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

Monday, May 31, 2010

Artichoke Potato Salad

This is a recipe from Bitchin & Grillin, one in a series of boutique cookbooks from Any Bitch Cookbooks. They make it very plain that's BITCH in a good way - Babe In Total Control of Herself. The recipes in these books are excellent and can be ordered from the website.

As I've mentioned before, I can not make potato salad and always have to go to an outside source for help. Anything that has artichoke hearts is great with me.

Artichoke Potato Salad
Serves 16
print recipe

3 pound new potatoes, cooked in boiling water until just tender and chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2-6 ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
3/4 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped dill pickles (optional)

In a small bowl, add the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, lemon pepper and dill. In a large bowl, add the potatoes, eggs, artichoke hearts, onion and dill pickles. Mix the mayonnaise mixture in the potatoes. Cover and chill for 4 hours, or better overnight.

Beer Pork Loin

Have you noticed that about every six weeks all the groceries have whole or half pork loins on sale. I usually wait until they are on for $1.99 per pound and stock up. If you have been kind to your butcher like I told you he will cut these loins anyway you want, chops roasts cubes, whatever.

Pray you have leftovers for sandwiches.

Beer Pork Loin
serves 12
print recipe

3 pounds pork loin
1-12 ounce can beer
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup mustard (I like the grainy kind)
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced

Place pork loin in a large shallow glass dish. In a bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. Pour over the pork. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning when you think about it.

Heat grill to medium heat. Place pork loin on the grill, basting frequently with the marinade. Turn after 30 minutes, Grill for 30 minutes more. Let set for 10 minutes before slicing.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Make-Ahead Grilled Salad

This is great because it takes care of the vegetable and the salad for dinner. Perfect for this Memorial Day weekend.

Make-Ahead Grilled Salad
6 to 8 servings
print recipe

4 yellow squash, sliced lenghwise in half
4 zucchini, sliced lengthwise in half
1 large onion sliced in half through root end
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup bottled Italian salad dressing
1 teasoon salt ( I use half the amount)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat grill to high. Brush the squash, zucchini and onion with oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until vegetables are slightly browned and softened. Remove from heat and cool. Slice the vegetables to bite-size pieces. Place all the ingredients in a large salad bowl and cover. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and place back into bowl.

Teddy's Banana Pudding

I'm going through my favorite blogs the other day and Octoberfarm, way at the top of my list, has a Banana Pudding recipe. My first thought is "Who needs another Banana Pudding recipe". I almost didn't bother to read on, but I was afraid she had new pictures of "Teddy" her dog. Now this dog is so precious that I could just kiss his face right off. I actually kiss my fingertips and touch the computer screen every time I visit this blog. I know, I know, back to the Banana Pudding.

Like Jaz says most of the time she makes everything from scratch, whipped cream, pudding,etc., but there are sometimes you really don't have to do that. Like now.

Yes Jaz ,I think this will become every ones new favorite Banana Pudding recipe. It for sure is mine. Thanks for sharing it with us and I hope you don't mind me sharing it again. I certainly would not want anyone to miss this experience. Please stop at Octoberfarm and give Teddy a kiss and let him take you for a walk through the beautiful garden.

Teddy's Banana Pudding
8-10 servings, maybe
print recipe

1 box Nilla wafers
1 (5-ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
1 (8-ounce package of cream cheese
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
6 or 7 very ripe banana
1 can whipped cream

Mix pudding with 2 cups milk. Set aside. Put cream cheese in bowl of stand mixer and add condensed milk. Beat until smooth. Add the pudding mixture until well blended.

Line a casserole with half of the Nilla wafers. Slice the bananas over the top of wafers.

Take bowl of pudding mixture and empty an entire can of whipped cream int0 pudding mixture. Blend and fold to combine.

Pour the mixture over the sliced bananas.

Cover with the rest of the Nilla wafers, whole or slightly crushed.

Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Honey, this is Southern Comfort Food at its best.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cane Pole Kabobs

When I got my copy of Southern Livings Big Book of BBQ the other day I knew this recipe would be the first one I made. First I love kabobs of any variety and second I love smoked sausages and kielbasa cooked on the grill.

If you do a lot of cooking on the grill this is a wonderful book to have, or you can wait and I'll probably post half of them over the summer. Sorry, nothing gets posted until I cook it or at least eat a little.

Cane Pole Kabobs
6-8 servings
print recipe

13 (12-inch) wooden or metal skewers
1 (16-ounce package smoked sausage, or kielbasa, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 (16-ounce jar marinated cherry peppers, drained
2 medium-size sweet onions, quartered (Vidalia are perfect)
1 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, homemade or bought

1. Preheat grill to 300-350 degrees f (medium heat. Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning.

2. Thread sausage, peppers, and onion quarters evenly onto skewers.

3. Grill, covered with grill lid, 4 to 6 minutes or until sausages are lightly browned. Turn and grill 3 more minutes; brush with barbecue sauce, and grill 2 more minutes. Serve with additional barbecue sauce, if desired.

Barbequed Beans

How is that for an original name for a recipe. I started to call it Four Bean Baked Beans, but that sounded stupid, and I wasn't very creative today, so name it whatever you want. All I know is that it's very very good.

Barbequed Beans
Serves 16-18
print recipe

1 can red kidney beans
1 can large butter beans
1 can green Lima's
2-12 ounce cans B&M baked beans
1/2 pound diced bacon
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar

Drain first 3 beans. Fry bacon. Remove and saute' the onion in the drippings. Add the garlic salt, mustard, vinegar and brown sugar. Return bacon to the pan and simmer 20 minutes. Mix with the beans. Cover and let stand 24 hours in the refrigerator. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour or more.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Feel Good Friday

Before we even start with this weeks "Feel Good Friday", do you have your flag out on display?Let's not forget the reason for this Memorial Day Holiday. Please say an extra prayer for our service men and women presently serving and also those we have lost as well as their families. If not for the sacrifices of these fine folks we would not be having a "Feel Good Friday.

For those who didn't read my "Feel Good Friday" last week all I can say is what a difference a few days make. This week has been Chamber of Commerce perfect, temperatures in the 80's and more sunshine than I've seen in months. I've even hung sheets on the clothesline. Oh that wonderful smell when you jump in bed.

It really is kinda nice having a big brother with great timing. He stopped by yesterday just in time to help put the dust ruffle back of the bed. That mattress gets a little heavy. Thanks Larry. He's not kidding me he really stopped by for a meatloaf sandwich.

Got new kitchen stuff this week that always make me happy, cast iron skillet, cast iron corn stick pan, and the big bonus, a Cusinart Mandoline Slicer. The slicer is a little tricky, I cut myself twice just getting it out of the box and unwrapping the beast. I guess they were serious with all the "Be Very Careful" warnings all over the box. I also received two new cook books from my friend Lucy in Savannah, Ga., one of them written by "Chef Dirt". I'll be sharing some of the recipes on the blog later. This has been a great week.

I'm making sauerkraut tomorrow using my new mandoline and cabbage fresh out of my friend David's garden. Hopefully without any pieces of my fingers included. This is such an easy recipe please try it.

Wishing y'all a wonderful safe holiday. See you next week.

Sour Cream Burgers

Our official grilling season starts with Memorial Day weekend. Nothing says summer like the smell of burgers on the grill. Everyone has their favorite burger I happen to have more than one. Before the summer is over we may have 10 favorite burgers. We will have turkey, beef, black bean and veggie burgers, just hang in with me.

Sour Cream Burgers
8 servings
print recipe

2 pounds ground meat
1 cup sour cream
1-1 ounce envelope dry onion soup mix
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Preheat grill on medium heat. Form the beef into 8 patties. Grill the patties for 6 to 9 minutes per side.

German Potato Salad

Don't know if this is a true Germany Potato Salad or not, I happen to think it's wonderful. You can throw this together while your honey is grilling the burgers,chops, steaks, or whatever. It only takes about 15-20 minutes because it is served warm.

