Sunday, December 29, 2013

Chicken Spaghetti

If you ever need to feed an army, this is the dish to do it!  Economical and reasonably few ingredients - a sure bet to please for everyone!

1 whole baked chicken, no skin, de-boned
   (I am not going to de-bone a chicken, I      used 1 lg. bag of boneless skinless 
   chicken breasts - boil for 25 minutes then shred with fork and let cool)
2 1 lb. boxes of vermicelli noodles
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can Rotel brand tomatoes (drained)
1/2 cup minced celery
1/2 cup minced onion
1 stick butter
2 boxes of chicken stock
1 1/2 - 2 lbs of Velveeta cheese (diced into small cubes)
salt and pepper

Like I said earlier, I'm not into de-boning a chicken so I just boiled a bag of boneless skinless chicken breasts (7 or 8 breasts).  You can bake them if you like but I find that boiled keeps the meat more moist.  Shred the chicken with a fork or chop it to a medium grade, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Boil the noodles in chicken stock until tender.  (I got caught with only one box of stock on hand so I did half and half with water -it was fine.) 

Mince the celery and onion, sauté with the stick of butter over medium heat until translucent and tender.  You may need to add a bit of water to extend the cooking time if your veggies don't tender quickly.  This is best done in a covered skillet.

Mix the veggies, soup (I did two cans cream of chicken as I don't like mushrooms) Rotel, chopped cheese and chicken.  Divide into two large Tupperware boxes (9x13 or larger). 

Drain the noodles and add them in small amounts and mix well until all are incorporated well with the cheese, chicken mix.  If you have a big strong man in your house, bribe him into mixing this - you'll be glad you did!  If not, I recommend asking a linebacker from your local team to dinner and getting him to do it! 

Spray two 9x13 casserole dishes with cooking spray and add one of your Tupperware box mixes to each.  This recipe will fill two very large casseroles.  Don't try to squeeze it all into one dish as you want the cheese to melt evenly.

Bake 30 - 40 minutes at 350* until the cheese is completely melted throughout.

I recommend serving with Caesar salad and garlic bread with cheesecake or brownies for dessert!  I promise you that no one will leave hungry!

This serves 20 people!  Cut this recipe in half this for a large hungry family and freeze the left overs.  It reheats beautifully and will keep even the heartiest eater satisfied.

This recipe is being posted in loving memory of my dearest friend Mrs. Bertha Knapp, gone from us for almost a year now.  She served this to her family and friends for years.  Everyone positively adored her and immensely enjoyed this dish.  In your Honor, Ma'am....xxooxx P.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas No Bake Goodies

As several have asked about are the recipes for these super easy melt and make Christmas Goodies!  Thank heavens for the person at the Ritz company that decided to make them come chocolate covered in the box!  Andes mints and peppermints can be found already chopped and ready in the baking aisle.  This has absolutely ZERO baking required.  All you need is a microwave and the fridge!

Double Chocolate Pretzels
1 lg bag pretzel nuggets
4 squares of almond bark
4 squares of chocolate bark
4T canola oil

Lay the pretzels out in a single layer on waxed paper. 

Melt chocolate bark (with 2T oil) in microwave for 1 minute, stir well then microwave for another 30 seconds and stir until smooth.  Use a teaspoon to lightly drizzle the chocolate over the pretzels.

Repeat the melting process using the almond bark and 2T oil.  Drizzle the white bark over the pretzels.  Let sit until the chocolate firms up.  If you have trouble with your chocolate setting, pop this in the fridge on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes.

Andes Bark
6 squares of chocolate bark
1 bag Andes mints (chopped)
2T canola oil

Melt the chocolate squares and oil for 1 minute in the microwave.  Stir and heat an additional 30 seconds then stir until smooth. 

Pour chocolate on a wax paper lined cookie pan to form the base of your bark.  Sprinkle immediately with chopped Andes candy.  Slide cookie sheet into the fridge for 20 minutes to set the chocolate firm.  Remove and break into small pieces.

Peppermint Bark
6 squares of almond (white) bark
1 bag crushed peppermint
2T canola oil

Melt almond squares and oil for 1 minute in the microwave.  Stir and heat an additional 30 seconds then stir until smooth.

