Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Operation Easter Dinner: Coconut Lemon Cake

I have made this for various occasions and it was a huge hit each time! I first saw it on Trisha Yearwood's show on Food Network and Dad said, "Are you making that tomorrow?" Well, I didn't make it the next day but I DID make a note of it and have made it for family reunions, funerals, etc. I will give you fair warning on one thing about this recipe: Be SURE to let the glaze thicken! The cake in this picture turned out fine, but I have made it hurriedly before and didn't let the glaze thicken enough and it made a MESS when I poured it over the cake! The cake wasn't harmed because a lot of the juice from the glaze still soaked into the cake and made it very moist, but it was no fun trying to keep glaze from running off the platter.  You'll find the recipe here:

Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Operation Easter Dinner: Potato Salad

Our Operation Easter Dinner series continues with another Southern classic. To me, no Southern potluck is complete without potato salad. I am very fussy about potato salad, though. Basically, if it isn't like my Aunt Mary's potato salad then I don't want it.  I know a lot of people use celery or celery seed and chopped onions in their potato salad, but you won't find those things in this recipe. Also, I like to eat potato salad while it is still warm, but there are those who prefer to chill it first. This recipe is delicious either way. As a final note, when Aunt Mary gave me her recipe there were no measurements (a common trend in my family, as you've surely begun to see by now) so these measurements are approximate. Hope you enjoy!

6-8 red potatoes, boiled and diced
4 eggs, boiled and chopped
1 - 1 1/2 c. mayonnaise
Very small amount of prepared mustard, approx. 1/4 - 1/2 tsp.
2-3 Tbsp. sweet pickle relish
Pinch of sugar
Lowry's seasoned salt, to taste
Onion powder, to taste

Combine all ingredients.

That's it, folks!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Operation Easter Dinner: Zuppa Toscana Soup (Tori Style)

Today's recipe comes from my friend Tori and I am so excited to share it with you guys. Hope you enjoy!

Tori says, "Let me start off by saying this makes a huge pot of soup, however, my family of five can more than take care of it. If you don't need as much, you can always cut the recipe in half or make the entire recipe and freeze half of it for a make-ahead meal."

1 lb. hot Italian sausage (if you don't like hot sausage you can use all mild)
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
6 thick slices of bacon, diced very small (it is much easier to dice bacon if you put it in the freezer for
about 10 minutes before cutting it up)
1 onion, diced small
6 cloves garlic, minced (if you don't like this much garlic feel free to use less)
6 medium potatoes, diced, skins on (I have used anything from a russet to a yellow golden potato, whatever you have in your pantry)
32-oz. chicken stock
3 c. water
1/5 c. half-and-half
4-5 c. kale, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown sausage in a large skillet with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. (I bought my sausage in the casing and just took the casing off and crumbled the sausage.)
Brown the bacon with sausage until crisp.
When the bacon and sausage are really brown, add onion and garlic. Cook just until the onions start to get soft. They will finish cooking when you add the liquid and the potatoes.
Add diced potatoes.
Add chicken stock and water.
Simmer until potatoes are almost fork-tender.
Add half-and-half and kale.
Simmer for about 10 minutes to finish cooking potatoes and to cook the kale.

P.S. A slice of crusty bread to soak up all of the leftover liquid would be amazing... however, any excuse to eat a slice of bread works for me :-)

Monday, March 18, 2013

From Generation to Generation...

 My maternal grandmother passed away a year before I was born, so I was never privileged to know her. My mom was very careful to tell me all about her, though, so I feel as though I do know her. Most of you know that Mom passed away nearly two years ago after a very brief battle with cancer. I saw this idea on Pinterest a while back and immediately KNEW that I wanted to do this in my kitchen. The pinner suggested framing hand-written recipes from different generations. I did and it is now one of my favorite pieces in the kitchen. The top recipe is my grandmother's, the middle one is Mom's and the bottom one is mine. What do you think?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cran-Pistachio Cookies

So today I'm breaking away from the Operation Easter Dinner series to bring you a recipe that would be GREAT for St. Patrick's Day (it's always fun to find great recipes that fit with the color scheme, right?) I made them for Christmas last year and they were a huge hit. Dad has reminded me more than once that I can make them anytime, not only for holidays! I apologize for not putting them on a pretty platter for display - this picture was taken when I made them for Christmas and I didn't know THEN that I would be doing a recipe blog! This picture doesn't show it very well, but they actually turn out to be a really nice shade of green. You'll note that the recipe yields 5 dozen cookies, so be prepared to share! Hope you enjoy.

