Lifestyle / June 14, 2017

The Gift of Southern Cooking

I am so grateful that my parents bestowed upon me a deep love and understanding of cooking and good food. As a child, I was always in the kitchen learning how to bake cakes and cobbler, how to make rice and pasta and just once, how to roll sushi [long story]. The list goes on. My dad, my step mom and my sister may not have known it at the time, but they have handed me a very special gift. This gift has transcended generations of Southern men and women and somehow, I am lucky enough to carry on a family tradition.

I shared a little of this in my “about me” section, but truly some of my best memories growing up are Sunday suppers at my Nanny’s house. She always had a pot roast in the oven, rice on the stove and apple cake on the table. As I get older, I have a growing appreciation for those moments and wish I could go back, if only for a minute. Although my Nanny has passed, my family still carries on these traditions today, as I will when I have children of my own.

Betty Jo Brogdon
Sorry for the quality of this photo of Nanny, but it will always be my favorite. After she passed, we found this picture in an old grade-school yearbook. Back then each photo was glued into the book separately. People tell me I look like her – perhaps that is why I love it so much.

Is all this a little dramatic? Maybe, but in the kitchen I am at my best. I am able to create new dishes and perfect old family recipes [except for cornbread dressing because apparently my sister is never going to share that one]. I am able to share meals and smiles with the people I love and to me, that’s what this life is about.

Blue Cheese Bungalow is a way for me to share a little piece of me that may inspire a little piece of you.

Blue Cheese Bungalow is a way for me to share a little piece of me that may inspire a little piece of you. That’s why I started this blog. I love to cook, to share ideas and pretty pictures, but what I love most is when a friend tells me that they’ve cooked one of my recipes for their family. I’m not perfect. I still have a lot to learn about cooking, blogging, etc. But one thing I know for certain is that cooking is a gift and I am honored to share it with all of you.

Kelsey Renee

Recipes, Side Dishes / May 31, 2017

Southern Broccoli Pasta Salad

Southern Broccoli Pasta Salad the perfect accompaniment to any summertime cookout. This unique twist on a sweet Southern staple will impress everyone at the party! And the recipe is so easy!

handful of farfalle pasta
Aren’t these the cutest little pastas you’ve ever seen?

Southern Inspiration

If you’re from the South, or if you’ve ever been to a barbecue in the South, you are probably familiar with the crunchy, sweet goodness that we call broccoli salad. *Warning* broccoli salad may sound healthy but this life-changing medley contains cheddar cheese, bacon, sugar and mayo… which is what makes it so darn delicious. If we’re being honest, 80% of all southern food is either coated in butter, gravy or mayo. Sorry not sorry.

I’ve probably eaten broccoli salad 100 plus times in my life but a few weeks ago, I was at a backyard barbecue at a friend’s house where I was struck with the inspiration for this next dish. Imagine that this classic broccoli salad and your favorite pasta salad had a baby. Boom, Broccoli Pasta Salad is born!

Southern Broccoli Pasta Salad

Broccoli Pasta Salad is Perfect to Make Ahead!

When I was developing Broccoli Pasta Salad, I knew that there was literally no way it wouldn’t turn out completely delicious! It’s fresh, bright and requires little cook time – perfect for summer! I made this salad to accompany ribs on the grill. I don’t know about you but when we are cooking outside on the grill, the last thing I want to do is slave away over a hot stove. This pasta salad can be prepared hours ahead of time; the longer it chills, the tastier it gets. While it sits in the fridge, the cranberries and pasta soak up the dressing and make every bite packed with sweet and tangy flavor!

If you try this recipe, comment below or post on social media with the hashtag #bluecheesebungalow! Enjoy!