Pour melted bark on a wax paper lined cookie pan to form the base of your bark.  Sprinkle immediately with chopped peppermint.  Slid cookie sheet into the fridge for 29 minutes to set it firm.  Remove and break into small pieces.

Ritz Cookies
2 boxes of chocolate covered Ritz crackers
1 jar of Jif Smooth Peanut Butter
1 tub chocolate sprinkles

Just spread a generous amount of peanut butter on a Ritz (about 3/4 teaspoon) then top with another Ritz.  Press lightly as you want the peanut butter to ooze out the edges just a tad.  Roll the edges in chocolate sprinkles. 

That's it!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hoppin' John Soup

A local restaurant serves this daily and I just can't get enough of it!  Seemed like a good choice for a rainy day!

1 lb browned country sausage
1 bag of black eye peas (soaked) or 4 cans if using shelf canned black eye peas
4 cups rice (prepared) white, whole grain or long grain or mix them (your choice)
1/2 medium onion chopped and sauteed(or a healthy dash of onion flakes is fine too)
1/2 cup sauteed finely chopped celery (optional)
1 teaspoon Greek Seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Mix browned, drained sausage with white rice, sauteed veggies and seasonings, cover with water and cook on low for 4 hours (only 2 hours if using canned peas).  You will need to adjust Greek Seasoning, salt and pepper to your taste.

Fantastic with Tabasco sauce and fresh bread!!! Makes great left overs for lunches too! 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Baked Spaghetti
1 box spaghetti noodles
2 lbs ground beef
1 large jar of Ragu Spaghetti sauce (We like the flavored with meat version)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 t onion flakes
1/4 t garlic salt
pepper to taste

Boil and drain noodles, brown and drain ground beef. Mix noodles with ground beef, spaghetti sauce and soup. When well blended, add 1 1/2 c shredded cheese, add to large baking dish. Bake at 350* for 20 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and let melt in oven for another 5 minutes. Let this sit for 10 minutes before you attempt to serve.

A carbohydrate Bomb but OH SO GOOD!! Serve with a tossed salad and Spice Cake for dessert!  Comfort food never felt so good!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Meatballs and Sauce

It's Food Day at the office tomorrow and this is my Halloween treat to the crew!

Meatballs - you'll need:

1 lb ground beef
1 cup softened bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbl soy sauce
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
chopped scallions and sesame seeds to garnish

Mix all ingredients (except scallions and sesame seeds) until thoroughly combined.  You don't want any lumps at all, your mixture should hold together well and be smooth.

Place meatballs on a greased cooking dish that can accommodate the grease that will render when baking.  Bake for 15 - 20 minutes at 350* - until the meatballs are well done through the center.  Drain in a colander the place in a crock pot or serving dish.  I always cut one per batch with a fork to check that the centers are well done.

Sauce - you'll need:

1 cup ketchup
1 Tbl yellow or Dijon mustard
3/4 cup pineapple juice
2 Tbl soy sauce
3 Tbl brown sugar

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth.  Pour over meatballs and heat through. 

I like to let this mixture sit in the fridge overnight - the flavors seem to marry much better.  Reheat and serve.

I garnish mine with scallions and sesame seeds - it just makes a pretty presentation.

These serve nicely over rice or with picks as an easy to eat finger food.  You can serve the left overs (but you won't have any as these things go fast) on a sub roll with a slice of provolone cheese as a meatball sandwich.

We just love these and I hope you do too!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Basic Chili

There are a thousand ways to make chili. For years I made mine with beef and beans, until a friend asked for no beans, then my family turned on me and bailed on their long loved version of my chili.

Now they like meat only but lately I've added bell peppers to the mix. It's just the two of us and we've really started to like it that way! You can add pasta if you like - some do, some don't.

You'll need:

2-3 Quarts of Tomato Juice
3  lbs. Ground Chuck (some like it extra meaty)
2-3 Bell Peppers (diced and sautéed- optional)
Chili Powder - to taste
Onion Flakes

This is as simple as it gets! When browning the beef, sprinkle liberally with chili powder, add salt and pepper and a few shakes of onion flakes. Drain beef and add to crock pot. Add tomato juice and peppers, sprinkle a liberal amount of chili powder, salt and pepper again, then cook on low heat for at least 4 hours.