German Potato Salad
4-5 servings
print recipe

4 cups cooked diced potatoes
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, more if you like
1/4 cup bacon drippings
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup vinegar
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish, if desired

Saute' the onion in the bacon dripping. Add all other ingredients and mix. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley if desired. Serve hot.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wafer-Thin Fried Pork Chops

Pork Chops for Breakfast! I am in heaven. Fried wafer-thin pork chops, scrambled eggs, homemade biscuits, fresh sliced tomatoes from the garden, I better stop here or I'll have a breakfast buffet going. The pork chops can be cooked in less time than it takes to cook bacon.

Remember the Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour you bought for the Sausage Gravy? If you have that use it instead of the plain flour, salt and pepper. If not use the recipe below.

Wafer-Thin Fried Pork Chops
6 to 8 servings
print recipe

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1 1/2 pound wafer-thin pork chops
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish; dredge pork chops in flour mixture.

Fry pork chops, in 3 batches, in hot skillet over medium-high heat 1 minutes each side or until browned. Drain on paper towels.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cold Oven Pound Cake

I know I recently posted a pound cake recipe, but a friend and I were talking about a recipe that we both had made at one time and neither of us had the recipe any longer. She found this wonderful little cookbook, Simple Down East Cooking , and there was the recipe.

Thank you my sweet friend. She's very shy and doesn't like for me to use her name. Can you imagine me with a shy friend!

This freezes beautifully. If you have a pound cake and cookie dough in the freezer you are ready for anything.

Cold Oven Pound Cake
12-14 servings
print recipe

3 stick butter, softened
8 ounce cream cheese
6 eggs, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream butter, sugar, and cream cheese until soft and fluffy; add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add lemon juice and vanilla and mix in. Turn off mixer and add 4 tablespoons flour and stir with spoon to mix; add remaining flour 1 cup at a time, mix with mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Spoon into greased tube pan. Place in cold oven and turn oven on to 300 degrees and bake 1 1/2 hours. No more, no less. Cool in pan 10-15 minutes. Remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

This will not work if you preheat the oven or keep opening the oven door.

Goldy's Nuthouse Cookies

I love to read almost as much as I love to cook. My reading selections jump around as much as my cooking selections. Everything depends on my mood of the week. Recently I've been into light mysteries and there are several authors that publish recipes in their novels. One of my very favorites is Diane Mott Davidson and the book I'm reading now is Double Shot. I can actually see myself as Goldy the main character in this novel. She is in the catering business and a wanna-be private-eye.

This just sounded to good not to try, so I made a batch. I loved them because you had to freeze the dough before baking, which means you can bake as many as you need when you need them, perfect for me. These will be in your favorite cookie file.

Goldy's Nuthouse Cookies
6 dozen
print recipe

1 1/2 cups blanched, slivered almonds, toasted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (4 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 2/3 cups (10 ounces) sifted confectioners' sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend the flours, salt, baking soda; add the almonds and toss to coat, set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and beat on medium low until very creamy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the beater speed to low and add the egg and vanilla; continue to beat until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture just until well combined; do not over beat.

Divide the batter into 3 equal pieces and equally distribute them in the bottom of zipped plastic freezer bags. Roll each section of the dough into logs. Zip the bags closed and place them in the freezer overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove one log at a time from the freezer. While each log is still frozen, place it on a cutting board. Use a large, sharp knife to divide each log into 24 equal pieces. Place 12 of the cookies on an ungreased Silpat sheet on top of the cookie sheet. Flatten each cold cookie slightly with the palm of your hand. When the first two dozen are baked and cooling, you may remove another roll from the freezer and start on it. (The cookies hold together better, cook more evenly, and develop a better texture if they are placed in the oven while they are still frozen.

Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minute, or until the cookies have turned golden brown at the edges. Rotate the cookie sheets from front to back after 5 minutes. Cool completely on racks. Store in cookie tins.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chopping Spree Salad

I know this recipe looks long and involved, but it really isn't. Sometimes I give recipe instructions the same way I carry on a conversation. I go on forever.

Chopping Spree Salad
4 large servings
print recipe

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head romaine lettuce, outer leaves removed
4 canned hearts of palm, well rinsed
Nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup pine nuts or blanched slivered almonds
1/2 cup diced fresh jicama
1 cup seeded diced tomato (about 2 medium tomatoes)
1/2 cup trimmed, thinly sliced scallions, 2 or 3 scallions
Tangy Lime Dressing (recipe follows)

Place the chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap and pound them with a mallet to a 1/3-inch thickness. Slice breast in half lenthwise.

In a 9x13-inch glass pan, mix the juice with the oil and place the chicken into this marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredients and dressing, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Wash the head of romaine really well, then cut an inch off the top to make an even edge. Carefully slice the rest of the head into 1/2-inch slices. You should have about 8 cups of romaine pieces. Rinse these well, spin them to remove any moisture, and wrap them in paper towels, Chill until ready to assemble salad.

Place the rinsed hearts of palm into a bowl of cold water and allow the to soak for 5 minutes to remove the brine.

While the hearts of palm are soaking, lightly spray a small saute' pan with nonstick spray (or use a nonstick pan) and toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning. When the pine nuts are just beginning to turn golden brown (3 to 4 minutes), remove them from the heat, place on a plate to cool, and set aside until you are ready to assemble the salad.

Remove the hearts of palm from the water, pat them dry with paper towels, and cut them into 1/4-inch discs. Wrap the pieces in a paper towel and chill until you are ready to assemble the salad.

Dice the jicama and tomatoes, slice the scallions, and set aside. Spray the grill with nonstick spray and preheat the grill while you prepare the Tangy Lime Dressing.

Grill the chicken over medium-high to high heat for about 4 minutes per side, or until it is cooked through but not dry. Remove the chicken to a cutting board, cool slightly, and cut into bite-size pieces.

Place the lettuce, hearts of palm, jicama, tomatoes, scallions, and chicken in a large attractive salad bowl. Toss with half of the dressing, then add the dressing by tablespoons until the salad is lightly dressed, not over dressed

Tangy Lime Dressing

Did you see the word "tangy" in the name of this recipe? I like "tangy", you might not like as much "tangy" as I do. You can cut back on the lime juice or increase the cream. Do not add salt until you have added all ingredients and had a taste. There is lots of salt going on in here without additional in my opinion.

Tangy Lime Dressing
about 1 cup
print recipe

1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried fines herbes (in the spice section at the grocery)
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro, or more
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/3 cup best quality mayonnaise
3 tablesspoon (or more) of heavy cream
1 tablespoon finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Salt and pfreshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the garlic, fines herbes, parsley, and cilantro into a miniature food processor and blend until bulverized, less than a minute. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the buttermilk with the lime juice and mayonnaise until well combined and smooth. Whisk in the garlic-spice mixture, the cream, and the cheese, blending until smooth. Taste carefully and add more cream if the dressing seems too tangy. Add salt carefully, as the mayo and cheese are already salty. Grind in some pepper and taste again. Use immediately.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stuffed Grape Leaves with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

I was visiting around my favorite blogs last week and stopped by October Farm. What a beautiful blog she has, and she was making Stuffed Grape Leaves (dolmas). I love these and love making them. She will show you how to put them together, which I never bother to do. Her recipe uses lamb and mine, below, are meatless. How nice to have a choice. The Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce would be great with either one.

Stuffed Grape Leaves with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
30 dolmas
print recipe

40 medium sized fresh grape leaves (bottled may be substituted)
1 cup chopped onion
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup uncooked long-grain rice
3/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons currants
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint leaves (optional)
1/4 cup white wine or water
lemon wedges or yogurt for garnish - or Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

If fresh leaves are used, drop them, a few at a time, into a simmering pot of water and blanch for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Place at once into a bowl of ice water to prevent further cooking, then remove and drain on paper towels. If preserved leaves are used, rinse carefully in cool water. Stems should be snipped off either the fresh or preserved leaves.

In a saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil. Cook onion until limp, then add rice and cook just until the grains are glossy (about 2 minutes). Add water and cover. Cook over low flame for about 15 minutes. The rice should be tender, but not mushy.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small pan. Brown the pine nuts just until barely golden. Add to rice with currants and mint (if used). Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Line the bottom of a heavy 2 to 3-quart casserole with 10 leaves. Arrange the remaining leaves, dull size up, on a flat working surface (a bread board works great). Make sure any stems are snipped off.

