Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Baby Back Ribs

Hi ya'll & welcome to my very first experience making baby back ribs & boy did they turn out even better than I expected!!!  I had reservations about baking them in the oven but those concerns have now been put to rest.  I thought it would take hours & hours to make really good ribs, boy was I wrong.  This was so easy, it will blow your mind & we can't wait to devour these, juicy, tender ribs again for the 4th of July!!!  I wanted to share with everyone just how super easy this recipe is, so that you can share it with your families this weekend.  ENJOY!!  

1 1b slab baby back ribs 
1/4 cup Italian dressing (used Penzey's dry Italian dressing mix & made a homemade version)
coated liberally with paprika, garlic powder, salt & white pepper
Finish off with your favorite bbq sauce

Coat your ribs in the dressing & dry seasoning then allow them to marinate for about an hour or overnight, is even better.  Bake 350F for about an hour or until internal temperature reaches 160F.  Remove and brush with bbq sauce.  Let rest for about 5-10 mins.  Then serve.  

Makes about 2 servings
(we made a small batch to start off with but we will be doubling, maybe tripling this for our 4th of July celebration.  Keep in mind, you may need increase your baking time, the more you have)

Big southern hugs, 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Cheeseburger Spaghetti

"I am physically having to restrain myself from getting a 3rd bowl" ~Hubby ;))

When the idea for this dish hit me, I goggled "Cheeseburger Spaghetti" to see if anyone else had tried this before & was thrilled when I found that this might be the first of it's kind.  There were other pasta dishes that were similar but nothing came up with the use of spaghetti, so as far as I am concerned, here's the first one ;).  As you can see by my hubby's quote above, this was HUGE hit.  We loved it!!!  My hubby pinpointed that this dish tastes just like those White Castle burgers, which I remember eating when I was kid.  It took me back to those great tasting onion-y burgers.  I made this dish 2 nights ago & it's completely gone & I am about to make more.  By the way, I made the meat the day before to save time.         

8oz spaghetti noodles
1 lb ground meat (1/2 grd turkey & 1/2 grd pork)
1 (10 oz can) cream of onion soup
1/4 c half & half or whole milk
1/2 c cheese
2 tsp Dijon
1 T dill relish
1 tsp Worcestershire
1 T dried parsley (1-2 tsp fresh)
Garnish with paprika & monterey jack cheese

In a skillet, over med high heat, brown meat.  Season to taste, however you would season your burgers.  Leave meat in skillet & set aside.  Meanwhile, in a stock pot, cook noodles according to package directions, don't forget to salt your water.  Back to your skillet, on medium heat, stir in cream of onion soup, milk, cheese, Dijon, relish, worcestershire & parsley.  Once your pasta is done, drain it & return pot back to the stove.  Add the meat to your noodles & combine.  I used tongs to pull the noodles up & around the sauce.  Then transferred everything to a 2 qt oven safe dish, topped with monterey jack cheese & paprika.  Baked in 350F oven for maybe 10 mins, just to melt the cheese.  Serve with garlic bread & a salad.

Makes about 4 servings

Big southern hugs, 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baked Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

Hi ya'll!!  Thanks for stopping by to check out this super simple supper idea.  Hubby & I wanted to do something that could be thrown together in no time but also be comforting.  And something that adults & kids can both enjoy.  Everyone needs a night off from standing over a hot stove, even those of us who love to cook.  The buttery croissant with the sweet ham and melt-y cheese, really hit the spot.  Next time, you need something super easy & comforting, this is it!!  And you can make up any combination you want, the options are endless.  I would love to hear what combinations you would prepare for your family...feel free to leave your ideas in the comments below & I will pick 1 to feature in an upcoming blog post.  Can't wait to see all your ideas!!!

