Friday, May 5, 2017

Cornbread Salad...


Ingredients:
2 6-ounce packages corn bread mix
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 eggs, hard boiled and chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup chopped green onions (bulbs and stems)
¼ cup chopped green pepper (optional)
1 cup mayonnaise, or to taste
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Directions:
Bake cornbread as directed and let cool.  When cool, crumble in bowl.  Add eggs, tomatoes, onion, green pepper, bacon, and mayonnaise to the cornbread (reserving very small amount of tomatoes, green onions, and crumbled bacon to garnish top if desired).  Stir to combine well.  Chill until ready to serve.  Serves 8

My note:  I don't make this often (probably because I think of it as a summer salad, and I usually only bake cornbread in the cooler months), but if I find myself with leftover cornbread in the spring or summer, it makes a great side.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Red Beans & Rice


Ingredients:
1 pound smoked link sausage
8 to 10 cups cooked pinto beans plus their liquid
   (at least 3 cups liquid, or add water or broth to make up the difference)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons Creole Seasoning
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions:
Slice sausage into rounds 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Heat a deep pan and add sausage rounds to brown a little, stirring occasionally.  Add beans with their liquid, tomatoes, and spices.  Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for awhile (one hour or four hours, it's up to you).  The longer you simmer, the softer the beans will get and thicken the liquid.  Serve over white rice.

My notes:  Carey does not like spicy foods.  So I make a large pot of beans with ham, onion, and garlic and serve it with cornbread.  I save the leftover beans to make a spicier meal of red beans & rice when he's not home. 

No-Peek Chicken...



Ingredients:
2 cups white long grain rice
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 soup can of water
1 envelope of Lipton Onion Soup mix
1 to 2 pounds of chicken pieces

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° F.  Spray a 9" x 13" casserole with non-stick spray or grease lightly.  In a bowl, whisk the soups and water to combine without lumps, then add rice and stir to combine.  Pour into the prepared casserole.  Lay chicken pieces on top of the rice/soup.  Sprinkle the envelope of Lipton Onion Soup mix over all evenly.  Cover well with foil (or lid), and bake for about an hour and a half to two hours.  Remove cover and bake for 15 more minutes.  Serve with salad or a vegetable.

My notes:  I learned to make this early in my marriage.  Not haute cuisine, but the family likes it, and it is so easy on a busy day.  You can use any chicken pieces that you prefer, you can adjust cooking time up or down depending on the size of pieces used.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Chicken Fried Steak...

Ingredients:
1.5 to 2 pounds cube steak (if very large, cut into serving size)
3 eggs
1 cup flour
salt, pepper, garlic powder in amount you prefer
1 cup of vegetable oil

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Break the 3 eggs into a pie plate or similar sized dish.  Whisk with a fork until well beaten.
  • Place the cup of flour into another pie plate or similar sized dish.  Add the salt, pepper, and garlic powder and stir till mixed.
  • Dredge a steak in the seasoned flour and shake off extra flour
  • Dip the floured steak into the egg to coat well.
  • Dredge the egg-dipped steak back into the seasoned flour and cover well with the flour.  I press the flour into the steak to make sure it is sticking well.  
  • Place the steak into the hot oil.
  • Repeat with remaining steak pieces.  (When all steaks are breaded, reserve the left over flour for gravy.)
  • When the first side is cooked to a golden brown, turn to place the second side down in the oil.  Cook about 5 minutes per side.
  • When steak is uniformly golden brown and cooked through, remove to a plate lined with paper towels.
For white gravy:
4 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons reserved seasoned flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tablespoons of reserved oil from skillet
  • Melt 4 Tablespoons of butter in a saucepan.  
  • Add about 3 Tablespoons of the reserved seasoned flour to the melted butter whisking constantly to avoid lumps forming.  Cook for a minute or two.  
  • Add about 1/2 cup of milk while continuing to whisk.  When it begins to thicken, add another 1/2 cup of milk continuing to whisk.  
  • Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of the hot oil left in skillet to the gravy and whisk in.  Heat for a few minutes whisking as needed to avoid lumps.  If gravy thickens too much, add more milk.  
  • Season with more salt and pepper as needed.
  • Serve over steak and with mashed potatoes if desired.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Taco Salad...


Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
salt, pepper, garlic, chili powder

lettuce mix (I like Italian blend)
1 can Ranch Style beans, drained, room temperature
1 can ripe olives, drained
1 to 2 tomatoes, diced (or a basket of cherry tomatoes)
2 avocados, cut in large-ish chunks
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Catalina dressing
Nacho flavored Doritos, crushed but not too small

Directions:
Brown ground beef, with diced onion, salt, pepper, garlic, and chili powder (in amounts to your preference). Set aside to cool somewhat so it doesn't wilt the lettuce.

In salad bowl place:
lettuce mix
Ranch Style beans
ripe olives
tomatoes
avocados
shredded cheddar cheese
browned and cooled ground beef

Toss with a little Catalina salad dressing.

Serve with more Catalina dressing for individuals to add as preferred, and crushed Nacho Flavored Doritos to sprinkle on top of servings.

My notes:  I had Taco Salad at a party once with Catalina dressing, and have never wanted it any other way since. Sounds weird, I know, but it is surprisingly good.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Chicken Provolone...


