Monday, June 11, 2012

Picnic Ready Pimento Cheese

I don't pack lunches on a daily basis, since we home-educate.  But in the summer, it always seems like there is something fun to do that requires a picnic.  Whether its a hike or the pool, I am always trying to throw whatever I can come up with into a cooler.  Since I try my best not to buy bread from the store, and thus rule out the good ol' PB&J, I have gotten a little creative and thought I would share some of my simple recipes with you.  I'll start with my hubby's favorite, which started as an experiment and became a summer staple in my fridge-- Pimento Cheese.
Okay, don't stop reading if you are grossed out.  I know.  I know.  That nasty tub of orange stuff in the lunch-meat section.  Have you ever flipped it over, it has about a million ingredients.  But here's my dilemma, I married a true Southern boy, and to him this stuff is gold.  (I'm gagging a little thinking about it.)
Let me first say, that for the most part my husband will eat whatever I make and do so with good sportsmanship.  But there are certain things, that every once in a while he will just go buy at the store to have and Pimento Cheese was one of them.  So last summer, after seeing a couple of consecutive tubs of that crap come into my fridge (yes, I said my fridge), I decided to experiment.  And I do have to say, it turned out much better than I thought.  Everyone in the family loves it, including me.  The best part is that is so simple!

Cucumbers make great crackers!
Ingredients
cheddar cheese (1lb)
1/4-1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of diced roasted red peppers
2 tbsp. of liquid from the jar of peppers
cayenne pepper (to taste)
salt (to taste)

Directions
Shred your cheese.  I know you can buy pre-shredded cheese, but have you ever flipped the bag over to see what you are getting with your cheese?  It only takes an extra second or two, and the cheese is so much better tasting and better for you.
Dice and add roasted red peppers, liquid, and 1/4 cup of the mayo.  Stir.  Add more mayo if you need it.  You want it to spread on cracker or bread.  Now depending on how hot you like things, add a few shakes of cayenne.  Stir.  Taste.  Repeat until you get the "kick" you want.  If you think it needs salt, add it, if not, don't.  My homemade mayo is pretty tangy, because I use a good amount of dijon, lemon, and salt, so I usually don't need any more salt here.  That being said, if you aren't using my mayo you may need some.
Serve with whole grain, gluten free, or grain free crackers depending on your dietary needs.  I also slice a few cucumbers and we use those as "crackers".  When I pack this I also include carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, and some fruit & nuts.  It really makes a satisfying lunch on the trail or at the pool.  If I were packing lunches, this would be a year-long standby in my kitchen.

Love and Butter,

Mishelle
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