2 croissants (large)
a few slices of your favorite ham 
2 slices NY cheddar cheese
1 T Dijon mustard

Layer it up & wrap each sandwich in foil.  Place in a preheated 350F oven for 10-15 mins.
Makes 2 sandwiches

Big southern hugs,

Saturday, June 18, 2011

PB & J Breakfast Bars

Hi ya'll, I am so excited about sharing this recipe with you!!!   This is our favorite quick breakfast item, hubby can grab 1 of these as he walks out the door, cause he always forgets to eat breakfast, or so he claims.  So, I wanted to come up with something that would help us solve that little dilemma.  You can whip these up in less than 30 mins (not including baking & cooling, of course).  Also, a very kid friendly option.  These totally remind me of being a kid myself, one bite had me, reminiscing about coming home from school, getting off the bus, walking inside to discover a PB & J sandwich waiting for me along with a tall class of milk.        

1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats 
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 

PB Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cuo creamy peanut butter
pinch of salt
1 large egg, beaten

Top with 1/2 C Blackberry Jam

Preheat oven to 350F. Line & spray an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper (nonstick foil).

Prepare crust: In a mixing bowl, stir together add oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Add melted butter and stir together til crumbly.  Reserve 1/2 cup crumb mixture for topping.  Place remaining mixture firmly in the bottom of a parchment lined dish. Place pan in oven for appromimately 12 minutes, until crust sets.  

Prepare peanut butter filling: In bowl, add cream cheese, peanut butter, egg, salt and beat til incorporated.  Pour mixture over baked crust, then spread on top your favorite jelly/jam.  I swirled mine in just slightly or you could microwave it for a few seconds to make it easier to spread.  Top with remaining crumb mixture.  

Place it the oven for 30 minutes until top is browned.  Allow this to cool.  Once cool, place in fridge for about an hour to let it completely set up before serving.  Lift it out of the pan by the ends of the parchment paper & place it on a cutting board. Best served at room temperature.

Makes up to 16 bars

Big southern hugs, 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Forester Potato Salad

Hi ya'll, no southern family would be complete without their own on potato salad so today, I am so thrilled to be bringing you ours!!!  Hubby & I have been working on this recipe for several weeks, now.  Tweaking it here & there, until we finally came up with one that we both love!!  It has everything one looks for in a good southern potato salad, tangy from the mustard & the relish, a little bit of onion flavor & chopped up hard boiled eggs to give it just the right texture. The secret to making a quick & easy potato salad is....use a bag of frozen hash browns & boil them.  It's just cut russet potatoes that have been frozen so the work has been done for ya.  I wish I could take credit for the idea but all the thanks goes to Christy Jordan over at Southern Plate.  Thanks, Christy...we love ya!!!

1 (24 oz) bag hash brown potatoes
4 hard boiled eggs, rough chopped
2 tsp yellow mustard
2 T dill relish
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 sour cream
3/4 cup onion, diced
1 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste (suggestion 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp white pepper)

In a dutch oven, bring water to boil, add potatoes and cook til fork tender.  It doesn't take long, mine were only in there about a minute.  Drain & let cool is a separate bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Season to taste.  You can make this the day before and allow the flavor to marinate together overnight.

Big southern hugs, 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicken Cakes (for those allergic to shellfish)

My hubby is allergic to shell fish & discovered it on accident.  Due to religious practices, he never had shell fish growing up, so as an adult, wanted to try it.  Well, you can imagine how that went.  Every time I tell someone he's allergic, the reaction is always the same, how sorry they feel for him.  Well, he honestly doesn't know what he's even missing, all he has ever had is shrimp.  Naturally, since he can't eat shellfish, that also means, out of respect, I don't eat it either.  My love for him greatly outweighs a need to eat my weight in oysters, crab cakes & scallops.  About a week before this meal was served, we started talking about how to make a shellfish FREE version of crab cakes.  Can you imagine planning a meal for a entire week?  Most folks, would think that was nuts, who has the time for that?  Well, us foodies/bloggers, it's what we love to do!!! 

