It’s the middle of winter, and we have had quite enough of the cold and the dark. Work is extra draining, and as delicious as a slow braised meal is, who has the time? This Instant Pot update to our favorite short rib recipe is a great way to knock out a hearty dinner in 1/4 of the time!Read More
It’s basically dessert for breakfast, but you really only live once. If you top it with the Balsamic Berry Compote it’s practically a health food item. Don’t quote us on that, we’re food bloggers not nutritionists.Read More
As black millennial women, and food bloggers, we understand the importance of minority representation within the food industry. Faces like ours are typically few and far between, but thankfully there is an organization devoted to equal opportunity in the culinary industry. Bite Our Style is proud to pledge our support to Soul Food Sessions, as they take their diversity mission on the road in partnership with Coca-Cola Consolidated. The Table is Set: A Four-City Tour Served with a Coke, will begin right here in Charlotte, NC on June 19th at Free Range Brewing!
The event’s signature dish, Seared Scallops, will be paired with a Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, while other dishes will be paired with Free Range beers. This incredible recipe was developed by Charlotte Chef Greg Williams, a graduate of Johnson & Wales University and owner of the “What the Fries” food truck. We recreated this dish at home, with a minor tweak (potato leek soup recipe), and it was freaking delicious. We literally made it twice (our taste testers were greedy). The Coca-Cola Zero Sugar enhances the buttery richness of scallops, especially when combined with the bold flavors of ginger and garlic in the chutney.
If you’re in the QC or the surrounding area (that means you Harrisburg and Gastonia) next Tuesday, help us kick off the tour and celebrate Juneteenth for a great cause! Tickets are available for purchase here. If you can’t make it, make sure you try the recipe at home!
Post Sponsored by Soul Food Sessions “The Table is Set: A Four-City Tour Served with a Coke” in partnership with Coca-Cola Consolidated
Bae Rating: 3/5. It's healthy and easy to clean up.
Vibes: Bikini season is around the corner, but you refuse to eat air, dreams or flat tummy tea.
- ~1.5 lb Salmon Filets, Skin On
- 4 baby Bok Choy, halved
- 4 cups Snap Peas (not snow peas)
- 1 small Red Onion, halved and sliced
- 1 small Red Chile pepper, sliced
- 2-3 cloves of Garlic, minced
- 1 TSP Ginger Root, grated
- 1 TBSP sliced scallions, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 Cup of Soy Sauce
- 2 TBSP of toasted sesame oil
- 2 TBSP cup of mirin
- 1 TSP Kosher Salt
- 1 TBSP White Pepper
- 1 TSP Ground Ginger
- 1 TBSP Garlic Powder
- 1 TSP chili powder
- 1 TBSP Onion Powder
- sesame seeds for garnish
For the Sauce:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, sliced chiles, minced garlic, grated ginger and scallions in a small bowl.
- Tip: Fresh ginger is easiest to peel with a spoon! The skin is super thin, and using a vegetable peeler will sacrifice too much ginger. We also use a hand grater for our ginger, but a box grater on a super fine setting will work too!
For the Veggies:
- Arrange snap peas, bok choy and sliced onions in a single layer on a sheet pan. Drizzle with the sauce (reserve two tablespoons) and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Make sure you slice your onions thinly and evenly; about 1/4 of an inch is fine! If you have a mandoline, this would be the time to use it.
- We rinsed our baby bok choy, sliced the ends off and separated the leaves. We gave them one more rinse before patting them dry, just to make sure no dirt or debris was deep down in the layers.
- Remove your veggies from the oven, and set aside.
For the Salmon:
- Combine the salt, pepper, chili powder, onion and garlic powder and sprinkle over the salmon.
- Pat the salmon dry, and season to taste with the spice blend.
- Place the salmon on the sheet pan among but NOT on top of the vegetables
- Cook until the salmon is cooked through to your desired doneness. Our salmon was thin, so it took just under 10 minutes.
- Drizzle the reserved sauce over the salmon, and broil for 1 minute minute to crisp the salmon a little more, then remove from the oven.
- We leave the oven door open while we broil. Broiling tends to turn to burning in a heartbeat, so watch closely.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced scallions, and serve hot!
Bae Rating: 3/5. It's not particularly fancy, but it plates beautifully and everyone loves homemade pesto.
