My "back porch" is my kitchen, my favorite room in the house. Come on in, the coffee is fresh, and I just made a pitcher of sweet tea. The cookies will be out in a minute. I have over 40 years of recipes to share with you, along with my opinion on everything. Oh my, you are right, it is cocktail time. What can I get you? Of course I can make you a Mint Julep! Stop by anytime, something is always cooking, and the back door is never locked.

Bon Appetit, Y'all

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Savory Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

You are so right! This recipe came right off the Knorr web site. I have made a change or two, nothing drastic. But my reason for posting this is to tell you how in love I am with Knorr Homestyle Stock tubs. I use them in everything. No, I'm not getting paid for this. The BIG reason for making this is the fact that my grocery has chicken legs and thighs on sale this week for 88 cents a pound. Can you imagine! Since I more than qualify for the senior discount on Wednesday, and additional 10 per cent off, I had to stock up. I grilled and shredded the chicken legs and thighs and used them instead of buying a rotisserie chicken. This is like a free meal, not to mention it takes less than 30 minutes.

Savory Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
serves 8
print recipe

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup finely shopped sweet onion or shallots
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups water
1 tub Knorr Homestyle Stock - Chicken
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, or any shredded chicken

1. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook onion, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in garlic and cook 30seconds.

2. Stir in water, Knorr Chicken stock, ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in chicken and heat through.

3. Serve, if desired on toasted hamburger rolls. Homemade rolls are best. I prefer wholewheat rolls.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Linguine With Artichokes And Onion

If you are in a hurry to get supper on the table, I don't think you can beat a good pasta dish. You can toss pasta with almost anything, including rabbit and chicken livers. Well, they do in Italy. But not today, we will keep it nice and simple.

Linguine With Artichokes And Onion
Serves 4-6
print recipe

1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained, quartered
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 large eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound linguine, cooked al dente I prefer fresh linguine, and it cooks faster.

In a saucepan that will be large enough to accommodate the pasta with room to toss it without spilling, heat the olive oil and saute' the onion until it becomes soft. Remove the onion with a slotted spoon and discard, reserving the oil. Add the artichoke hearts to the oil; lower the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the broth to the saucepan and cook on low heat for 5 minutes, turning the artichokes gently.

Whisk the eggs with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and stir it into the saucepan. Add the pasta to the saucepan and toss thoroughly, slowly adding the remaining cheese. Serve immediately, with freshly grated Parmesan on the side if you like.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Peas and Rice

It's amazing what I find every time I start digging in the freezer in the garage. Like a surprise visit to a new grocery store. This time it was a beautiful bag of peas from last summer. There is something about peas and rice that just make me happy. I used country ham in mine, and if you do please watch the amount of salt you add.

Peas and Rice
serves 6
print recipe

2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups good chicken stock
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup cooked ham, diced
1 cup cooked peas
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium sized, ovenproof saucepan saute the onion the the olive oil and butter over medium heat until light in color. Add the garlic and saute' 1 t0 2 minutes. Stir in the rice and saute until the rice is light brown in color (3 to 4 minutes).

Stir in the chicken stock, season with salt and pepper, and slowly bring to a boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes, then cover and bake in the oven until most of the remaining liquid has almost all been absorbed (5 to 10 minutes). Remove from the oven and stir in the ham, peas, and roasted red peppers; re-cover, return to the oven, and cook until the last 3 ingredients are heated through (3 to 5 minutes). Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Baked Sweet Onions In Sherry Cream Sauce

Vidalia onions are now available in my grocery. Please use those if you can find them. This is a great side dish with any meat.

Baked Sweet Onions In Sherry Sauce
Serves 6
print recipe

3 cups sweet onions (or Vadalias), precooked
1/3 cup sherry (not cooking sherry)
1 cup light cream or sour cream (I prefer sour cream)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons pimentos, chopped
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

Drain cooked onions and arrange in shallow baking dish. Combine sherry, cream, salt, pepper, eggs, pimentos and mushrooms. Pour over onions; dot with butter. Sprinkle with grated cheese, cover and bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Butter Bean Cabbage Soup

It is really cold here this morning. Certainly more of a soup day, not the silly salad I had planned to post. It took me forever to determine the portions in this recipe. I think I have it now. Normally when I'm making soup I use the pitch in, add a little more, this should be good, method. That is why at this moment I have 8 quarts of this fabulous soup. It is also the reason I need a recipe when making soup. Remember this is just soup, add what you like in the amount you like. You really need some cornbread with this. I'll mention it again so you don't forget.