Place one tablespoon of the filling in the center of each leaf. Fold the stem end of the leaf over the stuffing. Fold the left side of the leaf toward the center. Repeat with the right side. Now, start rolling the leaf into a little sausage-like shape. Do not roll too tightly, as the filling will expand slightly.

Stack, with seams down, snugly in the casserole. Sprinkle with the remaining olive oil and wine. Cover and simmer over a very low flame for 45 minutes. Uncover, cool to room temperature, and carefully remove from the casserole. Arrange in a attractive design on a platter. Garnish with lemon wedges. Yogurt may be drizzle on top or served in a pretty bowl on the size. I normally serve them with the Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce as a appetizer. This will make 30 dolmas.

Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce
about 2 cups

1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup peeled diced cucumber
3/4 teaspoon dried dill weed

Tapas Plate With Marinated Chickpeas

Tapas is the name of a wide variety of appetizers or snacks in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold, such as mixed olives and cheese or warm, such as chopitos, which are battered fried baby squid. There are tapas restaurants all over the world now. To me it just means little bits of a lot of different finger foods until you have had a meal. "Eat when you drink, and drink when you eat", is the philosophy.

When the temperature hits the "it's too hot to cook" mark on your thermometer this is the perfect weeknight meal. With the addition of a Caponata it becomes a party.

Did I forget to mention, hands on time, total time, 15 minutes, and no cooking. Lets see Rachael beat that!

Look at this and not one speck of butter or bacon grease.

Tapas Plate With Marinated Chickpeas
serves 4
print recipe

1-15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 raisins
1/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 scallions, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 pound Manchego cheese, sliced
1/4 pound thinly sliced Serrano ham or prosciutto
1/2 cup mixed olives
1/2 small loaf country bread

In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas, raisins, roasted peppers, parsley, scallions, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Serve with the cheese, ham, olives, and bread.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Peanut Butter Pie

Do I love peanut butter, let me count the ways. I even make peanut butter milkshakes. This pie filling is as rich as they come, and it even has peanuts in the graham cracker crust. This is not your ordinary peanut butter pie. Give me a fork!

Peanut Butter Pie
8 servings
print recipe

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely ground
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups evaporated milk
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup peanut butter morsels
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chopped dry-roast peanuts

To Throw the Stone -Saints and Scriptures Sunday

This quote was in our bulletin last Sunday, and I love it and thought I would share with you.

"We have so much to say about the Bible that we are not prepared to hear what the Bible has to say about us." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

The following is one of my favorite scriptures. How quickly we are to judge others when our own home might need a good dusting.

John 8:1-11

Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them.

The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, "Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?" They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him badgering him. He straightened up and said, "The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone." Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.

Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. "Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?" "No one Master."

"Neither do I," said Jesus. "Go on your way. From now on, don't sin."

For more Saints and Scriptures - Sunday please visit The Kennedy Adventures.

Have a blessed week.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Meatball Marinara Sliders

These don't have to be for a party, they can be just for family. They are great with a bowl of soup, chips,, fries or any side dish you like.

Any of the slider recipes on the post today will be much enhanced with the addition of one or both of my favorite potato salads. I make awful potato salad so I had to go to an outside source. Both are wonderful.

You know I'm not much on pre-made food, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do when your "to do" list is longer than the hours in the day. Quick, easy and delish. The kids will love you.

Meatball Marinara Sliders
12 servings
print recipe

12 seasoned ground beef meatballs, homemade or frozen, thawed
1/2 cup marinara pasta or pizza sauce
12 bakery dinner rolls, sliced for buns
12 slices fresh mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat large saute' pan on medium-high 2-3 minutes. Flatten meatballs to 1/2-inch thick patties (wash your hands please). Place patties in pan; cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until done.

2. Cover marinara sauce; microwave on HIGH 45-60 seconds or until hot.

3. Place in bun; 1 tablespoon marinara sauce, 1 meat patty, 1 cheese slice, and 1 more tablespoon marinara sauce. Serve hot.

Black'nd Blue Buffalo Chicken Sliders

These are wonderful and can be ready in less than 30 minutes. I hate to have favorites, but this could be it in the slider section.

Black'nd Blue Buffalo Chicken Sliders
Makes 12
print recipe

6 Deli fried chicken tenders
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
1 cup blue cheese salad dressing
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons, blackening seasoning
12 Bakery inner rolls, sliced for buns

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut each chicken tender in half; bake 10-12 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

2. Toss hot chicken with wing sauce. Combine salad dressing, mayonnaise, and seasoing

3.Place in bun; chicken and blue cheese sauce. Serve hot.

Taco Sliders

I'm posting 3 slider recipes today that work well together or individually. Sliders are mini-burgers, or mini-sandwiches, that are easy to serve and easy to eat.

Taco Sliders
makes 12
print recipe

1 sweet onion
1 (1.25-ounce packet taco seasoning mix
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 avocado
1 tomato
12 Bakery dinner rolls, sliced for bun
1/4 cup mild salsa and cheese sauce

1. Grate one-half of the onion into medium bowl. Add the taco seasoning and ground chuck; mix to blend. Shape into twelve patties (about 1/2-inch thick); don't forget to wash your hands.

2. Preheat large saute' pan on medium-high 2-3 minutes. Add patties' cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. Slice avocado and tomato thinly.

3. Place in bun; beef patty, tomato, avocado, and 1 teaspoon cheese sauce. Serve hot.

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Gratitude List - Feel Good Friday

As I've told you before, I normally start a few lines of my "Feel Good Friday" on Monday so I don't forget anything. I think it's only fair to tell you that right now I would rather whine. The weather sucks, rainy, 58 degrees and for heavens sake it's the middle of May. Nothing can put me in a good or bad mood faster than the weather. I want to be outside, without a winter coat. I think I might have some control issues!

In the past I would make myself make a gratitude list to feel better, so here goes.

1. I'm very grateful for my faith - God could we have warmer weather and no rain.

2. I'm grateful for my family. Who will I piss off this week?

3. Very grateful for my health. Eight year cancer survivor I should be grateful. I can still briskly walk 3 miles a day and still breathe. Okay so it takes a little bit longer.

4. I'm grateful that I'm old enough that I can say whatever I want and no one pays attention or cares.

5. I'm grateful I don't have to be "in charge" of anything, except me and my animals. I try to be in charge of other peoples lives but they don't want my help. Smart people.

6. I'm so grateful for my older friends and neighbors that teach me kindness and patience for others, and up to date on all the gossip, and younger friends that keep me "in the now", and especially friends I've had for years, all three of them.

7. I'm grateful that at least half of the time I can go from one room to the next and remember why I went. If not I go back and come back later.

8. I'm grateful to finally learn I don't have to put on makeup to run to the grocery. Small children do not start screaming. You were not raised by my mother!

9. I'm grateful for my sweet little Annie and Mazzy (Yorkies) they make me laugh with all their mischievous antics. What do you expect they have no discipline.

10. Last put certainly not least, I'm so very grateful for my blogging friends, not only for their wonderful blogs, but for taking the time to visit mine and read all my nonsense. At least the recipes are good.

See, I told you it would work. We have 74 degree weather and big, bad thunderstorm warnings for the day. Who cares, next week high 80's and no rain, all damn week. That's enough for me to have a "Feel Good Friday".

Have a wonderful week end! Stop by anytime, just call first. I hate drop in vistors.

Shrimp, Artichoke and Wild Rice Salad

I have been making this for years and change the meat to what I have at the time. In the beginning I didn't use meat at all, just the rice and artichoke. Then in order to make it a main dish salad I started adding different meats, chunks of chicken, crab meat,turkey and shrimp. They are all wonderful but shrimp is my favorite.

Shrimp, Artichoke and Wild Rice Salad
4-6 large servings
print recipe

1 - 16-ounce box long grain wild rice (Uncle Ben's)
1 pound medium to large shrimp
12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts
1/4 cup olives, black or green, drained
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon curry powder
liquid from the artichoke jar
Salt and pepper to taste (House Seasoning is better)

Cook the rice according to package directions and allow to cool. Roast shrimp in 425 degree F. oven for about 5-7 minutes until they turn pink. Cool until you can touch to peel and devein.

