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, December 31, 2011

Baked Coconut Custard

I could not decide what to have for dessert on New Year's. First I thought of Rice Pudding with Praline Sauce. I'll post that later. Then I remembered I was having rice with the Black-Eyed Peas. I happen to remember this recipe that I found on The English Kitchen. Great blog. Marie has wonderful recipes. Be sure to check her out. Anyway, I had made this a number of times over the holidays and everyone loved it.

You might think it's a pie, but there is no crust to mess with. It slices like a pie and has a golden crisp coconut top. Plus you can make it the day before serving. This is as good as any coconut cream pie I've ever had. Thank you Marie!

Baked Coconut Custard
6-8 servings
print recipe

2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large free range eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 or 10 inch pie dish well. Set aside.

Measure the milk, flour, salt, baking powder, eggs, sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend together for 3 minutes. Add the coconut and blend for about 2 or 3 seconds longer. Pour mixture into the buttered pie dish.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the edges are set and the centre just a bit wobbly. Remove from the oven and let cool, or serve warm. If cooling and serving later, chill in the refrigerator and warm a bit before serving. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and maybe a few slices of fresh fruit. This is heavenly!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Southern New Year's Menu

All the recipes for my Southern New Year's meal are on the sidebar with the exception of the dessert which will appear tomorrow and the ham which I will link to in a minute. That just happens to be the best ham you will ever eat.

"The Ham" I'm going to make you look! No hints, Joyce, don't tell!
My Favorite Black-Eyed Peas Over Rice
Collard Greens With Smoked Turkey
Quick Chili Sauce for the peas
Crackling Cornbread
Baked Coconut Custard

The best part is everything but the cornbread can be made the day before or earlier. Have fun cooking!

Crackling Cornbread

Are you serious! You've never had Crackling Cornbread? I can remember my grandmother making crackling after the hogs had been butchered. You take the fat from the pig and cut it into small cubes. These went in a big black pot and you cooked them draining the grease every now and then, until the cubes got crunchy and golden. I don't know anyone that makes their own crackling any more and the "fresh" ones at the grocery smell funny, so I use fried pork rinds, that are available in the potato chip section.

Perfect for your traditional New Year's peas and greens.

Crackling Cornbread
Makes 9 servings
print recipe

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (I only use 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups fried pork rinds, coarsely crumbled

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan.

2. In a large bowl or on a piece of waxed paper, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking, powder, and salt; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat together the milk, eggs, and butter. Add the cornmeal-flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the pork rinds. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

4. Cool in the pan and cut into 9 squares.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey

I'm running out of time to get all the New Year's recipes posted, so I'm posting the collard greens a day earlier than planned.

Can't imagine a New Year without Black-Eyed Peas and Collard Greens. In the past I've always used ham hocks, which are great, but I do enjoy the flavor of the smoked turkey wings, or necks a little more. They are a bit healthier also.

The peas are for prosperity, the most you eat of them the more prosperous, so eat at least 365 peas. The greens are naturally for money.

Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey
4-6 serving
print recipe

3 cups water
1/2 pound smoked turkey wings, or neck
1 1/2 pounds collard greens
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar (do not omit)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In a 4 quart saucepan, bring the water and smoked turkey to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer covered, for 1 hour.

While the turkey is cooking, wipe the collards with a damp towel, then wash them two or three times or until all the dirt and grit has been removed. Chop the greens as big as you like, about 1 1/2 inch pieces is good, I really like them bigger.. You should have about 10 cups.

Add the collards, oil, salt, black pepper, sugar and red pepper flakes to the pan. Return to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes longer. Discard the turkey, before serving, or chop the turkey meat and add it to the collards.

Quick Chili Sauce

My friend, Laurie at When the Bough Breaks sent me the wonderful Tomato Chili Sauce recipe earlier this summer. This is her quick version that I just love.

The wonderful thing about this is you don't have to have fresh out of the garden tomatoes and it takes a lot less time to make. The way the chili sauce flys out of this house I didn't even bother to can it.

This is perfect to serve with your black-eyed peas.

Quick Chili Sauce
about 2 pints
print recipe

1 19-ounce can tomatoes, or equivalent of home canned
1 large or 2 small green and red peppers chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoons dry mustard powder

Spice bag made of 1 teaspoon pickling spice and 2 teaspoon celery seed. Tied loosely in cheesecloth.

Bring everything to a boil reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until the consistency you prefer. I had to cook mine longer because I used home canned tomatoes. Remove spice bag fill hot jars and secure lids and can in hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Laurie, her mum and gramma all wrap theirs in paper to store. That keeps their color nice and deep. If your house is like mine you will not have that problem. I don't think it will change colors in 2 weeks.

Laurie I can't thank you enough for both of these FABULOUS recipes.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Favorite Black-Eyed Peas Over Rice

Everyone has their favorite way to prepare Black-Eyed Peas. I think I have tried every one out there, but this really is the best, in my opinion. Did you know black-eyed peas are not just for New Years Day!

This is my version of Hoppin' John!

Black-Eyed Peas Over Rice
about 8 generous servings
print recipe

The night before , rinse 1 cup dried black-eyed peas. Soak all night in cold water. The next morning, check your peas. Discard any "floaters". While the peas drain in a colander, fry 4 slices of bacon. Remove bacon; reserve for another dish - for example, bacon deviled eggs. Pour off all grease except for 2 tablespoons. Pour this grease in an 8-10 quart pot. Chop 1 onion, 3 stalks celery, and half a green pepper. Add these vegetables to the pot with the bacon grease and saute over medium heat. Mince 2 teaspoons garlic and throw in the pot. Add the peas, 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and 3 quarts cold water. Add 1 1/2 pounds pigs' tails, finely chopped, or 1 large smoked ham hock. I have also used smoked turkey legs or wings. Add 1 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, and 1 hot red-pepper pod whole. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer' covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring frequently. Remove the lid and cook another 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile in a separate pot, cook long-grain rice, following the directions on the bag. Orzo makes a delicious substitute. Serve the beans/peas over the rice.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Turkey/Chicken Hash

Did you have turkey for Christmas? Or do you still have some in the freezer from Thanksgiving? I do. I love a good Turkey/Chicken Hash. It's perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch or supper/dinner. Great for a church supper or yes, funeral food. Serve it over toast, biscuits or corn cakes.

This is one of those great make-a-head meals.

Turkey/Chicken Hash
8 servings
print recipe

1 onion, chopped finely
1 red bell pepper, chopped finely
1 green bell pepper, chopped finely
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup medium-dry sherry
1/2 cup half-and-half
5 cups diced cooked turkey/chicken
1 1/2 cups diced cooked potato
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Hot pepper sauce, to taste
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

In a heavy skillet cook the onion and the bell peppers in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until they are softened. Add the flour, and cook the roux mixture, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the broth, the sherry, and the half-and-half, whisking. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking, and stir in the turkey, the potato, the Worcestershire sauce, the lemon juice, the hot pepper sauce and salt and black pepper, to taste. Simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, thinning the mixture with water if necessary. The may may be prepared up to this point 2 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Reheat the hash, thinning the mixture with water or broth if necessary. Stir in the parsley and transfer the hash to a chafing dish.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner with Green Onion Home Fries

Happy beginning of Kwanzaa!

If I didn't have this recipe typed and ready to post you would be getting zilch today. The only thing that sounds good to me is a fried egg sandwich. Don't get me wrong, I had a wonderful Christmas dinner at Edie and Larry's yesterday. I'll tell you all about it later. For now I'm not going to talk about food for a whole day.

The nice thing about New Year's Day is you can have anything you want as long as you have collard greens and black-eyed peas. We'll get to that in a few days.

Breakfast for Dinner with Green Onion Fries
Serves 4-6
print recipe

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, boiled until just tender, drained and quartered
4-5 green onions,white and light green portions, thinly sliced on the bias
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 pound Mexican chorizo, casings removed
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large bunch Swiss chard, stems and ribs removed, leaves cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 red bell pepper, roasted, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
8 eggs

Sunday, December 25, 2011



LUKE 2:1-7
from The Message

About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of Davie, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant.