If you add pasta, cook it first then rinse in cool water and cool completely.  Add at the very end of the cooking of your chili.  If you don't, you'll get starchy pasta pops.....and that's never good.

You'll have to adjust the seasoning to suit your heat preference. We like it pretty zippy! I serve my chili with Fritos and shredded Velveeta! You can add sour cream or just use crackers - cornbread is pretty yummy with chili too! Just curl up in your team jersey and dig into a big mug of chili and cheer your little heart out!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

French Bread Pizza

I was shocked that someone actually asked me for this recipe this week....then tonight a friend realized that their new home was outside the local pizza delivery area - not to fret!  This is an easy, cheap and quick answer to pizza woes!

You'll need:

1 loaf French Bread or Sweet Italian Bread from the grocery or bakery
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce (you'll only use a cup or so)
1 stick butter
Shredded Mozzarella cheese
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Garlic flakes or Garlic salt (your preference but I like Garlic flakes)
Toppings (see notes below)

What to do:

Slice bread horizontally into two long halves.  Lightly spread each half with butter, then sprinkle sparingly with garlic flakes (or garlic salt, your preference but I avoid additional salt and do the flakes).  Place the buttered-seasoned bread in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350* for 10 just want the butter to melt and the crust to firm up to a light crunch consistency. 

After removing from oven, I like to slice the bread halves into individual serving slices (about 2 inches wide or so). 

Spread a tablespoon of your favorite sauce on top of crusted bread. 

Add a pinch of Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Top as you like, I usually use Pepperoni, Sausage or Ground Beef (or both -  cook drain and crumble), Sautéed Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, etc.  (Sauté veggies in butter or for tomatoes, just sauté in their own juices but not for long, tomatoes cook very quickly).  Add a pinch of French Fried Onions and you won't be sorry (that crunch is a fantastic texture and the onion flavor is not overwhelming!

Add another pinch of your cheeses then return to cookie sheet and bake in 350*  oven for  3 - 5 minutes (cheese will melt on top and bubble to golden color).  Remove from oven and enjoy!

I do not use the broil function as I tend to make charcoal briquettes on that setting! 350* is my friend and she does well for me! 

One loaf of bread serves 3-4 people depending on their appetites and if you are serving salad or any accompaniments. 

This is great for football games or entertaining with children as it is adaptable for individual tastes!  You can prep your bread in advance and set up a toppings bar - even include Alfredo sauce if you prefer and add spinach or petite cooked shrimp as optional toppings...Que Sera Sera!  Enjoy Ya'll!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chicken Tortellini Salad

I was trying to use what our garden had produced and serve a filling and cool meal on another 100+ degree day!  My solution was initially, chicken salad on lettuce.  The problem was....I didn't have time to make chicken salad today.  Then I was worried it wouldn't be filling enough for the hubs so I added some pasta to make this a heartier summer dinner.  Shortcuts were required and baby did they work!
You'll need:
Lettuce (half a head iceberg serves two or any lettuce mix you like is fine)
Tomatoes (cut into wedges)
Bell Peppers (cut into strips)
1 1/2 lbs Store bought chicken salad
1/2 cup Green Grapes (halved)
1 lb Chicken and Prosciutto Tortellini
Cook tortellini in the microwave for 12 minutes until tender.  Drain and rinse in cool water.  Stir cooled and drained tortellini into the chicken salad.  I just bought chicken salad from the ice box section (the deli chicken salad was $5.99 a pound!)  No way - the ice box section had a perfectly good brand for $3.99 a pound and it was all white meat with pecans in it!
Chop your lettuce and center on the plate,  Garnish with tomato and bell peppers (or what ever veggies you have on hand).  Combine tortellini with chicken salad and grapes.  Place chicken salad mix in the center of your lettuce bed and garnish with dill or parsley (salt and pepper work fine too)! 
This is delicious, hearty and still a cool dinner for a very hot late summer night and the hubs LOVES it!  Double winner for a busy lady trying to make a good dinner fast!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Jack in the Beans

Getting ready to cook out for Labor Day! Burgers, Dogs and Baked Beans are on the menu.  I'm feeling a little nostalgic this morning and missing my family in Tennessee, then I remembered this recipe to add a little something extra to our dinner tonight - Mr. Jack!  These are the best beans I've ever made!

