Southern Kitchen Bucket List : Mac 'n Cheese

A few years ago my (husband’s) Aunt Carol took the time and energy to thoughtfully compile hundreds of her own recipes for all of the family. She compiled them into a wonderful spiral bound book. It's filled to the brim of recipes we love of hers, quick + easy ones for the kids, and everything in between.

She is always cooking and baking for any large family gatherings we have, and her mac + cheese recipe became a quick favorite among us. We make it time and time again. 

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Her chocolate chip cookie recipe is also so killer, but it includes a “secret” ingredient that makes all the difference, so I'll have to check with Aunt Carol before sharing it. No matter what I do, I can't seem to get my cookies to taste as yummy as hers for some reason!

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To me there were always a few “camps” when it came to mac + cheese. You were either straight from the box (not a chance in my mom's house growing up), or a fan of the creamy + liquid cheese, or the more solid casserole-like, baked mac + cheese. My mom generally made us the latter, and for some time it was the only mac + cheese I knew.

This is part of the Southern Kitchen Bucket List, perfect for this time of year when the weather gets cooler and you need a little comfort food to warm you from the inside.

Family Favorite Macaroni + Cheese

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 cups half-and-half (fat-free)

2 cups milk

2 (8oz) block extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 (8oz) block extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 (16oz) pkg elbow macaroni, cooked

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in flour until mixture is smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Stir in salt, black pepper, red pepper and garlic powder. Gradually whisk in half-and-half and milk; cook, whisking constantly, for 8-10 minutes or until thickened. Stir in half of sharp cheddar cheese. Stir in the extra-sharp cheddar cheese until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Combine pasta and cheese mixture, then pour into greased 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining sharp cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. 

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A few tips: use freshly grated cheese whenever possible, and the highest quality cheese you can - it will make all the difference. Sometimes I’ll even just do 8oz worth of a really great cheese and it still elevates the taste and creaminess of the recipe. Also, we like to use the large or  jumbo sized noodles for this one because it captures all the delicious melted cheese just perfectly. I also love to add in a little bit of herb, like thyme. Sometimes I’ll even add some smoked paprika which enhances the cayenne flavor even more.

Thanks Aunt Carol for letting me share this special recipe. My kiddos request it all the time and I know yours soon will too!
 


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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

Southern Kitchen Bucket List (V2) E-Book

Just about a year ago I took at long hard look at some of the foods + recipes I had never even attempted to cook. It wasn't for lack of interest or ability, some I simply never had a reason or opportunity to make. I was thumbing through stacks of old family recipes and realizing that it was time to try to master certain techniques and classic Southern dishes that would otherwise fall by the wayside.

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The result was a list I called the "Southern Kitchen Bucket List" and if you've spent any time over the last year over here on the site then you've seen me sharing some of these recipes along the way. 

Today I'm excited to share the second volume of our little e-book series that includes three more of my favorite recipes from the SKBL so far. The first volume was by far our most popular of our book series so far, and when you sign up below you’ll also get access to all of our ebooks, including Volume 1, along with some holiday favorites.

The e-book is completely free to you, just enter your email address below and once you hit "sign-up" a new screen will pop up with a link for you to access and download the book for yourself. You’ll also be signing up for our weekly newsletter so you’ll get access to more recipes + great stories too.

 

SIGN UP FOR OUR E-BOOK:

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I'd love to know what you think about the e-book and the Southern Kitchen Bucket List too! And, love to know any feedback on future books you may like to see from us! 

 

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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

Summer Canning 101: Mixed Berry Jam.

We are well into late Summer, the garden is in full bloom and I'm looking ahead to my summer pantry and how I am going to stock it up this year. One of the things I love to celebrate here on heirloomed are the simple crafts of yesterday and keep them around for another generation.

Canning + food preservation is one of those arts, especially here in the South. Today I'm teaming up with my friends at Ball Canning for a little “Canning 101” to show you how incredibly easy and fun it is to can yourself and capture all the flavors of summer in a little jar. 

Ball Mason Jars Canning

If you’ve never tried canning before, not to worry. I’m walking you through all the essential tools you’ll need and a step-by-step recipe for a Mixed Berry Jam that is so delicious and I know you’ll just love (it goes perfectly on a hot Buttermilk Biscuit, too!) I was pretty intimidated before I tried canning for the first time but once I read more about it and tried it for the first time I was hooked.

Ball Canning DIY
Mason Jar Canning
DIY Canning
Mixed Berry Jam Recipe

MIXED BERRY JAM

Makes approximately 6 (8oz) half pint jars

INGREDIENTS:

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.

2. Combine berries in an 8-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in pectin. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.

3. Add entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boilhard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam, if necessary.

4. Ladle hot jam into a hot jar leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim.Center lid on jar and apply band, adjust to fingertip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.

5. Process jars 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove lid, let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool 12-24 hours. Check lids for seal, they should not flex when center is pressed.

Mixed berry Jam instructions
 PRO TIP : Use a potato masher for a finer smash!

PRO TIP : Use a potato masher for a finer smash!