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

Merry Christmas to All. Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Girdle Cakes

Yes, Girdle Cakes, that's what the Scots call them. To us it's still a griddle cake or pancake. I found this recipe in one of Diane Mott Davidson's books a few years ago, Prime Cut. Not only do I enjoy her novels but I love her recipes. I think it's the addition of cottage cheese that makes these special.

This might be perfect for Christmas morning!

Girdle Cakes
makes 8-12 cakes
print recipe

1 egg
1 1/2 cups or more buttermilk
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup blueberries, plus more for serving
Butter and maple syrup for serving

Oil a large skillet or griddle (girdle") and preheat it over medium heat.

In a large bowl, beat the egg lightly, Stir in the buttermilk and cottage cheese.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Sift again into the egg mixture. Stir in the dry mixture very lightly, mixing only enough to combine. If the mixture is too dry, stir in a small amount of additional buttermilk. Gently stir in the blueberries.

Scoop the batter into pancakes until the hot, well-oiled pan. After the cakes have set on one side, gently loosen them with a metal spatula to make sure they do not stock. When the edges of the cakes appear dry, flip the cakes carefully to cook until cooked through and golden brown on both sides. This can take from 2 to 5 minutes per side.

Serve immediately with butter and maple syrup and/or more blueberries.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cheese Ball

It's the holidays! Everyone needs a cheese ball at the ready. This can be made long before serving. Freezes beautifully. Make an extra one now to have for New Year's, or Elvis's Birthday, I don't care. It is so much cheaper to make your own cheese balls, not to mention they are ten times better.

Cheese Ball
about 2 pounds
print recipe

1/2 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1/4 pound Roquefort or blue cheese
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons grated onion
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup finely minced parsley
1 cup chopped pecans

Thoroughly mix all ingredients except parsley and pecans. Combine parsley and pecans and blend half of them into cheese mixture. Spread remaining parsley mixture on sheet of waxed paper. Form cheese into a ball and roll it in parsley mixture until well coated. Chill before serving. Freezes beautifully.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tapenade Dip

Are you planning a Feast of the Seven Fishes for Christmas Eve? This would make a lovely dip to serve with raw vegetables. Another make ahead! Can't have too many of those during the holidays.

Tapenade Dip
about 10 servings if you have other appetizers
print recipe

1 (6 1/2-ounce can white solid-pack tuna fish, drained
2 anchovy filets
1 tablespoon anchovy oil
4 tablespoon chopped ripe olives
1/2 small onion, grated
1 clove garlic crushed
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup cubed cooked potatoes (Don't leave this out: contributes to smooth texture)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Juice of 1 small lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Put all ingredients into container of electric blender and blend until smooth. I use the food processor.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Southern Baked Brisket

This is just a classic Hanukkah recipe infused with a little Southern flavor for my Jewish friends. My non-Jewish friends will also enjoy it, even if you're not southern. I used Lipton Kosher Recipe Secrets Onion Recipe Soup and Dip Mix.

This really is delicious!

Southern Baked Brisket
8-10 servings
print recipe

1 (12-ounce) bottle chili sauce
2 cups ketchup
1 1/4 cups cola soft drink
1 (1.9-ounce) package dry onion soup mix
1 (3-4 pound) beef brisket flat, trimmed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stir together first 3 ingredients and both envelopes from the soup mix package in a large bowl.

2. Place brisket, fat side up, in an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan. Pour chili sauce mixture over brisket.

3. Bake, tightly covered, at 350 degrees F. for 4 to 4 1/2 hours or until fork tender. Remove from oven; let stand 20 minutes. Cut brisket across the grain into thin slices using a sharp knife, and pour pan juices over slices.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Onion Marmalade

Wonderful to have on hand during the holidays or anytime. Use for any kind of sandwich, ham, turkey, beef, etc. It's also a perfect condiment for your ham or roast beef holiday dinner

Onion Marmalade
makes about 1 1/2 cups
print recipe

4 cups finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Saute' the onions in hot oil in a skillet over medium-high heat with the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Cook, stirring often, for about 11-12 minutes, or until the onions are golden. Add the sugar and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the vinegar and parsley and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, cool, and serve.

2. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pan-Roasted Sausage with Apples, Onions and Sage

Does this sound like winter food! I even cut some turnips into thin wedges and added them. Beautifully seared meat that's perfectly cooked is called pan roasting, and it's foolproof.

Remember to use a heavy oven-proof skillet and have your meat at least an inch thick for perfect oven roasting.

Pan Roasted Sausages with Apples, Onions, and Sage
4 servings
print recipe
Adapted from Coastal Living Magazine

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 sweet Italian sausages (about 1 1/4 pounds
1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 (8-ounce) package baby portobello mushrooms, quartered
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 Golden Delicious apples, cut into 1/2-inch -thick wedges. I use Granny Smith.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil i a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage, and cook, turning occasionally. 6 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet, and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add mushrooms, and cook 1 minute. Add bell pepper and apples, and cook stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until mixture is slightly softened. Stir in sage, salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute. Stir in broth and sausages.

3. Bake 20-25 minutes or until sausages are cooked through and vegetable are tender.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

One week until Christmas! How did that happen! Have you finished your shopping? Decorations in place? Stockings hung with care? Cookies baked? Menu planned for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? That's okay you still have almost a week.

More importantly have you thought of those less fortunate? Have you picked an angel or two from the angel trees that the Salvation Army has in various locations all over town? This year I decided on the Food Angel Tree from Kroger grocery store. For $25.00 you can pick a local family from the tree and they will be provided with Christmas dinner food. These are hard times for a lot of people. But for the Grace of God go you or I. Please help if you can.

This is a brief part of our wonderful ministers, Scott and Susan Winkler, message from our church newsletter this month:

"God's gift is His son, Jesus. Our gift is to accept what is so lovingly offered. God's gift is to guide us by His word, by His Spirit. Our gift is to live as we are taught. No wrapping paper needed, no lights needed to wrap around the tree. Just an open and honest life given to God. Be thankful for Christ's gift, for God's love and for the good people who are all around you showing you what His love looks like."

Have a Blessed week and don't get stressed. Remember it's not about the presents and food.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bacon Candy

Stop whatever you're doing! If you make a big batch of this you can forget about the peanut brittle and fudge. No one will even miss it. Since it's the holiday season we can eat what we want, right! Holy cow is this good!

Bacon Candy or Candied Bacon, it is all the same, delicious. I guess this was the "food item" of the year in 2009, and everyone has their own recipe. Most of the recipes I have found call for 4 to 8 slices of bacon. Who are they kidding. That will be eaten before the pan hits the counter top. Just the smell of it cooking will bring in the neighbors. This can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacks, hot, room temperature or cold. Stick some in a zip lock bag for your purse, in case you get stuck in a snow drift.

Bacon Candy
make as much as you want
print recipe

1 pound of good bacon (less if you want)
1/4 cup of brown sugar, or maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a sheet pan with foil and place a rack in the pan.

Place bacon strips on rack, not touching, you may have to do two or three cooking. Now you have a choice, either brush the bacon on both side with maple syrup, or sprinkle with brown sugar. I hate decisions, so I brush the bacon with maple syrup and sprinkle a little brown sugar on also. The syrup helps the sugar to stick better, don't overdo either one.

Bake for 10 minute or so and turn bacon, bake for an additional 10 minute or until a nice golden brown. Let cool a little before serving.

If using for a snack, stand the bacon pieces upright in a pretty glass.

COOK'S NOTE: Save that wonderful sweet bacon grease in the bottom of the pan to season your green beans, collards or kale.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fudge-Filled Dessert Strips

This really isn't a cookie, but it looks like a filled cookie, sort of. Maybe it's a pastry. These are very easy and absolutely delicious. I will find any excuse, at any time of the year to make these.

Lots of butter, cream cheese and walnuts, how bad could they be! If it doesn't have at least a cup of butter it's not worth making.

Fudge-Filled Dessert Strips
36 pieces
print recipe

1 cup butter, softened
1 package (8-ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups (12-ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14-ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chopped walnuts
Confectioners' sugar, optional

In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy, Gradually add the flour and mix well.

