Monday, December 16, 2013

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these for a couple of different events recently and they were a hit! My resident chef (AKA Dad) has proclaimed that these now have the distinct honor of being his favorite cookie LOL. They are perfect for Christmas (or any time you can justify baking a yummy batch of cookies!) Hope you enjoy!!

Yield: 70 cookies

1 c. butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 c. self-rising flour
1 c. oats
1 1/2 c. dried cranberries
1 c. white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together butter and sugars.
Add one egg and mix until fully incorporated, then add second egg and vanilla. Mix.
Add flour gradually, scraping down sides of bowl.
Mix until just incorporated; over-mixing results in tough cookies.
Stir in oats, cranberries and white chocolate chips.
Roll dough into 1/2" balls. (I have found that moistening my hands regularly with water makes this process much easier as this is a very sticky dough).
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving about 2" between each cookie.
Bake 8-10 minutes, just until edges of cookies are very slightly brown. Don't over-bake!
Let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mama's Fresh Apple Cake

Inspired by my favorite season, fall, I thumbed through my recipes a couple of weeks ago and found my mama's recipe for fresh apple cake. This is one of 10 recipes that she wrote down for me per my request several years ago. Those recipes are such a treasure to me now! The cake turned out beautifully and was very popular with the group who shared it with me. My dad has always said that German chocolate cake was his favorite but when I made this he informed me that it has been replaced by this apple cake. Pretty high compliment! Hope you enjoy it as much as my family and friends do!

For the cake:
1 1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 c. sugar
3 room-temperature eggs, beaten
3 c. sifted self-rising flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. coarsely chopped apples (I used honeycrisp apples)
1 c. finely chopped pecans

For the icing:
3/4 c. butter
1 1/2 c. brown sugar (dark or light,it doesn't really matter)
3/8 c. Eagle Brand milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Cake preparation:
Combine oil and sugar.
Add eggs.
Gradually add flour.
Add vanilla.
Fold in apples and pecans.
Bake in 3 layers (8" pans) at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.
Reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes.

While cake is cooling, prepare the icing:
Bring butter, sugar and milk to a boil.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
When icing has cooled, spread on cake.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pumpkin Cake

I'm baaaackk!!! I am sorry that it has been a while since I last posted anything. Life has just been happening at break-neck speed over the past month or so but I hope to be settling back into somewhat of a routine. Since we are in the midst of my FAVORITE season, Fall, I thought I would share one of my FAVORITE recipes! I have a lot of favorite recipes but this is one that I have made so many times that I have committed it to memory and have been known to tell complete strangers in the grocery store about it. Seriously. The beauty of this recipe is it is an absolutely delicious, moist, perfectly pumpkin cake with to-die-for cream cheese frosting, but I have also made it sans frosting and baked it in a 9x13-in. pan. It is wonderful!! Hope you enjoy.

Duncan Hines spice cake mix (yes, it has to be Duncan Hines to pass the test in my kitchen)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. water
3 large eggs
15-oz. can Libby's pure pumpkin

1 stick butter, room temperature
1 box powdered sugar
8-oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla

*I halved this recipe when I made the cake in the picture because I didn't want to frost the entire cake.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all cake ingredients and pour into two greased 8" cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

While cake is baking, prepare cream cheese frosting. Cream the butter and cream cheese together, then gradually add powdered sugar, mixing on low speed. Add vanilla.

Frost cake once it has completely cooled.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Carrot Souffle

I recently made this for a family dinner and it got rave reviews. Everyone was so anxious to eat that I completely forgot to take a picture though... sorry about that! I had been looking for a carrot souffle recipe for quite a while and as it turns out my BFF Tina had a wonderful one (I should have thought to check with her first LOL). It has certainly taken its place among recipes that I will use time and time again. Try it and let me know what you think!