Vibes: You have 15 minutes to make dinner before TGIT, but you still want to do a lil' something.
- Bucatini, cooked al dente
- 2 cups of basil, stems removed
- 2 TBSP of pine nuts
- 1/2 a cup of parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 TBSP of salted butter
- 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs
- kosher salt to taste
For the Pesto:
- Add pine nuts and garlic to a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds until they're a crumbly paste.
- Add the basil leaves, a heavy pinch of kosher salt and pulse for another 30 seconds.
- While the processor is still running, drizzle in the olive oil and blend until the pesto is combined.
- Lastly, add the parmesan cheese and pulse for another 30 seconds.
For the Breadcrumbs:
- In a nonstick skillet, melt salted butter on medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the breadcrumbs.
- Cook the breadcrumbs for about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until they're a deep golden brown.
- While the pasta is still hot, toss with your desired amount of pesto. Top with the warmed breadcrumbs and serve hot!
- We use our pesto for everything from pasta, to chicken and fish, to vegetable dishes! Try tossing some roasted veggies in pesto as a quick side, or whisk it into some balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a quick salad dressing!
- If you have any leftover, you can store it in an airtight container with a thin layer of olive oil on top.
Bae Rating: 2.5/5
Vibes: Floor pillows and a few glasses of wine.
Moroccan spiced chicken
- 4 chicken thighs (skin on)
- 2 tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tsp Coriander
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 2 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Smoked paprika
- 1 tsp Ginger
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne (plus more to taste)
- 2 tsp sea Salt
Garlic cous cous
- 1 tbs of garlic, minced
- Plain cous cous
- Chicken stock
- Sea salt
- 1 bay leaf
- I tbs Pour Olive Harissa Olive Oil (plus more for garnish)
Mint Yogurt Sauce
- 1 bunch fresh mint
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
- 1 tbs of honey
- 2 tbs of lemon juice
- 1 tsp of cumin
- 1/4 cup of Olive oil (plus extra)
- Sea salt & pepper
Moroccan Spiced Chicken
- Pat the chicken skin completely dry. I usually do at least 2 changes of a paper towel to get them as bone dry as possible. Bone dry skin leads to crispy chicken skin, so it’s worth the extra step!
- Combine all of the spices, and sprinkle the mixture evenly onto both sides of the chicken. Make sure they’re as evenly seasoned as possible, this is not a bland dish.
- Sear the chicken skin side down for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat, or until the skin is crisp and browned (but not burned) and the spices are fragrant.
- Finish the chicken in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer hits 165. I usually take mine out at around 160, and let the residual heat cook the chicken through to 165 as it rests.
Garlic Cous Cous
- In a pot, sauté the minced garlic in the Pour Olive Harissa Olive Oil (or whatever EVOO you have on hand) until it’s fragrant, and add the bay leaf.
- From there, prepare your cous cous as the directions suggest, with chicken stock instead of water; this maximizes the flavor! When it’s finished, fluff and serve with a drizzle of Pour Olive Harissa Olive Oil on top.
Mint Yogurt Sauce
- In a blender or food processor, blend all of the ingredients except the olive oil
- While the machine is running, slowly drizzle the olive oil through the top of the blender or the spout of the food processor.
- Taste the sauce, and serve with the chicken.
Bae Rating: If bae loves carbs more than they love you, this is a 5/5. It's simple, creamy, carby goodness.
Vibes: Rainy nights and a bottle of wine.
- 2 cups San Marzano diced plum tomatoes
- 1 tbs of tomato paste
- 2 tsp red pepper flake, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp fresh and dried Oregano
- 1 tsp fresh and dried Basil, plus additional fresh basil for garnish
- A few Pinches ofSalt
- A few Pinches of Pepper
- 1 tbs of minced Garlic
- 2 tbs of Spanish onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup of Heavy cream
- 2 hot Italian sausage, casings removed
- Fettuccine (for 2)
- 1 ball of Fresh mozzarella, sliced
1. Cook fettuccine (or your pasta of choice) following the directions on the package. Make sure your pasta is “Al Dente”, meaning it still has a little chew to it, because it will continue to cook in the sauce when it’s baked.
2. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat (we used cast iron, of course), crumble and brown the Italian sausage until the fat is rendered out and there are beautiful crispy edges. Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.