Turn onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth, about 3 minutes. Divide dough into fourths; cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.

In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and milk; stir until smooth. Stir in Walnuts. Cool to room temperature.

Roll each portion of dough onto an ungreased baked sheet into an 11-inch x 6 1/2-inch rectangle. Spread 3/4 cup chocolate filling down the center of each rectangle. Fold long sides to the center; press to seal all edges. Turn over so the seam sides are down.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for 27-32 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Dust with confectioners' sugar if you like.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Salmon Ball

Back in the old days when people actually had cocktail parties you would always find a Salmon Ball among the goodies. It was so good and could be made ahead. Now this is a great thing to put out to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish the holiday dinner. You could add this to your football night list of snacks also.

Salmon Ball
about 10 servings
print recipe

1 (1-pound can red salmon
1(8-ounce package cream cheese)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 teaspoons grated onion
2 teaspoons horseradish
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Several dashes cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon commercial liquid smoke
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Drain salmon, remove skin and bones, and flake with fork. In a small bowl of mixer, cream cheese and blend in lemon juice, onion, horseradish, salt, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, and liquid smoke (this is important). When well blended, stir in the flaked salmon. Check seasonings; it might require a little more salt.

Combine pecans and parsley and spread on a sheet of waxed paper. Turn salmon out onto this mixture and turn it this way and that until all sides of the mound are coated. Wrap in the waxed paper and chill thoroughly before using. The mixture will not be sliceable but will spread nicely when chilled. Serve with melba rounds or your favorite plain cracker.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cookie Swap Brunch and Eggnog Punch

What do you mean old woman don't have fun! I laughed so much yesterday I had to come home and take a nap. Fifteen or twenty women of a certain age all talking at one time. Everyone talking about something different and no one knew what was being said. What a blast!

It has been years since I've been to a brunch as lovely as Janice had yesterday. Her house was decorated beautifully for Christmas. Her food outstanding, sausage casserole, hash brown casserole, fresh fruit platter, country ham on rolls, monkey bread, juices, etc. I sort of lost interest when she started making the punch. This is without a doubt the only way to serve eggnog for a crowd. Everyone, yes, me too, had at least 2 glasses. You know I had to get the recipe to share with y'all.

Eggnog Punch
about 24 servings (6-ounces) each
print recipe

1 3/4 to 2 quarts French vanilla ice cream
2 quarts dairy eggnog, don't use that canned stuff (8 cups), chilled
1 liter cream soda, chilled
Peppermint sticks, cinnamon sticks, and/or the small candy canes
Ground cinnamon or nutmeg

Place ice cream in an extra-large punch bowl. Add half the eggnog, Stir and mash mixture using a potato masher until ice cream is melted and mixture is well combined. Stir in remaining eggnog. Slowly pour in cream soda, stirring to combine. To each glass add a peppermint stick, cinnamon stick, or candy cane. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon or nutmeg (about 1/8 teaspoon per serving).

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Chips

Glazed doughnuts are transformed into an addictive crisp snack, thanks to a panini press. If no panini press use your griddle and a brick wrapped in foil. These are heavenly, and make perfect little gifts.

The chips can also be made plain without the cinnamon sugar.


Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Chips
16 chips
print recipe

8 glazed donuts (When did you ever see 8 donuts in a box? Use the whole dozen.)

1. Preheat panini press, or griddle. Using a serrated knife, cut doughnuts in half horizontally.

2. Place doughnut halves, cut side up, in batches, in preheated hightly greased panni press. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar before closing press. Cook 1-2 minutes or until browned; transfer chips to wire rack to cool completely. If using griddle you will need to turn. (Chips will crisp a they cool). Store in airtight container up to 1 week.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Lizzies

I'm off to a Christmas brunch and cookie swap this morning and this is what I'm taking. It is the perfect recipe to start the Christmas cookie baking season. Even people who hate fruit cake will love these. Yes, this is the recipe I promised the other day when I posted the Light Fruit Cake recipe. I average making 2 or 3 batches of these each holiday season. They don't have to sit as long to ripen as a fruit cake, make wonderful gifts packaged in a pretty cookie tin and people start asking for them before Thanksgiving.

If you have a stand mixer, please use it. If not, get the hubby or big strong someone to stir for you. The longer they sit the better they get. At least let them ripen for a day or two in a cookie tin with tight fitting lid.

This is a really old recipe. I have made them for over 35 years. Originally this came to me from an old boy friends ex-mother-in-law. Now that's a story for a different day!

Christmas Lizzies
8 dozen cookies
print recipe

1/2 cup good bourbon
3 cups seedless raisins
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground gloves
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
4 eggs
1 pound pecan halves (not chopped)
1/2 pound citron, chopped
1 pound candied cherries, whole

Pour bourbon over raisins; let stand for 1 hour. I have let them stand overnight. Sift together flour and spices; set aside. Cream butter and brown sugar; add eggs, beating well. Blend in dry ingredients. Stir in raisins, pecans, citron, and cherries. Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. They may not look like they are done but they are.

Cool on racks and store in air tight containers. I also cover them with cheesecloth soaked in additional bourbon.

Bring on the eggnog!

COOK'S NOTE: If you absolutely do not use liquor grape juice works well also.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Justine's Cookies

All I want for Christmas is for the "recipe angel " to come to my house and sort out all these pieces of paper with recipes on them. I don't know if the name of the cookie is Justine's Cookies or if someone named Justine gave me the recipe. I hate getting old. I do remember I served these with a Creamy Orange Sherbet and they were wonderful. If I don't forget I'll post the sherbet recipe later, if I find it.

Justine's Cookies
about 7 dozen
print recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg beaten
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup uncooked oatmeal, not instant
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Cream butter and sugars together thoroughly in large bowl of mixer. Add egg and beat well. Sift flour with soda and salt and add to mixture. When blended, stir in oatmeal, dates, and nuts. Pinch off small amount of dough, roll into balls about the size of a quarter, then roll in sugar. Place about 2-inches apart on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. (Cookies will puff up, then seem to collapse, but don't worry; they're suppose to. They'll be crisp and crinkled on top, similar to macaroons.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Walnut Balls

These are cookies for the baking challenged. A five year old could make these. Perfect for the holidays because they freeze beautifully.

Walnut Balls
about 60 cookies
print recipe

1 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (I like using half English and half Black walnuts.)
Powdered sugar

Cream butter in large bowl of mixer, add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Sift in flour, add vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir in walnuts. Form into balls about the size of a quarter; place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes, watching carefully to avoid overbaking. The cookies should not be allowed to brown. When done, roll in powdered sugar and store in airtight container. Freezes beautifully.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pepper Jelly - Glazed Carrots

As a rule I'm not a huge fan of carrots. Carrot Cake is good! I found this recipe in a Southern Living Magazine and thought, why not. It is really, really, delicious, and the perfect side dish for any meat. I hope you try it.

Pepper Jelly-Glazed Carrots
6 servings
print recipe

1 (32-ounce package) carrots, halved crosswise
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can condensed chicken broth, undiluted
1 (10 1/2-ounce) jar red pepper jelly (see note)
2 tablespoons butter

1. Cut carrot halves lengthwise into quarters. Bring carrots and chicken broth to a boil in a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes or until carrots are crisp-tender and broth is reduced to 1/4 cup.

2. Stir in peppery jelly and butter, and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until mixture thickens and carrots are glazed. Transfer to a serving dish, using a slotted spoon. Pour half of pan juices over carrots; discard remaining pan juices.

Cook's Note: Use one (10 1/2-ounce) jar hot jalapeno pepper jelly instead of red pepper jelly.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Chuck Wagon Chili in the Slow Cooker

The real-deal chili is right here. Large chunks of beef chuck steeped in spices, tomatoes, beer, and a bit of chocolate, and cooked in the slow cooker. The first time I had chili with chunks of meat instead of ground beef was in Bandera, Texas, at least 100 years ago. This is good stuff!

