Four-Cheese Macaroni from Milk Cow Kitchen by MaryJane Butters

This recipe is so so good! So so rich! And so so EASY! AND GLUTEN FREE!!! I served MaryJane’s Four-Cheese Macaroni with baked ham and steamed broccoli.  It was a great supper shared with family.

  • 12 ounces of brown-rice macaroni
  • 1/2 cup feta
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups Asiago, shredded
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, shredded
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook macaroni until al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Stir and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until golden brown (about 6 minutes). Add dry mustard, salt, pepper and cream.  Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the cream is slightly thickened and reduced – about 8 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350
  4. Stir sour cream into the cream mixture and bring to a slow simmer.  In a medium bowl, combine Asiago, Monterey Jack and Parmesan. Reserve 1 cup for topping. Slowly stir in remaining cheese to cream mixture.
  5. Pour the sauce into the bowl with the macaroni and stir.  Pour into an 8 x 8 baking dish, top with reserve cheese and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

I used bought dairy products for this recipe but there are recipes and instructions for ALL the dairy you will ever need in Milk Cow Kitchen!  Y’all are going to love this book!  I want to remind you how to win an autographed copy and how and where to find MaryJane’s websites.  Check just below this scrumptious looking photo of  MaryJane’s Four-Cheese Macaroni :)


Now everyone here is how to enter to win an autographed copy of Milk Cow Kitchen:

Super simple! Leave a comment at the end of this Q &A and the other posts that will follow this week (recipes! YAY!!) and consider yourself entered for each comment. So the more you have to say, the more chances you have to win! This book is beautiful! You will love it! And chock-full of not only information but wonderful recipes for you to try. At the end of this week a winner will be randomly chosen to receive a signed copy of Milk Cow Kitchen! Woot!


You can find out more about MaryJane Butters by visiting:


Meet MaryJane Butters & win a copy of her new book Milk Cow Kitchen!


MaryJane Butters  lives in Idaho, where she farms, runs a very successful enterprise MaryJanesFarm and writes about how to do all the things we women long to learn. MaryJane is farmgirl extraordinaire and in her newest book Milk Cow Kitchen is out and you are going to have a chance to win an autographed copy.

I was blessed to meet MaryJane,  her daughter Meg, son in law Lucas and baby Stella back in March of 2007 when she was launching her partnership with Belk.  My first impression of meeting her in person after having talked to her many times over the phone was that MaryJane and family are the real deal.  She has a way of making you feel like you “belong” immediately.  She’s warm and funny and just as genuine as they come.  I knew the first time I ever spoke to her she was probably the most determined, confident woman I had ever met.  She had goals and dreams and she was going to see them through and leave her mark on this world.  And that is exactly what she is doing.   She is THE farmgirl and has taught and encouraged so many who have found her website and forums and Sisterhood.  When I joined the Farmgirl Sisterhood back in December of 2007, I was number 15 and now there are over 6000!

I have sang MaryJane’s praises for many years now and I know I can’t do her justice in a few questions but I am going to give it my best.  And you can’t really get to know her in a few  answers but you will feel like you do.  She’s strong and inspirational and has taken so many women on this journey with her, if you aren’t already in love, you will be.

In doing research for this post, looking back over what has been asked and answered and trying desperately to bring something new to y’all, I finally decided my post is different in that I have met MaryJane Butters. THE MaryJane Butters in the flesh.  Broke bread with MaryJane Butters and I have done business with MaryJane Butters.  So this interview or Q&A if you will, is personal.  Her motto is “Farmgirl is a condition of the heart.”  It really and truly is.  Since that meeting my life has taken a 180 turn…country woman to city woman. However, you can take me to the city, but you can’t take the country out of me.  All the things I loved about MaryJane and all the things she’s about are still near and dear to my heart.   Like her website says “We are Sisters — a sisterhood of farmgirls. We’re country, we’re city, and every texture and stripe in between. It’s not at all about where we live, but how we live.” I know you are going to want to be a part of that if you aren’t already.


Without further ado, meet my friend, MaryJane Butters!

1) NQJC: I find it hard to believe but there might be women out there who haven’t met you through your magazine, website, sisterhood and organic products.  So let’s pretend you are meeting the readers of this for the first time. What is the first thing you would want to tell about yourself?  “Hello, my name is MaryJanes Butters and I am…”

MJB:  I am the conduit for a language that had been archived, not erased, and not entirely forgotten, just mothballed. It’s the language of women who once knew how to speak fluent 4H (home, hearth, hogs, and handmade). The name of the language had been forgotten so I gave it a name, Farmgirl. And in true-blue farmgirl fashion, I got rid of the space between farm and girl and brought them together again, made them one. And the very minute a woman hears it, Farmgirl, she’s flooded with remembrance. Once the memory of it is triggered, it’s a language we speak easily and fluently. We get it!

2) NQJC: Before we get to the business at hand, tell us a little about your childhood and how it shaped you and what you believe to be important in life.