Combine the artichokes, olives, green pepper, onion, celery and rice and gently mix. Add the mayonnaise, curry and artichoke liquid and mix with a large spoon. Add the shrimp, which may be cut into pieces, depending on the size. Mix well, cover and chill until ready to serve.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fancy Hot Dogs

I love searching through other food blogs to see what's going on with everyone else. I certainly have been known to steal a recipe or two. Hopefully I have always given credit where credit is due. Simply Recipes had this on last week and I had to grab it and share with those that might miss it.

This was not so much my growing up days, as my broke days after leaving home. Plus what a great dish for kids. I still love this, but like so many recipes had forgotten about it. Thanks Elsie for a great reminder.

Of course I'm going to recommend Kosher hot dogs now, but I'm sure I used whatever was on sale before. To be honest I've even made this with chunks of bologna.

Serve this with a Wilted Lettuce Salad and now you have a gourmet country supper . What am I thinking! You have to have a few Hoe Cakes with this fine meal.

Fancy Hot Dogs
4 servings
print recipe

1 tablespoon butter (more if needed)
6 standard sized hot dogs (I use Hebrew National)
sliced into 1/4-1/2-inch thick slices
1 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup chicken broth or water
freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh parsley for garnish
salt to taste

Melt butter in a large skillet, over medum high heat. Add the chopped onion and sliced hot dogs. Cook stirring occasionally, until the onions and the hot dogs are nicely browned, 5-10 minutes.

Add sour cream and broth, stir until creamy. Heat until steamy.

Serve with cooked egg noodles, elbow macaroni, or your favorite pasta. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Your kids will think you are the best mom in the world, at least for an hour or so.

Cook's Note: Since my friend David Biddle has beautiful green onion now I used them in place of regular onions. Don't forget to include some of the green tops. This adds color and a fresh spring flavor.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Heavenly Seafood Croissants

Have you ever been flipping through a magazine and see something that gives you an idea for a recipe? In this case it was several magazines and no sandwich involved. The herbs in the Crumb Crust are what I like and had on hand. You really can not mess this up. You could open a can of Campbell's Soup and serve these and look like Julia Child.

Heavenly Seafood Croissants
8 servings
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4 croissants, split lengthwise
1 cup really good mayonnaise
1 1/2-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup crabmeat, flaked, look it over twice for shells
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
4 green onion, chopped

Crumb Crust
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the croissant halves on a Silpat sheet on a large rimmed cookie sheet. Mix the next six ingredients in a bowl, and spread this mixture on top of the croissant halves.

Melt the butter in a small frying pan and cook the garlic in it over low heat until translucent. Mix the rest of the ingredients for the crumb crust, then mix in the garlic and melted butter. Top each croissant with the crumb mixture.

Bake the croissants for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Vidalia Onion Casserole

Can there be anything more delicious than that first big ole Vidalia onion of the season. I can't get home fast enough to cook it. When they are in season, May until I can't find them anymore, I will have them in some fashion 5 times a week. So look forward to lots more recipes for this wonderful vegetable.

Vidalia Onion Casserole
4 servings
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2 large Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
Ritz crackers, crushed
1/2 cup butter
Parmesan cheese, grated, please don't use that green can

Saute' onions in butter until tender, not brown, just a few minutes. Into a baking dish, place single layer of onions and Parmesan cheese. Then sprinkle with crushed crackers to cover. Repeat layers until all onions are used, ending with crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Fresh Asparagus Quiche

When asparagus is in season, as it it now, I'm going to use it any way I can. It is not true that "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche". If your guy thinks he doesn't eat quiche and has to have meat, throw a big handful of baked chopped ham, chicken or shrimp in. I also wouldn't mention "quiche". We would now call it "pie". This served with Hal's Salad or a pasta salad and you are a "star".

Fresh Asparagus Quiche
4-5 servings
print recipe

1 pound fresh asparagus
4-5 large mushrooms
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated cheese, your favorite, cheddar, Parmesan, Romano,four cheese blend
2 cups of half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
Pastry for 9-inch pie crust

Wash asparagus and break off tough ends, (freeze them for soup). Slice asparagus into pieces about 1-inch long. Wash and slice mushrooms.

Place onion and mushrooms in a large skillet with butter and saute' a couple of minutes.

Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl, add cheese, half-and-half and seasonings: mix well. Add asparagus, mushrooms, meat (if using) and stir. Pour mixture into the pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Country Sausage Gravy

If I had to choose my favorite breakfast it would have to be Sausage Gravy and Biscuits. I have also been known to have this for dinner. You can serve this on toast, Sour Cream Corn Pones, grits,and of course biscuits, even using frozen biscuits.

I'm very fussy about two things in my sausage gravy,the sausage, I only use Jimmy Dean Mild or Hot, and the flour, Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour with 10 herbs and spices. You do whatever you like. I'd do a throwdown any day with Bob Evans with this Sausage Gravy

My Country Sausage Gravy
4-6 servings
print recipe

1 pound Jimmy Dean's Sausage, mild or hot
1/4 cup Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups milk, you might need a little more if it's to thick for you
Black pepper to taste
8 prepared biscuits

Crumble and cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned. If using Jimmy Dean Sausage there will be hardly any grease that is why I add the butter. Add butter and melt. Stir in flour until dissolved and just lightly browned, 2 or 3 minutes. Gradually stir in milk. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly, adding more milk if to thick for you. Check for salt and add black pepper. Serve hot over biscuits.

Leftover gravy may be refrigerated and slowly reheated when needed.

I can not tell you how wonderful this is.

Sour Cream Corn Pones

Now you don't get more Southern than corn pones. I have been digging around in the old recipes again and found this. I love corn pone, maybe even better than cornbread. These are great with ham, or any pork dish, fried chicken, any kind of soup, or one of my favorite breakfast items, Sausage Gravy. Sausage Gravy on Corn Pones with fluffy scrambled eggs and sliced tomatoes. My, My!

Sour Cream Corn Pones
about 10 small pones
print recipe

1 cup white cornmeal, unsifted (preferably water-ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoons melted butter

Mix cornmeal and salt in a bowl; stir in boiling water. The mixture will resemble dry crumbs. Cover and refrigerate an hour, or until you're ready to bake pones. Overnight is fine.

About 45 minutes before serving, remove bowl from refrigerator. Stir soda into sour cream; mix with crumbs, then add melted butter. Mixture should be paste-like. Heat oven to 425 degrees F; on surface unit of stove heat heavy skillet containing 1 tablespoon butter. Form heaping tablespoons of batter into small cakes; pat them 1/2 inch thick; place in hot skillet and put in oven. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. If top of cakes are pale, turn and bake another 5 minutes. Serve piping hot with butter - and honey if you like.

Variation: Sweet cream and 1 teaspoon baking powder may be substituted for sour cream and soda.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ascension Day - Saints and Scriptures Sunday

This past week we celebrated Ascension Day. The story of Jesus doesn't end with Jesus. It continues in the lives of those who believe in him. The supernatural does not not stop with Jesus. Luke makes it clear that these Christians he wrote about were no more spectators of Jesus than Jesus was a spectator of God - they are in on the action of God, God acting in them, God living in them. Which also means, of course, in us.

Acts 1:6-11
When they were together for the last time they asked, "Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?"

He told them, "You don't get to know the time. Timing is the Father's business. What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world."

These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared - in white robes! They said, "You Galileans! - why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly - and mysteriously - as he left."

For more Saints and Scriptures Sunday please visit The Kennedy Adventures.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Betty's Chicken Salad

I know there are a zillion chicken salad recipes, but this one is special because it was given to me by a special friend, Betty Sipes, I have known Betty all my life really. She really is one funny lady. Like most childhood friends you drift apart, but in our case we both moved to Florida and lived less than a hundred miles from each other for twenty plus years and didn't know it. We both moved back to our childhood homes and found each other again. How wonderful is that!

Thanks to Betty you are about to make one of the best chicken salads you will ever have. Don't forget to read the Cook's Note.

Betty's Chicken Salad
6-8 servings
print recipe

5 cups cooked chunk chicken
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon salad oil
2 tablespoons vinegar

Mix the above and let stand at least one hour or overnight in refrigerator.

1 1/2 cups green seedless grapes
1 (13 1/2ounce) can pineappple chucks, drained
1 cup almonds, slivered, pecans and walnuts are also excellent
1 1/2 cups celery diced
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

Mix and serve on lettuce leaf or use for sandwiches.