Chuck Wagon Chili in the Slow Cooker
Generous 12 cups
print recipe

1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons dried Mexican or regular oregano, crumbled between your fingers
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons brown sugar, light or dark
4 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-2-inch cubes
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 medium onions, coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped celery, including leaves
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 japapeno chiles, roughly chopped, seeded or not your choice
One 12-ounce bottle dark Mexican beer, such as Negro Modelo
2 tablespoons tomato paste
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped DO NOT OMIT
3 tablespoons masa harina (corn flour, not cornstarch)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
Grated cheddar cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onion, for garnish
Sour cream, for garnish

1. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a small bowl; set the mixture aside.

2. Add the beef to a medium bowl and season with the peper and 1 tablespoon of the kosher salt.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add enough beef to fill the pan, don't over crowd, and cook until nicely browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook another two minutes. Tranfer browned beef to the crock of a 6-quart slow cooker. Repeat with remaining beef and oil.

4. Add the onion, celery, and 1 tablespoon of the remaining salt to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapenos, and spice mixture and cook for 1 minute longer. Pour in the beer, tomato paste, and crushed tomatoes and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the chocolate, masa harina, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 1 minute longer. Transfer this mixture to the slow cooker. Cover and cook the chili on high, undisturbed or stirring only once during cooking, for 6 hours, or until the beef is very tender. Remove bay leaves and stir in the cilantro and parsley. Serve the chili hot in bowls topped with grated cheddar, chopped green onion, and sour cream.

Come and get it!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Flaming Holiday Pudding

I'm digging around in a box of old recipes looking for something, I've already forgotten what now. I found this recipe I haven't made in 30 years. I've decided the reason I don't make some of these one time favorites is because I lose the recipes and don't have a clue where to start looking.

Don't confuse this with the fabulous Plum Pudding that my friend Joyce at October Farm sent me. This takes a third of the time to make and is entirely different. It is perfect for the holidays.

Flaming Holiday Pudding
about 6 servings
print recipe

2/3 cup light or dark raisins
1 cup uncooked cranberries
1 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup moist mincement
1/2 cup golden molasses
2 tablespoons water

Rinse and drain the raisins and cranberries. Sift the flour with the salt and soda. Add the mincement, molasses, water, raisins and cranberries. Stir until well blended. Spoon into a one quart mold (a coffee can will do). Cover tightly. Place in a deep kettle with a rack, with boiling water to 2/3 the depth of the mold. Cover and steam 1 1/4 hours in continuously boiling water, replenishing as needed.

Allow pudding to stand a few minutes, then invert on heat-proof serving plate. To flame, saturate sugar cubes in lemon extract and arrange around pudding. Set fire to sugar. Serve pudding with hard sauce.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cranberry Pecan Cheese Wafers

Yes, I grabbed this right out of December's Southern Living. I was afraid one of you would miss it, and it's too wonderful to miss. This is a must do for the holidays. Serve plain, with your favorite cheese ball or cheese spread.

Cranberry-Pecan Cheese Wafers
18 dozen
print recipe

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped sweetened dried cranberries
2 cups butter, softened
4 cups (16 ounces) freshly shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground red pepper
4 cups all-purpose flour
Parchment paper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 15 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, soak cranberries in boiling water to cover 15 minutes; drain and pat dry with paper towels.

3. Beat butter and next 3 ingredients with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until blended. Gradually add flour, beating just until combined. Stir in cranberries and pecans. Shape dough into 4 (12-inch-long) logs; wrap each log in plastic wrap. Chill at least 8 hours to three days.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut each log into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks, and cool completely (about 20 minutes)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

It's that time of the year when we all start thinking about COOKIES. This is not a normal Christmas cookie but are great anytime. Do you have a cookie swap you are hosting or attending this year? I have one next week and I'll share that recipe later.

These are big, chewy sugar-topped cookies for peanut butter fans of all ages.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies
3 dozen large - 6 dozen regular size
print recipe

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Beat butter and peanut butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating well. Add eggs, beating well.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Cover and chill dough 3 hours. Overnight is better.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough into 1 1/2 inch balls; place 3-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Dip fork in additional sugar; flatten cookies in a crisscross design.

4. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool.

NOTE: For smaller cookies, shape dough into 1-inch balls, and bake 6 to 7 minutes. Makes 6 dozen.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Easy Slow Cooked Pulled-Pork

This is a long post today because I have nothing else to do and it's cold outside and I feel like whining. I really, really, really hate cold weather. Did I mention it was raining, and could turn to snow later.

This simple recipe serves a crowd or can be frozen in family size portions to use as needed. Just a suggestion, use one of those wonderful slow cooker liners to make clean up a breeze, unless you are into scrubbing and soaking.

Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork
12-14 sandwich servings
print recipe

One 6-7-pound Boston butt pork roast, bone in or boneless
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sweet pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika)
2 teaspoons Mexican or regular chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
12 to 14 soft buns or roll, for serving
Your favorite barbecue sauce, for serving

1. Place the pork in a shallow baking dish. Using the tip of a paring knife, make 16 narrow but deep slits in the meat, evenly spaced and on all sides, and insert a piece of garlic into each slit. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, salt pimento', chili powder, oregano, cumin, crushed red pepper, cayenne, and coriander and stir to combine. Using your hands, rub the spice blend evenly over the entire surface of all sides of the meat. Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight.

2. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for 1 hour.

3. Place the pork in the crock of a 6-quart slow cooker, fat side up, and cook on high until tender and falling apart, about 8 hours. (As the meat becomes tender, break the roast into several smaller pieces.)

4. Remove the meat from the crock and transfer to a large heatproof bowl or platter. Remove any excess fat and/or bones and discard. using two forks, pull the meat into shreds. Ladle on enough of the accumulated cooking juices from the slow cooker to keep the meat moist. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

5. Serve the meat hot, on toasted buns or rolls, with your favorite barbecue sauce. (alternatively, adjust the setting on the slow cooker to the "keep warm" setting and remove about half of the cooking juices from the crock. Return the pulled pork to the remaining juices in the slow cooker and allow guests to serve themselves from the slow cooker. This is especially useful for parties or tailgating. The extra cooking juices make a great addition to soups or stews.)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday

No scriptures today, just a few comforting thoughts.

Intuition is a spiritual faculty and does not explain, but simply points the way.

Should we make this move? Should we change jobs? Should we talk to others about our feelings? We are seldom short on prayers when we're filled with fear and indecision. We are, however, short on answers. Our worries block them out.

No prayer ever goes unanswered. Of this we can be certain. On the other hand, the answer may not be what we'd hoped for. In fact, we may not recognize it as the answer because we are expecting something quite different. It takes a willingness on our part to be free of our preconceptions - free to accept whatever answers are offered.

Our answers come unexpectedly, a chance meeting on the street, a passage in a book or newspaper, a nagging feeling within. God speaks to each of us throughout the day. Our prayers are answered, our problems find solutions, our worries are eased, if we but attune ourselves to the messages. They are all around.

It will be attentive to all the signs from God today. Whatever answer I seek is finding its way to me.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Very Special Day Plus Chicken and Dumplings

Today is a very special day for a very, very special person. My niece, Angie, The Jammie Girl will celebrate her 45th birthday today. I knew I'd get that age in some way. She and I are so much alike she could have been my daughter. Sorry sweetie, but it's true. She has had a terrbile year and a half suffering with her neck and surgeries and job loss, etc. If you have a few extra minutes please visit her on her blog and wish her a Happy Birthday. She would love hearing from you.

We share the same love of cooking and really good food. Both of us would run over old people in wheelchairs to get to a pot of Chicken and Dumplings.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!

This recipe was given to me by a friends mother, who got it from her grandmother, and that's as far back as I know. Shirley said the secret is the bay leaves, butter and lots of pepper. I agree.

My Favorite Chicken and Dumplings
6-8 servings
print recipe

1 whole fryer chicken or a big fat hen if you can find one
4 or 5 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
4 to 6 tablespoons butter, I put the whole stick in
More pepper if needed

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup water
2 small eggs
3 cups flour

Wash the chicken and place into a large Dutch oven. Cover well with plenty of water and add bat leaves. Add salt and plenty of pepper, and butter (the more butter, the richer the dish). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is well done, about and hour.

