Alton Brown's Baked Macaroni & Cheese

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 21, 2011



  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quartcasserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Old Fashioned Raisin Pie

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 07, 2011


This is the recipe Mother always used, on the back of the Sun-Maid raisin box, and yes, it was as good as it looks.   ~ jan

A country fair winning recipe from years ago.


2 cups Sun-Maid Natural Raisins
2 cups water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon butter

1 double unbaked pie crust


COMBINE raisins and water and boil for 5 minutes.
BLEND sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt.
ADD to raisin liquid and cook, stirring until clear.
REMOVE from heat.
STIR in vinegar and butter. Cool slightly. Turn into pastry-lined pan.
COVER with top pastry or lattice strips.
BAKE at 425 F about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Makes 1 pie (8 servings).

Here are my tweaks:

Raisin pie tends to be runny, especially when it’s warm, and we all know it’s best when it’s warm, so I increased the cornstarch to 3 tablespoons.

I had a bag of assorted raisins, some were really large golden raisins, and it also contained regular dark raisins and regular size golden raisins.  This was fantastic!  The combination of raisins really enhanced the flavor. 

This pie was so good, seriously the best raisin pie I’ve ever eaten.  It was so good that I tagged it and it’s going in the Tried ‘n True Hall of Fame in the sidebar.


Hacienda Salsa

by 👩‍🍳 Cooking With a Southern Vibe in Music City USA 👩‍🍳, February 02, 2011

We have a local mexican restaurant, Hacienda, who has the most amazing salsa.  It's definitely for the midwestern palate, not at all authentic as salsas go, but the locals, including yours truly, absolutely adore it.  I found this recipe posted on Group Recipe site for Hacienda Salsa, it looks very similar to what I'm used to. I'm also posting her recipe for Ranch Dip.  

I hope you all enjoy these recipes as much as my friends and I do, we think they're just wonderful.

~ jan

Hacienda Salsa, an adapted recipe from Group Recipe Site

 1 large (28oz) can whole tomatoes
  • 1 small can (7 oz) jalapenos (with onions and carrots that's how they come if you can find that size can if not you'll have to guess)
  • 1 large (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • garlic salt to taste (about 2tsp)
  • salt to taste (about 2tsp)
  • Optional:  If you want this chunky, add a drained 15 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes
  • In blender combine large can of whole tomatoes (drained) and jalapenos puree.
    • Pour entire contents of crushed tomatoes in large bowl. Slowly add tomato/jalapeno puree. Add garlic salt and salt. Mix until will blended.
    • Hint: If you're using larger can of jalapenos and have to guess, it's always easier to puree a bit more and add than it is to take away!
    • Note:  When I'll make this recipe, I'll drain the jalapenos with onions and carrots, and I may also drain the whole tomatoes, because I don't want the salsa to be soupy or be too vinegary.  Then after I puree, I will adjust and add back liquid if I need to.  ~ Jan
    • -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Hacienda Ranch Dip, an adapted recipe from Group Recipe Site
    • 1 package dry original Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
      • Follow directions on packet, but double the mayo (make sure it's mayo, not Miracle Whip)
      • Mix slowly with spatula until creamy
      • Optional:  Top with sliced scallions and/or parsley, stir in hot pepper flakes if you want it spicy