MJB: I grew up in Utah in a self-sufficient family of seven. My parents were enamored with Robert Rodale, the founder of the magazine, Organic Gardening. Consequently, we grew our own food, raised chickens and rabbits for meat, made our own clothes, drank raw milk from my uncle’s dairy farm, and went camping almost every weekend, essentially turning make-do into a religion. Thrift and industry made us tick, well, actually it kept us hopping. Someone who once experienced my family said, “It’s like you’re all in a popcorn popper.”

3) NQJC: Tell us about your home in Palouse, Idaho and all the things you offer there.

MJB: I actually live outside Moscow, Idaho in a region called the Palouse, which refers to a land covered in mounds of topsoil deposited here by ancient winds. In other words, it’s fecund and fertile, the perfect place for someone wanting to meld farm with girl. And with a last name like Butters and the cow in Moscow, wouldn’t you know it, I also have a dairy. Sometimes one’s destiny is a mere donut dunk.

4) NQJC: Having just introduced your 5th book and publishing a magazine that is of the highest quality, tell us a little about that journey and how you landed a multi-book deal and what you think has made you so successful.

MJB: The next issue of my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, is a “celebration of 15 years, 50 issues.” My vision of it, well before digital anything, was cut and pasted onto paper, put into a three-ring binder, and mailed to a woman in Chicago who I’d read about in a magazine. She was a “connector” type as mentioned in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “The Tipping Point.” She wrote me back! Next, her NYC book agent called me. “You’ve had such an interesting life, you should write an autobiography.” That idea wasn’t of interest to me, but the idea of an ideabook was. So eight months after he first contacted me, I called him one day, “Okay, how does one go about writing a book proposal?” He sent me their standard format. I called him back, “This doesn’t fit who I am .How on earth would I know how to do a market analysis?” He said, “You know, I’m getting tired of those proposals myself. Why don’t you write something from your heart?” That ended up being 64 pages long, the proposal for MaryJane’s Ideabook, Lifebook, and Cookbook.” He shopped my proposal around and landed me a book deal with Random House for 1.35 millions dollars. “Fine then,” I said. “Looks like I’ll be writing a book.” Hubby (in disbelief) lent a hand by fixing me breakfast every morning. What made me successful? Bacon and eggs. Cream. And butter.

5) NQJC:  I have been a fan of yours for so many years and have met so many women who YOU are what we first have in common what do you consider your biggest accomplishment in the business world?

MJB: I am most proud of the fact that two of my adult children and their spouses work here at my farm full-time. I especially love it that my husband and I get to work together, at home, on the land, at the end of a dirt road. Yesterday, he surprised me by showing up in my milking parlor just in time to entertain my girls, Miss Daisy and Maizy, while I milked them. He gave them music lessons and then he gave them a long-overdue lecture on table manners. Maizy rewarded him with a slobbery kiss that smelled like fresh-cut grass and molasses. Life is good. And full of Jersey kisses.

6) NQJC: I am always watching to see what is next from you.  I am constantly amazed at the wealth of knowledge you have on so many different things.  What is next?  More books?

MJB: Yes! My daughter and I just finished a children’s book. She called a few minutes ago with a couple of last minute changes. “Moo-n Over Main Street Metropolis” will be out next year. After that, “Bread the MaryJane Way.” After that, “How to Run a FarmStay B&B.” After that, more cows, more milk, more adorable calves. My long-term goal is to see backyard milk cows dotting the landscape again. Don’t you need a moo too?

7) NQJC: I was so thrilled to get my copy of Milk Cow Kitchen.  My granny whom I called Mama Tom (my grandpa’s name was Tom so – makes sense right?) always had a milk cow.  I have drank many a glass of milk right out of the cow.  This book brought back such warm memories for me. Fig preserves on a piece of “light” bread with a glass of fresh milk…ahhhh sweet memories.  MaryJane, as I have said,  to me you are an endless source of ideas and ideals but what specifically brought you to this book?

MJB: Why, my last name of course!

8) NQJC: This book truly has something for everyone – real “cow”girls or those who dream of it.  For some of us, actually owning a milk cow and becoming a “cow” girl is not a reality at the moment and for some sadly, might never be. The recipes are just amazing!  You really need your own show on the food network!  I know you do have videos up on your website but would you entertain the idea of moving what you share to TV?

MJB: Probably not. I don’t even have time to watch TV let alone BE on TV. It’s not my medium. Besides, I’m “booked.”

9) NQJC: I have heard and read you compared to Martha Stewart but to me you are more of a Tasha Tudor type woman. Martha built and empire, Tasha built a life.  Who are women you looked up to when starting what is now an amazing resource for women in all walks of life?

MJB: Too many to list. Women like my unassuming bank teller who moonlights in a blues band. Women like my grandmother who was an outspoken suffragist. Women like Susan Dahlem who isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in, a true humanist. Women like Carol Hill, my magazine editor, who I’ve had the privilege of working with five days/week for close to 15 years. Women, period inspire me. How about the member of our Sisterhood last week who earned a merit badge for learning to drive her husband’s front end loader? And then to earn the expert level of her automechanics badge, she figured out how to change the oil in it.