Remove the chicken from the broth. Discard the bay leaves. When the chicken has cooled, remove the meat from the bone and return the deboned chicken to the broth. About 1/2 to 3/4 pot of broth should remain.

For dumplings: In a large bowl, mix together the salt, oil, water, and eggs. Slowly add the flour to the mixture, lending with a fork. Stir only long enough to mix dough.

Turn the dough onto a floured board. Pinch the dough in half, and roll out until thin, about 1/4-inch. Slice the dough into 1/2-inch-wide strips, and cross-slice into pieces 4 to 8-inch long, for ease in handling.

Bring the broth and chicken back to a boil, and pepper well to taste. Drop the dumpling strips into the boiling stock. Boil approximately 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the dumplings are done (they should be puffy). Most of the broth will be absorbed. Serve with pinto beans and cornbread.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Savory Breakfast Casserole

How many times have we all made the "famous" sausage breakfast casserole! This is a little more gourmet and a lot tastier. Don't be messing with the croissants, or heavy cream or you will lose the whole "gourmet" thing. Perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dinner.

Savory Breakfast Casserole
6 servings
print recipe

6-ounces thick-cut smoked bacon (about 4 strips), diced
1 1/4 cups chopped yellow onion
3/4 cup chopped mixed red and green bell peppers
2 3/4 teaspoons of your favorite Creole Seasoning, mine is still Emeril's
4 large croissants (about 12 ounces total), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup minced green onions
6 ounces medium yellow cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
7 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp and fat has rendered, 4-6 minutes. Remove bacon using a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towels-lined plate to drain. Remove all but 1 1/2 tablespoons of the bacon dripping from the pan and reserve the drippings on the side. Add the onion, bell pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon of the creole seasoning to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft and lightly caramelized, 4 to 6 minutes. Return the bacon to the pan and stir to combine.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Betty's Fruit Dip

On Tuesday this week, my friend Betty Sipe hosted a soup luncheon for the ladies of our Christian Women's Fellowship at her home. This is her fruit dip she served with apple wedges. She used red, green and yellow apples. The ladies were still scooping up the dip after the apples were gone. As Betty's said, it's for any fruit, not just apples.

Betty's Fruit Dip
approx. 2 1/2 cups
print recipe

Two 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons caramel sauce, homemade or ice cream topping

Mix the above well. Spread on the plate or platter you will be serving on.

Wash and core apples. Don't peel. Cut apples into wedges and toss in pineapple juice to keep from darkening. Stand apples upright in the dip mixture. Drizzle with more caramel sauce.

I can't tell you how wonderful this is.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkey Club Casserole

Do you have Emeril's new cook book Sizzling Skillets. Wonderful! All the recipes are done in our favorite kitchen things, skillet, casseroles, baking dishes, big pots, slow cookers, etc. You get the idea. This recipe was shared on the Rachel Ray show a few weeks ago. Fabulous! A cross between French Toast and a club sandwich.

This looks long and involved. Not. All the instructions are telling you how to put the sandwich together. The Bechamel Sauce takes about 10 minutes to make and should be made first. The sauce can be made up to five days ahead. Don't get in a panic over the Bechamel Sauce, it's only a normal white sauce.

Turkey Club Casserole
8-10 servings
print recipe

8 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
Two 1-pound loaves very thinly sliced sandwich bread, preferably Pepperidge Farm
1 recipe Bechamel Sauce (recipe follows)
1 pound thinly sliced oven-roasted turkey breast
2 medium tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
1 pound bacon, cooked until crisp and drained
8 ounces thinly sliced honey-glazed ham
8 ounces thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, salt, mustard, cayenne, and nutmeg. Set the egg-cream mixture aside while you prepare the sandwiches.

2. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch glass baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.

3. Using a serrated knife, cut the crusts off the bread. Assemble 16 sandwiches by combining the ingredients for each sandwich in this order, from the bottom up; 1 slice bread spread with 1 teaspoon of the bechamel, topped with 1 ounce of turkey, 1 slice of tomato, and 1 piece of the bacon (broken to fit on the sandwich); another slice of bread spread with 1 teaspoon bechamel, 1/2 ounce of the ham, and 1/2 ounce cheese; and one more piece of bread spread with 1 teaspoon bechamel (bechamel side down). As sandwiches are assembled, place 8 of them in the prepared casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches, placing them directly on top of the first layer.

4. When all the sandwiches are positioned in the casserole, pour the egg-cream mixture evenly over the top. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on top of the casserole and place a second casserole dish on top of the paper to weight the casserole. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours. The bread should absorb most of the egg mixture.

5. Preheat the over to 350 degrees F. and remove the casserole from the refrigerator, slice the remaining 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick of butter into 8 pieces, and place one piece on top of each sandwich stack. Bake the casserole, uncovered, until puffed and golden, usually about 40 minutes.

6. Set the casserole aside to cool briefly before serving. Serve warm.

1 1/2 CUPS

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 2 minutes, do not allow to brown.

2. While whisking constantly, add the milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened and any floury taste is gone, about 8 minutes.

3. Remove the sauce from the heat and transfer to a small heat-resistant bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface and then set aside to cool. The bechamel can be stored in a resealable container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Creamy White Beans with Smoked Turkey

Several years ago while living in Charleston, S.C. I learning the joys of cooking with smoked turkey legs and wings. It's a nice alternative to the more commonplace ham hocks. Economical, easy, and delicious beyond words would be my description of this stew.

Creamy White Beans with Smoked Turkey
4-6 servings
print recipe

2 pounds smoked turkey legs
8 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups small-diced onion
3/4 cup small-diced celery
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon crush red pepper
1 pound dried white beans (great norther or navy is fine), rinsed, picked over, and soaked overnight
8 ounces butternut squash, diced (2 generous cups)
6 ounces fresh spinach, cleaned and any tough ribs removed (See Note)

1. Place the turkey legs, 4 cups of the stock, the water, 2 of the bay leaves, and the cayenne in a 6-quart Dutch oven and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat so that the liquid just simmers, cover, and cook until the meat is falling from the bones, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove the turkey legs from the broth and, when cool enough to handle, shred the meat into bite-sized piece. Discard the bones and skin. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve and discard any solids. Set the broth and turkey meat aside.

2. Clean the Dutch oven and dry well. Add the oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Drain the beans and add them to the pot, along with the reserved turkey broth and the remaining 4 cups chicken stock and 1 bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Partially uncover the pot and continue to cook until the beans are nearly tender, about 30 minutes longer. Add the squash and continue to cook until the beans and squash are tender, about 30 minutes longer.

3. Remove the lid and smash some of the beans against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until reduce and slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the reserved turkey and the spinach and heat through. Serve hot, in shallow bowls.

Cook's Note: You can substitute kale or chard, but these tougher greens should be coarsely chopped and added a bit earlier than the spinach so that they're tender by the time the stew is done.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Ultimate Cheesecake

Who doesn't love cheesecake? This is an old Tyler Florence recipe and the only cheesecake that I make because it's perfect every time. Use whatever topping you like or leave it plain. I'm giving you my favorite topping Warm Lemon Blueberry.

Don't worry about all the instructions. It's mostly stuff you already know.

The Ultimate Cheesecake
6-8 servings
print recipeCrust:

2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 30 squares)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon, zested
1 dash of vanilla extract

Warm Lemon Blueberry Topping,, recipe follows

For the Crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1-inch up the sides. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

For the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 or 2 minutes. Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well mixed but not over-beaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.

Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake. Bake for 45 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours, longer if possible. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Unmold and transfer to a cake plate. Using a spatula spread a layer of Warm Lemon Blueberry topping over the surface.

Slice the cheesecake with a thin, non-serrated knife that has been dipped in hot water. Wipe dry after each cut.

Warm Lemon Blueberries
1 pint blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 lemon zested and juice
2 tablespoons sugar

In a small saucepan add all ingredients and simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes or so until fruit begins to break down slightly. Leave to cool before spreading on cheesecake.

