like the pronounced cheesiness.  However, when paired with the delicate flavor of langostinos, the cheese should complement and not overpower them so I went with a mellow cheddar.   Feel free to add in other cheeses.  Play around with the recipe, swap out one for another, try different combinations… just make sure you keep the same quantity.  Cooking should be fun and creative, recipes like this are a perfect place to start experimenting.

Baked

Mac & Cheese is perfection.  Pasta mixed with a creamy cheese sauce, topped with a layer of (even more) cheese & breadcrumbs and baked.  It’s so simple and satisfying.  
Enough talk, let’s get cooking…

Langostino Mac & Cheese with Crispy Bacon and Chives
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb elbow macaroni, cooked according to package instructions
  2. 5 TB. unsalted butter
  3. 4 TB. AP flour
  4. 2 C. whole milk
  5. 1 C. Half & Half
  6. 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  7. 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  8. 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  9. 2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese + 1/2 cup for sprinkling on top
  10. 1 1/2 C. langostinos, cooked
  11. 1 C. cooked bacon, chopped
  12. 2 TB. chives, chopped
  13. 1/4 C. seasoned breadcrumbs
  14. 1 TB butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a small pot, combine milk and half & half. Heat until warm, cover and set aside.
  3. In a medium pot, melt butter over low heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Turn heat up to medium and whisk roux for 2 -3 minutes. Add milk mixture and whisk to combine. Using a rubber spatula, go around the edges of your pan to make sure all of the flour gets incorporated.
  4. Continue whisking frequently until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add dry mustard, salt, pepper and 2 cups cheddar. Stir continuously until smooth and uniform.
  6. Spray or butter 9x13 baking dish, set aside. In a large bowl, combine: cooked macaroni, cheese sauce, bacon, langostinos and chives. Stir to combine.
  7. Pour into glass baking dish. Stir together 1 TB melted butter, breadcumbs and remaining cheddar. Sprinkle over macaroni and bake for approximately 20 minutes, until bubbly and browned on top. Remove from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. Langostinos are most often sold frozen, already cooked.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
 

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Mac & Cheese Pin

Want to meet the cows, get recipes from the Florida Milk Kitchen (including a lavender milk bath!) and see what’s new on the farms?  Check out Florida Dairy Farmers and keep up with Florida milk in the news and in the schools.

You can also keep up with Florida Dairy Farmers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Here are more recipes from the folks at Sunday Supper featuring Florida milk:

Milk in the Morning:

Milk during the Day:

Milk in Desserts:

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florida dairy

 

 

Get Your Game Face On…

Break out the fat pants… It’s Super Bowl Party time.   Oh, don’t give me that face!  You know as well as I do that no matter what, you and I will be eating more than we should.    I love football parties;  a gathering of friends, yelling at the television in unison, eating, drinking and being merry… until of course there is a fumble or an interception.  Then the merriment seems to dissipate.

This year, I will have my very first Super Bowl Party.   I love throwing parties and I will use any excuse to have friends over and feed them.  The fact that there will be a football game on is a bonus!    The smile that creeps across their lips as they taste something heavenly (or sinful)… that’s the stuff I live for.  Seriously.

Here are some of the things that will be on our Super Bowl party menu:

photo courtesy of Cravings of a Lunatic

photo courtesy of Cravings of a Lunatic

http://www.cravingsofalunatic.com/2014/01/jalapeno-bacon-poppers-appetizerweek-savorx-giveaway.html

She had me at bacon…  Dang.   You know those (GASP) frozen jalapeno poppers that people seem to be a fan of?!   Make these and they will NEVER think those are a good idea, ever again.  These little babies pack a punch and leave you reaching for more!

 

Who doesn't love a corndog?!

Who doesn’t love a corndog?!

http://www.pookspantry.com/guilty-pleasures/

This is serious.  I don’t recommend eating these often, but once in a while… You need a corndog.  Especially if they are mini size!   These are so much fun!  They are a taste of childhood for me.  It was a special treat that we used to get and that sweet corn batter, deep-fried to  golden brown delicious makes me smile every single time.    A tray of these will make your friends very happy.

 

photo by: Alex Farnum coutesy of: Leite's Culinaria

photo by: Alex Farnum
coutesy of: Leite’s Culinaria

http://leitesculinaria.com/87995/recipes-soft-pretzels.html

These little gems are on my menu.  I love a soft pretzel more than any reasonable person really should…   If I am somewhere that has them, I’m not walking out without one.   I’m making a BIG batch of these and stashing some for those nights when the craving strikes.    These are absolute snack perfection.