 2 lbs. peeled carrots, cut in half
3/4 c. plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 stick butter
3 eggs
Powdered sugar (for sprinkling on top)

Boil carrots until tender; drain.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease an 8 x 8-in. baking dish and sprinkle with 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar.
Mash carrots and add remaining ingredients except eggs.
Add eggs one at a time, making sure they are well-blended into the mixture.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Sprinkle top lightly with powdered sugar before serving.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Slow-Cooked Baby Back Ribs

I spent a recent day off in the kitchen trying out new recipes. This is one of the dishes I tried and it was SO tasty! I love slow cooker recipes because they are so convenient, especially for those extra busy days. These ribs got rave reviews from my resident chef as well as the friends who shared a meal with us. Hope you enjoy!

3 lbs. baby back ribs
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup water

That's it. seriously. Four ingredients*! Gotta love it!

Place the ribs in a large slow cooker.
Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over ribs, being sure they are nicely coated.
Pour soy sauce over ribs.
Add water.
Cook on low heat for 8 hours, turning about halfway through the cook time (if you're not going to be home they will still cook just fine without turning them, I just wanted to make sure they were really coated in the juices.)

*When I made these, we loved them without extra sauce but also wanted to experiment with making a sauce for them in case someone preferred them that way. So, my resident chef (aka Dad) combined about 1 1/2 cups of sweet barbecue sauce (we like Sweet Baby Ray's but you can use whatever brand you prefer) with some of the juice that cooked out of the ribs and the sauce was AMAZING!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Etta's Molasses Sugar Cookies

This recipe was given to my mom by my Godmother over 20 years ago. She also called them "tea cakes" and I remember having them many times when we would visit her. My godmother was an elderly lady who was the perfect mix of Southern belle and John Wayne (I know, quite a combination but it's true! LOL) Anyway, these cookies are so delicious! I'm planning on making them to include in Christmas goodie packages this year (shh.... don't tell anyone! LOL) Hope you enjoy!

3/4 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt shortening and cool.
Add sugar, molasses and egg. Mix well.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
Add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Mix well. Dough will be very stiff.
Roll dough into small balls. Place on cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart.
Bake about 6-8 minutes.

Yield: About 5 dozen cookies

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mama's "Blonde Brownies"

When I think of my mama's cooking there are a few dishes that come to mind immediately, things she often took to potlucks or just family favorites. Today's recipe is one of those. I cannot count how many batches of these brownies she baked over the years! I have tried to make them a couple of times since she passed and though they turn out quite tasty, they still don't taste exactly like hers. Maybe she just put a little extra "Mama love " in when she baked them. That being said, I hope you enjoy this one and it becomes a classic favorite for you as well!

1 box light brown sugar
2 sticks butter
3 extra large eggs, room temperature
1 c. chopped pecans
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 c. self-rising flour

Melt butter.
Add box of brown sugar. Let cool for 30 minutes*.
Add eggs, one at a time, stirring in completely.
Add pecans and chocolate chips.
Gradually add flour.
Pour into 13 x 9" ungreased baking dish.
Put into cold oven**.
Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, then turn oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake 20 minutes more.

* There's a note on Mama's recipe that says "It is very important to let the butter and brown sugar set for the full 30 minutes." - I guess she learned from experience what would happen if you don't!
** If you are like me, when you read the directions for baking something, the first thing you do is look at the oven temperature and preheat your oven, even if the directions don't tell you to do so. Well, DON'T do that with this recipe! I remember Mama drilling that into me many times when she made these - they have to start in a cold oven! :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Shepherd's Pie

I am a huge fan of "Chopped" on Food Network. The creativity of those chefs and their ability to create amazing dishes with the strangest combination of ingredients is just amazing to me! Though I will never reach that level of culinary skill I decided to raid my cabinets the other day and see what kind of dish I could create, only allowing myself to use ingredients that I already had on hand. This is what I came up with and it turned out very well - my "resident chef" approved and that means a lot! Hope you enjoy!

1 lb. lean ground beef, browned and drained
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 10 3/4-oz. can beef broth
1 packet Lipton onion soup mix
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce (optional)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can Leseur small English peas
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
1 packet instant mashed potatoes, prepared according to package directions (you could also make mashed potatoes from scratch if you prefer, but remember I only allowed myself to use ingredients that I already had on hand)
Salt, to taste

Melt butter in large skillet. Add flour and stir until lightly browned. This makes a roux, the thickening agent for your sauce.