Cook's Note
If you will not be serving the entire cheesecake at one meal, simply spoon some of the blueberries on each slice as you serve.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ham Hock and Cabbage Soup

After you have eaten all the turkey you can stand to even think about, make a pot of Ham Hock and Cabbage Soup. Dig some of that cabbage out of the freezer from the summer. And everyone knows a good Southern cook always has ham hocks on hand. This will warm the soul in the awful damp, cold, rainy weather. At least it's not snowing, yet.

While the soup is cooking make your favorite cornbread or My Favorite Cornbread.

Ham Hock and Cabbage Soup
8 main-course servings
print recipe

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 ham hock (about 1 pound)
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
6 cups chopped cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 cups chicken/turkey broth
3 cups peeled and cubed red potatoes (about 1 pound)

1. Heat the oil in a large deep pot over high heat. Add the bacon and fry until it is slightly crisp. Add the ham hock, onions, and carrots. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the onions are slightly wilted.

2. Add the cabbage, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, salt, and cayenne. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until the cabbage is slightly wilted. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add the potatoes. Cover and cook for 1 hour, or until the cabbage and potatoes are soft and tender.

3. Remove the ham hock from the soup. Pick off the meat and add to the pot. Skim off any fat that has risen to the surface and remove the bay leaves.

4. Serve in large soup bowls.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Favorite Cornbread Plus Turkey Leftovers

I was sure I had posted this before, but I can't find it on the blog. I've made this at least 20 years. This is perfect to serve under your Turkey Hash or with your Turkey Bone Gumbo or Hearty Turkey Noodle Soup. Yes, you will have enough turkey and bones left from your Thanksgiving turkey to make one or all of these dishes.

My Favorite Corn Bread
1 - 9-inch square pan
print recipe

2 eggs, beaten
1 stick butter, melted
1 (12-ounce) can Niblet corn, drained
1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream

Mix everything together and pour into a 9x9-inch greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 40 mintues. Delicious reheated!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Do you remember all that food that Edie and I prepared last year for 2010 T-Day ? No one needs that much food, or should have to prepared it. Whoops, I forgot my brother deep fried the turkey.

Larry and Edie are going to Virginia to be with her Virginia family this year. My niece Angie, (the jammie girl) always likes having Thanksgiving with just her family, because Christmas is so hectic for them. Yes, I was invited, but everyone deserves a break from me. I'm sure she will be filling you in on her menu.

Sooo, that leaves my nephew and the puppies for me to cook for. Randy really doesn't like Thanksgiving dinner except for the green bean casserole recipe on the back of the cream of mushroom soup can. Yuck! I'm still baking a turkey and making stuffing and gravy, with basic vegetables. You have to have leftovers, plus the puppies love turkey.

Given a choice of anything he could think of for his Thanksgiving dinner this is his menu.

Randy's Thanksgiving Dinner 2011
Chili - seasoned hot enough to take paint off a car
Tossed Salad (no tomatoes) with Italian Dressing (Wishbone, not homemade)
Shrimp Scampi Pizza

Dessert: Little Debbie Peanut Butter Bars. This could change, but it still has to be Little Debbie something.

I could cry. I really thought I had taught him better.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Be thankful you don't have to have dinner with Randy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Plum Pudding by Joyce

Have you ever had Plum Pudding, I mean real Plum Pudding. That is what arrived today from my friend Joyce at October Farm. This woman can make anything. This thing is packed with currants, dark and light raisins, orange peel, citron and pecans, walnuts and almonds. This is the real deal made with suet, not butter. Not in any way related to a fruit cake. She has all kinds of stuff in this box that I haven't even opened yet.

Joyce told me to let it ripen in the refrigerator until Christmas. Right! The only ripening this baby got was from her house to mine. Okay, I only cut a few slices and will save the rest for the Christmas holidays. I whipped up a little Hard Sauce to have on the warmed pudding. Also, I had made a batch of Boiled Custard that I could not resist trying with the pudding. Awesome!

You better hope you're on my "Special Person List" this holiday or there will be no Plum Pudding for you.

Joyce thank you so much for your kindness, my witchy friend. I have to go now and have one more little tiny piece.

Grand Marnier Cranberry Relish

I think at one time I had a more complicated version of this that I got from one of the Food Network shows, but this is so much easier and just as tasty. Plus the Grand Marnier is not absolutely necessary, except for me.

Grand Marnier Cranberry Relish
8-10 servings
print recipe

1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup sugar, more if you like
1 orange with zest
2-3 tablespoons Grand Marnier, more if you like, or none at all

Pulse cranberries in processor about 6-10 times. Keep them chunky. Dump in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in sugar. Zest the orange and add to bowl with the juice from the orange. Add Grand Marnier. Mix well and refrigerate several hours. I make mine several days ahead.

This is wonderful on your turkey sandwiches also.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Twice - Baked Potato Casserole

Yes, you have seen this before, and you will see it every holiday. It is the only mashed potatoes I make when I'm cooking for more than 4 people.

This can be prepared the morning of the day before serving and refrigerated. Remove from refrigerator about an hour before baking and serving. Any leftovers make fabulous potato pancakes

This is the "big" recipe for holidays, but cut everything in half and you have a just right recipe for family meals.

Twice - Baked Potato Casserole
Serves 10-12
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8 medium baking potatoes, about 4 pounds
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups (1/2 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese, or half Parmesan cheese
1 pint sour cream
2 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped chives, for garnish
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained, (save the grease for another use) and crumbled, for garnish

1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Pierce the potatoes and place on a baking pan. Bake the potatoes for 1 hours and 15 minutes, until very soft.

2. Peel and mash the potatoes in a large bowl with a potato masher or the back of a fork. Add the cream cheese, butter, 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese, and the sour cream. Stir well. Add garlic, salt, and pepper and stir again.

3. Spray a 19 by 9-inch baking dish with vegetable cooking spray. Place the potatoes into the dish. The casserole may now be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use, 24-36 hours.

4. When ready to bake, set casserole out of refrigerator for 30 minute. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until hot. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese over the top of the casserole and return to the oven for about 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted. Garnish with the chopped chives and crumbled bacon.

Stand back from the table and be ready to take your bows.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Breakfast Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce

Do you host a breakfast or brunch during the holiday season, or maybe something special for your family Christmas morning? This is wonderful and needs to be prepared the night before. This is really a very easy recipe, just long instruction.

Breakfast Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce
8 servings
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1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 pound cinnamon raisin bread, torn up into bite size pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons vanilla (preferably Mexican, or you can use 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste)

Mix the cinnamon into the sugar until well combined; set aside. Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking pan and place the torn-up bread into it.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until it is creamy. Mix in the cinnamon sugar and beat until very creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well combined. Mix in the half-and-half and vanilla, and beat well. (The mixture will be thin and will not be completely combined; this is normal.) Stop the beater and use a spatula to mix as well as possible.

Pour the butter mixture over the torn-up-bread. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, remove the pan from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the pudding for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and stir with a wooden spoon. Place the pudding back in the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until it is puffed and golden. While the pudding is baking, prepare the rum sauce (see below)

Place the pudding on a rack and carefully pour the rum sauce over it. Allow the rum sauce to soak into the pudding (2-3 minutes, and then serve. Pudding will be very hot.

Rum Sauce
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup best quality rum
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg

In a medium-size saute' pan, melt the butter. Add the sugar, rum, and nutmeg, and stir with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is well blended.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, still in the pan.

In a small bowl, beat the egg until it is very frothy. Beat the egg into the butter mixture until well combined. Place the saute' pan back on the stove and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat, until the mixture thickens.

Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the pudding.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - Gratitude

October and November are both gratitude months, depending on you you talk to. I think every day should be Gratitude Day.

We learn the magical lesson that making the most of what we have turns it into more.

Say thank you, until you mean it.

Thank God, life, and the universe for everyone and everything sent your way.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Gratitude makes things right.

Gratitude turns negative energy into positive energy. There is no situation or circumstance so small or large that it is not susceptible to gratitude's power. We can start with who we are and what we have today, apply gratitude, then let it work its magic.

Say think you, until you mean it. If you say it long enough, you will believe it.

