Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Well, the secret is now ya'll have figured out that I love taking things like classic american comfort foods and turning them into something different & FUN!!  And this pizza completely fulfilled it's culinary destiny.  We wanted to pick up this entire thing, fold it half and eat every bite of was SOOOO GOOD.  You have probably also figured out that we are not really ground beef kinda people so this recipe is with ground turkey but it's not without loads of flavor.  It's very easy to turn lean ground turkey into a wonderfully flavored meat just by adding 1 key ingredient...Worcheshire sauce!!  It's my secret ingredient when it comes to making ground turkey taste like ground beef, so there you have it folks..another one of my secrets revealed ~snickers~.  So tell me what's your favorite burger that you would LOVE to turn into a pizza?? 

1 13" pizza dough (mine came from our fav pizza place, Memphis Pizza Cafe)
4 slices bacon
1 lb ground turkey (season to taste, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper)
Couple dashes of Worcestershire 
2/3 cup Cheez Whiz
2 T red onion, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 cup your favorite cheese, shredded (used a Cheddar Jack blend)
Garnish with Lettuce, tomatoes (which we omitted since I can't eat) and pickles

1.  Place stone in oven & preheat oven to 450F
2.  In a preheated skillet over med high heat, place bacon and cook.  Remove and set aside, reserving 1 T bacon fat.  
3.  Place ground turkey in skillet and brown.  Season according to taste, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika were my flavors that were added.  At the very end I went around the pan a few times with the Worcestershire sauce.
4.  Place Cheez Whiz in a microwave safe bowl & warm on high for maybe 30 secs, remove and stir.  Remove stone from oven (be careful, it will be VERY hot) and place dough on it before you begin assembling.  I made the mistake of trying to assemble the pizza on the cardboard and had a very hard time transferring it.  Spread cheez whiz on dough.  Then add your meat (I didn't use all of it, had a little left over but that was just me...feel free to pile it on), then onions, bacon and finally shredded cheese.  
5.  Place in oven and cook for approximately 10 mins or until cheese is melted and dough is cooked.  Garnish with lettuce, tomato, pickles...pretty much whatever you enjoy most on your burger.

Makes 8 slices

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Homemade Stock

This is a basic homemade stock recipe, I did add chicken but it's easily substituted or omitted all together to suit your tastes and dietary restrictions.  

I realize this is not the same as the pitcher above but the liquid was still pretty hot and that pitcher was plastic so just didn't want to take any chances, in case it wasn't as heat proof as it claimed.
Why would anyone go to this much trouble when you can grab a box from the store for less than about $2?  I know that's what you asking yourself, cause I thought the same thing.  And I am going to tell ya why I made my own.  First it's easier than you think.  I rough chopped the veggies, while the water was coming to a boil and before I knew it...I was throwing in veggies and making stock.  In about 20-30 mins you make your own with ingredients you probably already have on hand in your kitchen right now.  And I bet it will taste 10x better than those can/box versions.  Secondly, it's all about getting to control exactly what goes into your stock.  All the flavors you enjoy, so it's your own creation.  If you don't have carrots (like me this week) no biggie, you can just leave them out.  This also means you can control the sodium content, if you are cooking for those who limit themselves, this is a great alternative.  Lastly, this is a very versatile recipe, you can add or subtract whatever protein you want to suit your needs for that week.  Wanna make a veggie stock, great just leave out the meat.  Or you could make a lamb stock and add lamb (reserve the meat for a stew later)...I know I sound like a broken record but it's really about whatever you want.  So come up with other versions and let me know, can't wait to hear what you create.  By the way, I did not add any salt or pepper to this because it's all a matter of taste but don't forget to add them as you are cooking.

