bungalow to go: mac ‘n cheese ‘n collards

Mac and Cheese 6This week’s Bungalow To Go at Ocmulgee Traders is TOTALLY not Whole30 (see previous post for details), but lucky for me, I made it last week and enjoyed all the cheese and pasta I could.

While this dish is easily recognizable as one of the most popular comfort foods around, it also featured a local beauty: collard greens from Babe and Sage Farm. Collards are high in nutritional value, giving some much-needed vitamins and minerals to this decadent dish. Don’t worry, though: you’ve still got plenty of gruyere and white cheddar to satisfy your cheesy, ooey gooey needs.

I’m so proud of this dish, and I hope you’ll try it yourself by picking up the recipe card and ingredient box at Ocmulgee Traders this week.

Mac ‘n Cheese ‘n Collards
Serves 4, generously

8 oz. collard greens (Babe and Sage Farm)
1 stem of green garlic (Babe and Sage Farm)
8 oz. sharp cheddar
4 oz. gruyere
2.5 cups whole milk
4 Tbsp. butter
3 pieces of bread (rolls or slices)
8 oz. elbow macaroni
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

What You Need at Home:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
box grater
1 medium pot
1 small pan
1 large, deep pan
8×8 baking dish
1 knife

STEP 1: Assemble Ingredients
Read over each step to familiarize yourself with the process of the meal. Heat oven to 375 F. Fill the medium pot with water halfway and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and the macaroni, cook for five minutes (to al dente), then drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

STEP 2: Shred the Cheese
Using a box grater, shred the blocks of cheese on the large shred side.

STEP 3: Prep and Cook the Garlic and Greens
Cut the stem and bottom off the garlic, peel it, then mince it. Slice each collard leaf into 1/2 inch ribbons, removing the stems as you slice. Heat olive oil, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper over medium-high heat in a small pan. After about 1 minute, add the collard ribbons in batches, about 1/4 at a time, tossing with tongs. Once the last batch is added, toss for about 1 more minute, then remove from the heat and set aside. Collards should be slightly wilted, but should still retain some structure.

STEP 4: Prep Breadcrumbs
Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a small bowl in the microwave (about 40 seconds on high). Using your hands, tear the bread into small pieces, then mix with the butter, adding 1/4 tsp. salt, until all of the butter is absorbed in the bread.

STEP 5: Create the Sauce, Assemble the Dish, and Bake
In the medium pot you used for the macaroni, add the milk and heat over medium heat. Heat 3 Tbsp. butter in the large pan at medium heat. When it begins to bubble, slowly whisk in the flour; this creates the roux for the sauce. When the flour and butter are combined into a paste, slowly whisk in the warmed milk, taking care that the roux gets absorbed into the milk. Keep whisking until the thickened liquid begins to bubble slightly, then add in the nutmeg, cayenne, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Whisk, then add in the macaroni and sauteed greens. Whisk until fully combined, then pour contents into the 8×8 baking dish. Top evenly with the buttered breadcrumbs, then bake for 20 minutes.

STEP 6: Cool and Serve
When the dish has baked for 20 minutes, the edges should bubble and the breadcrumbs should turn golden brown. Take the dish out of the oven and let rest on the counter for about 5 minutes. This dish serves 4-6 comfortably as a main dish, so dip up as much as you like and keep the rest for lunch tomorrow.

meatless monday: saag paneer


How many people love Indian food? I know I go through fits where I can’t get enough. The delicate flavors matched with spice and fresh vegetables and superbly seasoned meat. Fantastic.

There’s one type of dish that always attracts my attention (whether on the buffet or the menu… yeah, I love an Indian buffet, whatever) and that is Paneer. Paneer is a sort of cottage cheese that’s simple, quick, salty, and gooey. It is usually found in cubes and can (allegedly) be found pre-made at the grocery. I made it fresh this time because I’ve always wanted to make cheese and the grocery didn’t have it. I think I will return to this treat again, maybe get a little more adventurous and make more complicated cheeses.

Saag paneer is a mainstay made with spinach and spices that make for a smooth dish that would almost fit in well on a country buffet. In fact, instead of traditional fenugreek leaves or celery leaves, I threw in some collards. They served mainly to fill out the spinach, but it is fun to know they are there.