You'll need:
2 tablespoons bacon drippings or oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Whiskey
1 can (28 ounces) baked beans
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon Liquid Smoke, optional

Heat drippings in a large saucepan. Stir in the onion and brown sugar.
Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

In a pinch, you can use onion flakes instead of chopping an onion - that deletes the oil or bacon grease from the recipe above.  Yellow mustard also does well if your out of Dijon mustard.  I do not use the liquid smoke. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Standing Ovation Corn Bread

If there is ever a cornbread contest - ya'll better get OUT of My Way!  Have Mercy, this is the BEST cornbread I've ever made and I have to feed a few dozen folks tonight so I made a double batch (I hope it'll be enough:)!

I saw this on the Internet and thought, Oh Why Not?!  I've made thousands of batches of cornbread in my life but this looked truly unique!  Results are gorgeous and delicious!

You're gonna' need:
2 boxes of Jiffy Cornbread mix
1 box of Jiffy* Yellow Cake mix
   *If you can't find the Jiffy Cake mix, you can only substitute with Duncan Hines Golden Butter Cake - you need a regular ole' yellow cake mix that does not contain pudding in the mix. 

Mix the cornbread mix and cake mix together and add ingredients according to directions on BOTH packages (throw in an extra egg for luck - ya'll should already know that)!  Mix everything all together in a big mixing bowl. I used my electric mixer as this is too big a batch to stir by hand.

Spray a big baking dish - these are 10x15 disposable baking dishes and Sugar, they are FULL.  If you are using a regular 9x13 casserole dish, this will easily split into two pans.  Just spray them down with baking spray as you sure don't want this to stick!

The original recipe said to bake half an hour at 350*- that might work for small pans!  I baked these beauties for a full hour (maybe even a few minutes more) at 350* - you just have to watch them - bake until the center sets firm.

I could NOT resist and I can't possibly serve my guests something that hasn't been taste tested .... Standing Ovation Corn Bread!  I hear this is what they serve at Disney....I don't know if that's true or not but I'd drive to Florida just to taste compare!  Grab some butter and get to it ya'll!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Smashed Potatoes

If you like the Smashed Potatoes at TGI Fridays, you'll LOVE this!  Super quick and easy - only the microwave oven actually works for this one!

2 russet or baking potatoes per person - I use 4 for just me and the hubs
1/2 stick real butter (okay - margarine is fine if you just have to use it)
1/4 cup milk per person
1 slice American cheese per person (go ahead and add an extra if you're
   really cheesy:)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Chopped Scallions (optional)

Bake potatoes in microwave until done.  I usually do 4 potatoes for 6 minutes, flip then 6 more minutes. 

When potatoes are soft to the squeeze, give them a quick slice horizontal then chop into about 1 inch chunks.  Slice butter over hot potatoes, salt and pepper to taste, then mash with an old fashioned potato masher or use the back of a fork to break the chunks up a bit.  Add cheese, torn into bite size pieces, then add milk.  Stir to a creamy consistency (this will be chunky and that's what you want).  Microwave another minute or two to melt the cheese and you're done!  You won't have any left overs - I promise!!!!

Add scallions if you like - heck, you could even add bacon bits or sour cream if you like...what ever floats your potato "boat"! Ha Ha Ha!!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Apple Nachos

I've been challenged for something to serve for a ladies wine pairing....NEVER challenge the Queen!  Fruit and grapes (okay, wine but same thing:)!
I might omit the marshmallows and butter but would add toffee chips for sure maybe even pretzels - love a sweet and salty combo!  You can dib and dab, mix and match to your heart's content!
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples, sliced
  • 35 large marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 35 caramels
  • 1 Tbsp evaporated milk (or half and half)
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet morsels
  • 2 Tbsp chocolate syrup
  1. Slice apples and arrange on platter.
  2. In saucepan, melt marshmallows and butter until creamy. Set aside.
  3. In microwave dish, melt caramels with milk (cooking in 30 second intervals, and stirring). Set aside.
  4. Pour marshmallow cream over apple slices, followed by caramel sauce. Drizzle chocolate syrup and sprinkle with peanuts and mini chocolate morsels. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Honey Butter

Don't you dare buy that stuff in the tub at the grocery!  It's horribly overpriced and tastes just awful.  It takes less than 5 minutes and is MUCH better tasting to just make this yourself!