Cook's Note: For lunch or light dinner add 3 cups cooked rice (not instant).

Thank you Betty. We need more recipes from you.

Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

Nothing says Spring to me more than Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake. Not the kind made with angel food cake or pound cake, or worse, the recipe on the back of the Bisquick box. Don't get me wrong I love Bisquick for other things, as well as angel food cake and pound cake, but not for Strawberry Shortcake. The grocery stores are full of beautiful fresh strawberries that were grown in the USA.

This is the same sweet biscuit dough that my Grandmother used for blackberry and peach cobbler and shortcakes. Actually hers were even better because she made her own butter and the milk and cream were fresh from the cow.

You could serve bologna sandwiches for dinner and this Strawberry Shortcake for dessert and no one would even remember what they had for dinner.

Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake
8 servings
print recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1 stick butter, chilled
2/3 to 3/4 cup of half and half, milk, or cream (no low-fat or reduced fat stuff)

1 quart strawberries
1/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Rinse the berries under cold water; drain well. Hull and slice the berries; place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar; cover and let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour. Whip the cream (sweeten with 2 or 3 tablespoons of sugar, if desired) until it holds a soft peak. If you keep beating you'll have your own homemade butter. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Set rack at center level.

In a food processor (you can use a pastry cutter or fingertips) combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and pulse to mix. Cut the butter into about 8 pieces and add to the mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, but with a few pea-size chunks of butter left in the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and make a well in the center. With a fork stir in the cream or milk, just until dough is moist. Be very careful not to overwork. The dough doesn't have to hold together well at this point. Let the dough stand for a minute. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Fold the dough over on itself (knead) 2 or 3 times, until it is holding together and is less sticky.

Gently pat the dough into a 6 x 12 rectangle about 3/4-inch thick and cut into 8 (3-inch) biscuits with a floured round cutter. Transfer to a buttered foil-lined cookie sheet. Brush on a little milk or cream and sprinkle tops with some sugar. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until risen and golden and brown. Remove to a platter and split each biscuit horizontally with a serrated knife. Butter the hot biscuits then top with about 1/3 cup of berry mixture. Replace the tops and top with about 1 tablespoon or so of berries. Serve with whipped cream topping.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Pancetta Risotto

I love risotto of any kind, which is strange because I like rice but am not in love with it as a rule. I think it's the creamy texture of the Arborio rice that makes me such a fan, plus you can add almost anything to the dish. I'm using pancetta today, but feel free to use regular bacon, chopped ham, shrimp, whatever you like. Change the vegetables or simply leave them out. It is your risotto.

Pancetta Risotto
4 servings
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1/2 pound pancetta, or bacon
5 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion or 1 cup shallots
4 cloves garlic,minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2 more tablespoons butter
1/4-1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste (being careful with the salt)
Roma tomatoes, chopped (optional)
Frozen peas (optional)

Cook and stir the diced pancetta/bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned, about 7-10 minutes. Drain and reserve bacon.

Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan over high heat, reduce heat to low to keep stock hot.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion begins to turn golden brown at the edges, about 2 minutes. Pour in the rice and stir until the rice is coated in butter and has started to toast, 2 or 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; stir in one-third of the hot chicken stock and continue stirring until the rice has absorbed the liquid and turned creamy. Repeat the process twice more, stirring constantly. Stirring in the broth should take 15 to 20 minutes in all. When finished, the rice should be tender, yet slight firm.

Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the Parmesan cheese, pancetta, chopped tomatoes and peas, if using. Taste before adding additional salt; add pepper to taste.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Shrimp/Crab Bisque

Sandra Lee calls it Semi-Homemade. I call it Cheatin" Cookin'. This is as good, if not better than some I've had at very expensive restaurants.

The most important thing in making this bisque is, get rid of the soup cans. Don't put them in your garbage someone might see them. Put them in your neighbors garbage. No one is going to compliment you on a bisque when they see the Campbell soup cans in your garbage.

Note: You can make this bisque with shrimp or crab or a combination of both.

Shrimp/Crab Bisque
approx. 6 servings
print recipe

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed tomato soup (Campbell's is fine)
1 (11 1/4-ounce) can condensed green pea soup (Campbell's is fine)
3 cups whole milk (I like half-and-half for a richer bisque)
2 pounds of small pre-cooked shrimp, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sherry (optional) not for me it's not

Mix the tomato soup and the green pea soup together. (It has to be green pea - don't use split pea.) The green pea is lumpy, so use a blender if you have one. Add the milk or light cream.

Heat the soups and the milk in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally, while you thaw and chop the shrimp. When the mixture is warm, add the chopped shrimp and stir it in.

When the soup is heated thoroughly, add the sherry and serve. If children are involved, just add a good shot of sherry to the adults bowls after you dish it up. The sherry really does keep this from tasting like canned soup.

Wilted Lettuce Salad

I think it is safe to say that you have to be very Southern or maybe even Southern Country to have enjoyed this vegetable salad dish. This is the first salad I can remember having as a kid. Actually it is one of my first food memories, well, maybe oatmeal. The recipe will serve 4, but to be honest it is the perfect size for me.

I stopped by my favorite produce stand last week to see how the garden was coming along. Took Pat and David a few "Hot Mess" Brownies so they will remember to call me the second anything is ready to sell. David's garden should be written up in Gardening Digest or something, beyond perfect. Weeds wouldn't have the nerve to grow in his garden. Anyway, they gave me a big bag of leaf lettuce and a dozen green onions. I'm not kidding I almost ran over 3 cows and a coon to get home to make this salad.

Wilted Lettuce Salad
serves 4, don't count on it
print recipe

6 slices bacon
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 pound leaf lettuce
4-5 green onions course chopped
1 hard boiled egg, grated (optional)

Warm a large bowl by filling it with very hot water. Fry bacon, remove from pan, and set aside to crispen. Pour water from bowl and dry it. Put cut lettuce into the bowl. Add vinegar, salt, sugar, pepper to hot bacon grease and pour over lettuce immediately. Cover bowl and let lettuce wilt for 5 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with crumbled bacon, green onion, and grated egg, if using. Serve at once.

COOK'S NOTE: Some folks like to add the green onion in with the lettuce. Either way is fine.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gala Smothered Chicken

Normally when you hear "smothered", it means something is hiding under a mess of gravy. Not so in this case. The chicken is just peepin' out from under a few sauteed vegetables and a little ooey-gooey shredded cheese. The best part is it can be made in about 30 minutes. This truly is a keeper. The little bit of jalapeno gives it just a little kick.

I served this the other night with Roasted Asparagus with Lemon and Tomato-Red Rice, or just cook a box of Uncle Ben's Original Long Grain and Wild Rice.

I'm giving instructions for cooking the chicken in a heavy skillet, however the chicken and asparagus may be cooked on the grill, as I did. If I fire up the grill everything I can will be cooked on it. Easy clean-up.

This is such a pretty dish you really don't need garnish, however a little chopped cilantro is a nice addition.

Gala Smothered Chicken
2 servings
print recipe

3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (508 ounces each)
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms, more if you like
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped seeded (or not) jalapeno pepper
3 tablespoons butter, divided (If grilling chicken about 1/2 this amount.)
1/4 cup shredded pepper Jack Cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder; add the chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat; set aside for at least 1 hour. I have let them set overnight in the refrigerator.

In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, saute' the mushrooms, onion and jalapeno in 2 teaspoons of the butter until tender. Remove and keep warm.

Drain and discard marinade. In the same skillet, cook chicken in remaining butter over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Spoon vegetable mixture over each chicken breast; sprinkle with cheese. Cover and cook for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

It's a Celebration With Elegant Pound Cake

Today is a special day for Beverly's Back Porch. On January 7, 2010 I introduced my blog and posted my first recipe. I didn't do anything, my wonderful niece Angie did all the set up work, and my brother, Larry, came up with the name for the blog. With the posting of this recipe I will have 300 assorted items posted, recipes, opinions, a little spiritual and various other stuff.

It is a celebration so you have to have cake.