Butter Bean Cabbage Soup
6 - 8 servings
print recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound red potatoes, cut into small chunks (2 medium)
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 of a large onion, cut in half moons
4 to 6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth, maybe more maybe less depending on how thick you want your soup
Throw in one of the little tubs of Knorr Chicken Stock
1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice
2 15- ounce cans large butter beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 medium head of cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon thyme
House Seasoning or salt and pepper to taste

Garnish: Red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese and fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add potatoes and a pinch of House Seasoning; cook about 5 minutes. Stir. You are looking for a nice golden brown.

Add in onion and garlic and cook another 2 or 3 minutes. Stir in broth and tomatoes and a hit of House Seasoning. Go light you can always add more at the end. Bring to a boil

Once boiling stir in beans and cabbage and cook until the cabbage is wilted and nice and tender about 10 minutes. Add more broth if too thick for your liking. Garnish and serve.

Like most soups this one will improve in flavor if left to mellow over night in the refrigerator.

This soup just screams for a pan of corn bread or corn muffins, and a glass of Sweet Tea.

Monday, March 26, 2012

French Potato Salad with Beef Strips

This potato salad is often used as a main dish in the summertime, but I think it is fine anytime. The idea is that you begin with a simple stewed-style "pot roast dinner" and save some extra meat and a little stock for the salad. I didn't have a pot roast cooked so I used a left-over flank steak. Actually I cooked an extra one for this purpose.

French Potato Salad with Beef Strips
about 4-6 servings
print recipe

2 pounds potatoes (white rose or red)
1/2 cup white wine or beef stock
salt and pepper to taste
6 tablespoons olive or peanut oil
2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced green onion or shallot
1 tablespoon minced parsley
2 cups cold beef, cut in julienne strips

Cook the potatoes in their skins just until tender. Do not overcook. Mix the remaining ingredients in a salad bowl, and whisk around with a fork until blended. As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and cut them in slices about 1/8-inch thick. If the skins are nice and thin and the potatoes fresh from the garden, I don't peel them. Gently mix with dressing.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

Happy Spring everyone! This mediation today is for me. If someone else benefits so much the better. I'm not haven't trouble with the flattery part, I really don't need that. But the acceptance and letting go and letting God has been a problem the past couple of days. But this too shall pass, I hope.

Flattery is so necessary to all of us that we flatter one another just to be flattered in return. Marjorie Bowen

We are all deserving of unconditional love and acceptance. And all the people in our lives, past and present, deserve our unconditional love and acceptance, too. However, it's doubtful that we either feel it all of the time from others or give it away.

It's human of us to find fault-to have expectations that are too high. But for this we pay a price. Instead of experiencing our lives serenely, contentedly, flowing with what is, we often criticize, judge, and feel generally disgruntled throughout the day. What a waste! We do have another choice, fortunately. We can let go and let God. Also we can recall, today and every day, that we are all special individuals in this world who are loved, fully, by our Creator.

The great contribution we can make to the lives of others is to be affirming. We can let our spouse, children, and friends know we care about them. That we love and accept them. The love that we also long for will come back to us. We thrill at being affirmed. And we will thrill at affirming.

It feels good to help another feel appreciated. Love and acceptance is my lifeline, from God around us all.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pub-Style Deviled Eggs

Last week my wonderful friend Joyce at October Farm sent me two more boxes of cook books, plus pastas, Russian candies, Amish dishtowels, Easter candy, some of her homemade "crack". You get the picture. It was like Christmas. I have hardly had time to look at the cook books, but I did latch on to one called The Travlin' Gourmet that I liked a lot, and I have this thing about deviled eggs. I've never met one I didn't like, except the ones with pickle relish.