Today, I will shine the transforming light of gratitude on all the circumstances of my life.

Let's visit Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures for more Saint and Scriptures Sunday.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sweet Potato Cake with Brown Sugar Icing

This recipe for sweet potato cake (Ipomoca batatas), perhaps descended from the many traditional recipes for sweet potato pudding, and was probably handed down for several generations. This is the kind of dessert you would find at local Southern diners in years past.

Be grateful I couldn't find a recipe for turnip cake.

Sweet Potato Cake
1 Three layer 8-inch cake
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1/2 cup butter or shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup cooked, peeled, and mashed sweet potatoes
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon maple or vanilla flavoring

Grease and flour 3 8-inch round cake pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and sweet potatoes. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk to sweet potato mixture. (If batter seems to stiff, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk.) Fold in nuts and flavoring. Spoon batter into cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn out on racks. Cool and frost with Brown Sugar Icing.

Brown Sugar Icing

1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

Sift confectioners' sugar into medium bowl. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir brown sugar, whipping cream, and butter until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Boil 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour brown sugar mixture over confections' sugar, whisking. Whisk until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Cook icing until lukewarm and icing falls in heavy ribbon from spoon, whisking often, about 15 minutes. Stack layers, thinly icing between. Spoon icing thickly over top, allowing it to drip down sides of cake. Serve after icing is firm, at least 1 hour.

I like to let the cake rest overnight.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Islander Chicken

We can pretend we are in the islands and it's not 50 degrees outside. Did you know that cumin has only become popular in the states in the past 30 years. It has always been a principal ingredient in chili powder, but not so much on it's own. I love the wonderful warm smoky flavor it brings to this dish.

Islander Chicken
6 servings
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1/3 cup olive oil
1 three-pound frying chicken, cut into pieces, or your favorite pieces
3/4 cup diced raw ham
1 cup sliced onions
2 cloves garlic minced
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups raw rice
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/8 teaspoon saffron if you have it. Don't mortgage the house to buy some.

1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven, add the chicken, ham, onions and garlic and brown the chicken on all sides.

2. Add the tomatoes, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer slowly until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Add more liquid if necessary.

4. Remove the chicken. Heap the rice mixture in the center of a large platter and surround with the chicken. Garnish with strips of pimento, if desired.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Stuffing a la Gourmet

Well, I guess it's time I started thinking about Thanksgiving dinner. Gathering up old recipes, looking for new ones I want to try. Normally I don't change the basics, but sometimes I will mess around with the stuffing and side dishes. Actually this is an old recipe, (1968) that I haven't made for a few years. This is also excellent with roasted chicken and roast loin of pork.

Let's go see Amy at A Little Nosh and see what is going on.

You can stuff the turkey or bake the stuffing in a casserole.

Stuffing a la Gourmet
6-8 servings approx.
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1 onion chopped
1 apple chopped
1/2 cup seedless grapes
1 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 carrot chopped
1/2 pound ground pork or sweet Italian sausage
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 cups toasted bread cubes
1 tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 cup Grand Mariner
Enough chicken broth to make a moist stuffing

Mix well and stuff the turkey.

If baking outside the turkey; lightly brown the ground pork in a large skillet; add butter and saute onion, apple,carrot and celery, just until limp, not browned; add spices, grapes and walnuts. Add remaining ingredients and toss with bread cubes. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pineapple Casserole

Truly an old Southern recipe! You will see this at funerals, Thanksgiving, and everything in between. My friend, Lillian Plummer shared her recipe with me at Bible study. I believe if she made a tub of this there would not be one bite left. Perfect served with ham,turkey, roast beef or anything else.

Pineapple Casserole
Hard to say it goes so fast. Maybe 8-10 servings
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2 - 20 ounce cans pineapple tidbits, drained, reserving 6 tablespoons of juice
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tube Ritz crackers

Mix drained pineapple with shredded cheese. Put in lightly buttered 9x13-inch (or close) baking dish.

Mix sugar, flour and reserved pineapple juice and pour over pineapple and cheese mixture.

Pour melted butter over pineapple mixture.

Top with crush Ritz crackers.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sorghum-Glazed Turnips

You have to admit I've not mentioned turnips in a few week. Not that I haven't been cooking them.

If you have your Southern Living Magazine for October this recipe is on page 98. It was just too good not to post in case someone missed it.

Sorghum Glazed Turnips
4 servings
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1 pounds small turnips (about 2-inches long)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons sorghum
Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs

1. Peel turnips and cut in half. Vertically.

2. Place turnips in a single layer in a 12-inch heavy skillet; add water to reach halfway up turnips (about 1 1.2 cups). Add butter and next 3 ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring often, 8 minutes or until turnips are tender and water has evaporated. Cook, stirring often, 5 more minutes or until turnips are golden. Stir in sorghum and 3 tablespoons water; toss turnips to coat. Serve immediately. Garnish, if desired.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stuffed Pork Chops with Sour Cream Gravy

What could be better than a big thick stuffed pork chop. When I lived in Florida I had a fabulous meat market, Ray's Meat Market, down the street. I could run in on the way home and buy already stuffed pork chops. This is their recipe and The New York Times Sour Cream Gravy recipe.

I wonder how many times I've made this for dinner! Well tonight will just be one more time.

Stuffed Pork Chops With Sour Cream Gravy
4 servings
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4 double rib pork chops
2 tablespoons dripping or other fat
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup bread cubes or course crumbs. May favorite was rye bread cubes.
1 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sage or poultry seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sour cream, approx.
1/4 cup water

1. Have butcher cut pockets in the pork chops. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a skillet heat the drippings, add the onion and saute' until transparent. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add the bread crumbs, parsley and seasonings and stir together well. Add enough sour cream to moisten the mixture.

3. Stuff the chops with the mixture and close the opening with toothpicks. Sprinkle lightly with additional salt, sage and pepper.

4. Arrange the chops in a baking pan, add one-quarter cup water and bake, covered 30 minutes. Remove the cover and bake until brown and tender, about 30 minutes longer. Serve with sour-cream gravy. (below)

Sour Cream Gravy
Pork drippings
1 1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Pour the drippings from the baking pan into a bowl. Add the water to the pan and scrape loose all the brown particles.

2. Skim the fat from the drippings and place 3 tablespoons fat in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and brown. Slowly add the water from the pan and the drippings from the bowl and coo, stirring, until thickened.

3. Add the sour cream and heat gently, while beating with a whisk or rotary beater. Do not boil. Correct seasonings.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Butter-Pecan Cornbread Muffins

Are you looking for something to add to your Thanksgiving bread basket? These should work just fine. These are also heavenly split and add a couple of very thin slices of country ham and serve with your favorite soup. I could eat these things ice cold!

Butter-Pecan Cornbread Muffins
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen
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1 large egg
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups plain white or yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-pourpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
vegetable cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Stir together egg and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir together cornmeal and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in egg mixture until combine.

2. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in pecans, and cook, stirring often, 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat 2 (12-cup muffin pans in oven 3-5 minutes.

4. Stir pecans into cornmeal batter. Coat hot muffin pans with cooking spray; pour batter into muffin cups, filling 3/4 full. I use a large ice cream scoop.

5. Bake at 450 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Get out of my way because I'm having one now before they ever reach the table.

Cook's Note: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare batter as directed, toasting pecans in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Pour batter into cast-iron skillet. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Now you have a skillet of cornbread!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Caramel-Nut Pull-Apart Bread

November 11, 2011, (11/11/11). That will not happen again It is also Veterans Day. Take a few minutes to remember our veterans and also the men and women still serving in all branches of the service. Where would we be without them? God Bless them all, past and present.

I can almost taste these while I'm typing! Gooey pull-apart bread goes well at any breakfast table. Or if you're having a bad day, sit down and eat the whole thing. Someone said it relieves stress. This is especially wonderful over the holidays.

Caramel-Nut Pull-Apart Bread
12 servings
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1 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup butter, melted
3 (12-ounce) cans refrigerated biscuits. I use Pillsbury Golden Layers Flaky.
2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine brown sugar and walnuts in a small bowl. Stir in butter. Spoon half of brown sugar mixture in bottom of a greased 12-cup Bundt pan.

