Pittsburgh Steelers Mac-n-Cheese


Pittsburgh Kielbasa and Bacon Braised Cabbage Mac-n-Cheese

Adapted from a recipe by Chef Christopher Bonfili of Avenue B

5501 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Continuing with the football theme, this is the recipe that I make for Danielle’s team.  The first time I made this it was such a hit with everyone.  Even though there is a lot of work involved, this recipe makes a ton, and I even cut the original recipe in half.  You will have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day, and believe me, it gets even better after it sits.

The list of ingredients is long and diverse, and you may look at it and be discouraged or think that some of those things do not go together.  Stick with the plan and you will be pleasantly surprised.  You will need a large skillet, a casserole dish, a pot, several bowls and three hours to soak your cabbage before you can even start cooking this dish, but it is so worth it.  Avenue B’s Chef Bonfili came up with this recipe, which is a nod to the Polish heritage of Pittsburgh.  As you take a bite, you are bombarded with so many different flavors.  It is Polish comfort food at its best.  Enjoy!



1/2 head green cabbage

1 pound elbow macaroni

6 strips bacon, chopped

1/2 large Spanish onion, diced

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 pound Kielbasa, sliced into 1/4 inch slices

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar, shredded

1/8 cup Tabasco (If you don’t like spicy food, this is a lot of Tabasco.  Tone it down a little if you must, but don’t remove it totally.)

1 1/2 teaspoon honey

salt and pepper


1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1/4 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, snipped

3 green onions, sliced



1. Dice cabbage and soak in cold water for 3 hours.


2. Preheat oven to 350°F .

3. Cook elbow macaroni until al dente, drain.

4. Spray a large skillet with Pam and saute sliced Kielbasa until the edges are blistered.  Remove Kielbasa.


5. Cook bacon in the large skillet til done, remove bacon but leave the fat in the skillet.

6. Saute onions in the bacon fat until they are translucent.  Drain the cabbage and add it to the skillet.  Stir.


7. Mix together the vinegar and sugar.  Add the mixture to the skillet, stir,  and reduce the heat.  Cover the skillet and cook on low until the cabbage is tender.


8. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, Kielbasa, bacon, braised cabbage, cream, cheeses, tabasco and honey.  Stir until thoroughly mixed.  Season with salt and pepper and mix again.

9. Spray a large casserole dish with Pam and transfer the mixture into it.  Cover the dish with foil and bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


10. Mix Panko breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, and green onions together in a small bowl.

11. Remove foil from pan after 30 minutes and sprinkle Panko mixture over top of casserole.  Bake uncovered until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.


California Club Sandwich


Recipe inspired by California Club Sandwich at TGIFRIDAYS 

Recently I went out with some friends for lunch, and I had the California Club Sandwich at TGIFRIDAYS.  It was delicious and I’ve been craving another one ever since.  Their club sandwich was on chewy ciabatta bread…mine was on whole wheat, but still very good.  The restaurant served real bacon on their sandwich (and it was tasty), but we have been eating turkey bacon for a few years now and really like it.  I gave the mayo on Mark’s sandwich a little kick with some ground chipotle pepper seasoning.  Enjoy!


whole wheat bread, (2 slices per sandwich) or Ciabatta buns
chipotle pepper seasoning
sliced or shaved deli ham, about 2 ounces per sandwich
bacon, 2 slices per sandwich
sliced or shaved deli turkey, about 2 ounces per sandwich
sliced provolone cheese
tomato slices, 2-3 per sandwich
lettuce, several large leaves per sandwich



1. Cook bacon.  Drain on paper towels.

2. Mix mayo and chipotle pepper seasoning.

3. Spread mayo on bread, and stack the rest of the ingredients according to the pictures below.







4. Cut the sandwich in half.

Bacon and Jack Cheese Muffins


Recipe adapted from The Complete Book of Baking by Pillsbury

published by Viking Penguin

I’ve made these muffins with every kind of cheese (whatever I have in the house at the time), and tonight I used swiss cheese.  Be careful with the cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon is more than it sounds like. If you do not care for spicy foods, skip the cayenne and use ground black pepper instead.  Enjoy!


Bobby graced us with his presence and helped to wolf down the muffins.



2 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/4 cups milk

2 Tablespoons bacon drippings or oil (if you use oil, add 1/4 teaspoon salt with the dry ingredients)

1 egg

6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

1 cup cheese (this recipe calls for Jack cheese, Pepper Jack is nice and so is Co-Jack)



1. Heat oven to 400°F.

2. Grease 12 muffin cups.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cayenne pepper; blend well.

4. Add milk, bacon drippings and egg; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

5. Stir in bacon and cheese.

6. Fill greased muffin cups about 2/3 full.

7. Bake at 400°F. for about 20 minutes, or til golden brown (mine were done at about 18 minutes).

8. Cool in pan for a minute, then serve warm.

Crustless Breakfast Pie


Recipe courtesy of Garfield…Recipes with Cattitude!

by Gooseberry Patch

Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?  It used to be one of our kid’s biggest requests when they were little (there is something indulgent about pancakes at 6 p.m., it’s like eating dessert first). This breakfast pie is easy to put together, just add some fresh fruit.  This is what Mark requested for dinner.  Enjoy!


2 cups cooked potatoes, diced
1-2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup red or green pepper, chopped
2/3 cup cooked ham or crisply cooked bacon, diced
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons milk
optional-mushrooms, cheese, parsley

Full disclosure-I misread this recipe when I made it and used 1/2 onion and 1/2 red pepper, not 1/2 cup of each.  Your Breakfast Pie will probably hold together better than mine and it will look like you used more eggs than I did, if you stick to the recipe.




1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook potatoes in butter until golden, about 5-6 minutes (I fried the potatoes in the same pan as I fried the bacon, using some of the bacon grease and 1 Tablespoon butter).



2. Add onion and red or green pepper (and optional chopped mushrooms); cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat; stir in ham or bacon, salt and pepper.




3. Spoon potato mixture into a lightly greased pie plate.




4. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.  Pour egg mixture over potato mixture.




5. Add the optional cheese and parsley.  Bake at 350°F. for 12-15 minutes, until eggs are set and center tests clean with the tip of a knife.  Cut into wedges.  Serves 4-6



















Cowboy Beans


Cowboy Calico Beans are courtesy of Taste of Home.com


1/2 pound bacon, chopped into small pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup

3 Tablespoons cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons mustard

4- 16 ounce cans beans (I used cannellini beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, and pork-n-beans)



1. In a large pan or Dutch oven, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove bacon and drain it on a paper towel, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.



2.  Saute onion in bacon fat until soft and translucent.



3. Add beans to onions in pot.



4. Add brown sugar, ketchup, cider vinegar, mustard, and crispy bacon to beans and stir.



5. Place mixture in a crock pot and cook on low for 2-3 hours, or place on top of the stove and cook on low for about 1 1/2 hours.

My friend, Cindy P., brought these beans to my house once for a get-together, and they were so good.  I made this batch for Super Bowl XLVIII, in honor of the Denver Broncos (I made Salmon Sandwiches for their opponent, the Seattle Seahawks).  The original recipe uses hamburger, but when it came time to make these I was fresh out.  So I replaced the hamburger with bacon and it was yummy.  Enjoy!