The reason they called deviled eggs "deviled" is because they're supposed to be hot! However, most renditions of the snack are bland beyond belief. Not so with this spicy offering from London's Black Friar Pub. If you want to tone it down a bit, substitute diced green pepper for the jalapeno or hot banana pepper, or reduce the amount. I used 1/2 tablespoon diced jalapeno and 1 tablespoon diced green pepper. Perfect for me!

Pub-Style Deviled Eggs
Serves 8
print recipe

8 hard boiled eggs, shelled
1/4 cup good mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons finely diced onion
1 1/2 tablespoons finely diced jalapeno or hot banana pepper
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Cut eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolk, and reserve the whites. Mash the yolks with the mayonnaise and combine with the onion, pepper, vinegar, mustard, curry powder, parsley and cayenne. Fill the egg halves with the yolk mixture; sprinkle each egg with paprika.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Chocolate Kahlua Cake

This is going to be perfect for Easter Dinner. Maybe with a big bowl of fresh strawberries. I'm sure you still have plenty of Kahlua left from making the Kahlua Mousse a few weeks ago.

Chocolate Kahlua Cake
10-12 servings
print recipes

2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup Kahlua
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon almond extract
Glaze (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine, the sugar, flour, and salt; set aside. In a small saucepan bring the butter, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the Kahlua and pour the mixture into the dry ingredients, and mix well. Add the sour cream, eggs, baking soda, and extract, stirring after each addition. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Glaze the cake.

1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
1/4 cup Kahlua
1/4 cup butter

In a small saucepan combine all the above ingredients. Heat over medium-high heat until the butter has melted and the sugar is dissolved. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

With a nephew that loves mashed potatoes and comes for dinner several times a week, I'm always looking for a new flavor. He hates prepared horseradish, but loves fresh grated. Anything for a little extra work for the cook. I make the whole recipe and use the leftovers for mashed potato pancakes.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes.
serves 8
print recipe

6 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream, heated
2 tablespoons grated horseradish
Salt and white pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain Well. Return to heat to eliminate all water in bottom of pan. Mash with masher or ricer, adding butter, hot cream, salt and pepper to hot potatoes. Mix until smooth. Add horseradish and serve immediately. If holding potatoes over simmering water for a while, wait to add the horseradish to just before serving.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Grilled Chicken Thighs With White Barbecue Sauce

I know yesterday was the first day of spring. I know it's March 21 and the temperature is suppose to be in the high 50's. But at my house it was 88 degrees F. I am loving it. Time to fire up the grill again today. The recipe came from a magazine a couple of years ago. That's all I know, and it's excellent.

Grilled Chicken Thighs With White Barbecue Sauce
5 servings
print recipe

1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
10 skin-on-bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
White Barbecue Sauce - recipe follows

1. Combine first 7 ingredients until blended. Rinse chicken, and pat dry; rub seasoning mixture over chicken. Place chicken in a zip-lock freezer bag. Seal and chill at least 4 hours. I do mine over night.

2. Preheat grill to 350 to 400 degrees F. (medium high) heat. Remove chicken from bag, discarding bag.

3. Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, 8-10 minutes on each side or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 180 degrees F. Serve with White Barbecue Sauce.

White Barbecue Sauce
makes about 1 1/2 cups

Stir together 1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise; 1/4 cup white wine vinegar; 1 garlic clove, minced; 1 tablespoon coarse ground pepper; 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard; 1 teaspoon sugar; 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons horseradish until blended. Cover and chill 2 to 4 hours. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ollie Trolley Burgers

I pulled this from the archives because I wanted a really good hamburger. Really, what's the first thing you normally cook on the grill when the weather gets warm? Middle of March and it's over 80 degrees. You bet I'm firing up the grill.

Years ago there was a "sit down" fast food chain by the name of Lum's. You know a step above McDonald's and a step below Outback Steak House. Lum's had two items on their menu that I thought were fabulous, their hot dogs steamed in beer with sauerkraut and the "Ollie Burger".