3. Turn the heat in the pan down to medium, and add the Spanish onion. Cook the onion until it is translucent, then add the minced garlic and cook until it’s fragrant.
4. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, dried herbs, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and simmer on medium-low for abut 15 minutes.
5. Add the sausage back to the pan, and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Taste the sauce, and adjust seasoning as needed.
6. Add the heavy cream and fresh herbs, then taste the sauce again. Remember, the sauce will thicken and reduce slightly as it bakes in the oven!
7. Add the pasta to the pan, and toss to coat the fettuccine in the sauce, then top with slices of the fresh mozzarella. If you have an oven safe skillet, leave the pasta and the sauce in there so you have less dishes to clean. If not, melted plastic handles are not safe for human consumption, so please transfer your pasta to an oven safe dish.
8. Bake the pasta at 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until the edges are bubbly and the cheese is melty and slightly browned.
9. Garnish with the remaining fresh basil, a drizzle of good olive oil and another pinch of salt (we used Himalayan Pink Salt) and enjoy piping hot with a huge glass of wine!
Bae Rating: 2.5. Simply because this dish is literally chicken and rice. This is an "I had a long day at work so I need to cook for my husband of 25 years and our 5 kids" kind of dish. Still bomb though :).
1 1/2 LB Chicken Thighs (about 4)
1 1/2 tbs of smoked paprika
1 tbs of garlic powder
1 tbs of onion powder
1/2 tbs of dried oregano
Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)
1 cup of Tomato-Caper sauce
2 cups of chicken stock (plus extra)
1 cup of white rice (we used Uncle Ben’s)
2 tbs of vegetable oil
- Pat dry your chicken thighs, and trim any extra fat. Season them liberally on both sides with the spice mixture, and set aside
- In a medium oven-safe skillet, heat the vegetable oil on medium-high, then add the chicken thighs skin-side down
- Sear the chicken thighs until they are crisp and have a beautiful deep brown color, roughly 1-2 minutes depending on how hot your stovetop gets. Don’t worry about cooking them through, they’ll finish in the oven!
- Remove the chicken thighs, and add the white rice. Coat the rice in all the chickeny, crusty goodness, and stir for about a minute
- Add the chicken stock and tomato caper sauce and stir.
- Place the chicken thighs on top, and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Check the chicken at about 20 minutes, they should be done. If so, remove them, stir the rice, and let it continue to cook. If it looks a little dry, add a little more chicken stock, stir, and continue to bake it for another 5 minutes.
- Serve the chicken and rice hot!
Bae Rating: 3.5. The dish is fire and looks fancy but we had to make a 1.5 point deduction because...garlic breath. No one likes hot garlic breath.
Vibes: Solange makes us happy and so does this dish.
- 1 1/2 cups of crushed tomatoes (We used Cento San Marzano Whole, Peeled)
- 1/2 lb of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup of dry white wine
- 2 tbs of capers
- 1 tsp of cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes (or a little more, if you’re bold)
- 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 shallot bulb, thinly sliced
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Olive oil, for cooking
- Fresh dill for garnish
- Peel and devein your shrimp, then toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and the lemon zest. Set those bad boys aside for a second.
- In a shmedium-sized skillet*, heat a heavy drizzle of olive oil on medium heat (about a 6-7/10)
- Add the shallots and garlic, and cook until they're fragrant. Be VERY careful not to burn the garlic. Watch it more closely than you watch How To Get Away With Murder, or you might blow it.
- Add the dry white wine, hand crushed tomatoes, cayenne and crushed red pepper flakes. You can always add more, or less crushed red pepper depending on who’s eating. Niks is half Bajan and lives for some spice, Fox dies when you open a bottle of Hot Sauce from across the room. Be accommodating.
- Turn the heat down, and let the tomato mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes on medium-low heat (about a 4). This is when you should taste your sauce. Add more salt or pepper, a drizzle of honey. Do your thing, and be creative…within reason.
- Add the shrimp and capers, and cook until the shrimp are opaque and not ONE SECOND MORE. Gummy shrimp is why nobody eat’s at chain seafood joints…that and the E.Coli.
Sprinkle with some fresh dill, and serve piping hot with some crusty bread for dipping. We served ours with herb focaccia, but any other delicious non-sandwich bread will work!
Bae Rating: 3.5/5. This is a super easy breakfast that even the most culinarily challenged can finesse. It's quick, delicious, and will help ease the pain of even your worst weekend hangover...before your down the next round of mimosas that is.