Have you ever had really honest to goodness Old Fashioned Pound Cake? No, not Sara Lee! The original version of pound cake was basically a pound of eggs, pound of sugar, pound of butter, pound of flour and a little cream and vanilla. Hence the name pound cake. This recipe is as close as we are going to get. This is the way my mother and grandmother made pound cake. Living on a farm there was never a shortage of eggs, milk, cream and butter.

I have used this for the base of fruit short cakes, or lightly buttered and toasted with jam or jelly for breakfast. My favorite is a big chunk with a cup of coffee for that mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Kids love this with peanut butter.

If you are lucky enough to have a few slices left over, it freezes beautifully. Like most cakes, this is better made a day or two ahead.

Elegant Pound Cake
15-18 servings
print recipe

8 eggs, separated
2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 pound butter (no substitute)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, measured after sifting
1/2 cup light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Separate eggs. Measure sugar and set aside. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add 6 tablespoons of the sugar while continuing to beat until stiff. Refrigerate until needed.

Cream butter in large mixer bowl until light; gradually beat in remaining sugar. Add well beaten egg yolks. Sift the flour three times and add alternately with cream and vanilla, beginning and ending with flour. Beat until mixture is very light (about 10 minutes at low speed of mixer).

Now add egg whites, in this manner: Spoon out a heaping tablespoon of the whites and stir vigorously into the batter. Make no attempt to fold it in, it is to be stirred in thoroughly. (this loosens and lightens the texture of the batter and prepares it to receive the remaining whites.) Now fold in egg whites thoroughly. Pour into lightly greased 10-inch tube pan at least 4 inches deep. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 1 3/4 hours. Invert onto wire rack and allow to cool. Loosen around edges with spatula and remove to serving plate. Requires no icing. Remember this freezes well.

COOK'S NOTE: This is nice to have on hand in the freezer to serve with fresh strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream.

Thank y'all for visiting. Come back often and thanks for the support of 300 postings, of mostly total nonsense.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Party Pork Chops - Roasted or Grilled

Remember when pork chops were considered a fatty meat? Now it's the "other white meat". In making them healthier they also made them have less flavor, as usually happens. So lets put some flavor back in with a brine and a marinade, and still keep them healthy, but with lots of flavor.

Party Pork Chops - Roasted or Grilled
4 servings
print recipe

4 1-inch pork chops

5 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
2 garlic clove, pressed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoons olive oil

Rinse the pork chops with water and pat them dry with paper towels.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brine until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Place the pork chops in the brine, cover, and brine overnight in the refrigerator.

Drain the brine. Rinse chops in cold eater and let stand in cold water 10 minutes. Pat dry.

Whisk together the marinade ingredients. Place pork chops in the marinade and allow them to marinate for 1 hour. (While the pork chops are marinating, you can make the apples; recipe follows.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On the stove, heat a large saute' pan over medium high heat, then pour in 2 tablespoons oil and let it heat until it shimmers. Sear the chops for about 2 minutes on each side (until well caramelized), then flip and do the other side 2 minutes. You can either remove them from the pan and place them in a roasting pan, or, if your skillet can be place in the oven, roast them directly in the pan.

If cooking on the grill place chops on a medium-high heat grill for 7 minutes, with grill cover on, on each side. All grills are not the same.

Roast or grill the chops until a thermometer indicates their interior temperature is 145 degrees F. White the chops are roasting, reheat the apples. Serve immediately.

Party Apples

I just have to have apples with pork. It really doesn't matter if it's chops or roast, I just need apples. If you have those nice healthy Park Pork Chops, you have to have something a little bit bad, like butter and brown sugar.

Party Apples
4-6 servings
print recipe

6 Granny Smith apples
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cognac

Core, peel, and slice the apples. In a large frying pan or Dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter and add the apple slices. Over medium-low heat, cook and stir the apples until they begin to soften, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove them to a bowl. Melt the remaining butter in the pan and add the brown sugar. Over medium-low heat, stir until the sugar dissolves.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the cognac to the butter mixture, stir it in, and heat this mixture over medium heat until it begins to boil. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Return the apples to the pan, place the pan over medium heat, and stir occasionally until the apples are hot. Either serve immediately or cool and briefly reheat at serving time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cornbread and Turkey Salad

Lets lighten this food up a little, I'm tired of writing about cakes, cookies, burgoos and hot browns. Let's try a few salads and grilling to get us in the mood for summer.

There are lots of Cornbread Salad recipes around. I happen to like this one because of the salad dressing and the turkey. A complete dinner in a pretty bowl, plus can be made ahead. How wonderful is that.

Use a pretty glass or acrylic bowl or other see-through container to show off the colorful layers. A trifle bowl is an excellent option.

Cornbread and Turkey Salad
6 servings
print recipe

1 (6-ounce package buttermilk cornbread mix) or make your own
1 (12-ounce) bottle Parmesan-peppercorn dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 (9-ounce) package romaine lettuce, shredded
2 1/2 cups chopped smoked turkey (about 3/4 pound)
2 large yellow bell peppers, chopped
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup diced celery (about 3 ribs)
2 cups (8-ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
10 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
2 green onions, sliced

Prepare cornbread according to package directions; cool and cube or crumble. Set aside.

Stir together dressing, mayonnaise, and buttermilk until blended.

Layer half each of the cornbread, shredded lettuce, and next 7 ingredients in a large glass bowl; spoon half of the dressing mixture evenly over top. Repeat layers ending with dressing mixture.

Cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Sprinkle with green onions just before serving.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Few Reasons I Owe My Mother

I will be linking this to "Feel Good Friday" this week, because it makes me smile everytime I read these. I can just hear my mom saying these things. I grew up when it was still okay to spank your children. I can never remember any of us getting a spanking. Heavens knows I sure deserved more than one. I did get grounded once for smoking, but dad talked mom out of it after a week because he was tired of hearing me whine about not being able to do anything.

This was sent to me by a funny, sweet friend. As I read, I thought how true, hope you can see your Mom in a few of these, or worse, yourself. Thanks Sue!

1. My mother taught me to APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
"You better pray that this will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me about LOGIC.
"Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident.

7. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

8. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
"This room of yours looks like a tornado went through it."

9. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
"Stop acting like your father."

10. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."

11. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way."

12.My mother taught me about ROOTS.
"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were raised in a barn."

13. My Mother taught me WISDOM.
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

14. My mother taught me ESP.
"Put your coat on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

15. And my favorite: My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you."

Don't tell me you don't recognize all or a few of these.

Happy Mother's Day

Ruth - Saints and Scriptures Sunday

It could be that Ruth felt the same way a lot of mothers do on some days - what I do doesn't matter-I'll never make a difference in the world. Just not true.

This was taken from the introduction to Ruth in the The Message .

The outsider Ruth was not born into the faith and felt no natural part of it-like many of us. But she came to find herself gathered into the story and given a quiet and obscure part that proved critical to the way everything turned out.

Scripture is a vast tapestry of God's creating, saving, and blessing ways of the world. The great names in the plot that climaxes at Sinai (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses) and the great names in the sequel (Joshua, Samuel, David, Solomon) can be intimidating to the ordinary, random individuals: "Surely there is no way that I can have any significant part on such a stage." But the story of the widowed, impoverished, alien Ruth is proof to the contrary. She is the inconsequential outsider whose life turns out to be essential for telling the complete story of God's ways among us. The unassuming ending carries the punch line: "Boaz married Ruth, she had a son Obed, Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David."

David! In its artful telling of this "outsider" widow, uprooted and obscure, who turns out to be the great-grandmother of David and the ancestor of Jesus, the book of Ruth makes it possible for each of us to understand ourselves, however ordinary or "out of it", as irreplaceable in the full telling of God's story. We count-every last one of us-and what we do counts.

For more Saints and Scriptures Sunday, visit The Kennedy Adventures.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Shrimp and Spinach Over Pasta

Nothing needs to be said about this, except hurry up and make it and eat. No Mom on earth would fuss about having this served to her.

Shrimp and Spinach over Pasta
4 servings
print recipe

8 or 9-ounces farfalle (bow tie) pasta
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
4 green onions, white part only, sliced
5 large mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream, warmed
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup chopped fresh spinach

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm. Melt the butter in a large skillet and saute' the onions and mushrooms over medium-high heat. Add the cheese and stir well. Cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes.