The hot dogs are pretty self explanatory, throw a bag of sauerkraut in a pot add a bottle of beer, plop in the hot dogs, put a lid on and steam until the hot dogs swell up. Serve on steamed buns with your favorite mustard.

The Ollie Burgers were really, really good with lots of flavor and very moist.

Ollie Trolley Burger
6 burgers depending how big you like them
print recipe

2 pounds ground round or chuck, whatever is on sale
3 tablespoons lemon juice (not the bottled please)
1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon A-1 Sauce
1 Tablespoon Corn or vegetable oil
1/2 cup beef stock or broth
1 teaspoon Heinz 57 Sauce
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon vinegar

Shape patties about 3/4 to 1 inch thick and 4-inches to whatever you like round.

Mix the remaining ingredients.

Place patties in a covered container and pour marinate mixture over them. Cover tightly and refrigerate 12 to 24 hour, longer is better. Turn patties frequently, DO NOT press down.

Remove from marinade and sear over high heat to seal juices, turn down heat and cook to desired doneness. Cook in your favorite grill pan or fire up the grill.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tea Time Savory Salmon Spread

Did you know prior to innovation of afternoon teas, the English served only two main meals, in early morning, and late night dinners. It is not surprising that everyone complained of a "sinking feeling" in the late afternoon. As a remedy the addition of a five o'clock meal was added.

I don't know about you, but I don't normally serve afternoon tea. This recipe makes a perfect appetizer and a fabulous sandwich spread.

Savory Salmon Spread
yields about 6 servings
print recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can pink salmon, drained, skin and bones removed
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley,
1/4 teaspoon salt
Bibb or other soft lettuce leaves
2 finely shredded boiled eggs to garnish
Fresh parsley for garnish

In the bowl of your mixer blend the butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Flake the salmon and add to the mixture. Add the green onions, lemon juice, parsley, and salt. Mix well, and chill until firm, an hour or more.

Shape into a 7-inch round and flatten the top slightly. Place on a lettuce-lined serving plate and garnish with egg and parsley. Serve with toast points and/or assorted crackers.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Saints and Scriptures Sunday

This is a great mediation for all of us. One of my favorites.

One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach; one can collect only a few and they are more beautiful if they are few. - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Being selective in choosing activities, in choosing friends, in choosing material possessions fosters unexpected appreciation. Too much of any one thing negates whatever specialness might have been realized. If we surround ourselves with acquaintances, we never fully share in knowing a few people well. If we surround ourselves with "toys", we never learn how we really want to spend our time.

When we don't take life slowly, piece by piece (one shell at a time), we avoid the greatest discovery of all, the person within. When our attention to persons, places, things is deliberate and steady, the beauty within the object of our focus shines fort, and we, too, are made more beautiful in the process.

Today, I will take time to smell the flowers.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Coffee

What would St. Patrick's Day dinner be without a good cup of Irish Coffee. For sure I don't want to be serving green cake or cookies. This is a terrific ending to any dinner, not just St.Patrick's Day.

Wishing Y'all a bit of the luck of the Irish today.

Irish Coffee
1 serving
print recipe

1 jigger Irish whiskey (1 1/4 ounces)
2 sugar cubes
good strong coffee
slightly sweetened whipping cream

Pour the whiskey into a warmed glass. Add the sugar cubes and then the hot coffee. To avoid possible breakage of the glass, pour hot coffee over a metal spoon in the glass. Stir well. Float the cream on the top of the coffee by pouring it over the back of a teaspoon. The result should be a dark hot coffee mixture topped by a band of white cream. When you take a sip you will be drinking hot coffee through the cool white cream. Please use only real whipping cream. It should be whipped just until thick, but not stiff.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fresh Spinach and Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

It is the middle of March and 78 degrees today. No wonder I'm thinking about salads instead of soups and stews. This is the perfect before garden summer salad.

Fresh Spinach and Fruit Salad
with Poppy Seed Dressing
about 6 salads
print recipe

1 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
12 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
8 thin slices sweet white or red onion, separated
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
4 cups spinach, stemmed, washed, and torn into bite-size pieces

In a serving bowl combine all of the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate. Just prior to serving dress with poppy seed dressing.