Vibes: Saturday morning in sweats, mimosa in hand. Naturally.
2 cups of sweet potatoes, cubed
1 cup of Mexican Chorizo (the kind that comes in a casing)
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of yellow onion, sliced
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp of cumin
1.5 tsp of sea salt
2 tsp of chili powder
2 tsp of garlic powder
2 tsp of onion powder
1/4 of cilantro, chopped for garnish
Homemade Crema, for garnish (If you can't find Mexican Crema in the store)
- In a large heavy bottomed skillet on medium- high heat, add the chorizo, and mash it up into smaller pieces (like how you do with ground beef making box tacos...please stop making box tacos)
- After about 3-4 minutes, the chorizo should be opaque, but not fully cooked. Remove it from the pan and set aside.
- Drain about half of the chorizo grease from the pan and set it aside. Add the sweet potatoes to the pan, and cook until they start getting brown around the edges, but don’t let them burn. Turn the heat down if they start getting too brown too quickly!
- Add the onions and the seasonings, and cook until they begin to turn transulucent.
- Add the garlic and drained chorizo back to the pan. Adding the garlic last prevents it from burning. Burnt garlic is nasty. Trust us.
- Cook on medium-high heat for another 7-10 minutes until the potatoes get a beautiful brown crust. The chorizo should be crisp and deep brown as well.
- At this point, start scrambling, frying or poaching your eggs. If you want a more hands off approach, you can make small wells in the hash, and bake the eggs directly in the potatoes. Just pop it in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes until the eggs are opaque and set!
- Sprinkle with cilantro, and a drizzle of crema for garnish.
2 tbs of soy sauce (or tamari)
-1/2 tbs of of ginger paste
-1 tsp of honey
-1 tsp of sesame oil
-Pinch of sea salt
-Pinch of black pepper
-sesame seeds (garnish)
-1 6 oz salmon filet
-1 TBS of Canola oil
- In a small bowl, mix the wet ingredients together and set aside
- Pat the salmon as dry as possible, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 TBS of oil in an oven-safe skillet on medium-high heat
- Cook the salmon skin side down for about 2-3 minutes, or until it’s crispy and the salmon has started to cook about halfway up the filet
- Flip the salmon over and get the fleshy side nice and crispy and golden brown (about 2-3 minutes).
- Brush the fleshy side of the fish with the soy-ginger sauce, and finish under a broiler.
We served ours with spinach wilted in a little sesame oil!
Bae Rating: 2/5. Unless bae loves the simple things in life--aka chicken in a crockpot, this isn't the meal to impress someone. Perfect meal for a girls #TacoTuesday doe, turn up!
Vibes: Honestly, every time we make quesadillas from the chipotle chicken it ends up being a lit night and these make for the perfect pregame and post-club recovery meal. Throw this chicken over grits for an even more fire hangover breakfast. Here's a turn up song.
- 1.5 LBs of boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (~ 1 7.5 oz can)
- 1 cup of crushed tomatoes
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 1 TBS of honey
- 1/2 TBS of dried oregano
- 1/2 TBS of cumin
- 1/2 TBS of chili powder
- 1/2 TBS of garlic powder
- 1/2 TBS of onion powder
- 1/2 TBS of black pepper
- 1/4 TBS of sea salt
- 1 large bay leaf
- In a blender or food processor, puree the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, crushed tomatoes, garlic and honey until the mixture is smooth
- Mix together all of the dry seasoning except the bay leaf, and sprinkle it evenly on both sides of the chicken.
- Place the chicken in the crock pot, and pour the chipotle/ tomato mixture over the top
- Add the bay leaf on top, and close the lid. Duh.
- You can either cook the chicken for 2-3 hours on high, or 4-6 hours on low (depending on the power of your slow cooker). After the chicken is done, remove the bay leaf and shred the chicken to pieces. It should take no effort, because it’s been simmering in deliciousness.
- This is the perfect way to have dinner Olivia Pope handled before you leave for work!
We served our slow chipotle chicken in a cheesy quesadilla, with shredded colby jack and pepper jack cheese!
Bae Rating: 6/5. All breakfast meals get an automatic 5/5 for a bae rating because if you are cooking breakfast for someone then the are indeed bae. This one takes a tad more effort so you may really be in love if you're peeling potatoes early in the mornin'.
