Classic Macaroni and Cheese

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The time has come for me to finally share and upload a video on me making my SOUTHERN baked macaroni and cheese. Yes, I have 3 or more other macaroni and cheese recipes already available, however none of them are truly southern. They’re darn delicious, but not southern- and there is a difference!

SO many people have made macaroni and cheese, and claimed it to be southern, and all it was baked macaroni and cheese. I remember going to a cookout , a year ago, and the host of the party keep bragging to all of the guest how bomb his wife’s mac and cheese was. Being that macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite foods, I was excited to get a taste of this “famous” mac and cheese. This man keep telling everyone that it was the real deal, and it was truly southern. My mouth was watering, and frankly I just wanted him to shut up, and go grab me a plate. About 2 hours into the cookout the wife, finally came out with this huge platter full of mac and cheese. Everyone raced to the front of the line to dig in. When I finally made my way to the front of the line, I wanted to freaking cry! The so called macaroni and cheese that I had been waiting for was nothing more than boxed macaroni and cheese smothered in mild cheddar! Ooh that really burned my biscuits! Sadly, a lot of people make their ” famous” macaroni and cheese like this. Seriously- get on Instagram, search “soul food ” and see how many people try to pass off the boxed mac and cheese for the real deal, LOL!
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In this post, I’m going to show you how to make some of the most creamiest and cheesiest mac and cheese! I actually shared this recipe years ago, but since then it has been revised ( just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I stepped up my mac and cheese game!

This recipe is super easy, and is will easily feed up to 10 people. Give it a try and tell me what you think.

Classic Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

1 pound elbow macaroni

5 jumbo/large eggs

4 cups of whole milk

2 tbsp melted butter

2 tbsp hot sauce

4 cups of sharp cheddar cheese

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the elbow macaroni and cheese until it's half way done.
  2. Drain the pasta and set it to the side.
  3. Crack the eggs, and place them into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Beat The eggs, until the color is completely yellow.
  5. Add four cups of milk into the mixing bowl, along with the hot sauce, and butter.
  6. Beat the ingredients together.
  7. Add 2 cups of cheese into the large mixing bowl, and fold the cheese in with the other ingredients.
  8. Choose your bake dish, place the pasta inside.
  9. Add the remaining 2 cups of cheese, and fold it in with the pasta.
  10. Pour the cheese and milk mixture over the pasta.
  11. Sprinkle on the paprika and pepper.
  12. Fold in the ingredients.
  13. Cover the macaroni and cheese, and let it bake in the oven on 350 for 30-35 minutes.
  14. ENJOY!
http://www.iheartrecipes.com/how-to-make-soul-food-style-macaroni-and-cheese-easy-recipe/

The Best Collard Greens

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True southern tender collard greens flavored with smokey bacon.

We all have that one dish that is pretty much or signature dish. It just so happens that I have several, and collard greens happens to be one of them. My collard greens are infamous in my family and friends circle, and my husband has even named them! What does he call? He calls them ” Put A Ring On It Collard Greens”! Why? Because he claims that once he had a plate of my collard greens, he knew I was wifey ( and I thought it was because I was cute and had a nice personality…wtf!). I remember the first time I had cooked the greens for him. He had called all of his friends and his MOM, and bragged about how his girlfriend had just cooked him a homemade meal with some collard greens. I knew right then, that my greens were the BOMB hunty!!! My husband once said that although he liked greens, he never LOVED them until he tried my southern collard greens recipe. Little does he know, there really isn’t much to the recipe. Of course I don’t tell him that! Heck, he thinks that I have some special ingredient that I add to my pot of greens. And your boo will think the same thing once you make them a pot of these homemade southern collard greens. All I ask of you is…. Once you get that wedding ring- at least send me an invite!

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 So how do you make a authentic pot of southern greens?

Believe it or not, collard greens are actually easy to make. They can be a little time consuming. I remember whenever my mom would make greens it  seemed like it took her forever! As a child, I used to wonder why the heck it took her so long just to make a pot of vegetables. It just made no sense to me! It wasn’t until my mom taught me how to make greens, that I understood why it took so much time. In order to make tender and flavorful greens, you must be patient. You have to give the collards time to really absorb all of the flavors in the pot, and the longer you cook the greens, the more tender they will be.

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For southern collard greens, most the flavor comes from a smoked meat. There are many different smoked meats that you can use. I personally prefer to use pork bacon ends. I realize that there are some people that do not eat pork. Here are a few other smoked meats that you can use instead of the pound of bacon ends that I use for this recipe

  •  Two pounds of Turkey Bacon plus 1 tbsp of olive oil, chopped. Cook the same as written for the pork bacon.
  •  1 1/2  pound Smoked turkey wing. Boil in 3 to 4 cups of water for 45 to one hour over medium high heat. Reserve water and use along with the recipe instead of the 2 cups of water
  •  1 1/2 pound of smoked turkey necks. Boil in 3 to 4 cups of water for 45 to one hour over medium high heat. Reserve water and use along with the recipe instead of the 2 cups of water

I like my greens to have a slight kick of spiciness to them, so I add 1 large jalapeno to my pot. If you are not a fan of hot peppers, you can omit the jalapeno.

