One of the best ways to experience new places is to eat the local favorite. Each country, state, region and even city has a dish that allows you to have a unique culinary experience while visiting. It tells me about the destination and the people who call it home.
Unfortunately, I can’t travel all the time. But I can remember my travels by re-creating some of the foods I have eaten while on the road. Some of the special foods (and memories) are featured in my cookbook, Mac n’ Cheese to the Rescue, which features 101 simple, creative ways to jazz up boxed mac n’ cheese. Among my favorite travel-inspired recipes: Aloha Mac, Jersey Mac n’ Sausage, Oktoberfest Casserole and Carolina Pulled Pork Mac.
Of all my culinary travels, my most memorable experience is trying all the unique barbecue sauces of the various regions in the U.S. – sweet in Kansas City, thick in Memphis and mustard based in South Carolina. My Cowboy Pizza recipe is my way to celebrate the different sauces from each region:
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 cup your favorite regional barbecue sauce
1 prepared pizza dough
1 cup leftover mac n’ cheese
1 cup shredded chicken (great for leftover chicken)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped chives (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until super tender and translucent, about 20 minutes. Stir in the barbecue sauce.
2. Spread the onion and barbecue mixture on a prepared pizza dough. Then layer on the mac n’ cheese and shredded chicken. Top with cheddar cheese. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven when the crust has slightly browned and the cheese has started to brown. Sprinkle with chives.
Kristen Kuchar is the author of Mac n’ Cheese to the Rescue, a fun cookbook with 101 ideas for ways to cook with that kid favorite.