 

photo courtesy of: Pastry Chef Online

photo courtesy of: Pastry Chef Online

http://pastrychefonline.com/2014/01/23/turtle-graham-crackers-candy/

Tell me your brain isn’t thinking “how do I get some of that?!”  After all the snacks have been devoured, your guests are going to need something sweet.   Jenni has come up with something that fits the bill quite nicely. 

 

photo courtesy of: Pass the Sushi

photo courtesy of: Pass the Sushi

http://passthesushi.com/huli-huli-bacon-chicken-bites-captainstable/

If these don’t scream “SUPER BOWL PARTY”, I don’t know what does…  Check them out & tweet with #captainstable to help donate a buck to ending hunger!    Chicken wrapped in bacon… that is all kinds of right.

 

photo courtesy of: Foodie with Family

photo courtesy of: Foodie with Family

http://www.foodiewithfamily.com/2014/01/29/garlic-parmesan-stadium-style-baked-steak-fries/

Is there ANYONE on the planet who doesn’t love fries?  These are not just ordinary fries… Look at that cheesy, herb-laden goodness.   These would be good for a party, movie night, dinner, a random Tuesday…  You get my point.

 

Sweet Corn Fritters & a Cold Beer= Perfection

Sweet Corn Fritters & a Cold Beer= Perfection

http://www.pookspantry.com/445/

Sweet Corn Fritters.  What else is there to say?  A plate of these & a cold beer and all is right with the world.   There are so many ways to dress these up.  You can leave them plain, as I did here, or mix in some bacon or crab.  Wanna keep it vegetarian?  Roasted red peppers, chipotle in adobo for a little kick or scallions would be nice.  

 

Thanks to all of my generous friends who allowed me to use their images & links!  Please check them out…  And a big THANK YOU to all of you who take a few moments to read this blog!

 

#SuperBowl  #GameDay  #Food

The 4 Food Groups…

Bacon, Eggs, Cheese, Pasta.   
It seems every time I make pasta, I always have leftovers.  Every. Single. Time.    I used to hear the phrase “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” on an almost daily basis and I think it may still be true.

So, seeing that sad bit of pasta hanging out in the fridge I felt the need to rescue it.  I’m not a fan of throwing food in the garbage (unless of course it has started to look like a science experiment gone horribly wrong).   With that sense of resolve,  I scanned the kitchen to see how this bit of leftover pasta could transcend its current state into something seriously good.

Staring into the refrigerator, I felt a bit like the woman from “Romper Room”…  you remember her right?   She would look through her looking glass and say the names of the kids she saw.  Every week I waited and waited to hear my name.  Never happened.  

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If You’re Afraid of Butter, Use Cream…

The above is one of my favorite quotes from Julia Child, one of the gutsiest broads to ever hoist a meat cleaver. (and I use that term lovingly)

 

On August 15th of this year, Julia would have turned 100 years old and I’d like to think would still be cooking.
In the 100 days leading up to Julia’s birthday, the JC100 is celebrating this culinary powerhouse and her recipes.  Each week, a new recipe is featured and this weeks offering was Coq au Vin…  one of my all time favorites.

I remember watching Julia & Jacques and loved her candor and fearless approach to cooking.  She made it seem fun and most importantly, possible.  She had a way of walking her audience through a recipe that made complex dishes seem effortless and isn’t that all we really want? To feel like anything is possible?

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Sticky Sweet Bacon Goodness

It’s bacoooon!  Who doesn’t love bacon?! (besides vegetarians and even some of them come to the dark side for the love of the slab)

My Mom had come across a recipe for bacon jam and being the good Midwestern woman she is, promptly got my Dad to make it.  When she called raving about how delicious it was, I knew it had to be shared.

I will forewarn you that while the bacon jam is simmering away in the crock pot you may want to focus your energy elsewhere.  The smell is incredible and the hours waiting for it to be done feel like years.

This is something that would make a great gift sealed in pretty glass jars or a topping for crostini for a holiday party.  I took my Mom’s lead on how I chose to enjoy my bacon jam…

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Soup’s On!

While the cooler temperatures are not my cup of tea, the food that comes with them is.  I love soups, stews, braises, roasted dinners, etc.
It is comforting, stick to your ribs kind of food and when the weather is chilly that’s exactly what I want.  Gone are the days of salad for dinner…

One of the benefits of  this type of cooking is that you have leftovers.  This for me is key because along with this time of the year comes my hectic work schedule and being able to come home and heat something up instead of trying to figure out what I’m going to cook is a life-saver.

This particular meal comes together in no time at all as long as all of your prep is done ahead of time.
When I have a few extra minutes, I make sure all of my ingredients are ready to go so that the actual cooking part is a snap.  This is perfect for a weeknight meal when energy is not in abundance.

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