You can close your eyes, take a bite of these cakes & have no idea you are eating chicken.  I almost cried, tears of joy because all those classic seafood flavors came rushing back.  And for the first time in his life, he now knows what that tastes like.  Finally, I can share with him something he has been denied from childhood.  He was so sweet, when he took his first bite, he asked me "is this the way crab cakes taste?" I replied, "yep!!"  And he kept all gobbling em down.  He is so excited about the doors this dish is opening up, not just for him but for others like him.

I would like to personal thank my amazing friend, Kim from The Farmer's Wife for passing on her mother's recipe to me & allowing me to adapt it to our tastes.  Thanks, Kim..I love you!!!   

2 chicken breast, poached & shredded (2 cups cooked)
1 C panko bread crumbs, processed down in food processor
1/3 cup green onion, chopped 
1 T dried parsley
8 oz cream cheese, softened 
2 tsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon) with the zest
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce 
1 tsp dijon mustard 
1 T dill relish
salt & pepper to taste (suggestion 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp white pepper)
1 egg, beaten 
2 to 4 T olive oil 

In a medium bowl, combine everything but the egg.  This way you can season & taste before the egg goes in.  Once you are comfortable with the seasoning, add in the egg.  If you can make a ball out of the mixture it's perfect & ready to be shaped.  If not, just add a little milk or water to it until it comes together.  Shape in to 8 small patties.  I used a 1/3 cup measure to get them just right.  In a cast iron skillet, over medium heat, cook in oil for 3-5 mins or until they just begin to brown.  I served this with a homemade Remoulade sauce (see below).  

Remoulade Sauce (inspired by Southern Bite)
1/2 cup mayo
1 1/2 tsp prepared horseradish (or 1 tsp dry)
1 T stone ground mustard
2 small garlic cloves, 
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp yellow mustard
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tablespoon honey
2 T water to thin out (add a little at a time until it reaches the consistency you prefer)
1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 white pepper

Combine and refrigerate for several hours to allow flavors to come together.
Makes about 1/2 cup

Big southern hugs, 

Friday, June 10, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

This dough recipe is from Kim, The Farmers Wife and she is such an amazing cook & friend.  I could go on for days about how much I love her but you can discover how amazing she really is, by going to check out her site & tell her I sent ya!!!  Kim makes her dough in a bread machine and all I did was adapt the directions to be able to prepare it, without one.  This is the easiest pizza dough you will ever make, it takes 40 mins to rise, that's all.  You can decide an hour before dinner to have pizza and have your own homemade crust ready in that time.   

For the dough
3/4 cup warm water (not more than 110F)
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 T olive oil
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 170F.  In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar, in the water and set aside.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add flour, salt and garlic.  Once the yeast mixture starts to form bubbles (usually takes only a few mins) add the olive oil.  Then pour yeast mixture into dry ingredients and combine til dough forms.  It should a bit sticky at this point.  On a well floured surface knead dough for several minutes until it comes together, continue adding small amounts of flour until the dough is no longer sticky.  Turn off your stove.  Then place dough in a oven safe bowl and cover with damp towel, place in oven.  Let rise for 40 mins or until doubled in size.  Roll dough out on a well floured surface.  Makes a nice 16 in pizza or 2 smaller 8 in pizzas for individual servings. 

3-4 T bbq sauce
1 cup shredded chicken
handful of diced red onion
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F with pizza stone inside.  Once the dough comes in contact with the hot stone, it's not going to move very easily, so if any holes or irregularities occur just do the best you can to fix them but don't worry about it too much, it's meant to rustic.  Add your toppings then place in oven for approximately
15 mins.  (we did 1 min on broil, just to brown the crust a little more)

Best BBQ sauce, in Memphis, Germantown Commissary!!!!  

NOTE:  I know ya'll are wondering, if I really ate this pizza since BBQ sauce has tomato puree in it, well I DID!!  We have been to The Commissary on several occasions lately and I had been testing my tummy by trying little drops of it here and there, praying that no challenges would arise.  Well, it worked!!!  So, we decided it was time to re-introduce REAL BBQ sauce and I couldn't be more thankful to finally be eating a BBQ pizza again, wow what an amazing experience...I feel FREE!!! 