Add a little bit of beef broth, then stir in onion soup mix and ketchup.

Add more beef broth, then stir in corn and peas.

Add remaining beef broth, Kitchen Bouquet, garlic powder and salt. Stir.

Stir in browned ground beef. Let this mixture simmer for a bit until it thickens slightly.

Pour this mixture into a 3-qt. casserole dish. Spoon prepared mashed potatoes over beef mixture.

Sprinkle shredded cheddar over top of potatoes.

Bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Cabbage Stew with Smoked Sausage

I apologize for not blogging in a while.... Extra hours at work followed by having houseguests and being laid up for a week with a bad back kinda put me behind! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday with friends and family! Today's recipe is one that I discovered a while back but didn't make a note of WHERE I found it so I can give proper credit. All I can tell you is that it is SUPER simple to make and super delicious! Serve it with cornbread and you have a simple yet very tasty meal. Hope you enjoy.

1 stick butter
1 large head of cabbage, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb. Hillshire Farm smoked beef sausage, sliced into round pieces
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 tsp. salt

Melt butter in large skillet.
Add cabbage and onion and cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring to keep from sticking to pan.
Add remaining ingredients; cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

See, I told you it was simple! It was a hit at my house and hopefully it will be at yours as well!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Peach Pie With Oatmeal Crumble Topping

This is the result of my first-EVER attempt at making a pie from scratch. I had always heard stories of pie crust being so fussy and so easy to mess up that I was a bit gun-shy about making my own! I learned that it wasn't as bad as I had heard, and though the edges of the crust got more brown than I like (I'll share a tip to remedy that later) I was very pleased overall. The crust was very flaky and wasn't the slightest bit soggy (my biggest fear). Those who tasted the pie truly loved it, and that made this first-time pie baker feel pretty good! That being said, it was a VERY messy process and it's probably not something I'll do on a regular basis! One final word of instruction before I give you the recipe: Allow yourself plenty of time to make this! The entire process start to finish (including time for pie dough to chill, finished pie to cool, etc.) took four hours. Maybe once I've made a few of these I can trim that time down some, but I'm glad I devoted a Saturday afternoon to this project! Hope you enjoy.

For the crust:
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. cold butter, cubed
5 Tbsp. ice water

For the filling:
3 pounds peaches (about 8 cups)
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the crumble:
1/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp. cold butter, cubed

To make the crust:
Combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and mix with fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-sized pieces. (This can also be done with a food processor.) Sprinkle with ice water. Knead until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (be very careful not to over-work the dough.) Form dough into a disk; wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Peel, pit and cut peaches into 1/2" slices. Taste one peach slice to test for sweetness. If the peaches are not very sweet add 1/4 c. white sugar to your filling ingredients. Set peaches aside.

To make the crumble:
In a small bowl combine all of the dry ingredients and use a fork to work in the cubed butter until large clumps form; cover and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly flour a rolling pin and a work surface. Roll out dough to a 12-inch round and place in a 9-inch deep dish pie pan; fold overhang under and crimp edges.

To make the filling:
In a large bowl toss together sliced peaches, brown sugar, flour, vanilla and cinnamon (and white sugar, if needed) until combined.

Transfer the filling to pie shell and crumble the topping evenly over the top.

*Cover the edges of your pie shell with aluminum foil - this will help prevent them from browning too quickly before the rest of the pie is finished baking. You will remove the foil about halfway through the bake time.

Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until juices are bubbling and top is golden, approx. 45 minutes to an hour. Halfway through the bake time remove aluminum foil from the edges of the pie to allow them to brown nicely.