Vibes: Sunday Morning Vibes.
2/3 cup of brown sugar
2/3 cup of AP flour
4 TBS of butter, softened
1/2 TBS of cinnamon (plus a little more to taste)
1 cup of AP flour
2 TBS of white sugar
2 TSP of baking powder
1/2 TSP of salt
1/2 TSP of cardamom
1 pinch of grated nutmeg
1 cup of milk
2 TBS of butter, melted
1/4 TBS of vanilla extract
1/4 TBS of Triple Sec (optional, but it’s a game changer)
3/4 cup of mashed sweet potato
Set aside a little extra butter or nonstick spray to cook your pancakes
- Mix all of the streusel ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside
- Sift together all of the dry ingredients and spices in a large bowl, and set aside
- Mix together the melted butter, milk egg, vanilla and triple sec until they are blended, and stir the mixture into the dry ingredients
- Fold in the mashed sweet potato
- I like some texture in my sweet potato pancakes, so I mash mine. You can puree yours in a food processor with a little milk if you want the texture to be a little more consistent
- In a pan on medium heat, melt about 1/2 a TBS of butter, add the pancake batter, and sprinkle with about a TBS of the streusel mixture
- When the pancake starts to bubble and has dry edges, flip them over and cook the other side.
- Remove the pancake from the pan, and sprinkle the side without streusel with a little streusel topping while it is still hot.
- Serve with warm maple syrup and a little powdered sugar.*
*This would also be fire with our bourbon maple syrup but we’re not going to tell you how to live your life
Bae Rating: 3.75/4 This is tricky, this meal seems like you're putting in a lot of effort but in reality, you aren't. At the end of the day its just greens, grits and meatballs. The lamb is the only thing fancy about this dish. Make this for someone you care about but you aren't ready to commit yet. Y'all are vibing, and everything is cool, but there hasn't been a, "what are we?" convo yet.
Vibes: A bottle of red wine and smooth soulful jams. We think that "Crush" by Yuna, explains every emotion.
For the Red Pepper Tomato Sauce
2.5 cups of whole peeled San Marzano Tomatoes (canned)
1 red pepper, roasted
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup of yellow onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped (roughly 1 tbs)
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tbs of honey
1 pinch of allspice
1 LB of ground lamb
1.5 tsp of black pepper
1 tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of smoked paprika
1 tsp of honey
1 tsp of ground ginger
2 tbs of shallots, minced
1 tbs of yellow onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbs of mint, finely chopped
2 tbs of vegetable oil
1/2 cup of unseasoned bread crumbs
1 egg yolk
For the meatballs:
- In a large heavy bottomed skillet set to medium heat, add 1 tbs of olive oil. Add the shallots, garlic and onions.
- Sauté the shallots, garlic and onions until the the onion and shallot is translucent. Set aside to cool.
- Combine all of the herbs and seasoning, and sprinkle evenly over the lamb
- Drizzle the honey on top of the lamb, and add the egg yolk and bread crumbs
- Carefully work the seasoning and bread crumbs into the meat, taking care NOT to over mix. Over mixing the meat will give you dusty, dense meatballs. Gross.
- Carefully form 1.5 to 2 inch meatballs, and set aside
- Pour the vegetable oil into a large, heavy bottomed pan and set the heat at medium-high. I used my cast iron skillet, as always!
- Arrange the meatballs in the pan, and cook until they're browned on both sides. Set aside.
For the Sauce:
- Roast 1 red pepper, remove the skin and seeds. Chop and set aside.
- Drain the remaining oil from the pan used to cook the meatballs, and discard.
- Add the onions, shallots and garlic and sauté until fragrant.
- Add the chopped roasted red pepper, and stir to combine
- Crush the whole peeled tomatoes by hand, directly into the pan and stir.
- Add all of the seasoning, and the honey and stir.
- Taste your sauce! It should be spicy, sweet and a little smoky. Let the sauce simmer on low for 20 minutes.
- Taste your sauce and adjust your seasoning as you see fit. I rounded mine out with a pinch more salt!
- Add the meatballs back to the sauce, and simmer on low for another 20 minutes.
Bae Ratings: 9/5. This meal is bougie as hell, ok? First of all, lobsters are expensive. Second of all, if you decide to make the pasta from scratch, don't think that it will get in formation in minutes. This is an intimate, anniversary meal. Everything about this dish is made with love.