1 1/2 - 2 lbs chicken breast (3-4 breasts)
2 1/2 qt water
2 carrots, rough chop (had to omit these cause I was out)
1 onion, rough chop
2 stalks celery, rough chop
1/2 - 1 T dried thyme (I used 1 T but you could use less if you prefer)
1 lemon (cut in half and juiced) or
    1/2 tsp lemon peel powder

In a 5 1/2 qt or bigger stock pot bring water to boil, place all ingredients in pot and simmer on med high for about 20 mins or until chicken is done.  Strain out the veggies & reserve the water into a 2 qt pitcher or bowl (whatever you got).  Let cool then place in fridge til ready to use.

Makes approximately 2 quarts

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cheese Grits & Sausage Casserole

Another tribute to my amazing grandmother, Janny.  This cheese grits recipe has been in our family for as long as I can recall.  As a little girl, I always knew to expect a batch of Cheese Grits to be baking whenever I went over to my grandmother's house.  I can still see her reaching in her old green colored oven to pull these out and set them on the stove to cool.  And it was always me standing to her left, bowl in hand with a HUGE grin on my face.  And I would always hear, let it cool first or you will get burned.  I trusted she knew what she was talking I waited....maybe not patiently (cause that's really not my style ~giggles~) but I waited none-the-less.  She obviously had this recipe memorized by the time I came along (back in the 70's - we will leave it at that for now ;) but occasionally feared she might forget it.  The reason I think this is because anytime I go thru her recipe cards, I always find at least 4 or 5 copies of it written down.  Or maybe she wanted all her grandkids to have a copy of it in her handwriting, I know I do!!  This recipe is made for every special occasion we have, Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthday's or in this case for a weeknight comfort meal.

The next day after I made this, my mother stopped by and I wanted her to see what had been created from her mother's recipe so I went into fridge to grab it out and show her but when I pulled back the foil I was shocked to see that there was barely even 1 serving left.  I started laughing when it hit me that my hubby had taken most of it for his lunch that day.  I am always nagging him to take our leftovers for lunch EXCEPT I forgot to tell him that rule doesn't apply when it's Janny's Cheese Grits.  He should know by now that the rules I make are subject to be changed or altered at my convenience, especially when it comes to food ~snickers~.

Easy Homemade Sausage 
(skip this step, if you prefer and purchase 1 lb of your favorite sausage already seasoned)

1 lb ground pork (our grocery store carries fresh ground pork in the meat department, nothing has been added to it, no preservatives or other unnecessary ingredients and we LOVE flavoring it up to suit our taste)
1 T Bratwurst seasoning
1/4 tsp ground fennel seed 

(I did not have to season with salt & pepper because it was already in my brat seasoning)

In a skillet over med high heat, brown sausage.  Set aside and begin preparing your grits.  

Janny's Cheese Grits 
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 clove garlic (1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1/2 cup quick country grits
1/2 cup milk
2 T butter
4 oz (1 cup) sharp cheddar, grated
2 eggs (***if you double the recipe, only add 1 more egg for a total of 3 eggs)
1/4 tsp white pepper
Dollops of sour cream
2 green onions, garnish
dash Paprika on top for color

Place grits in boiling water and when it begins to thicken, add milk.  When mixture reaches a boil 2nd time, add cheese and butter.  In a small bowl, beat eggs and add warm grits to them to temper (this way you won't get scrambled eggs).  Then add eggs slowly into the grits and lastly add the sausage, stir til incorporated.  Place in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish (mine didn't need to be greased but feel free to grease yours).  Add small dollops of sour cream on top, then sprinkle with extra cheese and paprika.  Place in oven, preheated 350F and bake for 30 mins or until bubbly.  Garnish with green onions & serve.  ENJOY!!!