1 pouch (1 lb. 1.5-oz.) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1 sm. box pistachio instant pudding mix
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. butter, melted
2 eggs
1 c. dry-roasted salted pistachios, chopped
1/2 c. dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In large bowl stir together cookie mix, pudding mix and flour.
Stir in melted butter and eggs until soft dough forms.
Add pistachios and cranberries; mix well.
Roll teaspoonsful of dough into balls and place on cookie sheet. Press with fingers to slightly flatten.
Bake 9-11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool completely.
Yield: 60 cookies

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Operation Easter Dinner: Cool and Simple Citrus Pie

This recipe comes courtesy of Tina and would be the perfect complement to any Easter meal. Hope you enjoy!

6-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
Yellow food coloring, if desired
8-oz. Cool Whip, thawed
1 graham cracker pie crust

Place lemonade concentrate in large mixing bowl and beat about 30 seconds.
Gradually spoon in ice cream and blend.
Fold in Cool Whip and add food coloring (if desired).
Whip until smooth.
Freeze, if necessary, until mixture will mound.
Spoon into pie crust.
Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
Store any leftover pie in freezer.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Operation Easter Dinner: Overnight Salad

This recipe comes from Kristen, and although it is similar to the 7-layer salad recipe I posted last month, there are some differences. Kristen says, "This is a recipe from my husband's side - hands-down my favorite thing I've tried from their gatherings yet! Something else that can be made the night before and finished the next day! (a hint: Buy the "already-chopped" veggies - makes life MUCH easier!)"

1 head of lettuce (diced)
1 c. diced green onions
1 c. diced  celery
1 pkg. frozen green peas
16-oz. jar mayonnaise
1 c. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. garlic salt
4 large tomatoes, diced
6 eggs, boiled and diced
1 lb. of bacon, fried and crumbled

Layer lettuce in an oblong dish (should be about half full with lettuce, may not have to use the whole head).
Layer the green onions and celery on top of the lettuce. Then layer the frozen green peas over the celery.
Cover with enough mayonnaise to seal all of the peas. Be sure not to leave any openings or you will have water form in the bottom of your salad.
Layer top of mayonnaise with parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with sugar and garlic salt.
Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.

Before serving, layer tomatoes, being sure to cover the entire top, then layer diced eggs, and bacon goes on last.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Wednesday Word

The new name for Wednesday's posts comes to you courtesy of.... Mandy!!! Many thanks to this chica whom I have known since kindergarten  :)

Wednesdays will be devoted to things such as culinary terms, quotable quotes, or things of that nature. Today's quote comes from Julia Child, who said: "This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook - try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!" Can I get an amen?????

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Operation Easter Dinner: Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Throughout the month of March I will be featuring delicious Southern-style recipes that would be perfect to serve with Easter dinner. Hope you enjoy!

This recipe comes from my Aunt Ezell, who has been making cream cheese pound cake for as long as I can remember. It is one of our family's favorites and I am excited to share it with you!

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese
2 sticks butter
1 stick margarine
6 jumbo eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. sugar
3 c. Swansdown cake flour

Cream butter, margarine, cream cheese and sugar together; mix well.
Add 3 eggs, one at a time.
Add vanilla; mix well.
Add remaining 3 eggs.
Gradually add cake flour, constantly mixing well.
Pour mixture into a well-greased bundt pan (she always sprays her pan with Baker's Joy).
Place in cold oven.
Bake at 275 degrees for 2 hours and 15 minutes.

This cake is absolutely perfect served alone, but you can also serve it with strawberries and whipped cream on top if you like. SO good!!!