So now that we’ve talked about making the collard greens, the next thing to do is to make the greens. Be sure to watch my video down below for a visual, and print out the recipe.

Enjoy!

The Best Collard Greens

Ingredients

4 lbs collard greens, cleaned and cut

1 lb bacon ends, chopped

6 cups chicken broth

2 cups water

1 large onion, diced

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp seasoning salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 large jalapeno pepper, sliced

2 to 3 tbsp of white distilled vinegar

Instructions

  1. Place the bacon ends in a pot, and place the pot over medium heat.
  2. Brown the bacon then add in the diced onions, and cook until the onions start to sweat.
  3. Add in the minced garlic,then cook for 1 minutes.
  4. Pour in the chicken broth, and turn the heat up to high and let boil for 20 minutes.
  5. Pour in the 2 cups of water, and turn the heat down to medium.
  6. Start adding in the collard greens into the pot.
  7. Once all of the greens are in the pot, sprinkle in the seasoning salt and ground black pepper.
  8. Add in the sliced jalapeno, and the vinegar and stir the ingredients.
  9. Cover the pot, and let simmer for 1 hour and 10 minutes over medium heat. Be sure to peak in and stir periodically.
  10. Enjoy!
http://www.iheartrecipes.com/how-to-make-the-best-pot-of-soul-food-style-collard-greens/

Southern Hummingbird Cake

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A super moist spice cake infused with bananas, pineapples, and pecans.

Recently on Facebook, I asked my viewers to tell me what their favorite southern desserts were. I got  a lot of request for the most mentioned dessert was Red Velvet Cake, but one person mention a dessert that I haven’t had , nor heard of in a long time…. Southern Hummingbird Cake!

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Hummingbird Cake is one of those southern desserts that everyone expects to be available during the holidays, and other special occasions.  This cake has been known to be  the cause of a riot, if there isn’t enough to go around. So plan ahead of time, and make sure everyone gets their fix! ( this cake should feed 12 people… the keyword was SHOULD….. yall know some people are greedy!)

What is Southern Hummingbird Cake? 

If you never had a hummingbird cake, just imagine it being a super moist carrot cake, without carrots, but bananas instead. Not completely sold yet? How about this – Hummingbird cake is like a spiced banana cake. The cake not only has bananas, but it also has crushed pineapples and pecans ( some people use walnuts). The bananas in the cake not only work to flavor the cake, but it also makes the cake extremely moist, and fluffy. This cake is topped with a fluffy cream cheese frosting, and can be made as a sheet cake, layered cake, or even cupcakes!

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Tips for making an amazing Southern Hummingbird Cake

  • Make sure that the bananas that you use are super ripe. You can not achieve the same taste with regular “new” bananas. The aren’t as sweet, and don’t give the cake the rich signature flavor that it’s known for.
  • Make sure you crush or grind up the pecan. Nothing is worse than biting into a piece of cake with a huge nut in it ….(‘;’)……
  • Before you make this cake, make sure that all of the ingredients are at room temperature(eggs, buttermilk, butter..)!
  • Use the same Cream Cheese Frosting that I used for my Carrot Cake recipe, just double it – because we’re making a three layer hummingbird cake
  • Be sure to not over mix the cake. Over mixing can make the cake a little dry (even though this cake is probably one of the most moist cakes that you will ever have!)
  • Take your time! Don’t rush while making this cake. Let the cakes cool and sit before frosting.
  • If you don’t like pecans, you can leave them out
  •  I don’t recommend making any changes to this recipe. If you change the recipe, it’s at your own risk booboo! ;-P

 

So no that we have the basics down, let get in the kitchen and bake ourselves a cake!

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Ingredients

3 cups self rising flour

3 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp salt

5 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup shortening

3 very ripe bananas, pureed

2/3 cup crush pineapple

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

2 tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Make sure that all of the ingredients are at room temperature.
  2. The first thing we need to do is, place our butter and shortening into a large mixing bowl and mix.
  3. Now pour in the granulated sugar, into the mixing bowl and cream the ingredients together.
  4. Add in the eggs, followed by the vanilla extract, then mix the ingredients until they are well combined.
  5. Add in the banana puree, pecans, and the pineapple, then fold in.
  6. In a separate bowl combine the sifted flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  7. Now alternate adding the dry ingredients, and the buttermilk into the wet ingredients, while using a handheld mixture on medium speed.
  8. You will need three 9 inch cake pans. Spray each pan with baking spray, then fill 2/3 of the way.
  9. Bake each cake for 30 minutes on 350 F.
  10. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them sit for 15 minutes, before removing them from the pan.
  11. Next, remove the cakes from the pan and let the cakes cool completely on the cooling racks.
  12. Double my recipe for the cream cheese frosting( check my carrot cake recipe)
  13. Layer, and frost the cake ( watch my video).
  14. Let the cake stand for at least one hour before cutting into.
  15. Enjoy!
http://www.iheartrecipes.com/how-to-make-a-old-fashioned-southern-hummingbird-cake-like-your-grandma/