You'll need:
3 sticks of softened butter (REAL butter)
8 oz honey at room temperature (can warm for 5 - 10 seconds in the microwave if needed - make sure the top is open)

Cut the butter into pats and get the honey out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter while your bread bakes or you go about your morning rounds. 

Add the butter pats into a small mixing bowl, whip together with honey (adding as you go) on a medium speed mixer until completely blended.

If you get a consistency that is thinner than you like, you can add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and it will firm up for you. 

The hardest part of this is waiting until everything is nice and soft from being out on the counter for an hour or so!

Voila!  This is honey butter!

Blueberry Cheesecake Bread

Baking something first thing in the morning just sets the day off right for me!  Today's fare - Blueberry Cheesecake Bread.  Why just go blueberry when you can combine cheesecake with it!  Am I right on this or am I RIGHT?!?!

You'll need:

18 oz packaged blueberry muffin mix (I like the kind with real blueberries,
     some like the kind with the blueberry bits - your choice)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (softened)                                         
1/4 cup white sugar                                           
1/2  teaspoon lemon juice                                                   
1 egg
Mix the bread mix according to package directions (I always add an extra egg to everything I bake - no matter what the recipe calls for.  Mama said that was a baker's secret for luck!).
Mix the cream cheese, sugar, juice and egg until creamy.
Prepare your loaf pan with Baker's Secret cooking spray (I get crazy when it sticks to the pan so spray liberally).  Add 1/2 your blueberry batter in the pan, add your cream cheese mixture, top with remaining blueberry batter.  You can take a skewer and swirl your batter or not, your call (I swirl).
Bake at 375* for 45 minutes or until top is golden and center set.  Let cool completely before you try to flip this out of the pan.  If you try too soon it will break on you! 
Optional Topping:
Sometimes you feel streusel, sometimes you don't.  Either is fine.  I skipped this today but you do what you want.
1/4 cup flour or baking mix
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
1/4 cup nuts (usually pecans or walnuts) optional
1 t cinnamon sugar
Use a fork to combine all ingredients until you have a small crumbly consistency.  Add to top of loaf mix prior to baking.  I have waited until half way thru my bake to add this on top - I don't ever measure and if I'm heavy handed in the sugar, this may darken too quickly if I add it at the beginning.
This topping will make it just a tad harder to flip out of the pan.  I recommend using a clean tea towel when you gently roll the loaf pan over then use the towel to slide this back upright on your serving plate.  That way you don't loose as much of the topping.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Squash Overflow!

Oh My Goodness!  We were gone for two days and came home to squash OVERFLOW!  While we do love squash, we can't possibly eat it all before it goes bad so I had to come up with a way to preserve our garden beauties!

I did the traditional roast of green peppers and squash cubes (toss lightly with olive oil, salt and pepper then sauté in a wok or skillet until tender) for dinner but that didn't even put a dent in the harvest!

We love stir fry and have it often so I took the top and bottom off then quartered each squash.   Some were overly large so I slipped my knife behind the seed core and removed those (I just don't like the texture of those large seeds).  Then julienne the squash and freeze in quart freezer bags.  The next time I make stir fry, I'll just toss in an extra bag of squash!  This increases the vitamin content and stretches your favorite stir fry mix a little farther!  Or do what I'm doing tonight and just roast them up and serve them as a side dish to your favorite meat!  Toss with olive oil or even your favorite stir fry sauce or soy sauce!

I know there are tons of  squash casserole recipes out there but that's usually heavier that we want in the summer months. 

This was quick, easy and will really add to our healthier diet attempt!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

4th of July Cupcakes

For those that want to do a little light baking for Independence Day! 

You'll Need:
White cake mix
White frosting
blue and red food coloring
cupcake liners
blue and red sprinkles

It couldn't be any simpler...mix your cake batter as directed (you know to always add an extra egg for good luck, right?!).  Pour cake batter into prepared cup cake liners, dot the top with one drop of red food coloring and one drop of blue food coloring (opposite each other).  Use a toothpick or skewer to gently swirl color into your batter. Be careful not to cross the colors (gray isn't what we're going for here)!