Makes 4-5 servings

Monday, March 21, 2011

Blueberry & Peach Cobbler

March 17th in our family, is not a day to wear green and run around pinching people...although I fully support anyone who wants to celebrate the holiday in whatever way they choose.  March 17th was day my sweet grandmother, Janny went to be with the Lord.  This year marks the 22nd anniversary of her passing and I wanted to do something special to celebrate her memory.  My mother's best friend growing up and still to this day is a beautiful lady named Sandy or as we call her, Dew Arch.  In fact we all had nicknames like that for each other, mine is Dew Ang (you see the pattern) and my mother's is Dew Var (her middle name is Virgina, so it's derived from that) to be honest, I forget how all that come about.  They made all that up before I was born...on my birth certificate it probably say's "Dew Ang" somewhere on there, I imagine.  Dew Arch was telling me how my grandmother made the most amazing Peach Cobbler so I joyfully skipped off in search of the recipe.  Digging thru index card, after index card I couldn't find it anywhere but that's ok, just means she's keeping it tucked away safe somewhere so when I do it find it, it will mean even more.  She know's I just don't give up that easy, anyways.  So today, I am bringing you what I would imagine she would be very proud of.  My hubby and I discussed in great detail what we wanted from a cobbler and this certainly delivered and GREATLY exceeded our exceptions!!!  As I am posting this (which I made on Friday) there is ONLY 1 serving left.  The buttery crust compliments the lightly sweetened fruit that has just a hint of almond running thru it, this is what I imagine hers tasted like...awww, HEAVEN!!!  This dish is so much easier than baking a cake, you will be shocked at how quickly you can whip this up and at how quickly it will be devoured.      

1/2 c all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 C + 2 T sugar
1 egg yoke
1 1/4 tsp Almond extract (vanilla is fine too but we just prefer Almond)
1 T cornstarch
16 oz bag frozen peaches, thawed
12 oz bag frozen blueberries, thawed
Garnish with cinnamon

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

Using a wooden spoon/stick ~snickers~ whatever you have on hand, beat together the butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl until well combined. Beat in egg yoke and 1/4 tsp almond extract. Add the flour mixture and stir til well combined. Place dough in ice box ;) (what we call the fridge, now-a-days) while preheating to 375F

Place all the berries in a 2qt rectangular baking dish, stir in remaining 2 T sugar, cornstarch and almond extract. Toss gently to coat.

Drop the dough in heaping tablespoons over the berries, it will not cover the fruit entirely and don't worry about trying to spread it. It spreads while it's cooking. Bake until bubbling, about 45 mins. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.  Let cool before serving and ENJOY!!! Makes approximately 6-8 servings.

Inspired by Canal House recipe

Thursday, March 17, 2011

CJ's & A's Chicken Salad

This past Sat March 12, we did something very special that without a doubt ranks up there as one of the BEST night's of my life beside my honeymoon of course.  Our Supper Club group got the unique opportunity to honor Christy Jordan from Southern Plate.  Each group member picked their favorite dish and prepared it to share with everyone.  Now for the REALLY EXCITING part, Christy Jordan herself agreed to join us for this event via Skype and we got to spend the entire evening talking and sharing.  Now, I am not going to sit here and tell you everything we talked about because I have something even better in mind, we video'd the entire process and here very soon I will be posting portions of that video to share with you.  My heart is still filled with joy from all the memories and stories she so graciously shared with us.  And let me tell you, this is one amazing' southern gal!!!  She has soooo much personality and almost 3 hrs later we were still at it, I honestly think we could have stayed up all night and never run out of things to talk about.  We got to talkin' about her Alabama BBQ Sauce and I shared that I had tried to make my own but it turned out I added too many different flavors and it was a bust..oh well, better luck next time.  In keeping with my promise I made to her on Sat, I made her version, let's face it she's more of the expert on the great state of Alabama than I am.  Well folks I fell in love with Christy's is is out of this world delicious!!!  