Poppy Seed Dressing

1/2 cup honey
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a jar or cruet with fitted lid combine the dressing ingredients. Cover and shake well. Chill thoroughly. Pour the dressing over the salad just before serving. You will not need all the dressing. Use remainder on another salad.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Penne Pasta in a Hot Pepper Sauce

When you can't decide what you want, pasta is always a good choice. This makes an excellent side dish or main event. The sauce can be made ahead. Plus, I'm tired of talking about St. Patty Day food for a few minutes.

Penne Pasta in a Hot Pepper Sauce
about 3-4 servings
print recipe

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound salt pork or bacon, diced in small pieces
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 (16-ounce) can solid pack tomatoes, or 2 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled
1/4 cup dry red wine
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon dry red pepper flakes (more or less if you like)
1/2 pound penne pasta
Parmesan cheese for topping

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the salt pork or bacon, garlic and onion, and stir over medium flame until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, wine, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Cook, stirring now and then, for 20 minutes. This can be done ahead.

Cook the penne following the package directions. Drain and serve with sauce and cheese on top. How hard was that!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Irish Soda Muffins with White Cheddar and Rosemary

Be honest! Have you ever had really good Irish Soda Bread? I have not. But these muffins are great. Plus you can make them ahead and freeze. Perfect with your Irish Stew.

Irish Soda Muffins with White Cheddar and Rosemary
about 12 muffins
print recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) well-chilled but, cut in pieces
6 ounces coarsely grated white cheddar cheese
1/4 cup fresh rosemary,snipped finely with kitchen shears
2 cups buttermilk
1 egg, beaten to blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease two 12-cup muffin tins. Sift together flours, baking soda, salt and baking soda in large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in cheese and rosemary. Mix buttermilk and egg and add to dry ingredients, stirring just until blended (batter will be thick). Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve Warm.

To Freeze, cool thoroughly. Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in freezer baggies. To serve, bring to room temperature. Warm in oven for about 15 minutes at 300 degrees F. just before serving.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kahlua Mousse

Before we even start let me say. this goes against everything I think, say or do when it comes to food. I hate anything that is processed or not real. I really hate Cool Whip. That being said, this is one of the best mousse recipes I have found. Quick, Easy and Delicious!

Since I have completely gone off the deep end on the processed food scale I ate this with my new box of Girl Scout Shortbread Cookies. Heaven!

Kahlua Mousse
6-8 serving
print recipe
directly off the pages of The Travelin' Gourmet

2 cups Cool Whip, plus more for serving
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark chocolate)
1 tablespoon instant coffee (I used expresso instant)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons Kahlua
Chocolate sprinkles (I used chocolate shavings)
Wafer cookies (I used Girl Scout Shortbread Cookies)

In a medium bowl, whip the Cool Whip with the heavy cream until soft peaks form. With a rubber spatula, stir in the cocoa power, instant coffee, and sugar; blend well. I mixed these together before stirring into the Cool Whip and cream mixture. Add the Kahlua and stir thoroughly with the spatula. Put into 6 to 8 dessert cups and chill in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, dust the top of each serving with chocolate sprinkles and crown with a dollop of Cool Whip. I topped with Cool Whip and topped with chocolate shavings. Serve with wafer cookies, or whatever you like.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Corned Beef and Cabbage With Warm Mustard Sauce

We could also call this New England Boiled Dinner. But we are planning for St. Patrick's Day so it has to be Corned Beef and Cabbage. Don't forget to save any left over corned beef to make Corned Beef Hash, or dice any left over up to make a hash or soup.

Corned Beef and Cabbage With Warm Mustard Sauce
serves 6-8
print recipe

1 brisket corned beef (about 6 pounds)
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
12-16 small red potatoes, skin on
12-16 small white onions, peeled
1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large head of cabbage, cored and cut into 8 wedges

Place the corned beef in a large pot and cover with water. Cover, and bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until fork tender (2-3 hours). Remove thee meat from the pot. DO NOT drain the water.

Place the potatoes and turnip in the pot, bring water back to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Add the carrots and onions, bring to a boil and simmer another 10 minutes. Add the cabbage, bring to a boil and simmer another 5-8 minutes.