Bake and allow to cool completely.  Frost with white frosting and sprinkle!

Minimal work - maximum effect!

Patriotic Layer Dip

This is just your basic seven layer dip with a little creative garnish for 4th of July celebrating!

You'll Need:
1 large jar salsa
1 large tub sour cream
1 package shredded cheddar cheese
1 can re-fried beans
2 cups lettuce (shredded)
1 bunch scallions or 1 small onion (diced)
1 red pepper (diced)
sliced olives to garnish

Layer the dip in this order:
sour cream (reserve half of tub for the top)

Top with remaining sour cream then garnish with sliced olives in the star field and stripes of salsa!  If you're feeling really spunky, serve with blue and red tortilla chips!

You can change out the veggies to suit your own taste.

Graham Cracker Flags

Busy people need to be resourceful and still have a little something to impress on the Fourth of July!

You'll need:
Graham Crackers
Red Food Piping
Blue Food Piping
Star or Pearl Sprinkles

You can either use food coloring in vanilla frosting or just purchase the ready made tinted piping in cans (tips included) in the baking aisle.  Pipe and smooth the blue field first, then top with star or pearl sprinkles.  Pipe the red stripes and let set until firm.

Took 10 minutes and you never had to turn on the oven!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Apple Pie Crumble

It's almost Independence Day and what's more American than apple pie?!?!  I'm not usually a pie person as I don't always get the best crusts on top.  Lattice is a pain, cut outs sometimes come out soggy...but this recipe gets me off the perfect top crust hook - 'cause there isn't one!

You'll need -
1 unbaked pie shell, 9-inch
6 cups peeled apple slices (very thin slices)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Toss the apple slices in lemon juice then mix with white sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt (add nuts if desired).  Fill pie shell with apple slice mix. .
Combine flour, brown sugar and cut in butter with a fork until crumbly.  Sprinkle over top of pie.

Cover top with aluminum foil and bake at 400° for 20 minutes then uncover and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until apples are tender and topping is browned.

I love walnuts in this pie not everyone is a nut like me!  The hubs likes this served with vanilla bean ice cream.  If you want a "lighter" version, sprinkle the pie with powdered sugar.....the "skinny pie" version! Hilarious!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cucumber Salad

There are no hard rules with this one.  You can do cucumbers only or toss in what every your garden has plenty of.  Just wait to mix the dressing to your veggies at the very end of the process and serve immediately.
1 large cucumber
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 Tbsp light sour cream
1 tsp finely chopped onion
1 tsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
I don't peel my cucumbers but you can if you like.  Slice cucumber into thin slices, place into a colander and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Set on something to catch the water that drains off, and set aside. 
Mix together sour cream, onion, dill, vinegar, and sugar. Cover and place in fridge.
Let cucumbers drain and dressing chill for at least an hour, up to 2 hours.
Before serving, rinse cucumbers under running water briefly. Pat dry with paper towel.  Toss dressing with cucumbers and serve.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Inpromptu Kentucky Derby Menu

With less than two hours notice:  This can be done!

2 lbs pulled pork (Trollinger's BBQ from Paris, TN)
Trollinger's BBQ Sauce or Allegro BBQ Sauce (both from Paris, TN)
2 cups Cole Slaw (deli is fine or make your own)
King's Hawaiian Rolls

There's no secret to this...Warm the BBQ and add the sauce of your choice!  I choose Tennessee Bar B Que and Tennessee Sauce (but y'all should have guessed that by now!). 

BBQ plus good cold slaw are legendary in Tennessee.  I may live in Kentucky but I AM from Tennessee! 

Side dishes included Macaroni Salad, Potato Salad and Baked Beans.  Dessert - Marbled chocolate cake with hot fudge sauce! 

In less than two hours notice...we made, served and enjoyed!