Vibes: Grown and sexy.
1.5 tbs of garlic (2-3 large cloves), finely chopped
2.5 tbs shallots (1 shallot), finely chopped
1 cup of dry champagne
3 tbs of butter
2 tbs of tomato paste
1 cup of heavy cream
1.5 cups of lobster stock
1 can of chicken broth
4 cups of water
1 bunch of thyme, 1 tbs chopped and set aside
1 clove of garlic, crushed
6 lobster tails
In a large pot, bring enough water to completely cover the lobster tails to a boil. Add about a 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt.
Boil the lobster tails until they turn bright red, or about 2-3 minutes. Take the tails out, and set them aside to cool.
Remove the tails from the shells, and set the meat aside. Do NOT discard the tails.
Champagne Lobster Cream Sauce
In a heavy bottomed pot set to medium-high heat, toast the lobster shells until they're fragrant. Don't burn them. You'll regret it when you have burnt and nasty lobster stock.
Add the water, chicken stock, garlic and thyme and bring it to a boil. After about 3 minutes of boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain the stock, and set it aside.*
In a large pan, melt the butter on medium-high heat.
Add the shallots, garlic, and chopped thyme, and cook until they're fragrant.
Pour the champagne into the pan, and stir to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Turn the heat down to medium, and add the tomato paste and lobster stock. Simmer for about 5-7minutes, or until the sauce has reduced (evaporated and concentrated).
Add the heavy cream, and continue simmering until the sauce thickens. It should be creamy, smooth, and pale pink.
Taste your sauce, and season as needed. I added about 1 tsp of sea salt, and 1 tsp of fresh cracked black pepper.
Add the cooked pasta directly to the pan with the sauce. Let the pasta simmer in the sauce for about 2-3 minutes, so that the pasta can absorb some of the sauce's flavor.
Serve PIPING hot with a sprinkle of parsley for garnish.
You can absolutely make the lobster stock ahead of time. It will save you a ton of time.
Slightly undercook your pasta. The last 2-3 minutes it needs can be spent in the sauce. Trust me, it's worth it. The flavor level-up is insane.
We used fresh pasta for this recipe, (recipe found here http://www.thelittlekitchen.net/how-to-make-homemade-pasta-with-kitchenaid/) but you can used boxed pasta!
Bae Rating: 100/5. No, we aren't kidding with this rating. Look, as we mentioned before, you don't cook this Mac and Cheese for just anyone. This is made for special occasions; for ya mama, for loved ones, or on holidays. Grating cheese is a task within itself, so you don't need to cook this for a potential bae unless you are ready for to be spoken for, ok? This recipe will make someone fall in love, so if you aren't ready for that type of commitment, I suggest you steer clear.
Vibes: What did we say? Only someone dangerously in love would whip this up on a regular day. This one is for my lovers.
1 tsp of black pepper
1/2 tsp of dry mustard
1/4 tsp of cayenne
1 tsp of chili powder
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
Pinch of nutmeg
Yellow onion, halved
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
8 oz of macaroni noodles (1/2 a standard box)
1 quart of half and half
2 tbs of butter, plus extra for baking dish
2 tbs of flour
2.5 cups of sharp cheddar, shredded
1.5 cups of smoked cheddar, shredded
2.5 cups of fontina, shredded
1.5 cups of gruyere
1 cup of parmesan, shredded
1.5 cups of colby jack, cubed
1 tsp of paprika
For the Macaroni
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. The water shouldn't TASTE salty, we don't need ocean flavored noodles. And don't you dare add oil to the pot. The cheese won't stick and you'll be super sad.
- Boil the macaroni for about 5 minutes. The pasta should still have some "chew" to it. It will finish cooking in the cheese sauce, I promise.
- Rinse the pasta in cold water, and set it aside. This will stop the cooking process, and remove the extra starch, which can thicken your cheese sauce too much.
For the Cheese Sauce
- Shred ALL of your cheese EXCEPT the Colby Jack. We knoooow shredding cheese is tedious, but pre-shredded cheese is covered in wood pulp and who knows what else, and it will jack up your dish.
- Cube your colby jack and set it aside. You won't need it until the very end.
- Melt 2 tbs of butter in a pan over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Don't let it brown!