Strain all the vegetables into a colander.

Slice the beef diagonally against the grain; arrange the meat and vegetables on a platter and serve with Warm Mustard Sauce (below) and Irish Soda Bread.

Warm Mustard Sauce
Adapted from At Home, At Sea

2 tablespoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can evaporated milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup heated cider vinegar

Mix together the mustard, flour and salt. Add 1/3 cup of evaporated milk and whisk until there are no lumps.

Put the sugar in the rest of the evaporated milk in a double boiler over medium heat.

Whisk in the mustard mixture, then whisk in the egg yolk. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture thickens to a ribbon-like consistency.

Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the heated vinegar. Leave it in the double boiler until ready to serve to keep warm.

Pour into a pitcher and serve.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

Lent isn't always about "giving something up". It's about making changes in our lives and acceptance. Do I think just because I've decided to watch my "smart mouth" during Lent, that after Lent I'm going to be "smart mouth" cured. I don't think so! But maybe I'll be more aware and try to continue the change.

Acceptance of those conditions that at times plague us changes not only the conditions but, in the process ourselves. Perhaps the latter change is the more crucial. As each changes, we all change into more accepting people, life's struggles ease. We accept all circumstances that we can't control, we are more peaceful. Smiles more easily fill us up.

It's almost as though life's eternal lesson is acceptance, and with it comes life's eternal blessings.

Every day offers us many opportunities to grow in acceptance and thus blessings. I can accept any condition today and understand it as an opportunity to take another step toward serenity, eternal and whole.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hearty Whole Wheat Corn Bread

For someone who until recently made terrible corn bread, I'm movin' on up in the cornbread world. This is a great corn bread to serve with almost any soup.

Hearty Whole Wheat Corn Bread
6 servings
print recipe
At Freedom's Table

1/4 cup shortening (not oil)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder (don't forget your homemade)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the shortening in a 10 1/2-inch cast-iron skillet and heat in a preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes. While the skillet heats, in a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients. Add the milk and egg; mix until well blended. Remove the skillet from the oven, turn, and tilt to evenly coat the sides and bottom of the skillet with the shortening. Pour the shortening into the batter and mix well. Pour the batter into the skillet. Bake for 20-15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Friday, March 9, 2012

My Shrimp and Rice Casserole

I think at some time this started out as a Paula Deen recipe, but I have made so many changes even she wouldn't recognize it. I haven't made this in forever. My nephew said the other day, "Why don't you ever make that rice and shrimp thing anymore?", so I dug out the recipe. It really is a great recipe for Lent. It's quick and easy and can be made ahead and refrigerated until time to bake.

My Shrimp and Rice Casserole
6 to 8 servings
Print Recipe

1 package of Uncle Ben's long grain and white rice blend with seasoning pack
1 pound of medium shrimp peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
1 (10 3/4-ounce can) condensed cream of shrimp soup (cream of mushroom will work)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese, I like 1/2 sharp cheddar, 1/2 cup Romano, 1/2 cup Colby
Salt and Pepper (House Seasoning is best)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Cook rice according to packages directions. Drain and cool.

Place shrimp in single layer on cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with olive oil, House Seasoning and a little Old Bay Seasoning (optional). Toss to coat. Roast for about 3-5 minutes in hot oven. Just until they start to turn pink. Don't overcook. Set aside.

Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Heat butter in a saucepan and saute the pepper and onion until soft, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the rice, soup, 1 cup cheese, shrimp, water chesnuts and vegetables. Add salt and pepper, (House Seasoning) and mix well. Spray a 9-inch square pan or an 11 x 7-inch glass casserole dish with vegetable spray. Place the mixture in the pan and top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Coq au Vin

No, this is not the version of Coq au Vin that you have the old rooster as the main ingredient in the classic French country fricassee. This is easier and healthier since we will use boneless skinless chicken breast. It is every bit as tasty.

