Appetizers & Dips, Barefoot Contessa, Main Dishes, Side Dishes

corn & black bean salad, ina’s mac & cheese and pulled pork sliders

Welp, we intended on doing a first BBQ of the “Spring” but given that it snowed here in Chicago on the day of said BBQ we decided to bring it indoors and do a slider party instead. All in all we made the following: spinach & artichoke dip, corn & black bean salad, macaroni and cheese, pulled pork sliders, grilled steak with horseradish mayo & caramelized onion sliders, southwestern turkey burgers and finally triple berry crumble. But to list all that here would be just as insane as it was to make it all in one day. So I pulled out some of my favorites.

AND special note to my Ina Fan Club, my friend Brian offered to bring his amazing potato salad (it was delicious!) – when I asked where the recipe was from he said “Oh do you know that Barefoot Contessa, it’s her recipe?” Yes, I may be familiar with her work. Ha!


Ingredients for Cousin Sandi’s Black Bean & Corn Salad/Salsa
*I tripled this recipe for a party of about 15 and had a ton left over – really good as salsa with chips!
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1 garlic clove minced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn (thawed)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed


Bring first 7 ingredients to a boil in small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Then combine the vinegar mixture and remaining ingredients in large bowl – cover and chill for at least 3 hours.

Ingredients for Barefoot Contessa’s Mac & Cheese
Vegetable oil
1 lb elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart whole milk
8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, then drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tbs salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.


Ingredients for Pulled Pork w/ Creamy Coleslaw Sliders
3 to 4 lb pork roast
Sweet Baby Ray’s HONEY BBQ Sauce (to taste) – and seriously people, use this sauce – I promise its the best.
Salt & Pepper
Hawaiian Rolls
Coleslaw (I just buy the pre-made chopped up cabbage and separate sauce – Marie’s is my favorite!)


Put the pork loin (salt and peppered) in a crock pot with 2 tbs BBQ sauce and set to low. Cook for 8-9 hours. Drain most of the liquid from the crock pot, leaving about 3/4 cup at most to keep it moist. Start to shred with two forks (should be practically falling apart at this point). Add sauce to taste – a lot goes a long way! Then pile onto a Hawaiian roll, dollop on some coleslaw and enjoy!


3 thoughts on “corn & black bean salad, ina’s mac & cheese and pulled pork sliders

  1. I can’t believe I missed this party! Please make this food again when I’m in town! Me me, I’m a Mac man.

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