All told this was a nice spicy something different for a meatless Monday that I know you will enjoy!

Saag Paneer

2 bunches spinach, chopped
1 bunch baby collards
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup minced onion
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coridander
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 gallon whole milk (non-uht)
Juice of one lemon
1 tbsp vinegar
salt to taste

Begin by heating the milk in a large pan. Use a thermometer to make sure you do not overheat. The milk should come to a simmer around 200 degrees and get a little frothy. Remove from heat and add the juice and vinegar. It will begin to curdle right away. Let it sit 10 minutes. Stir to make sure the curds fully separate. Using a colander and cheesecloth, strain the mixture. The curds will stay in the cloth. Lift the curds with the cloth and squeeze to remove excess moisture. Open the cloth pouch and add salt to taste. Wrap again and place on a plate and shape into a loose square. Top with another plate and an addition weight (can, mixing bowl) and sit for 15 minutes minimum. The longer it sits, the denser the cheese will become. If you make ahead you can refrigerate for an even denser cheese.

cheese blob

While the cheese is setting, chop the spinach and collards. Heat a pan with olive oil and add the greens. Pour in about 1/2 cup of water and cover. Cook about 4 minutes and strain. Pulse about 5 good times in a blender or food processor.

In the original pan, heat some oilve oil and add the onion. Cook a few minutes and then add the garlic, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, salt and pepper. Let it simmer for about five minutes. Add the cayenne.

spice stir

Cut the paneer into cubes. In a separate pan, heat some canola oil and add the cubes. Roll then over a few times to brown slightly.

fry em

Then insert into the spice mix.

stir em

Finally, add the greens to the pan and stir. Add the cream and cover for 10 minutes or so. Serve with naan or rice.

Easy, flavorful, fresh Indian food at home. Happy Monday!

wild card wednesday: muenster and chorizo stuffed chicken breast with broccoli rabe pasta in a browned butter pecorino romano sauce

Roll that beautiful cheese footage

Roll that beautiful cheese footage

As challenge cheese entered its third week, it was time to go a little more bold with my flavors, maybe take things a little more international. Last time around I stuffed a burger, this time I thought I should stuff some chicken. When I went to the store, I was thinking of a take on cordon blue, which this might be, but it is certainly not your boring airplane fare. This meal was fun to make, is full of great flavors, and is a great meal for all seasons. I served it with white wine, which maybe I enjoyed a little too much, else I’d have posted Wednesday… oh well!

Muenster and Chorizo Stuffed Chicken breast.

2 large chicken breast, butterflied
1 link chorizo
4 thick slices of muenster cheese
1/4 loaf rosemary sea salt bread
2 TBSP olive oil
Garlic powder, black pepper to taste
Flour with paprika, pepper, cayenne for dredge
1 egg for binder

Start by heating a pan to medium and adding the chorizo and break it up with a spoon. Stir occasionally until cooked. Meanwhile, pound the chicken breast until thin and tender.

After the chicken is prepped, take the loaf of bread (preferably the rosemary sea salt loaf from Fresh Market, mmmm) and cut into chunks. Place chunks in a food processor with garlic and pepper. Begin to chop into crumbs and slowly add the olive oil. Remove and place in a pan.

Dredge one side of the chicken in the flower and then dip in the egg. Press the egg side into the vat of breadcrumbs and let sit for a minute. Add the chorizo and one slice of cheese to the inside of the chicken. Cover the filling by folding the chicken on itself and add to a hot pan (medium) with a little olive oil in the bottom. Cook the chicken 2 minutes on each side and top with the extra cheese. Cook in 325 oven 7-10 minutes until cheese is completely melted and chicken is done throughout. Garnish with fresh rosemary.

Broccoli Rabe Pasta with Browned Butter and Pecorino Romano Sauce

You ever want to impress somebody without doing much work? Go to the browned butter well. It is an amazing flavor and so easy to make.

8 oz pasta
1 stick butter, in 1 tbsp slices
Garlic Powder
1/4 cup pecorino romano
1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped
Salt and pepper

As usual, begin by boiling water in a large stock pot for the pasta. Once boiling all the pasta, stir and check every couple of minutes until al dente.

