Every week on Top 20 Country Countdown our host, Nan Kelley, counts down your favorite videos — but when she’s away from the studio, she’s likely to be found in her kitchen, creating healthy, delicious meals. Nan likes to keep it simple, cooking entire meals using only one pan. Her husband, Charlie, lovingly gave her the nickname “One Pan Nan,” and now that’s also the name of her new cookbook [get it HERE!]. We asked Nan to share some of her recipes with us, and this week, it’s Kickin’ Pimento Cheese.
The Kelleys’ Kickin’ Pimento Cheese
“There is nothing more Southern than pimento cheese. Like the deviled egg, it is a staple in every Southerner’s diet, and I am no exception! I love it. Whenever I start to talk with my momma about making a trip home to Mississippi, she starts planning what we’re going to eat, and pimento cheese is one of the first things out of her mouth. She says, “Now, I know you’re going to be coming in late, so I’ll just make up some pimento cheese so you can have it when you get in.” This recipe is an original and is a nod to several important influences in my life–my momma (she always adds a little garlic powder), my friend Clara (she adds some cream cheese to her recipe) and my husband Charlie (he wanted the pecans in there–good suggestion, Charlie.) My contribution is the jalapeño–love that kick! Hope you enjoy an updated Kelley twist to an old, loved classic.”
1 lb block extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 jar pimentos, drained (reserve juice)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 full tablespoons chopped jalapeño pepper (may add more to taste)
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
Grate block of cheese over a large bowl. Mix in mayonnaise and cream cheese. Add a little bit of pimento juice as needed to aid in blending. Stir with a fork to blend. Add pecans and jalapeño pepper and stir. Add garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a sandwich, with celery sticks, crackers or, do like I do, and eat it straight out of the bowl with some corn chips!