Southern Broccoli Pasta Salad

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 4-6


2 cups dry mini farfalle pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and Pepper
12 oz. fresh broccoli (cut into small florets)
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (diced into small cubes)
¼ cup chopped red onion
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts
6 slices of fully cooked bacon (crumbled)
¾ cup mayonnaise (I use Duke’s because it’s the best)
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar


1. Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 7 minutes or until al dente. Using a large colander, drain pasta. Transfer pasta into a large mixing bowl and toss in one tablespoon of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Place bowl into the refrigerator to cool completely.
2. Once the pasta has cooled, remove from the refrigerator. Add broccoli florets, cheddar cheese, red onion, cranberries, walnuts and crumbled bacon.
3. To prepare the dressing, combine mayonnaise, sugar and white wine vinegar in a medium prep bowl. Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely.
4. Pour dressing over pasta salad and toss to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
5. Transfer pasta salad into a large serving bowl. Top with a handful of cranberries and enjoy!

Southern Broccoli Pasta Salad

Brunch, Recipes, Sweets / May 31, 2017

Lemon Ricotta Muffins with Blueberries

Lemon Ricotta Muffins aren’t your typical boring blueberry muffins. These muffins have a pound cake like consistency – so thick and rich! They’re perfect for brunch with your honey or a shower with the ladies. Who doesn’t like cake for breakfast?

It’s springtime and I’ve been obsessing over two things, lemons and ricotta. These ingredients are so versatile; I use them in pasta, baking, the list goes on! I love using ricotta in muffins because it creates a dense, smooth texture [the batter will be very thick like pound cake batter]. And the lemon glaze gives these a tangy, sweet bite!

These muffins are made with homemade whole milk ricotta. Follow this link to my recipe. You can definitely use store-bought ricotta but making your own is easier than you might think!

I used frozen blueberries in these Lemon Ricotta Muffins because that’s all I had on hand. By Saturday I run out of a lot of fresh produce so it’s time to hit the grocery store! You can use fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, whatever you like best!

Skip a step and use a whisk to sift dry ingredients
*Here’s a tip* when combining dry ingredients, no need to sift, use a whisk instead!

Lemon Ricotta Muffin Batter Lemon Ricotta Muffins with Blueberries

These muffins would be perfect on their own but I’ve added a brown sugar crumble and lemon glaze for added deliciousness!

Enjoy these cake-like muffins with a cup of coffee or after dinner with a scoop of ice cream – I’m not here to judge. I hope you enjoy these Lemon Ricotta Muffins as much as I do! Happy baking!

Lemon Ricotta Muffins with Blueberries

Lemon Ricotta Muffins with Blueberries

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins


For the muffins:
¾ cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
Juice of one lemon (3 tablespoons)
For the glaze:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ cup Confectioners sugar
For the crumble:
Zest of 1 lemon (1/2 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. To prepare muffin pan, grease or line muffin pan with paper liners.
3. Using stand mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until fluffy.
4. Add ricotta, eggs, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and vanilla to the mixer. Mix on medium speed until well combined.
5. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients including flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir with a whisk to ensure all ingredients are fully incorporated.
6. With the mixer on low speed, slowly incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients by adding only a quarter of the dry ingredients at a time. You may need to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Once all the dry ingredients have been fully incorporated, take the mixing bowl off the stand.
7. In a separate bowl, toss blueberries in cornstarch. This will keep the blueberries from settling in the bottom of the muffin pan.
8. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter. It should take 10-15 big strokes to fully incorporate the berries.
9. Scoop approximately 3 tablespoons into each muffin cup. I like to use a large ice-cream scoop for this. Cups should be about ¾ full.
10. To prepare the crumble topping, combine melted butter, lemon zest, flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Topping will be dry and crumbled.
11. Spoon one teaspoon over the batter in each muffin cup.
12. Bake muffins at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
13. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
14. While the muffins are cooling, prepare the lemon glaze by adding confectioners sugar and lemon juice in medium bowl. Glaze will be a thick milky consistency.
15. Once the muffins have cooled to room temperature, place the wire rack over a baking sheet and spoon one teaspoon of the glaze over top of each muffin. The baking sheet will catch the excess that runs off the muffins. Allow the glaze to dry and enjoy!


Lemon Ricotta Muffins with Blueberries