Chicken and Gravy Recipe

IMG_5200If you’re craving some tender chicken, smothered in onions and gravy, you’ve come to the right place. Tonight we’re having some good old fashioned chicken, and gravy! It never really occurred to me how many people didn’t know how to make chicken gravy from scratch until recently. I’ve been witnessing a lot of people buy canned and jarred gravy. Hey, I’m not here to knock your cooking game if you’re one of those people, but I do want to show you just how easy it is to make your own gravy! Not only is it easy, but boo it tastes a heck of a lot better than that lumpy premade stuff. Again- I’m not here to knock your cooking game :-P In this post we will be baking our chicken to perfection, and making our very own gravy from the drippings from the chicken. It may sound a little confusing, or hard even- but I ensure you that it is quite easy  ( I got you boo!). Once you’re done, you’re going to have a bake dish full of chicken and gravy that your Grandma would be proud of. So let’s head to the kitchen and get this thing crackin’. IMG_5167 With this recipe I used chicken thighs. You can use different pieces, but keep in mind that the cooking time will vary depending on the piece. To make things a tad bit easier for you ( because I heart you all so much) here are some cooking times.

  •  2 lbs of Chicken Legs/ Drumsticks – 45 minutes  , on 375 F.
  • 2 lbs of Chicken Wings – 40 minutes , on 375 F.
  • 2 lbs Chicken Breast – 30 minutes, on 350 F.

You will notice that I used butter on my chicken instead of vegetable oil like most recipe. I’m sure I will get a lo of questions about that, so I will tell you why I choose to use butter! Let’s be honest, butter make everything ( well almost everything) taste better, and there is not exception here. I have tried using oil in the past, and it wasn’t bad- I simply prefer butter over the oil. In my opinion the butter gives the chicken a richer taste. It helps bring out the natural juicy flavors of the chicken, and also helps the skin brown a tad bit more than vegetable oil does. Can you use vegetable oil instead of the butter, absolutely. Will it taste just as good- in my opinion…..NAH When is serve my old fashioned chicken and gravy, I like to serve it over rice ( brown on white), or along with creamy homestyle mashed potatoes.  I also recommend serving this dish with a vegetable. In the picture above, the chicken and gravy was served over rice along with some Southern Fried Okra. Feel free to add a couple pieces of cornbread to the menu, and you, my dear, have yourself the perfect Sunday Dinner( don’t try to eat a meal like this every day honey!)   Now that we’ve chit chatted, and got all the basics out of the way, let’s cook up a nice dish of Old Fashioned Chicken and Gravy! 

Chicken and Gravy Recipe

Ingredients

2 pounds chicken thighs

3 tbsp butter, melted

1 tsp seasoning salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp onion powder

1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 large onion, sliced

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 1/2 cup chicken broth

* non sticking spray

Instructions

  1. Make sure the chicken is nice and clean before cooking
  2. Brush on, or spoon out the melted butter, all over the chicken, then rub in using your hands.
  3. Season the chicken with the seasoning salt, onion powder, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika.
  4. Spray your bake dish with non stick spray, then place the chicken into the dish.
  5. Place the sliced onions on top of the chicken, then cover the dish, with the lid or foil.
  6. Bake in the oven on 375 F, for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove the chicken from the oven, and there will be chicken drippings at the bottom of the pan.
  8. Spoon up about 4-5 tbsp of the chicken drippings, and place it into a pan.
  9. Place the pan over medium high heat, and once the chicken drippings start to bubble, sprinkle in the all purpose flour.
  10. Be sure to sprinkle just a little bit of flour at a time !
  11. Mix the two ingredients, and let it turn golden brown.
  12. Reduce the heat down to medium, and slowly pour in 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth into the pan, and whisk continuously to ensure that the gravy is lump free.
  13. Once the gravy is nice and smooth, pour it over the chicken.
  14. * The gravy may appear to be thin, but don't worry- it will thicken.*
  15. Place the chicken back into the oven for an additional 20 minutes, but this time uncovered.
  16. Remove the chicken from the oven, and spoon the gravy over the chicken, to make sure it's nicely smothered.
  17. Place the chicken bake into the oven for another minutes. Still uncovered.
  18. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve, and enjoy!
http://www.iheartrecipes.com/how-to-make-baked-chicken-and-homemade-chicken-gravy/