Add the half-and-half and continue stirring until blended. Add the wine and reduce heat. Add the shrimp and cook over low heat until pink, about 5 minutes, stirring. Add the spinach and cook just until it wilts.

Serve the shrimp and spinach over the pasta.

Mother's Day Breakfast/Brunch Ideas

The National Restaurant Association would love to be reading this. After being in the restaurant business for many years, I am speaking from experience. DO NOT eat out on Mother's Day. It is the busiest day in the year in the restaurant business. How much fun does this sound like, screaming children, long lines, even with reservations,grumpy waiters and medium warm food, when you get it. You could always choose a buffet. How many dirty hands have used that serving spoon before you!

If you are a Mom, ask to be taken out before or after Mother's Day. On your special day have the family make you a nice brunch. I have listed some suggestions below, or if you have a favorite tell them. I realize you still have dinner to think about, burgers or chicken on the grill can easily be handled by hubby and the kids. If that's too much for them to handle in one day, order a pizza.

Honey, this is your day. When your Mimosa gets low ask for another one. Do not move. Your only job today is to give orders as to what you want.

"Happy Mother's Day"

Brunch Suggestions, if you find one you like print the recipe and hand it to the "King of the Castle".

Frittata - Italian Vegetable-of-Your-Choice
Stratas For Fun Easy Brunch
Baked Lobster/Shrimp Omelet
Southwestern Brunch Sandwich
Easy Eggs Benedict
Baked Blueberry French Toast
Cinnabon - French Toast

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Hot Mess" Brownies

I This is a "cheatin'" recipe, you know when everything is not homemade.

Hot Mess Brownies
40 small or 20 large brownies
print recipe

1 (2-pound) frozen pecan pie, thawed (please stop laughing)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Vegetable cook spray
Smuckers Hot Fudge Sundae Topping ( not optional)
Ice Cream (optional)
1 teaspoon bourbon per brownie (not for children)

1. Cut pie into cubes

2. Microwave butter and chocolate chunks in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 minute. Stir and microwave 1 more minute. Stir until mixture is smooth.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs, milk, and half of the pie cubes at low speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until blended. Add flour and baking powder, stirring with a wooden spoon until blended. Stir in remaining half of the pie cubes into batter. (batter will be thick.) Spoon batter into a 13 x 9-inch pan coated with cooking spray.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 50 minutes. Cool brownies completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares.

5. Serve with heated Smuckers Hot Fudge Sauce Topping. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is optional, but it sure doesn't hurt. A teaspoon of bourbon per brownie before adding the hot fudge is a delighful addition.

A few additional chopped and toasted pecans for garnish is a welcome thing. This could go on forever. Add whatever you like.

I took a few of these to Betty on Tuesday, to help her regain her strength. Chocolate is the next best thing after Chicken Soup to make you feel good you know. One of my Advisory Board members happened to be visiting at the same time. I will introduce you to all the members as we go on, but Mason has been such a help with a lot of recipes from soups to cookies, I do value his opinion.

Mason's comment: "good, good, more". Mason is 2 and Betty's great-grandson.

Have a wonderful week and a fabulous Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wacky Cake

I wonder if this cake was named after me? I try to participate in Ca-Joh-Fridays Feast each week. Every month he has different topics for us to share recipes on and since we have Mother's Day in May he has ask that we share some of our Mother's recipes.

Now my Mom was a great cook, however like most Mom's in her era there were not many "written down recipes". It was mostly a handful of this, a pinch of that, etc. I do remember this cake that we all loved and it was so easy she let us make it, and of course we loved the name, Wacky Cake.

This cake does not call for a frosting, but feel free to frost away.

Wacky Cake
6-8 servings
print recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons melted shortening (not not use oil)
1 cup water

Sift together three times, very important, the first 5 ingredients, place in an 8 x8-inch baking dish or pan. Then make three holes in the flour mixture. In one put the teaspoon vinegar, in second put 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and in third put 5 tablespoons melted shortening. Over all of this pour 1 cup water. Mix well.

Bake at 350 degrees F.for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on rack. Serve plain or with a dusting of powdered sugar. Frost if you like.

I find this cake is much better made a day before serving.

Let the kids make this!

Cinnabon French Toast

Of course these are fat-free, low-cal, right. What could be better than a Cinnabon? Cinnabon French Toast maybe? I just think about these things and can actually smell them.

The Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls in the whop and pop tube in the dairy case will also work just fine. Bake them far enough ahead to let them cool to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe. Better still the night before.

Cinnabon French Toast
2 servings
print recipe

2 Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
2 eggs
2/3 cup half and half
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons butter

Slice rolls in half horizontally. Place cut side up on a plate and allow to dry 20-30 minutes. Combine eggs, half and half, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon. Whisk together well. Refrigerate until ready to use. At serving time preheat oven to 400 degrees, place rolls in a shallow dish. Pour batter over halves and allow to soak for 5-10 minutes until moist. You may weigh the rolls down (cover with wax paper and place heavy skillet on top of paper). Heat a heavy skillet and melt butter, when butter is hot, place halves into the pan, gooey side down. Sear until golden brown. Turn halves over, and place the skillet in oven. Bake 8-10 minutes or until rolls are puffed and golden. Serve with real maple syrup.

Baked Blueberry French Toast

Mother's Day is coming up, this would be perfect. French Toast of any kind is a great week-end breakfast/brunch item. What could be better than french toast with fresh blueberries. Yum Yum.

Baked Blueberry French Toast
4 - 2 slice servings
8 - single slice servings
print recipe

1 loaf Italian bread
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Slice the bread on the diagonal to create 8 3/4-inch thick slices, heels removed. Arrange bread slices in a 10x15-inch baking dish

To make batter, whip together eggs, milk, baking powder, and vanilla in medium bowl. Slowly pour mixture over bread, turning over each slice to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight.

In the morning: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat another 10x15-inch baking dish with vegetable spray. Sprinkle blueberries over bottom of pan. Mix together sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch and pour evenly over berries. Tightly wedge the bread slices over the blueberries, wettest side up. Brush the bread with melted butter. Bake the french toast in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. To serve, place the toast berry side down on warmed plates. Stir the remaining berry mixture in the baking dish, then scoop over the toast. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Unless you have a large family I know this sounds like a lot. However I'm a big believer in cook once eat twice, or three or four times, or cut the recipe in half.

This can be baked as one large casserole, use a 4 quart dish, if needed or two smaller casseroles, two 8-9-inch baking dishes, or individual casseroles, 7 or 8, 8-12-ounce shallow baking dishes. For individual casseroles adjust your cooking time accordingly. If frozen, remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Bake, covered at, 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 55 more minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and almonds, and bake 5 more minutes.

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
10 to 12 servings
print recipe

2 (6.2-ounce) packages long-grain and wild rice mixture
1/4 cup butter
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
2 (8-ounce) cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
5 cups chopped cooked chicken
4 cups (16-ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
2 (10 1/4-ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
1 (8-ounce) containers sour cream
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups soft, fresh breadcrumbs
1 (2.25-ounce) package sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare rice according to package directions.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add celery and onions. Saute' 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in rice, water chestnuts, chicken, 3 cups cheese, and next 5 ingredients.

Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 4-quart baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and almonds; bake 5 more minutes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Whole Enchilada Pie

Cinco De Mayo is tomorrow, this will be perfect.Don't you just love an enchilada with all the fixings? Actually anything Mexican or Southwestern is a big hit at my house and is perfect for celebrating May 5th. This is so easy and perfect for company or a family week night meal.

The Whole Enchilada Pie
8 servings
print recipe

1 pound ground beef
1 medium-size onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/3 cup bottled picante sauce
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 cup sliced, pitted California olives
1 teaspoon salt, or not
6 cups crushed corn chips
3 cups grated cheddar cheese, half can be Pepper Jack cheese

Sour cream
Chopped fresh tomatoes
Sliced iceberg lettuce
Chopped green onions
Avocado slices
Sliced Jalapeno peppers
Cilantro, rough chopped
Pico De Gallo - Mexican Salsa

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch glass pan.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, brown the beef with the garlic and onion.

Lower the heat and add the picante, beans, enchilada sauce, olives and salt. Stir and cook until well combined and bubbly. Remove from the heat.