10) NQJC: Now that you are so very well known (and loved) do you ever say “What have I gotten myself into?” Do you long for your privacy?

MJB: I’ve struck a balance. I’m okay with … (and loved). But I’ve learned to ask for what I need when it comes to my alone time. I know this will seem highly unbelievable but a week alone in NYC is awesome for me. Or three days on the Selway River. Or a weekend alone in my Airstream camped next to a bubbling brook. Alone isn’t lonely for me. It recharges my well. The result? Bring it on!

Thank you so much for your time.  You are too kind and ONE OF A KIND!  And a special thanks to Meg (MaryJane’s daughter) for your help in making this possible

Over the next week I will be sharing recipes I have made out of Milk Cow Kitchen. It has been a thrill to do this Q&A and I know everyone who reads it will enjoy.

Now everyone here is how to enter to win an autographed copy of Milk Cow Kitchen:

Super simple! Leave a comment at the end of this Q &A and the other posts that will follow this week (recipes! YAY!!) and consider yourself entered for each comment.  So the more you have to say, the more chances you have to win!  This book is beautiful!  You will love it!  And chock-full of not only information but wonderful recipes for you to try.  At the end of this week a winner will be randomly chosen to receive a signed copy of Milk Cow Kitchen! Woot!


You can find out more about MaryJane Butters by visiting:


Me? Work retail? Are you sure?

ANNOUNCEMENT: OH do I have a surprise for you folks?!! Please come by Monday October 20th.  Please stay tuned and tell your friends.

Now a funny little thing that happened this weekend.

So Sunday my friend (who I will refer to as R) and I shopped like two crazy teenagers with Daddy’s credit cards. Before anyone (Jerry) panics I bought a t-shit, a sweater that may go back, a pair of earrings and some ladies “undergarmets”. Oh and my lunch. None of that is relevant to this story except the shopping part. The ALL day, crazy shopping. The next to the last place we go in is a pretty swanky place for the area. We walk in, haggard from the amount of walking we had done -our feet realized about 2 hours in we were NOT teenagers and just as we stepped through the door a nice salesperson asked if we needed help just as I pointed and said probably a bit too loud “There it is! That’s the color!” Now the rest of the story is the unbelievable part. Not the part that I spotted anything across three isles (old eyes) but the next few minutes were magical. Wait let me back up – my friend and I had just been saying (yes, she completely agreed with me) that I just don’t think I am hire-able. Or if I am, could I keep a job given my lack of enthusiasm about pretty much everything? Not the least of those things, clothes. So the next few minutes tickled our funny bones for sure.

Salesperson: Well…that was fast and remarkable. It does match your jacket.

R and I look at each other and shrug.

Me: Yeah, I am pretty great I have to admit. I have fitted R with several extraordinarily adorable outfits today.

Salesperson: Are you looking for a job? We are hiring. Seriously.

Me: Ma’am I am standing in this very nice upscale women’s clothing store in a Walmart t-shirt, dirty jeans and birkenstocks with socks. Do you really think you want to hire me?

Salesperson: Yes. Yes I do. I have a feeling you know how to dress and besides you get huge discounts on clothes here if you don’t have workwear.

Again I step back a little so she can get a good look at me. No make up. Hair greasy from the humidity. She looks me over.

Salesperson: Smiles a big smile and says I am going to talk to my manager and get you an application.

Me: WAIIIT – hold up a second there missy. See, my husband is home 23-24 days at the most EVERY.OTHER.MONTH. I don’t do anything but hang with him when he’s home. So even if this would be quite the coup, I don’t think you want me to work here. I am not…well…very tactful. R snorted.

Salesperson: You seem perfectly nice to me. Oh that would be fine. Make your own hours. Just put yourself on the schedule when you CAN work. Oh you’d be great! Be right back!

Me: Okay. Sure. I’ll take an application.

and she takes off.

We are standing there looking at each other cracking up. Discussing how big a mistake this woman could be making and me thinking in Bizaro world, if I took this job, she’d get fired right along with me for being the idiot that got me hired. And she may actually need/want a job. That would be sad.

So she returns with an application, practically giddy and telling me how she spoke to the manager and the “work when you feel like it” would be fine and how she put her name on the application. AHHH light bulb – maybe she’s recruiting and it’s the end of the sales week. Oh lady, poor lady. Really, I am not a good candidate.

So I nod at all the right times in the conversation all the while folding the application and putting it in my back pocket.

Salesperson: Now don’t lose that! And get it back to us. Now is there anything else I can help you ladies with?

Disclaimer: There is none. This actually happened and it won’t be funny to people who don’t actually know me well and what a crabby old lady I can be. And how my very VERY favorite thing to wear is overalls. Old, patched, worn out overalls. With fancy jewelry. And birkenstocks. OH and yoga pants…oh yoga pants, how I love you. I am quite the dresser-upper.

But I have to admit 50% off markdowns sounds pretty sweet.

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