Quick Shells and Cheese

** I got this recipe from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, off of Food Network. Last night was the first time I have ever made it, it has changed the way I eat mac and cheese now. It is so simple and quick, that you will not want to buy another box of mac and cheese again!**

Ingredients:

1 pound of mini shells pasta

2 cups whole milk

1 TBS butter

2 cups grated cheddar Jack

8 ounces processed cheese such as Velveeta, diced

1 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. seasoned salt

 

Directions:

Cook pasta according to the package directions

Heat the milk and butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat.

Add the cheeses and stir until melted.

Stir in the pepper, salt and seasoned salt

Drain the pasta, and stir it into the cheese sauce

Serve immediately

 

**I absolutely adore this recipe! The longest step was cooking the pasta! It came out so well that honestly I will not be making the boxed stuff anymore. I did not use the mini shells, because I had the regular ones on hand and it was still perfect!**

Twice Baked Potatoes

I found the basic recipe for this in a cookbook years ago. I decided that I wanted something a little more flavorful and something that looks amazing! I have made these with just cheese and also with just butter and salt for people who could not have bacon and cheese. These are virtually endless in the possibilities! 

 

Ingredients:

4 large Idaho potatoes ( I get the ones in the bulk section, because I can usually find really big ones there)

2 packages of bacon ( use your favorite kind, but don’t use a super cheap brand)

2 packages of shredded cheese (you can use any kind of cheese you like, I usually use mind cheddar)

1 stick of butter

1/3 cup of milk ( I use whole milk because it makes the dish richer)

1 pinch of salt (go easy on the salt because you will be adding bacon and it is salty!)

2 dashes of black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake the potatoes for an hour, your oven might take longer or shorter to bake the potatoes depending on how it cooks. While baking the potatoes cook the bacon on the stove top according to package directions. Drain it on paper towels and let it cool.

When the potatoes are soft enough to squeeze slightly and you can feel them give, remove them from the oven. Set aside for 30 minutes to an hour to cool so you can handle them.

When potatoes are cool, slice them length wise, so you have two halves and they look like boats. Take a spoon and spoon out the middles being careful to leave about 1/2 inch along the sides. Spoon the middles into another bowl.

Set the potato skins aside and use the middles in the bowl. Add the butter and the milk to them and using a potato masher or fork make mashed potatoes. Don’t worry if they are not totally smooth, they are supposed to have some lumps.

Add one package of cheese and all but 4-5 slices of the bacon to the mashed potatoes. When adding bacon, cut or tear into smaller pieces. When you have all the cheese and bacon into the mashed potatoes, stir with a spoon, mixing well. ** I like to make this up to this point the night before. I just put this mixture and skins in the refrigerator to chill. It is easier for me to put these together using my hands when the mixture is cold. **

Using the mixture in the bowl, you can either spoon it into the skins or use your hands to fill them. You want the skins to be heaping with the mixture, so keep adding it to the skins until the mixture is used up. Turn the oven down or on to 350 degrees while you put these together.

When the skins are filled, use the cheese from the other package to sprinkle on top of the potatoes and top with the remaining bacon pieces. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is brown and bubbly on top. Serve right away.

**** You can use the basic recipe here and add anything you want to make twice baked potatoes, this is easily customized with all kinds of additives.****IMG_0179

Tawnya’s Garlic Butter & Bacon Green Beans

 

I came up with these when I wanted something different to do with fresh green beans. I wanted them to have amazing flavor and this dish is a hit!

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Ingredients:

1 package of bacon, your choice of brand
1/2 stick of butter
1/2- 1 pound of fresh green beans
several dashes of pepper
3 cloves minced garlic

Directions:

Clean the green beans by snapping off the ends and breaking them in half of you want. While doing this cook bacon according to package directions.

Drain the pan, leaving approximately 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat in the pan. Boil water in large pot, when the water is at a rolling boil, add green beans. Cook beans in water for approximately 5-10 minutes, depending on how crisp you want the beans.

Melt the butter in the pan with the bacon fat, add minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the beans to the pan with the butter and garlic, heat beans through. Cut or tear the bacon into bite sized pieces and add to the pan with the beans. Mix well. Serve hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.