Big southern hugs, 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Secret Ingredient Mac & Cheese

Hi ya'll!!!  I know, I know...how many Mac & Cheese recipes does one need, right?  I realize that am always playing with the creamy Original Mac and Cheese recipe but I only make a few minor changes here and there to suit whatever flavors we are craving.  And that's all I did here.  Just scaled it way down to make about 4 servings then added the secret ingredient.     

4 oz large elbow noodles
4 oz Velveeta cheese, cut into small cubes or grated
2 T butter
1 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt & white pepper to taste (1/4 tsp of each because we LOVE white pepper in mac & cheese)
SECRET INGREDIENT IS....1/8 tsp turmeric (added for color)

Turmeric is filled with tons of minerals so, it's actually very good for us, you can easily sneak it in anything that has cheese in it.  And your kids will never know because of it's neutral flavor properties.  So, I encourage you try it out and see of they notice...works on husbands too ~snickers~.

In dutch oven over medium high heat, boil noodles according to package directions, drain & return to pot.  Now, over medium low heat, add butter, Velveeta, garlic, milk and stir til melted together.  Add (could add more if you like) cheddar cheese, mustard and finally the secret ingredient, turmeric.

Makes 4 (1/2 cup) servings

Big Southern hugs, 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Blackberry Cider Pork Chops

Hi ya'll, last night was very special night, so I wanted to make something in celebrating of the gifts God has recently given to us.  I realize that's an everyday occurrence but we had been struggling with this for almost 6 weeks, so it just seemed like the right thing to do to.  Our go to comfort food, is always classic southern dishes, so this just seemed to fit our craving.  I will be bringing you a separate post on the Mac & Cheese because it has a secret ingredient that I can't wait to share with ya, so be looking for it soon.   

Blackberry Cider Glaze
1/4 cup Blackberry Jam
2 T apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt

Makes approximately 4 (1 T) servings

In a cast iron skillet, over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon bacon grease or butter.  Season pork chops with a little salt & pepper and then place them in the skillet to brown.  Meanwhile in a saucepan, over medium heat, add blackberry jam and cider, bring to boil and then reduce temperature to low and allow it to simmer for about 5-10 mins or until it begins to thicken.  Brush on chops, while they are resting or brush on and place under a broiler to caramelize the sauce, serve & enjoy!

Big southern hugs, 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blackberry Cream Cheese Bread Pudding


Hi ya'll!!  I wanted to come up with something that would really embrace summers in the south and the star, well Blackberry Jam, of course!!!  Whether it's slathered on buttermilk biscuits or used as a dip with Ritz crackers (my favorite snack), we never get tired of it.  So, we got to talking the other day on the Country Cooks Across America page on Facebook and folks were sharing all these fabulous ideas on what to do with Blackberry Jam.  It was so inspiring that I just had to create something.  So, Lark (from Lark's Country Heart) and I started brainstorming about how to do this up right & this is where we landed.  I feel so blessed to be surrounded by these women that will stop whatever they are doing to brainstorm about a creative new dish, I just love it!!!  I served this along side some good ole' country ham and it was a perfect.  My hubby took one bite & I got the approving look that I long for, WAHOO!!  It's creamy, buttery from the almond extract & sweet from the jam, truly a keeper.  5 STARS!!!

Fresh from the oven
1 loaf french bread, cut into cubes
4 Eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp almond extract
season with salt & pepper to taste (1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 white pepper)
1/4 cup Blackberry Jam
4 oz Cream Cheese (plus a little more for dolloping)

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon, extract, salt & pepper, set aside
Place cut bread cubes in a greased 8x8 baking dish
In a saucepan over med heat, melt together the cream cheese & jam, pour over bread cubes & toss.  Finally pour in custard & dollop in a few extra bites of cream cheese on top.
Refriderate for up to 1 hr, if you can wait that long...NOT ME
Bake at 400 F for 25-30 mins

Big southern hugs, 

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