I was conflicted when it came time to prepare dinner.  I wanted to cook from ingredients on hand, but I wanted something out of the normal rotation and filling and that would freeze well for Carey to take to work.  I really wanted Chicken Parmesan, but had no Parmesan.

I did have boneless/skinless chicken breasts in the freezer, spaghetti in the pantry, a half sleeve of crackers, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and sliced Provolone in the fridge.

Ingredients:
4 or 5 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1/2 sleeve cracker crumbs (Ritz or Club)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 jar spaghetti sauce
Provolone cheese (I used slices)
3 Tablespoons butter
16 ounces spaghetti 

Directions:
Pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a skillet and heat to medium high.  Crush the crackers into a pie plate and add flour, salt, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder and stir to mix well.  Dredge the chicken breasts in the seasoned crumbs and place them into the hot oil and brown both sides.

Melt butter and pour it over the remaining seasoned cracker crumbs.  Mix well so that all the crumbs are buttery.

Spray a casserole dish (large enough to hold the chicken breasts in a single layer) with nonstick spray and pour about 1/4 cup of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the casserole and spread it out.  When the chicken breasts are nicely browned, place them in the casserole and top with slices of Provolone.  Pour about 1/2 the remaining spaghetti sauce over the chicken breasts/cheese so all were covered.  Then sprinkle the buttered crumbs over the top and bake uncovered at 350° F for 45 minutes to an hour.  

Cook the spaghetti as per package directions and drain when done.  Return spaghetti to pan it was cooked in and pour the remaining spaghetti sauce over it.  Place over very low heat to warm the sauce. 

Serve the chicken alongside the pasta.  Add a salad, vegetable, and/or garlic bread.  

My notes:  Carey really liked this.  I told him I just made the recipe up as I went along, and he asked if I would write it down so we could have it again.  :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dublin Coddle with Kale...



Ingredients:
1 pound smoked sausage
1/2 pound thick sliced bacon
3 cups beef broth 
   (* or 1 can condensed French Onion Soup plus 1 1/2 cans water) 
6 potatoes
3 large carrots (In photo above I didn't have whole carrots and used matchstick instead.)
2 onions
1 bag of kale
salt and pepper

Directions:
Slice the sausage and chop the bacon.  Place in a pan and add 3 cups beef broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Scrub the potatoes and carrots well (or peel if you prefer) and slice 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.    Thinly slice 2 onions.  Wash the kale, discarding large stems, and chop roughly.

Preheat oven to 425° F.  Spray a large casserole with cooking spray, or coat bottom and sides with olive oil.  

Layer:
1/3 of potato slices in the bottom
1/3 of the sliced onions
1/3 of the carrots (in photo above I used matchstick carrots instead of sliced)
1/3 of the kale
1/3 of the sausage and bacon
a sprinkle of salt and pepper

Repeat layers twice more, then pour the hot broth over all.  Cover with a lid or foil, and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove lid.  If it looks too dry add 1/2 cup of water.  Leave uncovered and bake for 20 more minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.


My notes:  *The second time I made this (3/16/2017) was for an early St. Patrick's Day supper.  I didn't have any beef broth, but I did have a can of Campbell's Condensed French Onion Soup that had been languishing in the cupboard for a long time.  I don't remember when or why I bought it...probably should have checked the use-by date.  :)  I used it (plus 1 and 1/2 cans of water) in place of the 3 cups of beef broth.  The coddle tasted even better than I remember it tasting the first time.  Yum!


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Green Vegetarian Cuisine's Raw Pecan Hummus...


INGREDIENTS:
3 cups raw pecans
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sea salt
water, as needed, to correct consistency (I didn't need to add water)

INSTRUCTIONS: 
Place pecans and garlic in bowl of food processor. Process until mixture is reduced to small chunks. Add olive oil, vinegar and salt. Process and slowly add water, a few tablespoons at a time, until a thick hummus-like consistency is achieved. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill thoroughly. Serve chilled with pita chips or vegetables, and makes a great addition to a wrap.

My notes: This is a totally different take on hummus since there is no garbanzo beans or tahini, and it uses apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice.  SO GOOD!  It makes me want to have a party just so I can serve this and see the response.  :)  I think it would also make awesome tea sandwiches on white bread with cream cheese on one side and pecan hummus on the other.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken with Broccoli...


Other than cropping, no adjustments were made to the photo above...straight out of the camera.  I was happily surprised with the brown glazing of the chicken thighs.

I found the same recipe in quite a few different websites, so I can't give an original attribute.  And anyway, as usual, I adapted it to what I had on hand and what our preferences are.  My version follows:

Place 4 to 6 chicken thighs in the slow cooker. (I used boneless/skinless, and I put them in frozen.)

Whisk together:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Pour this over the frozen thighs, covering them evenly and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours. 

 About 30 minutes before we were ready to eat, I added 2 to 3 cups broccoli florets and stirred them into the sauce.  Then I sprinkled 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds and 1/2 teaspoon dried chives over all, covered, and continued to cook for 30 more minutes while I prepared rice.

The broccoli looks a little overcooked in the photo, but it was actually just done with a little bit of crunch still.  I'll be making this again.