- Sprinkle in the 2 tbs of flour, and stir it until it's evenly combined with the butter. This is called a roux. Fancy, right?
- Cook the roux for about about 1-2 minutes, or until the floury taste is cooked out.
- Slowly add about 1-2 cups of the half and half while whisking the roux vigorously. Savagely, really. It will get lumpy quickly.
- Slowly add the rest of the half and half as you continue whisking. Smooth the lumps out as you go. I usually mash mine against the side of the pan with a flick of the wrist, but if you have boulders of flour, feel free to strain it and add it back to the pot.
- Let the sauce thicken. Now you have what is called a béchamel sauce. You're Drake fancy now.
- Add the halved onion and the thyme, and let the sauce simmer for a minute or two until it's thickened slightly but still creamy. If you place a spoon in it and take it out, run your finger along the back in a vertical line. If the edges of the line stay crisp like a new pair of forces, you're golden.
- Add the seasoning, and not the salt. Let the sauce simmer for another minute. Remove the onion and the thyme.
- Turn the heat to medium-low, and stir 2 cups of the sharp cheddar cheese, and wait until it's melted completely.
- Add 1 cup of the smoked cheddar, and stir until it's melted completely.
- Add 2 cups of fontina, and 1 cup of gruyere and stir until they're melted completely.
- Add half of the Parmesan cheese, and stir.
- TIME TO TASTE THE SAUCE. It should be smoky and cheesy, creamy and melty and smooth. THIS is when you add the salt. Add your salt in PINCHES and dashes. You can always add more, but you can't take it out. I usually add 1/2 a teaspoon for reference. Try not to eat all the sauce.
TIME TO ASSEMBLE
- Dump the macaroni into the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
- Put the half of the macaroni and cheese into a well-buttered dish (I have also used a small cast iron skillet for a personal serving) and sprinkle the remaining cheese EXCEPT the Parmesan on top of it.
- Pour the remaining macaroni and cheese on top.
- Poke a few of the colby jack cubes into the macaroni and cheese. These will melt and be surprise cheesy nuggets of joy as you eat.
- Mix the bread crumbs and the parmesan cheese together, and sprinkle it over the top of the macaroni and cheese.
- Bake it for about 30 minutes at 375 (or a little longer depending on how your oven heats) until the cheese is bubbling and deliciously brown and crunchy on top.
- Serve piping hot. It's lit.
- You can ABSOLUTELY use store brand cheese, as long as it comes in a block for you to shred. I used Publix brand sharp cheddar and colby jack. I also used a relatively inexpensive Parmesan cheese; they usually keep them in the back by the butter. The fontina and Gruyere are a little pricier than the others, but they're ridiculously good and worth the suffering. The smoked cheddar is crucial, but if you can't find it, sub it for muenster (also in the store brand section and delicious), or add smoked Gouda (shouts to young Dodson for the suggestion). I found the smoked cheddar in the specialty cheese section toward the deli.
- You can use whatever kind of "macaroni" you want, as long as it's a "tube" pasta and not a long, flat pasta. Cavatappi, traditional elbows, or small penne all work, especially if they have little ridges. They help hold the sauce better! Linguini or spaghetti will not work, don't be a clown.
- This macaroni and cheese is super rich. Don't try to eat it all at once, even though you'll want to. It's just as delicious the next day, if not moreso.
Bae Rating: 3.5-4/5. This rating is flexible depending on what mood you set. If you pair this with a great appetizer plate (coming soon), great wine and great atmosphere, it's a solid 4. If you plan a regular shmegular degular night, it's a 3.5 because it's good, but you were jokes and didn't level up.
Vibes: This meal is for your purest grown man/grown woman flow. Think Lake by the Ocean Maxwell. Simple, elegant, classy. It's lit.
For the White Wine-Caper Sauce:
1 1/2 cups of dry white wine
1 1/2 cup of chicken stock
1/4 cup of capers
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup of shallots, finely minced
Italian parsley, chopped for garnish
Sea Salt and black pepper to taste
For the Chicken:
1 package of thin sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbs of sea salt, divided in half
1 tbs of garlic powder, divided divided in half
1 tbs of onion powder, divided in half
1 tbs of dried oregano, divided in half
1/4 cup of flour
1/4 cup of canola oil
1. Take half of the seasoning and mix it together, sprinkle it evenly on both sides of the chicken and set aside
2. Take the other half of the seasoning, and mix it with the flour
3. Dip the seasoned chicken breasts in the seasoned flour on both sides. Make sure they're evenly dusted, but not so much that the flour is caked on
4. Heat the canola oil in an oven-safe skillet (preferably one with a lid) at medium-high heat (about at 7/10)
5. Brown the chicken breasts in batches (aka don't crowd the pan and steam the chicken). Don't worry about cooking them through, you just want good color!
