Recipes

Good Food And Being Southern {Menu Monday}

good food and being southern

Can someone please tell me what is up with the meat n’ three obsession?

Around here in South Carolina, we have these restaurants called “meat n’ three’s.” It’s a cafeteria style restaurant where you can order one “meat” and two or three sides for a set price. I put the word “meat” in quotations because it’s not just a choice of chicken or roast beef. You can choose from lasagna, chicken fried steak, fried chicken, baked chicken, meatballs, ham or some type of baked fish. The side dish options are usually things like baked macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, green beans, greens, lima beans, pickled beets, okra and tomatoes or a broccoli casserole (most of those things I would typically say I like).

These restaurants are extremely popular around here – we pass two on our short drive home from church that have a line out the door every week. Paul and I have tried several of the local “meat n’three’s” and we just don’t get it! The food isn’t terrible – it’s just okay. We have literally hundreds of amazing restaurants in a twenty mile radius, so why do people go back to the local meat n’ three every week?

I’m guessing it’s what they grew up eating at their mama’s and grandmama’s table every Sunday. My friend Christy Jordan always says, “If that’s the way your mama makes  ____, then that’s the right way to make it!” So if your mama makes that weird baked mac and cheese that isn’t creamy at all, I can tell you where to find a big pan of it every Sunday. 🙂

I always wanted so desperately to be a true Southerner. Can I get a pass on the “meat n’ three’s” since I say yes ma’am and watch the Kentucky Derby every year?

Also…I’m curious if to know if you prefer your mac and cheese baked or creamy


On The Menu 

Breakfast: 

  • Bagels & Cream Cheese
  • Peanut Butter Toast
  • Eggs & Bacon

Lunch:

Supper:

Menu Plan with Me
Menu-Plan-Monday-for-the-week-of

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28 thoughts on “Good Food And Being Southern {Menu Monday}

  1. I think those restaurants do take people back to their Southern Childhoods when dinner was served at home after church and Grandmama put out quite the spread. I am a true Southerner but I am not much of a meat and three girl. I still get that when I visit my own mama. There is a local place here called Dot’s and you have to be there at 11 am to get a seat!! In the summer when we do not have Sunday School at our church, we go to early service and then head to Dot’s! My husband loves a meat and three!

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  2. I don’t get it with those restaurants either. If I’m going to pay to eat out, I want to eat GOOD food. We got sucked in to one of those restaurants in Kingsport recently. I had driven by it one time and the parking lot was full. So we decided to go try it. The parking lot was full again when we got there. We went inside and there was just a handful of people inside. We felt like we got duped! 😊 We were pretty disappointed after we ate.

    Oh, and I like creamy Mac n cheese!

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  3. I am a Southern girl through & through! I don’t always use the meat n’ three “rule” because most nights I am too rushed and tired to cook that much, but I do love it when I can! I am pretty good at adding meat & veggies to a crock pot, though:)

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    1. I don’t mind the concept of a meat and three sides – but yeah, I don’t have the time or resources to put out that kind of spread every night. I’m just puzzled that people continue to frequent the restaurants when the quality of their food isn’t very high. 🙂

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  4. My mom’s macaroni & cheese was baked, but I would call it sort of a compromise between baked and creamy. She made it with a cream sauce filled with melted sharp cheddar, so it was creamy. But then then she put a topping of buttery cracker crumbs on top and baked it for just a little while, enough to make the cracker crumbs extra crispy and delicious. In general, now, I like my mac & cheese creamy. But oh, those crispy buttery cracker crumbs!

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    1. That sounds amazing!! I can get on board with creamy baked mac & cheese. The stuff I’m talking about around here is technically called “macaroni pie” and isn’t creamy in the least. No thanks! 🙂

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  5. True “southern” mac ‘n cheese is cheddar cheese and baked — and it’s the way my mom (born and raised in the backwoods of north Florida) always made it. I never had it creamy till I moved to Pennsylvania and had it made with Velveeta — very creamy. You can even bake it — still comes out like it’s velveeta. Hmmmm. This Florida girl had a hard time with it, until I discovered you can make your cheddar sauce and THEN incorporate velveeta into it — best of both worlds: creamy AND baked!

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  6. I think people crave comfort food and don’t want to cook it so they end up at so so restaurants to get something close to comfort food. It’s not my favorite cuisine, but I get the sentiment. I love almost all versions of “macky-cheese” as Olive says. My favorite is a creamy baked mac & cheese. My mom makes a baked version and doubles the sauce so that it stays creamy. Your menu of comfort food sounds delicious!

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  7. I prefer creamy. I suspect it’s because I grew up on Kraft. Once I started making my own, I couldn’t go back to the blue box.

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  8. That’s too funny! My best friend lives in Charleston, SC and has never mentioned one of these places. I’d be down to try it like once but would probably not come back all the time.

    Nina
    aworldofdresses.com

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    1. We visit Charleston at least once a year, sometimes twice. We’ve eaten at lots of different kinds of restaurants there, but never a meat & 3. Since it’s becoming quite the foodie destination, they have more restaurants with lighter fare that are focused on perfecting a few dishes. But here in east TN there is no shortage of them. I think it’s more of a rural southern thing. 🙂

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  9. I can’t believe I forgot to comment yesterday!!!
    Being southern born and bred, I’ve eaten at my fair share of meat & 3’s. I like the idea of the meat & 3’s. BUT I don’t eat meat, most of the 3’s have meat, I always feel sick from all the grease. Bleh. I always regret them. But here at home we eat a lot of meals that are meat & 3’s. But with bread in place of the meat. So… bread & 3’s.
    I’m much more of a deli girl.
    Or southwestern.
    And pizza. Pizza is good.
    And I like creamy mac and cheese. Homemade with sharp white cheddar.

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  10. Creamy mac ‘n’ cheese is the norm here, but I have made a few good baked ones on special occasion. As for those “meat and 3” places, they sound interesting. But if the quality isn’t there, it seems like lining up for a pot luck dinner. Pot luck can be tasty, but it’s also hit and miss. I like to eat at tried and true places so I know I’m getting a satisfying meal. It’s so expensive to eat out anyway, so I want something delicious for my money!

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