Mixed berry jam ingredients
DIY mixed berry jam
 PRO TIP : Save yourself a little mess by filling on a dish cloth or cutting board

PRO TIP : Save yourself a little mess by filling on a dish cloth or cutting board

 PRO TIP : Pay special attention to the instruction's required headspace measurement, this recipe calls for 1/4".

PRO TIP : Pay special attention to the instruction's required headspace measurement, this recipe calls for 1/4".

It really is so fun and easy to can in your own home. If you have any questions, you can always reference the “Canning 101” section on the Ball® website, it will show you a great step-by-step. Just make sure you keep everything sanitized to minimize any chance of compromising and not properly storing your filled jars.

cleaning Ball jars
Mixed berry jam

I like to keep my fruit rather chunky because I prefer more of the jam texture but you can always finely mash and strain your berries for more of a jelly-like texture as well. And, Ball® even has these really cute jar labels over on their site that you can download and print on labels to decorate and customize your own jars.

I’d love to know if you’ve ever canned before or if you’re giving it a try for the first time by sharing with us at #heirloomed and #jamwithball #yesyoucan. And in case you love it as much as I do, pop over here for even more recipes you can try or if you’d rather a hardcopy (like me) Ball® has a great Canning Book.


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Canning Mixed Berry Jam / heirloomed for Ball Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands

Please note, this post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving Products by Newell Brands; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. To support our content and storytelling I love to share brands with you that I love and that are authentic to my lifestyle.


heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

Picnic-Perfect Potato Salad.

Here in the South we are known for our "salads" when entertaining. Egg salad, tuna salad, potato salad and beyond. These mayo-filled bowls of mush are often associated with picnics and ladies luncheons alike, but I'm here to tell you that not all of us grew up on these varieties. 

Though I love a good dish with mayo, this chunky version of potato salad is the perfect blend of tang, mustard a whole lot of herbs makes it so full of flavor and a gorgeous presentation to boot.

ingredients for vinegar mustard based potato salad / heirloomed
sous chef chopping fresh herbs + green onions / heirloomed

This is one of those recipes where you can substitute 'til your hearts desire. Try a different kind of mustard or variation of vinegar, or toss in just about whatever fresh herbs you have growing at the moment.

The key to me is going heavy on the herbs, super chunky on the potatoes for a rustic, hearty dish and adding a tad more mustard than you're used to. This one gets better the longer it sits too so it's perfect when stored in the refrigerator and served the next day too.

the best chunky potato salad recipe / heirloomed
vinegar based potato salad with fresh herbs / heirloomed
summer entertaining with herb filled potato salad / heirloomed

Picnic Potato Salad

INGREDIENTS :

  • 3 lbs Honey Gold Potatoes, boiled and halved
  • 3 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp whole grain mustard 
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh green onions
  • 1 bunch fresh dill 
  • 1 bunch flat leaf Italian parsley
  • 3-4 whole brown eggs, soft boiled
  • kosher salt + cracked pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS :

In a large saucepan, salt and boil potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a small saucepan, salt and boil eggs until soft boiled. Drain and set aside in ice water bath to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard and mustard seed, gradually adding in olive oil until emulsified. Halve the cooled potatoes and add to the vinaigrette and toss. Rough chop herbs (parsley, dill and green onions) and toss into potato mixture. Halve or rough chop eggs for garnish. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

the best mustard potato salad recipe / heirloomed
best recipes for grilling out this summer / grilled chicken + chunky potato salad / heirloomed

This recipe is part of our Southern Kitchen Bucket List. For more on this project and to try your hand at a whole list of Southern favorites, click here.


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Picnic Potato Salad / mustard vinaigrette / heirloomed

heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

Swiss and Leek Quiche.

Just in time for a breakfast-in-bed or Sunday Brunch kind of Mother's Day, this go-to breakfast classic is one of my favorites. 

They say that "real men don't eat quiche" but here in the South we beg to differ. There are a million variations on the traditional quiche and this one is packed full of savory flavor. I'm a breakfast lover through and through (if you couldn't tell from my love of buttermilk biscuits or this egg casserole ...) so I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

Also, to learn more or to tackle the Southern Kitchen Bucket List, click here!

Swiss + Leek Quiche recipe / heirloomed

SWISS + LEEK QUICHE

PIE CRUST:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup Crisco
  • Dash of salt
  • 5 TBSP water

Mix flour / salt / shortening with fork - stir in water and turn into waxed paper shape in ball and set in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Turn onto floured base and roll. Makes 2 9" shells or 1 top & bottom shell (click here for full recipe )

FILLING :

  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 - 2 leeks, sliced into medium rings
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1  cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 tsp coarse ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme

 

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Beat eggs with whisk until well blended. Add cream, salt, and pepper. In the bottom of your pie crust layer half of your chopped leeks + green onions, and then layer shredded swiss cheese. Layer once more, leeks, onions and cheese. Pour egg and cream mixture into the pie crust. Garnish with sprigs of thyme. Bake for 35 minutes until egg mixture is firm and the top is golden. Cut and serve warm. Enjoy!


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Swiss Leeks Quiche / southern brunch recipe / heirloomed

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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com