So, in keeping with honoring her and her great recipes...I came up with this.  What else do us southern folks love that uses mayo to bind everything together...well a CHICKEN SALAD of course!!!  So, I used her Alabama BBQ Sauce to bring everything together and it's the perfect combination, if I don't say so myself ~snickers~  

SP's Alabama BBQ Sauce
I vowed to be true to this recipe, although I did cut it in half because the salad recipe only calls for 1/4 - 1/2 cup of this and that still leaves some left over, I just can't stand the idea of wasting food, it absolutely drives me crazy and I don't need any help in that department ~snickers~

CJ's & A's Chicken Salad (serves 3-4ppl)
2 cups (approximately 3 breasts) cooked chicken breast, cubed
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup shredded cheese (whatever you love)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup Alabama BBQ sauce (could use more, depending on desired consistency)
1/8 tsp paprika (optional and added for color)
Half avocado diced 
salt & pepper to taste

Mix everything together, except the avocado (add to the dish, right when you serve it, otherwise it just turns brown) of course it's ok to's just not quite as pretty.  This is really good the next day, so I suggest making it the day before and then adding the avocado right before serving, ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sweet Potato, Bacon & Sour Cream Frittata

So, we have been making different versions, testing them out & this is by far our favorite one!! My previous post is of the original version.  The cinnamon gives this dish such a warm feeling and the chili powder just helps bring out a bit of spicy flavor from the sweet potatoes.  When I came up with this I thought what are some classic southern foods that really compliment each other...SWEET POTATOES & BACON!!!!  When I posted on Facebook last night that this was what we were having for dinner my friend Sharon immediately requested the recipe, it filled me with joy knowing that she trusted me before the final product had even hit the ABLOF Facebook page.  Thank you, Sharon!!!  She is actually making this for a brunch this weekend & can't wait to hear what everyone thinks!!  

4 slices of bacon
1 sweet potato, peeled & cut into 1/2 in cubes
Season potatoes (to taste) with Chili Powder & Cinnamon
8 large eggs
salt & pepper to taste (suggestion 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper)
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 scallions, sliced thin

1. In a 10-12 inch oven proof frying pan or cast iron skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy. Place on paper towel lined plate. When cool, crumple into 1/4 in pieces and set aside.

2. In same pan, leave 2 tablespoons bacon fat, reserving the rest in a small bowl. Cook potato in bacon fat over med-high heat until browned and tender, 8-10 mins. Remove & let cool.

3. In a bowl, beat eggs with salt and pepper. Add bacon and potatoes.

4. Preheat oven to broil, placing rack 6 inches from heat.

5. Heat reserved bacon fat (if there is any, if not you can sub butter) in pan over med. heat. Add egg mixture, reduce heat to low and cook for approximately 6 mins. Drop in small dollops of sour cream and top with cheese.

6. Broil for 2 mins, until eggs are set. Garnish with scallions & ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Potato, Bacon & Sour Cream Frittata

This dish comes to you courtesy of my amazing mother.  She prepared & delivered this to us for dinner, recently.  What's better than mom's cooking when you're a little under the weather, right?  I suggest serving this alongside buttermilk biscuits & fresh strawberries.  We are definitely going to have to make this again, we can't stop eating it!!! Thanks Mom, you are the best!!!    

4 slices of bacon
1 large russet potato, peeled & cut into 1/2 in cubes
8 large eggs
salt & pepper to taste (suggestion 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper)
1/3 cup creme' fraiche (sour cream)
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 scallions, sliced thin

In a 10-12 inch oven proof frying pan or cast iron skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.  Place on paper towel lined plate.  When cool, crumple into 1/4 in pieces and set aside.

In same pan, leave 2 tablespoons bacon fat, reserving the rest in a small bowl.  Cook potato in bacon far over med-high heat until browned and tender, 5 mins.  Remove & let cool.

In a bowl, beat eggs with salt and pepper.  Add bacon and potatoes.

Preheat oven to broil, placing rack 6 inches from heat.

Heat reserved bacon fat in pan over med. heat.  Add egg mixture, reduce heat to low and cook for approximately 6 mins.  Drop in small dollops of creme' fraiche (sour cream) and top with cheese.

Broil for 2 mins, until eggs are set.  Garnish with scallions & ENJOY!!!
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