Really Good Southern Meal

I'm a huge fan of southern food (even though it isn't terribly healthy) and look forward to eating juicy chicken and cheesy mac & cheese. Tonight was one of those nights where I just craved really good mac & cheese and found two awesome recipes: Buttermilk Roasted Chicken and Mini French Onion Mac & Cheese Bites. This dinner was soooo good and was the perfect comfort meal!
Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

Ingredients
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken parts (we used 2 breasts and 4 legs for leftovers)
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Flaked or coarse sea salt, to finish
Directions
  1. Whisk buttermilk with garlic, table salt, sugar, paprika and lots of freshly ground black pepper in a bowl. 
  2. Place chicken parts in a gallon-sized freezer bag (or lidded container) and pour buttermilk brine over them, then swish it around so that all parts are covered. Refrigerate for at least 2 but preferably 24 and up to 48 hours. (I brined ours for 24 hours.)
  3. When ready to roast, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil (for easy cleanup). Remove chicken from buttermilk brine and arrange in dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with additional paprika and sea salt to taste. 
  4. Roast for 30 minutes (for legs; approximately 35 to 40 for breasts), until brown and a bit scorched in spots. Serve immediately. 
Mini French Onion Mac & Cheese Bites
*I rewrote the directions to include the length of time 

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup milk, cold
  • 3/4 cup shredded gruyere
  • 2 tablespoons diced onions, lightly sautéed
  • 1 cup macaroni
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Chives for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente and drain.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat butter over medium low heat in a small sauce pan. When nice and bubbly, add flour and whisk to combine into a thick paste (approximately 2-3 minutes). 
  3. Turn heat to low and continue to whisk until roux is cooked, but not brown (about 5 minutes). 
  4. When the roux looks slightly grainy, it’s time to add your cold milk. Add the cold milk at once and whisk (about 1 minute). Your sauce will look lumpy at first, but as the milk heats up, the lumps will disappear. 
  5. Continue to stir over medium low heat until sauce is bubbly and thick. I put the lid on the pot for this process (about 1-2 minutes).
  6. Stir in 1/2 cup of shredded gruyere and onions. Season with pepper to taste.
  7. Fold the macaroni into the cheese sauce. 
  8. Spoon the mac and cheese into a lightly buttered mini muffin pan. Try to compress the mac and cheese into the tin; this will help the muffins retain their shape. Top with remaining shredded gruyere and bake for 30-35 minutes or until tops are nice and brown. *I cooked these at the same temperature of the chicken and cooked them for 15 minutes.

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