Place 1 cup of the chips in the bottom of the glass pan. Put half the beef mixture on top. Top with another cup of the chips and 1 1/2cups cheese (half the cheese). Put in the rest of the beef mixture, then the rest of the chips, then the rest of the cheese.

Bake the pie for 30-40 minutes, or until the center is hot and bubbly. (You can test the temperature by taking a small spoonful from the center.) Serve immediately with bowls filled with the garnishes.

Flan - Mexican Food

I suppose everyone knows what Flan is. Flan is a Mexican dessert, custard with a heavenly caramel sauce, baked in these cute little ramekins. I like this one for it's simplicity. Yes, it is almost as easy as the Jello brand one in the box.

Flan - Mexican Food
6 servings
print recipe

1 cup and 1/2 cup sugar
6 large eggs
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 13-ounce cans evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. You will need 6 ramekins or other specialty flan cook ware and a large baking pan to put them in.

Pour 1 cup sugar in warm pan over medium heat. Constantly stir sugar until it browns and becomes caramel. Quickly pour approximately 2-3 tablespoons of caramel in each ramekin, tilting it to swirl the caramel around the sides. Reheat caramel if it starts to harden.

In a mixer or with a whisk, blend the eggs together. Mix in the milks then slowly mix in the 1/2 cup of sugar, then the vanilla. Blend smooth after each ingredient is added.

Pour custard into caramel lined ramekins. Place ramekins in a large glass or ceramic baking dish and fill with about 1-2 inches of hot water. Bake for 45 minutes in the water bath and check with a knife just to the side of the center. If knife comes out clean, it's ready.

Remove and let cool. Let each ramekin cool in refrigerator for 1 hour. Invert each ramekin onto a small plate, the caramel sauce will flow over the custard.

COOK'S NOTE: Whole milk may be used instead of the evaporated milk. Fill the sweetened condensed milk can twice with whole milk instead of the evaporated milk. I like it better.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Favorite Old-Fashioned Blackberry Jam Cake

A really good Jam Cake is absolutely my favorite cake in the world, and has been since I was a kid. I normally do not frost mine, but serve it with a warm caramel sauce. I think the reason for that is until recently I couldn't make caramel frosting. Either way is wonderful. Plan ahead, because this cake is at its best after setting for a day or so.

Around the holidays I might pour a 1/4-1/2 cup of good bourbon over the warm cake while it's still in the pan. That gives it a little character.

Increase the nuts and decrease the raisin, or leave the nuts out, it's okay with me.
Let's get real, how bad could this cake be with 3 sticks of butter, 6 eggs and 2 cups of blackberry jam. Please don't try to make this with low-fat stuff and fake sugar.

My Favorite Old-Fashioned Blackberry Jam Cake
12 servings
print recipe

3 sticks butter, melted
2 cups white sugar (you can use 1 cup white, 1 cup brown, packed)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons allspice
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups blackberry jam
6 eggs
1 cup nuts, chopped (Pecans, English or black walnuts)
2 cups raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan.

If you have a stand mixer use it. Melt butter and let cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl combine buttermilk and baking soda. In seperate mixing bowl whisk flour and all the spices together, add cooled butter to buttermilk and soda; add flour mixture to incorporate; add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg; add blackberry jam, nuts and raisins that have been tossed in 1/4 cup of the flour mixture. Beat well.

Scoop batter into prepared tube pan. Smooth top with spatula. Drop pan a couple of times on the counter to remove air bubbles.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 1/2 hours, check after 1 hour. Put a pan of hot water under the cake while its baking. Check cake by using a toothpick or clean broom straw. I didn't make that up. Toothpick should come out clean. I guess so should a broom straw.

COOK'S NOTE: I make these into cupcakes and freeze them. Take out what you need, defrost and put frosting on then.

My Favorite Caramel Frosting

It's my favorite because this recipe actually makes enough to frost a large cake, it's delish, and it's one of the few Caramel Frosting I can make. I use this on My Favorite Old-Fashioned Blackberry Jam Cake.

My Favorite Caramel Frosting
3 3/4 cups
print recipe

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1. Melt butter in a 3-quart, saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in whipping cream and vanilla; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and let cool 1 hour. Transfer frosting to a bowl.

2. Sift powdered sugar into frosting. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until creamy and spreading consistency.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

God's Cake

Isn't it wonderful to have friends, they are just as important as family. My friend Janice sent me this to use for Saints and Scriptures Sunday. Wasn't that sweet and thoughtful of her. I have read this before, but like most things I forget or need a reminder.

God's Cake
many servings

Sometimes we wonder, 'What did I do to deserve this?' or Why did God have to do this to me. Here is a wonderful explantation.

A daughter is telling her Mother how everything is going wrong, she's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.

Meanwhile, her Mother is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, 'Absolutely Mom, I love your cake.'

'Here, have some cooking oil,' her Mother offers.
'Yuck' says her daughter
"How about a couple of raw eggs?' Gross Mom!
'Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?'
'Mom, those are all yucky!'

To which her Mother replies: 'Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!'

God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good!. We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!

God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers in the Spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and He chose your heart.

Life might not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

Hope your day is a piece of cake!

Remember last week we talked about The Mayonnaise Jar? This week about God's Cake. You are so right, I'm getting ready to give you a Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake recipe. Coming right up!

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

I saw this on the Today Show a few days ago and it reminded me of a mayonnaise cake that my Mom use to make. This recipe is from Bon Appetit Magazine and Mom's was from the label of the Hellmann's Mayonnaise jar.

Mayonnaise replaces the oil that's typically used in chocolate cakes. It makes this cake - which would be ideal birthday cake - incredibly moist and tender.

Let me know if you want the one on the Hellmann's jar!

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
10-12 servings
print recipe

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups boiling water
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup (packed dark brown sugar
1 1/3 cups mayonnaise- Hellmann's (do not use reduced fat-low or no fat)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

10-ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted (measured, then sifted)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Special equipment
3 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch sides

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour three 8-inch round cake pans with 1 1/2-inch high sides. Combine chocolate and cocoa powder in medium metal bowl. Add 1 3/4 cups boiling water and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. This is called blooming. Set aside to cool.

Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder into another medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and mayonnaise in large bowl until well blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with chocolate mixture in 3 additions, beating until blended after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Divide batter among prepared cake pans (about 2 1/3 cups for each pan).

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on rack 20 minutes. Run small knife around sides of cake to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks and cool completely.

Place chopped chocolate in medium metal bowl; set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water; let chocolate cool until lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add melted chocolate and beat until well blended and smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.

Place one layer on platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over top of cake layer to edges. Top with second layer; spread 3/4 cup frosting over. Top with third layer. Spread remaining frosting decoratively over top and sides of cake. Cut and serve.

Do ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and let stand at room temperature. I think it is better if you allow to stand overnight.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

136th Run For The Roses

It is party time, and the party is at Ballard Boys in Louisville, Kentucky. If you have decided at the last minute to have a Derby Party, you still have plenty of time to prepare some of the traditional favorites. Jump on over or hit the Derby Party 2010 button for all the recipes you will need for a last minute party.

No one expects you to prepare all the beautiful dishes that Angie and Michael have prepared. A pitcher of Mint Juleps, Hot Browns, Asparagus Salad and of course a pitcher of Sweet Tea will be just fine. If you don't have time to bake a Derby Pie let everyone make a Hot Fudge Sundae.

Have a wonderful party. I'll be thinking about you.

Damn, I hope my hat doesn't get wet.

Country Ham Cheese Ball

Don't save this recipe just for Derby Parties. This is fabulous at any gathering, from cocktails in the parlor to BBQ and beer in the backyard. The combo of cream cheese, country ham and walnuts is a wonderful party food

Country Ham Cheese Ball
approx 3 cups
print recipe

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 (8-ounce) package Colby cheese, crumbled or shredded
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped cooked country ham
1/2 cup chopped black olives, drained
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1//2 cup chopped walnuts
parsley for garnish (optional

Place cream cheese, Colby cheese and butter in a large bowl; let stand until room temperature. Beat cheese and butter with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Stir in country ham, olives, onions and red pepper. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours. Shape into balls or logs. Chill

To serve, roll in chopped nuts. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Great served with assorted crackers and apple slices