Let pie cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before serving. Store leftovers tightly covered in refrigerator.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Vegetable Tian

In continuing with the theme of featuring things from the garden, today we have another veggie dish. This recipe comes from the kitchen of my cousin, Greg. Though I haven't tried it yet, he says it is VERY tasty! Hope you enjoy.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 medium zucchini
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium potato
1 medium tomato
1 tsp. dried thyme
to taste salt & pepper
1 cup shredded Italian cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic.
Sauté both in a skillet with olive oil until softened (about five minutes).
While the onion and garlic are sautéing, thinly slice the rest of the vegetables.
Spray the inside of an 8x8 square or round baking dish with non-stick spray.
Spread the softened onion and garlic in the bottom of the dish.
Place the thinly sliced vegetables in the baking dish vertically, in an alternating pattern.
Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and thyme.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. 
Remove the foil, top with cheese and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tomato Cracker Salad

It's here, the recipe for which I have had several requests! Let me start by saying that although it might not be the PRETTIEST salad you'll ever make, the taste far makes up for the appearance. This side dish has been a well-loved staple in my family for years. My dad even has memories of eating this as a kid! We had Friday night fish fry a lot when I was growing up because I had two uncles who loved to fish - this was almost always one of the sides my granny would serve. It's also great along with peas or other veggies fresh from the garden. I love it pretty much any time! Hope you enjoy.

2 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 sleeve Club crackers or Ritz crackers (some people use saltines for this but I prefer a buttery cracker)
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
Salt and pepper

*This recipe makes enough for 2-4 servings

Stir tomatoes and mayonnaise together, mashing tomatoes very slightly.
Crush crackers and add to tomato/mayonnaise mixture.
Add salt and pepper to taste, keeping in mind that the crackers are already salty so you won't need to add very much!

That's it. It's really that simple!

**Side note: Sometimes I like to add a diced cucumber to the salad just to change things up a bit and it is very tasty!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fried eggplant

Those of you who are my friends on Facebook might be disappointed that I'm not featuring tomato-cracker salad today, but I promise that one is coming! Today's recipe features another veggie that is in abundance around here right now, eggplant.  Though I'm not a huge fan of eggplant prepared any other way, fried eggplant is one of my favorite side dishes (you know we prefer to fry EVERYTHING in the South! LOL) This is actually a quite simple dish to make... enjoy!

First, peel and cut the eggplant into slices or "fries" (you can see I opted for eggplant fries when I made these.)

After you have cut the eggplant, place it in a colander and sprinkle it with a fair amount of salt. Eggplant contains a LOT of water and the salt will help to draw some of that water out so that your eggplant won't soak up too much oil when you are frying it. Let the eggplant sit for about 20-30 minutes.
Rinse the eggplant well and pat dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, mix 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp. cornstarch, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder and 1/2 tsp. onion powder.

In another bowl, beat 2 eggs.
Pour vegetable oil into a large frying pan so that it is about 1/2" - 1" deep. Heat oil on medium-high heat.
Dip eggplant pieces into egg, then dredge in flour.
Fry them on both sides until golden brown and watch them CLOSELY - it doesn't take very long to cook them!
Here's the finished result!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Special Squash Casserole

Some of my FAVORITE things about this time of year are the yummy veggies that come from the gardens of friends and family who are more than happy to share their bounty. My yard isn't very conducive to planting my own garden (as much as I would LOVE to) due to having too many giant oak trees giving shade, so I am always grateful when a friend stops by or calls and says, "Do you guys eat squash? How about cucumbers?" or another friend opens her garden for me to pick whatever we can eat.  Maybe it's a Southern small-town thing but I absolutely love it.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting recipes that feature veggies that are in abundance during this time of year. Some are time-tested family favorites, others are ones that I have tried more recently and very much enjoyed. Today's recipe is a newer one that I have made several times and provides a different twist on the traditional squash casserole. Hope you enjoy!

2 lbs. yellow squash
1 onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. sour cream
1 stick butter
8 oz. Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil squash until tender; Drain and mash.
Chop onion; saute in 1/2 stick butter until tender.
Add soup. sour cream, salt and pepper.
Melt remaining butter and stir into dressing crumbs.
Put 1/2 of dressing in bottom of lightly greased casserole dish.
Mix squash with soup mixture and pour over dressing.
Spread remaining 1/2 of dressing on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dad's Baked Beans

Several people have commented on how simple these recipes are. That was exactly my goal - to provide tried-and-proven recipes that are delicious AND easy to make! Today's recipe is another family favorite, one that Dad has made for years and I have made myself. It is very simple and very tasty! It is ideal for those summer picnics or Fourth of July celebrations you might be planning. Hope you enjoy!