Coq au Vin
4 servings
print recipe

3 tablespoons butter
1 carrot, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed through a press
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup beef bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste or catsup
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

In a large skillet, melt the butter and slowly cook the chopped carrot, onion, garlic, and parsley until the onion is soft and translucent, approximately 10-20 minutes. Add the wine, bouillon, and tomato paste or catsup. Simmer, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes. Stir 2 tablespoons water into the cornstarch until smooth. Mix into the wine mixture and stir until the sauce is thick and clear. Set aside, covered, over very low heat, while you prepare the chicken.

Pound the chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap until they are approximately 1/2 inch thick. Mix together the flour, salt and pepper, and dredge the chicken breast in this mixture.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet. Over medium-high heat, saute' the chicken breast for 2 minutes per side, or until almost cooked through. Place the chicken breasts in the wine mixture, cover, and cook over medium low heat another 6 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I'm not really back up to speed. Hopefully tomorrow. I just jump on and post something when the computers thinks I might kill it for good if it doesn't let me on for a few minutes.

What a riot! I had to call my niece, the jammie, last night to get her to look for a recipe on my blog that I had to have for a cake.

I feel like a slave to this thing. Thanks for hanging in!

Baked Beans with Sausage

This is one of my favorite baked bean recipes and one of the first I made when I started cooking. Big batch! Feel free to cut it in half. Why not Bourbon Sliders, Baked Beans with Sausage and warm potato salad.

Baked Beans with Sausage
services about 20
print recipe

3 (32-ounce) cans pork and beans
2 pounds sausage links, cooked and diced, I've also used Jimmy Dean Hot Sausage cooked in patties and then diced.
2 medium onions, sliced
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons dry mustard
1 cup dark corn syrup, I make part of this molasses
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 350 degrees F. for at least 1 hour.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Green Beans With Tomatoes

This is the time of the year when I start looking to see what I have too much of in the freezer and pantry from the summer canning. It seems I may have gone a little crazy with the tomatoes and green beans, among other things.

Because I used canned and frozen doesn't mean you can't use fresh.

Green Beans With Tomatoes
6-8 servings
print recipe

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, minced
3 pounds green beans, cooked
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped, I used 1 pint of my canned, drained
1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt

In a large skillet melt the butter. Add the onions and saute' for 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and heat thoroughly. Toss lightly and serve.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Classic Colcannon for St. Patrick's Day

Did you ever eat colcannon when 'twas
made with yellow cream,
and the kale and praties blended like
the picture in a dream?
Did you ever take a forkful and dip it in
the lake
of the clover-flavored butter your mother
used to make? - old Irish song

Colcannon is a wonderful blending of fluffy mashed potatoes mingled with cabbage or kale and onions. Homey and humble, it is a fine main dish for a light supper. For heartier fare, add a broiled lamp chop and a pint of Guiness.

Classic Colcannon
serves 4
print recipe

4 cups hot mashed potatoes
2 cups cooked and drained chopped cabbage or kale
4 whole green onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup melted butter (4 ounces)
salt and pepper to taste

Place the mashed potatoes in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Blend in cabbage or kale and onions. Season with salt and pepper. Keep the colcannon warm in a 300 degree oven while you prepare the rest of your dinner.

To serve, place a portion on each plate, making a little "well" in the center. Pour the melted butter in the well. Traditionally, colcannon is best eaten with a spoon from the outside in, dipping each spoonful in the butter before popping it in your mouth.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Computer Problems!

I seem to be having computer problems today. No computer for 5 hours. I was going crazy. If I don't answer questions or get your comments posted in a timely fashion it's because I'm down again. I'm waiting for my favorite blog tech to show up in the morning, my brother, Larry, of course. I've already planned his lunch, hoping that would make him arrive earlier. I'll see you soon!

Saints and Scriptures Sunday

Friday was World Prayer Day, I hope everyone remembered to pick a region and take a few minutes to pray for them. Today I would like to ask for prayers for the many people in the path of the deathly tornadoes that ripped through the Ohio Valley region on Saturday. This is the area where I live and the destruction was very close to me but I was blessed with no damage. Every day we have miracles.