2. Cut each biscuit in half, and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, toss well to coat. Arrange half of biscuits over brown sugar mixture in Bundt pan. Spoon remaining brown sugar mixture over biscuits in pan; top with remaining biscuits.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 36 minutes or until browned. Turn out onto a serving platter immediately, spooning any sauce in pan over bread. Serve warm.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pumpkin Stew in a Pumpkin

There is no doubt in my mind that not one person will bother to make this. If by chance you do, you will make it again and again. Unbelievable wonderful!

Come on, let's go see what we can find at Miz Helen's Country Cottage - Full Plate Thursday.

Pumpkin Stew in a Pumpkin
4-6 servings
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1 medium sugar pumpkin (Make sure it's nice and fresh)
1 large onion, diced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups fresh bread cubes, cut into 1-inch cubes from a French loaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups mixed fresh mushrooms (button, portobello, chanterelle, oyster) cleaned, stems removed, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
1 container (7-8-ounce) creme fraiche or 1/2 pint heavy cream

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Cut the top off of the pumpkin as you would if you were going to carve it for Halloween. Scrape out the seed and loose pulp, being careful not to remove the pumpkin flesh itself, since pumpkin is the basic flavoring of this dish. Save the top of the pumpkin, which will be placed back on during cooking.

In a large skillet, saute the onions and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat for a few minutes, and then add the fresh croutons and toss. Stir and cook the croutons for another few minutes and then add the garlic. Toss the mixture and cook until the croutons begin to brown. Add more butter as needed to keep the mixture from drying out. Set aside.

In a separate pan, saute' 1 tablespoon of butter with the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms have released their juices and begun to reabosrb them. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To assemble the pumpkin for cooking, put in layers of the bread mixture followed by a dash of salt and pepper, then a layer of the grated cheese, a layer of mushrooms, a bit of the crumbled bacon, and a thin layer of creme fraiche or heavy cream. Keep layering until the pumpkin is filled. End with a layer of cheese.

Put the pumpkin lid back on. Set the filled pumpkin in a casserole dish that will support its sides. Fill a roasting pan with 2 inches of water, and place the pumpkin,in its casserole dish, in the water. Bake for about 3 hours, checking from time to time, until the pumpkin pulp is getting soft enough to scoop up/

To serve, gently remove the pumpkin from the water bath and place on a large platter. Scrap out some of the pumpkin flesh with a large, sturdy spoon as you dish out each bowl.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Broken Teepee - From Kitchen to Table

I am thrilled to be featured on Broken Teepee - From Kitchen to Table today. Please take time to have a look. It is always an honor to be ask to guest post.

As a matter of fact I was so excited about being ask to guest post that I forgot to mention it in my first post today. Don't forget to drop by and see Patty today.

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

Every winter it seems I find a new favorite soup of the year and keep making it until everyone is sick of it. I do believe this is the one for this year. Let me just say this does not resemble Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup in the least.

Cream of Mushroom Soup
6-8 servings
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1 ounce dried wild mushrooms (porcini, cremini, or morels)
2 1/2 cups spring water (it does matter)
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus an additional 2 tablespoons, if needed
1 shallot, finely diced
8 ounces fresh button mushrooms, gently rinsed, patted dry with paper towels, and finely diced
7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups homemade chicken stock
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup dry sherry
sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place the dried mushrooms in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the spring water to a boil and pour over the dried mushrooms. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Remove the reconstituted mushrooms with a slotted spoon, pat dry, and chop finely. Set aside. Strain the mushroom water through cheesecloth and set the water aside. You should have about 2 cups of mushroom water.

In a large stockpot, melt the butter over low heat. Place the diced shallot and diced fresh mushrooms in the pot and allow to cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Raise the heat to medium, sprinkle in the flour, and stir constantly until the mixture bubbles and the flour is cooked, about 3 minutes. (If the mixture is completely dry, add up to 2 tablespoons of extra butter. Stir the mixture until the butter is completely melted, then stir and cook until the flour is cooked.)

Using a 1/2-cup measuring cup, add the chicken stock and reserved mushroom water 1/2 cup at a time. Bring the heat up to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Lower the heat and add the chopped wild mushrooms, the cream, the sherry, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

When the soup has cooled slightly, spoon it in batches into a blender, and puree. Place the pureed batches into a large heatproof bowl. When soup is completely pureed, pour it back into the stockpot, taste, and correct the seasoning. Bring the soup back to a simmer and serve.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blueberry Sweet Muffins

What a wonderful little recipe this is. Not often do you find a muffin recipe that makes only six. I would much rather be tempted by 6 muffins than 12-18 hanging around. Every summer I pick and freeze loads of blueberries for pie, cobblers, muffins, etc.

I think this will be a favorite for you!

Blueberry Sweet Muffins
6 regular muffins
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1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.

2. Stir together milk, oil, and egg; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Fold in blueberries. Spoon into greased or paper lined muffin pans, filling two-thirds full. Sprinkle batter with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

3. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on wire racks.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak

How long has it been since you made Chicken Fried Steak, mashed potatoes and cream gravy? I can taste it already. This is the perfect meal for a cold snowy or rainy night.

Authentic chicken-fried steak is crunchy outside, tender inside, and served with plenty of cream gravy made from pan drippings. Bring it on!

Chicken-Fried Steak
6 servings
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2 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1 3/4 teaspoons ground black pepper, divided
6 (4 ounce) cube steaks
38 saltine crackers (1 sleeve), crushed
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 3/4 cups of milk, divided
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups peanut oil

1. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon, each salt and black pepper over steaks.

2. Combine cracker crumbs, 1 cup flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and red pepper.

3. Whisk together 3/4 cup milk and eggs. Dredge steaks in cracker crumb mixture' dip in milk mixture, and dredge in cracker mixture again.

4. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Pour oil into a 12-inch skillet; heat to 360 degrees F. (Do not use a nonstick skillet.) Fry steaks, in batches, 10 minutes. Turn an fry each batch 4-5 minutes more or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack on a jelly-roll pan. Keep steaks warm in a 225 degree oven. Carefully drain hot oil, reserving cooked bits and 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet.

5. Whisk together remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 4 cooks milk. Pour mixture into reserved drippings in skillet; cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, 10 to 12 minutes or until thickened. Serve gray with steaks and mashed potatoes.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saint and Scriptures Sunday - The Journey

On any journal, we must find out where we are before we can plan the next step.

Our lives in all aspects are a journey toward a destination, one fitting to our purpose, our special gifts, our particular needs. Each day contributes to our journey, carrying us closer to our destination. However, we often take a circuitous route. We get stranded or waylaid by our selfish desires, by the intrusion of our controlling ego.

We can reflect on the progress we've made toward our destination, the steps we've taken that have unknowingly contributed to our journey. Our easiest steps have been the ones we took in partnership with God. It's in God's mind that our path is well marked.

We are just where we need to be today. The experiences that we meet are like points on the map of our journey. Some of them are rest stops. Others resemble high-speed straightaways. The journey to our destination is not always smooth, but the more we let God sit in the driver's seat, the easier will be our ride.

I will plan my journey today with God's help, and my ride will be smooth.

Please visit The Kennedy Adventures!, for more Saint and Scriptures. Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Breakfast Anytime Potatoes

These really should be called "Anytime Potatoes". They certainly are not just for breakfast. I always seem to make these anytime I am making breakfast for dinner or for a brunch. The perfect potato to serve with Eggs Benedict or plain scrambled eggs.

Breakfast Anytime Potatoes
Serves 4
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1 1/2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, well- rinsed, cubed with skin on, and place in a zip lock bag
2-3 tablespoons olive oil (more if needed)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 sweet yellow or white onion, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place all of the ingredients in the baggie with the potatoes. Shake VERY well to coat potatoes with the other ingredients. Place on large cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Do not layer potatoes; have one even layer. Bake for 45 minutes or until brown and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. If they don't brown enough during baking, use a kitchen torch for a few seconds over the potatoes just until they are crispy and browned.