2 (53-oz.) cans Van Camp's Pork & Beans
1 c. ketchup
1 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Garlic salt to taste

Combine all ingredients; pour into large baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover and bake until beans are firmer, watching carefully to be sure they don't burn.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Hawaiian Chicken Salad


 I apologize for not posting lately. I am a piano teacher (and on my days off I am a domestic diva LOL!) and this time of year is extremely busy with recitals, end-of-the-school-year concerts, etc. Things should be settling down now, though, so look for regular posts again very soon!
Speaking of piano recitals, I made this Hawaiian chicken salad for my students' recital reception and it was a HUGE hit! I received many compliments and requests for the recipe, so I thought it would be easiest to post it here. When I made it for the reception, I put it on sandwiches and arranged them like this:
I can't take credit for the idea of arranging finger sandwiches to look like piano keys. It's something I saw in a magazine a while back and knew that I wanted to do that for my next recital. I thought they turned out pretty well!
Now, for the recipe:
3 13-oz. cans cooked chicken breast
4 Tbsp. French salad dressing
12-oz. can pineapple tidbits, drained well
1 1/2 c. seedless grapes, halved
1/2 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise
Salt to taste
Pour French dressing over chopped chicken and toss to coat well (feel free to add more dressing if needed, but remember that you only want the chicken to be lightly coated and not swimming in dressing. A little bit goes a long way!)
Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Combine drained pineapple and halved grapes.
Add fruit mix to chicken and toss.
With a wire whisk, blend whipping cream and mayonnaise until smooth and then mix into chicken. Add salt to taste.
Toss until well blended.
*Obviously this makes a fairly large amount so feel free to adjust the recipe if you aren't planning on making 50 finger sandwiches ;).

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pea-Pickin' Cake

There are all kinds of theories on how this cake got its name, and it is also known in the South by other names such as "Pig Pickin' Cake" and "Pig Lickin' Cake." All I know is it is DELICIOUS!!! Absolutely perfect for the summer or any time you want a cake that is light and just yummy. I have made it for numerous church dinners and never have any leftovers to take home. Hope you enjoy!

1 pkg. yellow cake mix plus ingredients listed on box to make cake (yes, Duncan Hines... if you've been reading my posts you know the drill!)
11-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
20-oz. can unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
1 lg. pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix
12 oz. whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cake batter according to package directions.
Beat in oranges until blended. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. baking pans. (I use Baker's Joy cooking spray and it works very well!)
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
Combine pineapple and dry pudding mix; fold in whipped topping.
Spread between layers and over top and sides of cake. Store in the refrigerator.

*Although I have made this cake countless times, I didn't have a picture of it. My friend Erin graciously allowed me to use a picture she took when she made this cake recently. Thanks, Erin!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Broccoli Salad

Here's a light, yet yummy side dish that's another one of my favorites. Hope you enjoy!

1 bunch broccoli florets
1 pkg. coleslaw mix
1 c. raisins (I prefer golden raisins for this)
1/2 c. bacon bits (buy the REAL bacon bits, not those dehydrated things)

1 1/c. mayonnaise (I prefer light mayonnaise)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar

Combine salad ingredients. Mix dressing ingredients well and toss with salad. That's it!

*As with any salad like this, it's best to let the prepared salad rest in the refrigerator for a bit so that it can fully absorb the flavor of the dressing.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

This is a fairly new recipe to me, but my Aunt Mary has been making it for quite a while. She made it when we went over for dinner recently and I knew RIGHT away that I had to get this recipe and make it ASAP! It is unbelievably simple to make and is definitely going to become a go-to recipe when I need a quick yet amazing dessert (or when I simply have a chocolate craving! LOL) Enjoy.

1 box yellow cake mix (not butter recipe)
1 box instant chocolate pudding
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 eggs
3/4 c. water
3/4 c. oil
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all dry ingredients together, then add remaining ingredients.
Mix with a wooden spoon or wire whisk.
Spray a bundt pan with Baker's Joy (be sure to coat all crevices liberally so the cake will come out easily!)
Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.
Bake for 1 hour.