6. Take the chicken breasts out of the pan, and set aside
7. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan, and cook until they're fragrant. You may need to add a little more oil to the pan, but not too much!
8. Pour the white wine in the pan, and scrape up all the browned bits that formed from browning the chicken, shallots and garlic, then turn the heat down to medium (about a 5).
9. Add the chicken stock, thyme and capers to the pan, and stir to combine. Simmer for about 3 minutes.
10. Add the chicken back the pan, and cover. Put it in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
11. When the chicken is done, remove the thyme sprigs and the chicken from the pan and taste the sauce. If it has reduced too much, add a little more wine and chicken stock, and simmer on medium-low for a few minutes.
12. When the sauce looks velvety smooth, add the chicken back in and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
I served mine with Pecorino- Romano and Fried Shallot mashed potatoes (see the recipe here) and sautéed spinach.
Bae Rating: 3.5/5 LEMON PEPPER MY WANGS *Rick Ross voice* I mean, who doesn't love chicken wings especially when they're Lemon Pepper. The wings alone won't get you wifed unless bae is a wing connoisseur, but hey, these are damn delicious!
Vibes: Grilling and summer time go together just right. Grab a drink, grill out and turn up to these tunes.
2 quarts cold water
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
For the Chicken
1 LB Chicken Wings
Zest of 3 large Lemons
1.5 tbs of sea salt
2 tbs of coarse ground black pepper
1 tbs of garlic powder
Lemon Pepper Sauce
2 tbs of coarse ground black pepper
Zest of 2 large lemons
The juice of 2 large lemons
3 tbs of olive oil
1/2 tbs of sea salt
- Bring water, sugar, and salt to a boil in a large pot, then lower the heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Let the brine cool completely, then add chicken and let it soak covered in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.
- Take the chicken wings out of the brine, and pat dry. Really dry the wings out, it helps keep the skin extra crispy as it cooks
- Mix the lemon zest, sea salt, garlic powder and coarse ground pepper together in a small bowl. If you have a mortar and pestle, USE IT! It helps release the oils from the lemon zest and flavor the salt and pepper.
- Sprinkle the seasoning over the thoroughly dried chicken wings, and let them sit on wire racks, or at least on a plate in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Dry skin, remember?
- In another bowl, mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside until later
- Heat half of your oiled grill to medium-high heat, and leave the other side cool. Let the grill come to about 350 degrees.
- Place the wings skin side up on the "cool" side of the grill, and grill over indirect heat for about 10-15 minutes. You'll notice that the skin will look very dry and taut. Good, that's what it should look like.
- Transfer the wings to the hot side of the grill and cook until the wings are beautiful and brown, about another 10-15 minutes. Watch them carefully, burnt wings are jokes.
- Toss the wings with the lemon-pepper sauce to taste (there's a little extra leftover if you like your wings saucy), and serve hot.
Bae Rating: 3/5. I mean, it's shrimp. You definitely need another dish to go with these skewers to really blow potential bae away, but it's perfect for the summer!
Vibes: We're feeling tropical here! Vibe with us and enjoy.
For the shrimp:
1/2 LB of shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 tbs of garlic powder
1/2 tbs of onion powder
1 tbs of soy sauce
1 tsp of toasted sesame oil
Sriracha Lime Butter:
2 1/2 tbs of butter
1 1/2 tbs of Sriracha
the zest of 1 lime
the juice of 1 lime
- Mix all of the shrimp ingredients together in a small bowl
- Put the peeled and deveined shrimp in the bowl with the sauce, and stir to coat. Let them marinate for at least 2 hours.
- Thread the shrimp onto skewers, and place them on a grill at medium-high heat
- Flip the shrimp, and baste with the Sriracha-Lime butter, and grill until cooked through. Baste the other side, and remove from the grill.
- Serve with lime wedges and chopped cilantro for garnish.