I have a simple philosophy. Fill what's empty. Empty what's full. And scratch where it itches. Alice Roosevelt Longworth

All too often, we complicate our lives. We can wonder and worry our way into confusion; obsession or preoccupation it's often called "What if?" "Will he?" "Should I?" "What do you think?". We seldom stop trying to figure out what to do, where to do it, now to meet a challenge, until someone reminds us to "keep it simple".

What we each discover, again and a again, it that the solution to any problem becomes apparent when we stop searching for it. The guidance we need for handling any difficult, great or small, can only come into focus when we remove the barriers to it, and the greatest barrier is our frantic effort to personally solve the problem. We clutter our minds; we pray for an answer and yet don't become quiet enough, for long enough, to become aware of the direction to go, or the steps to take. And they are always there.

Inherent in every problem or challenge is its solution. Our greatest lesson in life my be to keep it simple, to know that no problem stands in our way because no solution eludes a quiet, expectant mind.

I have opportunity every day to still my mind. And the messages I need will come quietly. My answers are within me, now.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Refried Beans

This recipe has nothing to do with any holiday coming up. It is a good Lenten dish however. I have been thinking about refried beans for days. Do you ever do that, get something on your mind that will not go away? During the big storm a couple of nights ago I woke and decided to soak the beans and be ready to start refried beans the next morning.

You can make spicy warm dips and smear the beans on warmed tortillas with chilies for appetizers, use as a side dish, or my favorite, eat right out of the skillet. Refried beans are healthy and versatile. The best ones you make at home, this is an easy process.

Refried Beans
serving: depends on how you use them
print recipe

1 pound pinto beans
7-8 cups water
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
Salt- add at end of cooking

Cover beans in a large pot with water to cover by at least 2 inches. Soak overnight or at least 8 hours.

Drain and place back in pot and cover with 7-8 cups water. Add remaining ingredients, except salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until soft but not mushy. Stir now and then with a wooden spoon. Stir in salt during the last few mminutes of cooking.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hominy Grill - Shrimp Burgers

One of the many wonderful restaurants in Charleston, S.C., Hominy Grill, have these fabulous burgers on the menu.

The whole secret here is to not over cook the shrimp and chill your patties before frying. Saute the shrimp in a little butter for a few minutes or roast in a 425 degree oven, just until they start to turn pink, maybe 8-10 minutes.

They recommend chilling the patties for 2 hours, I recommend as long as you can. All afternoon if possible. I have also put them in the freezer for an hour to get them started.

You are going to chop them up so don't spend the big bucks on the big shrimp. Your best shrimp are always going to be wild-caught. Support the shrimpers they work really hard.

Hominy Grill - Shrimp Burgers
6 servings
print recipe

1 pound small-medium size shrimp, cooked (Don't over cook)
3 tablespoons chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 cup cornbread crumbs or soft breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 large beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 good hamburger buns
Toppings: lettuce leaves, tomato slices, tarter sauce or mayo

Combine cooked chopped shrimp and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add cornbread crumbs and next 5 ingredients; stir until well blended.

Shape mixture into 6 patties. Place patties on wax paper-lined baking sheet; cover and chill at least 2 hours, longer if possible.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Cook shrimp patties 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Serve on lightly toasted hamburger buns with desired toppings.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Winter Portobello Mushroom Stew

Lent is the perfect time to try some of those heavenly vegetarian dishes that are floating around out there. I could easily be vegetarian. A quick stew with big flavors. Serve with soft polenta, mashed potatoes, fresh pasta or stone ground grits.

Winter Portobello Mushroom Stew
about 4 servings
print recipe
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
Salt and pepper freshly ground
2 pinches of red pepper flackes
1/2 pound portobello mushrooms sliced 3/8-inch thick, gills removed
1 pound large white mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespsoons chopped parsley or tarragon

Heat 1 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and remove to a bowl.

Return the pan to medium heat and add half the remaining oil. When it's hot, add the portobello mushrooms and saute' until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Add them to the onion and repeat with the remaining oil and white mushrooms. Return everything to the pan and add the garlic, tomato paste, stock,, and vinegar. Simmer gently for 12 to 15 minutes, then swirl in the butter. Add the parsley, taste for salt, and season with pepper.