*I dusted the finished cake with powdered sugar just to make it look "picture pretty," but it really doesn't need anything else.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Crunchy Onion Chicken

Long ago and far, far away, before the days of Pinterest, I would thumb through magazines and tear out recipes that looked appealing so I could try them later. That is how I discovered this recipe. I added a couple of extra ingredients that just put the finishing touch on an already tasty dish and another favorite was born! Hope you enjoy.

1 1/2 c. fried onions (you know, the kind in a can... not exactly healthy but oh so tasty!)
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast tenders
1 egg, beaten
Adobo seasoning (LOVE this stuff! If you are unable to find it at your grocery store, you can also use garlic powder)
1 can cream of chicken soup

Dump fried onions into a Ziploc bag; crush.
Season chicken with salt and Adobo seasoning or garlic powder.
Dip chicken into egg, then coat in onion crumbs.
Place in a lightly greased casserole dish.
Pour cream of chicken soup over chicken.
Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees until cooked through.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dad's Corn Chowder

This recipe is another family favorite. Dad ordered this at a restaurant several years ago, went home and decided that he could re-create the dish. Not only did he re-create it, but his version tasted better than the restaurant's! Before I list the ingredients, though, a note from Dad: "All measurements are approximate. I usually 'eyeball' when cooking and taste for final judgment as to what is needed." See, I told you he doesn't measure anything! Enjoy.

1/8 lb. salt pork (or smoked bacon), diced into small pieces
1 lb. potatoes, diced (approx. 1/2" cubes)
2 cans corn, (1 cream-style and 1 whole kernel, drained)
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. flour
1 can chicken broth
Salt, tobasco sauce, and Worcestire sauce to taste

Brown pork in the vegetable oil.
Add diced potatoes and cook until tender.
Add corn.
Add seasoning.
Add flour for thickening. From this point everything must be stirred frequently to prevent the chowder from sticking to the bottom of your pot. A heavy-bottomed pot will work best (Dad usually uses a cast-iron pot).
When flour is cooked and blended, add chicken broth and then milk. Use enough milk to get to desired thickness.
Mixture must come to a boil before attaining full thickness.
Helpful hint:If broth and milk are heated before adding to the mixture, it will boil more quickly and won't be as likely to lump.
When desired thickness has been achieved, taste for seasoning and simmer for approximately 15 minutes.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lemony Chicken

I have been making this for a few years now and it is truly one of my favorite dishes to make. The sauce is simply divine (especially if you are a fan of all things lemon like I am!) I got this recipe here:

The only thing I do differently is I like to soak my chicken tenders in buttermilk for at least 4-6 hours if possible in order to help them become even more tender. My aunt taught me that trick years ago and it really does make a difference! Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mama's Cherry Dump Cake

This is another treasure from Mama's recipe box that she made countless times for family gatherings and church potluck dinners. It's called a "dump cake" because you literally just dump everything into a dish and bake it. I am not a fan of coconut (it's one of my LEAST favorite things!) so I never ate this very much but it was definitely a favorite dish in our family. My aunt makes it without the coconut so you can do that as well if you prefer. Hope you enjoy!

1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 can cherry pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix (again, we're a Duncan Hines family so Mama always used Duncan Hine's Butter Recipe yellow cake mix)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flaked coconut
2 sticks butter, very cold

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Pour pineapple into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish.
Pour cherry pie filling over pineapple.
Sprinkle cake mix on top of cherries.
Sprinkle pecans and coconut over cherries.
Cut butter into slices and put slices all over the top of the pecans and coconut.