In a large pan, heat some olive oil with salt and pepper and add the greens. Stir occasionally until wilted completely and florets are tender. Remove from heat.

Heat a deep frying pan over medium heat, add the butter. Once melted and bubbly, whisk frequently until brown flakes begin to appear (this should take about 5 minutes). Once browning begins lower the heat and add the garlic and continue to whisk. Add the pasta and cheese and stir until the pasta is coated and cheese has fully integrated with the butter. Add the greens and toss.


OH YEAH, since we were doing challenge cheese, I just had to a marscarpone cheese cake!



This is modified from, I kid you not, a Brian Boitano recipe. I used crumbled almond cookies for the crust, vanilla instead of almond extract, no citrus and cut the recipe in half, but the idea is there. Cream cheese, marscarpone, sugar eggs, vanilla. So yummy.

What cheesy things can you thing of for us to try???

wild card wednesday: mushroom and caramelized onion stuffed cheeseburgers, beer cheese and mac with blackened shrimp, parmesan sauteed spinach

We're getting wild

We’re getting wild

If you can’t tell this time the challenge is CHEESE. Eleta made the challenge this time, and I am not sure she knew what she was getting.

I decided to take it to the limit with something I have seen on TV several time, so I had to make it for myself- Stuffed cheeseburgers. It really works to hold flavors together, taste the meat, and to experience good gooey cheese. MMMMM.

Stuffed Cheeseburgers with mushrooms and caramelized onions:

1 lb ground sirloin
2 slices swiss cheese
1/2 vidalia onion, sliced into strips (pinch of sugar)
4 oz portabellas, sliced
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 TBSP Worchestershire sauce
4 cloves garlic
Salt, Black Pepper, Paprika, Red Pepper Flake to taste.
2 buns

Mix the spices, garlic, Worchestershire and crumbs into the sirloin until just mixed and crumbs disappear, set aside.

Heat a saucepan with olive oil and add the sliced onions and the pinch of sugar. The sugar will help the onions color well. Cook over medium high heat until they sweat and lower and cover. Stir occasionally until they have begun to brown. Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir. Cook until mushrooms are softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan.

Divide the burger meat into 4 equal quarters and mash until thin. Place one half of a slice of cheese on each patty. Add enough of the onion shroom mixture to satisfy on two on the patties and cover with the other two. Press to seal the mixture in.

Heat a griddle to medium-high. Once hot, grease the griddle and toss the burger on. Cook about 4 minutes on one side, flip and reduce heat and cover with a pan lid. Cook another 6-8 minutes, until done to taste. This added up to medium for me.

Place, with no further adornments, on a bun.

How could I avoid making a delicious mac and cheese for challenge cheese? Exactly, I couldn’t. But, I also had to ad beer because it is delicious.

Beer Mac and Cheese with Blackened Shrimp

1/2 lb rotini
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP flour
8oz Pale Ale
8oz evaporated milk
12 oz sharp cheddar
3 TBSP white cheddar Boursin
Grilled green onions, chopped
8oz Shrimp, chopped into bite size pieces
Blackening spice (or paprika, chili powder, black pepper, red pepper)

In a large stock pot, boil about 2 quarts water and cook pasta. Season the shrimp with spices.  In a fry pan, heat a little bit of olive oil and cook shrimp, about 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Set aside.

In a sauce pan, melt butter and add flour. Whisk into a roux and cook for about 3 minutes. Whisk in beer and milk and cook 2 minutes. Add the the cheese and whisk until fully melted. Lower heat to low and stir occasionally add green onions (to grill green onions, take the whole bulb and stock and cook on a grill pan for about 4 minutes per side). Once pasta is ready, drain and return to pot. Add shrimp and pour in cheese mix. Stir, devour.


Sauteed Spinach

1 lb spinach
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup of parmesan
Olive oil

In fry pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for about a minute. Add the spinach and stir until coated. Once the spinach begins to wilt, add cheese and continue to cook until all leaves have wilted down. It is ready to eat.

All told, it was great, hearty, and enough to induce a coma. I highly recommend this dish and exploring flavors you like with the burgers and the mac and cheese. Let me know what you come up with!