Woodford Reserve Mint Julep

It's Kentucky Derby Day!  Raise your silver cups with the finest Kentucky Bourbon, Woodford Reserve Mint Juleps!  To The Post!!!
2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon Whiskey
1 oz water
1 tspor cube white sugar
4 fresh mint sprig
Muddle 3 mint sprigs, sugar and water in bottom of Julep cup or highball glass and fill with crushed ice. Fill with bourbon, stir. Dust 4th mint sprig with powdered sugar for garnish. Serve with straw.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Derby Pie


 1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar                
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup bourbon or water
4 large eggs
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 teaspoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp.
  2. Sprinkle pecans and chocolate evenly onto bottom of piecrust; set aside.
  3. Combine corn syrup and next 3 ingredients in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Whisk together eggs and next 4 ingredients. Gradually whisk about one-fourth hot mixture into egg mixture; add to remaining hot mixture, whisking constantly. Pour filling into prepared piecrust.
  5. Bake at 325° for 55 minutes or until set; cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Legendary Hot Brown Recipe


2 oz. Whole Butter
2 oz. All Purpose Flour
16 oz. Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
Salt & Pepper to Taste
14 oz. Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
4 slices of Crispy Bacon
2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half

In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined and forms a thick paste (roux). Continue to cook roux for two minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 ounces of turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Next, pour one half of the Mornay sauce to completely cover the dish. Sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove from broiler, cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top, sprinkle with paprika and parsley, and serve immediately.

Males 2.

Kentucky Grilled Beef Tenderlloin with Henry Bain's Sauce

Henry Bain was the Head Waiter at Louisville's Pendennis Club. He created this sauce which became a Derby & year round Louisville favorite with beef.  This sauce is also amazing with burgers for a less formal affair.


1 beef tenderloin
1 cup Major Grey's chutney
2 oz pickled walnuts, optional
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup A-1 sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire
3/4 cup Chili sauce
dash Tabasco


Grill tenderloin to desired temperature. Slice and serve hot or cold.  Whisk chutney and walnuts in food processor. Mix in other ingredients. Serve at room temperature. Store in refrigerator.


It's Derby Week in Kentucky - EVERYBODY PARTY!

This is the true recipe from Churchill Downs.  I hope you enjoy this southern classic.

2 lbs. jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail on
2 oz. light olive oil
1 Tbsp. garlic
1/4 lb. unsalted butter, cold and quartered
10 oz. white wine
4 oz. Louisiana Hot Sauce
3 oz. Worcestershire Sauce
1 green onion, cut on bias for garnish

2 cups quick-cooking grits
4 cups water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 stick butter

Shrimp: Add oil to a large saute pan, on high heat. Add shrimp and cook until very light pink on one side, about three minutes. Add garlic to the pan and stir. Then add white wine and cook until wine has reduced by half. Stir in hot sauce and Worcestershire. Remove cooked shrimp from pan and arrange on serving dish. Continue to reduce the sauce for about 1 minute longer. Remove pan from heat and add the chunks of cold butter. Swirl butter until the sauce develops a velvety texture. Pour sauce over shrimp on plate and garnish with green onion.

Grits: Add grits and water to a four-quart saucepan. Bring water to boil and allow grits to thicken, stirring occasionally. Add salt, cream, cheddar, Parmesan and butter and remove from heat. Stir until all of the cheese is melted. Serves 10.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Surf and Turf Grill Fry


I know it's been quite a while since I've posted a reicpe.  But after some nutrition education, I'm now aware that there is a whole new approach to eating that is better for me.  Now don't misunderstand, I'll ALWAYS be a good southern cook....just a tad lighter when I can be now!

1 lb sirloin steak, all fat trimmed and cube the lean steak
1 lb shrimp, cooked - deveined and tails removed
1 pkg. stir fry vegetables - veggie variety of your choosing
1 cup Kikoman Teriaki Baste and Glaze
1 package of boil in bag rice (optional)
1/2 cup crunchy chow mein noodles (optional)

Grill woks will change your cooking life!  I am a very picky griller so I have one for meat and one for vegetables ( yep, you guessed it two sets of tongs to toss them, one meat, one veggie - OCD is alive and well here:)!

Spray your grill wok with cooking spray, place veggies and steak over a 300* - 350* grill.  Salt and pepper each to taste.  Add shrimp when steak is medium well - shrimp cook super fast and won't require as much grill time.  Toss the veggies (yes with the veggie tongs) and the meat (of course with the meat tongs) until grilled and cooked thru.  The meat tends to take less time than the veggies. 