Bake for 1 hour to an 1 hour and 15 minutes and you're done! See, told you it was simple! ;)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bacon-Wrapped Apple Chicken

I haven't posted very many slow cooker dishes on here but don't take that as a sign that I am not a fan of using them! My slow cooker is my friend, especially on those days when I work later. It is so nice to have dinner waiting at the end of the day! I tried this slow cooker recipe just a couple of nights ago and it was SO delicious that I knew I had to share it with you guys! Hope you enjoy.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (on this particular night I used 8 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins because that was what I already had on hand), lightly salted
1 cup sweet barbecue sauce (my favorite is Sonny's but of course use whichever brand you like best)
1/4 c. brown sugar (dark or light, whichever you have in your pantry)
1/8 c. lemon juice, fresh or bottled
5 small apples, peeled and chopped (I used red delicious but Gala apples would also work very well)
4-8 slices bacon

In a small bowl, combine barbecue sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and apples.
Wrap each piece of chicken with a slice of bacon and place in greased slow cooker.
Pour barbecue/apple mixture over chicken and cook on low for 6-8 hours (4-6 if you use the tenderloins) or until chicken is done.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

So I decided that since I featured a comfort food yesterday for Tax Day, I would continue that theme today. You can't EVER go wrong with chocolate, can I get an amen? I have made this recipe so many times (it is a standing request for one of my friend's birthdays every year) and it has impressed even my "foodie" friends. I love telling them that I used a boxed cake mix and seeing their response! Even cakes made from boxed mixes can be quite yummy if you tweak the ingredients a bit. Enjoy!

1 box Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Devil's Food cake mix (You can use the mix of your choice, but I am a Duncan Hines girl 100%!)
4 eggs
Vegetable oil
1 sm. pkg. JELL-O chocolate instant pudding mix

Prepare the cake mix according to package directions, except you will use milk in place of the water and 4 eggs instead of 3.
Stir in chocolate pudding mix.
Pour into two greased 9" round cake pans. Bake as directed.

While cake is cooling, prepare the frosting. You will need:

2 sticks butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. smooth peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 lb. powdered sugar

Cream the butter with your mixer on low speed, then add cream cheese and cream them together.
Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth and creamy.
Once the cake has cooled, frost it and enjoy!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Comfort Food Special: Tina's Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

In honor of Tax Day, a day which strikes fear and dread into the hearts of many, I thought I would post a recipe for some good old-fashioned comfort food! This is a recipe that my BFF Tina has made many times and it is always requested at her family dinners. Hope you enjoy!

2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard (optional)
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 1/2 c. milk
2 Tbsp. butter
2 c. shredded American or cheddar cheese
8 oz. Mueller's macaroni elbows (about 1 3/4 c.), cooked 7 minutes and drained

1) In medium saucepan combine corn starch, salt, dry mustard and pepper.
Stir in milk. Add butter.
Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium high heat and boil for one minute.
Remove from heat.

2) Stir in 1 3/4 c. cheese until melted.
Add cooked macaroni.
Pour into greased 2-quart casserole dish.
Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. cheese.

3) Bake, uncovered, in 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Makes 6 servings.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Salmon Patties

Here's another Southern classic. Their proper name is "Salmon Croquettes," but when I was growing up my family always just called them "Salmon Patties" and I'm going with that. I have fond memories of eating these at Granny's house and whenever I have them it takes me right back to being a kid sitting at her table. Hope you enjoy!

Two 5-oz. cans salmon, drained
2 eggs
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. chopped onion
1/2 c. bread crumbs
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil

Combine all ingredients except oil. Form into patties.
Put oil in a medium-sized skillet and fry patties on medium-high heat until golden brown on each side. Place on a paper towel-lined platter to drain.

As you can see in my photo, it is important to keep an eye on these while they're cooking because they brown pretty quickly! Ah well, we can't all be Martha Stewart, now can we? LOL

*My mom always liked to put cane syrup on these because that's what she always did when she was growing up. I've never tried that because I'm kind of a purist on some things but if YOU want to, let me know how it tastes!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chicken Ranch Tacos

These have quickly become a favorite dish at my house! They are so simple to make and are perfect for those weeknights when you just don't have a lot of time to prepare a fancy meal. Enjoy!

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 pkg. low-sodium taco seasoning (very important because this dish will be too salty if you use the regular)
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
Chicken broth
Taco shells
Ranch dressing

Boil chicken and then shred it.
Heat a skilllet over medium-high heat. Add chicken.
Sprinkle on the dry taco seasoning and Ranch dressing mix.
Be sure all of the chicken is coated with the seasonings.
Add chicken broth until desired consistency.

Serve in taco shells with all of the fixings you love - plus an extra squirt of Ranch!