Juicy, gooey, sweet. No drool in picture.

Juicy, gooey, sweet. No drool in picture.


meatless monday: asparagus and tomato pizza- JAM

Eleta is here:

Yeah, I know.

Yeah, I know.

So I am manning Bungalow Kitchen solo this week. Doesn’t mean we can’t have a good meal right?

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: When in doubt, trust The Smitten Kitchen and add garlic. I stand by that with with tonight’s pizza.

After you follow the linked recipe, set about with your toppings. I re-appropriated one of Mrs. Perelman’s recipes to create my cast of characters.

I started out with some nice, spring asparagus and slivered it like so:

It takes some getting used to.

It takes some getting used to.

Get as much asparagus as you would like and add a little salt and pepper and olive oil and set aside.

Once your dough has risen, flatten it out on a floured surface and brush the top with olive oil and garlic, like so:

Allow the oil to absorb the garlic for about 20 mins.

Allow the oil to absorb the garlic for about 20 mins.

Then, add a layer of parmesan cheese!

Pizza sauce? Pfftt.

Pizza sauce? Pfftt.

This will form the base for your pizza. Sauce would be too much here, and you’ll be glad you added all that garlic.

Now, you are ready to top. Add slices of tomato to your heart’s content and the asparagus from earlier. Add 1/2 lb of mozzarella slices and top with basil and any of your garlic and oil from earlier atop the cheese.

Aroma= Divine.

Aroma= Divine.

Now, place in the oven, preferably on a stone, though a foil covered cookie sheet will do (if you have an egg, go to town, but you’ll need the stone there! Mine is broken). If you use the stone, make sure the pizza is on a cornmeal dusted peel. Baked at 500 degrees until the cheese is melted and browning and the crust is crisp, about 13 mins.

I want PIZZA P-I-Z-Z-A.

I want PIZZA P-I-Z-Z-A.

Slice and enjoy!

meatless monday: asparagus goat cheese pasta, caprese salad- JAM


Man, why would I just start craving a Caprese salad. I know it is a nice, bright dish with fresh basil and tomato and big globs of cheese– in other words, all good– but what would cause me to want it all of a sudden? Whatever it was, thank you. I’d also like to thank Deb Perelman of The Smitten Kitchen for the recipe I used. I felt like I need to go back to basics after going on a few off book adventures of late.


Who could resist?

I also went to the Smitten well for tonight’s main, a nice gooey goat cheese pasta. Goat cheese when mixed with hot pasta and a little oil and water makes the easiest cream sauce you’ve ever made. I tweak her recipe a bit with a little garlic and a visit to Bungalow Garden.


I can smell these guys through the screen.

This is one of those recipes where the ingredients really matter. The herbs have to be fresh, the tomatoes have to be ripe (I used “ugly ripe” heirloom tomatoes, the pasta needs to stand up to flavor of your good chevre (cannot used crumbles). Even if you are using quality ingredients, this meal is not going to break the bank and it is going to make a ton of food. Wonderful delicious food cast down from Nomulus and Nomus, the founders of Flavortown.


Things got fancy, this is from Italy.

Caprese: Altered from

3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound peak-season tomatoes diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 15-ounce can white beans
A handful of chopped basil plus 1/4 cup olive oil
3 to 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Bed of red leaf lettuce

Stir it up and go to town.

Asparagus Goat Cheese Pasta: Altered from

1 pound spiral-shaped pasta
1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove of elephant garlic, lightly roasted
Grated lemon peel from 1 whole lemon
2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs, oregano, rosemary, thyme
2 4-ounce log soft fresh chevre (1 regular, one with herbs
Fresh lemon juice to taste

Boil the pasta with salted water for about 6 minutes. Add the cut asparagus to the water and continue to cook for another 3 minutes or so. Drain, but retain some of the water for a gooey sauce. MIx the herbs, garlic, oil, and cheese in a bowl. Add the hot pasta and the water and stir until it looks like this:


It’s the mac and cheese you never knew you wanted all the time.

 Enjoy the adventures, y’all. Both of these recipes are prime for tweaking. Share your ideas!