While the grill is cooking, I microwave the rice according to package directions.  Drain rice well and keep warm.  When the veggies and meat are cooked completely toss meat with Teriaki sauce.  Layer your serving bowl with rice, veggies then meat.  Top with crunchy chow mein noodles (or garnish of your choice - green onions work well too).

There you have it.  A protien and vegetable rich meal with or without rice (your call).  Healthy and delicious...even if I do say so myself!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Vegetable Soup

It's sunny and cold today so comfort food is a must!  Vegetable Soup!

I make the simplest of possible soups with only 15 minute prep!

1 package Uncle Ben's Long Grain Wild Rice
1 package Knorr Soup Mix
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can diced carrots
1 can diced potatoes
1 can cut green beans
1 can baby lima beans
1 can black eyed peas
1 can Veg-All mixed vegetables
salt and pepper

Put the wild rice and soup mix in 3 cups of hot water then microwave for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, open all your cans of veggies and put them into your biggest crock pot (add the liquid as well).  When the rice and soup mix have cooked, pour over the vegetables, add salt and pepper to taste.  You may need to add an extra cup of water or two, then cover, set for 8 hours and walk away.

You can edit the vegetables to suit what your family likes, I like to add sauteed celery but today I went the straight easy route.

By dinner time, you only need cornbread or crackers and a great big bowl of healthy nutritious comfort. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ground Hogs Day Biscuits

Okay, it's just CUTE people!  One biscuit, add two triangles as ears, add one small circle for the snout, cut in two slits and add two peppercorns for eyes! 

Use bought biscuits or make your own dough!  I am a fan of Bisquick myself.  I don't have time to sift!  Oink Oink!!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie

This may seem like the simplest thing in the world...and it is...if you know how to do it.  For the very young woman that was intently watching me get groceries this morning, I apologize for the nervous glances and I'm glad you finally spoke to me.  I'm happy to share what I'm cooking, I just didn't know why I was so all mighty interesting late Sunday morning! 

2 cups of cooked and cubed chicken (no skin)
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cans of mixed vegetables (drain well)
1 frozen deep dish pie crust
1 rolled pastry pie crust
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350*.  Bake empty pie shells for 10 - 12 minutes to set the bottom crust.  Drain vegetables.  Mix with chopped chicken (I just grill extra one night and chop it after dinner.  It freezes well and I have it on hand when needed.)  Add cream of chicken soup, salt and pepper to taste.  Pour mixture into bottom pie shell.  Unroll pastry crust and turn edges under to make them even with the bottom crust.  Crimp edges with a fork and cut small slits in the top to vent the steam.  Bake at 350* for 50 - 60 minutes or until top crust is lightly golden.

I hope this helps the young lady that wanted to make something simple and economical to surprise her family on a cold winter Sunday.  Serve with a salad and fresh baked bread.  I'm adding brownies for dessert. Warm and Snugly Comfort Food!  Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Hashbrown Potato Soup in a Crockpot

Today I want something warm and I'm trying a new short cut recipe for Potato Soup. 

1 bag frozen hash browns
2 (14oz) cans chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 c chopped onion
1/3tsp black pepper

Combine ingredients and cook in crock pot on low for 5hours. Stir in 8oz block of cream cheese, cook 30 minutes, stir occasionally.  Garnish with shredded cheese, bacon bits and some scallions.  Serve with warm bread and snuggle in.

Carmel Butter Pecan Cake


It's taken me a few weeks to get back to posting but this is the last cake that I made for my dear friend Mrs. Knapp and her wonderful family.  We will miss her dearly but this was her favorite cake and there was barely a crumb or a nut left!
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
In  saucepan over medium low heat, brown pecans in butter until butter is lightly browned; stir constantly. Drain browned butter into a measuring cup; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, and baking powder, salt, milk, vanilla, eggs, and 1/2 cup of the browned butter. Beat for about 2 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup of the chopped pecans.

Pour batter into two greased and floured 8- or 9-inch round layer cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Cool for 5 minutes; remove from pans and cool thoroughly before frosting.


2 tablespoons butter
1 cupconfectioners' sugar