Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

Here's a recipe that showed up in my Facebook feed that looked and proved to be quite delicious! The original post for this spicy pasta dish can be found here on Inside Bru Crew Life. I love fixing Buffalo Chicken Dip and just knew this would be as equally good. Any pasta dish is a rare dish around our house since we have moderated our carb intake. However, sometimes you just have to go there and enjoy a forbidden treat. 

I saw it one day; one of the girls I worked with fixed it that night, and told me it was divine. Needless to say, it was on our menu that weekend.I can't wait to prepare it again! I did not change the recipe at all and it was quite amazing as is.

8 ounces penne pasta (Cook, drain and set to the side)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup ranch dressing
1/3 cup Franks Buffalo wing sauce
2 cups chicken
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
green onions, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a small casserole dish with spray.

Stew and cut up chicken in bite-sized chunks.
Cook pasta per box directions. Drain and set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the cream cheese, ranch, and hot wing sauce.
Blend in the chicken, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and pasta.
Spoon into the prepared dish.
Sprinkle the remaining cheeses on top.
While the delicious yumminess is baking, chop up some green onions.
Bake until it's bubbly and the cheese is melted (around 25 minutes in my oven).
You can decorate with additional ranch dressing and green onions before serving.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Last month I ended a wonderful eight months working with our local public library. I enjoyed working with a super group of ladies who made it a goal to expand minds and offer daily learning opportunities to all who entered the doors.

Before I left, the ladies staged a delicious going away lunch. I will try to share a few of the recipes along the way. This is the first one that needs to filed under "KEEPER!" Between changing phones and computers in addition to a job, I can't find half of my files. And you know how you THINK you've backed everything up? Well, I've had to hook up my old trusty computer with fingers crossed that I'd find what I needed.

Every time we would have a meal to celebrate a birthday or other special occasion, Kayla would bring this hot loaf of deliciousness loaded with mozzarella and garlic. I would just about hurt myself eating it. She said she just used Valerie Bertinelli's recipe and tweaked it slightly. Kayla said her secret is using a GOOD round loaf of bread. They were kind enough to invite me to Mrs. Cindy's birthday celebration lunch last month and I got to enjoy this cheesy goodness again. Thank you Ladies!

1 round loaf "good" bread 
Real mozzarella
Shredded cheese (to sprinkle on top)
1-1/2 sticks softened butter
3/4 tsp. salt
Fresh parsley
2 heaping tsp. minced garlic

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt butter and saute garlic. Stir in salt and parsley. Set to the side.
  3. Carefully score bread in both directions without cutting through. Pull the sections apart and stuff slices of mozzarella cheese in all the cracks.
  4. Spoon the butter mixture into the cracks and save a little to go over the top.
  5. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
  6. Remove the foil from the top. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and let it bake until the cheese is melted.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Buttermilk "Oven Fried" Chicken aka Cornflake Crust Baked Chicken

I was looking over a recipe book Carolyn brought in when we were preparing for the Library's Taste and Tell II program when I ran across this recipe from The Skinnytaste Cookbook. One of the titles caught my eye and I immediately thought about my Grandmother Gaudette.

Growing up in Connecticut, I remember a trip to the lake where my Great-Uncle Arthur and Great-Aunt Betty had a cabin. Me, my siblings and all my Holmes cousins always had a lot of fun playing together. This is where I first learned about an "outhouse." Who knew such a thing existed?

Grandma Gaudette would have a cooler full of her cornflake crust chicken legs packed. There was nothing better than sitting on a sandy beach, outside, eating cold chicken legs and whatever sides. As an adult, I can't imagine eating food anywhere near sand. Yeeesh!

When I inherited her recipe file after she left this world for her heavenly home; I was hoping I 'd find her recipe. I was sadly disappointed as it wasn't in there. Since then, I've repeated this story countless times so you can imagine how happy I was to find this recipe. I tweaked the spices to reflect what I had in my pantry and it was quite tasty. I didn't remove the skin as the original recipe recommended, so I'll leave that up to you. I did fix a double recipe but I have this broke down for a "normal" serving.


  • 8 chicken legs
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp smoky paprika
  • ½ tsp poultry seasoning
  • ½ tsp garlic salt with parsley
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • cooking spray

  • The recipe called for the chicken to soak in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours or overnight. I had around 2 hours. Rinse and season the chicken with the salt, paprika, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, and black pepper. Pour the buttermilk and lemon juice over the chicken and coat well. I stirred this concoction several times.


    • ⅔ cup panko bread crumbs
    • ½ cup crushed cornflake crumbs
    • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
    • 1½ teaspoons smoky paprika
    • ½ teaspoon onion powder
    • ½ teaspoon garlic salt with parsley

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, mix coating ingredients
    Prepare a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and a rack sprayed with cooking oil.
    Time to get rolling!
    Roll chicken legs until they are nicely coated.
    Place on rack and lightly spray with cooking spray.
    Cook for 40-45 minutes. My oven is a little slow, so I went with 45 minutes.
    170 degrees. Whoops! 40 minutes minutes would have probably been fine. However, that extra 5 degrees didn't hurt them one bit. The crust was crunchy and the meat was moist and tender.
    We enjoyed this plate of chicken with Grandma's Cucumbers, mashed potatoes and corn.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Marinated Grilled Shrimp

    Last weekend Andy suggested we head south on I-65 and stop off at Logan's for a quick bite on our way to the river. We enjoyed some grilled veggies and mesquite grilled shrimp that were both prepared "just right." The next day, I made a side trip to Florence and fought the crowds shopping for myself and my Mother. If you've read this blog long enough, you know I am missing the shopping gene unless it revolves around shopping at a big grocery store with a great food selection or a home store. And I don't mean a frou frou place to clutter my house with.

    While navigating what seemed to be a million people in every spot I went to; waiting patiently for someone to assist me and even longer in line to check out, I had ample time to think about how I was going to fix some shrimp to go with the steak and baked potato Andy was going to fix that night. I decided to ditch the potato and pick up some zucchini, squash, purple onion and mushrooms to skewer and grill.

    I searched a few recipes online and found this one from CDKitchen to build from. I couldn't find "mesquite liquid smoke" so I had to improvise. Here is my final marinade.

    1 lb. jumbo peeled & deveined shrimp
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/8 cup lemon juice
    1/2 Tbsp hickory liquid smoke
    1/2 Tbsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 Tbsp Lawry's Garlic salt with parsley
    1/4 tsp. black pepper
    Crushed red pepper (I used a good sized pinch)

     Mix marinade and pour over shrimp placed inside of a zip bag.
     Let shrimp marinade for one hour.
     Skewer shrimp on water soaked wooden skewers.
    Place on hot grill (350 degrees). I turned these twice on each side until the tails turned pink and the shrimp was no longer translucent. I'm estimating it was around four minutes total.

    Wednesday, April 26, 2017

    Smoked Ham on the Oklahoma Joe

    Mr. Grisham has outdone himself smoking hams on the Oklahoma Joe grill at the river. We have more cooking apparatuses than anyone I know. He had been looking over smoker/grills for some time and kept going back this particular model. Of course, each one has to be tested before we cook for anyone else. We have smoked and grilled numerous meats and both agree this one is definitely the best one by far. (well, tied with a nice grilled steak!) We were getting everything together for Easter dinner this year and I realized I had never posted how our recipe for smoked ham on the blog. I clearly remembered snapping a few pics with my cell phone and thought I had. (These pictures do not do the taste of this ham justice!) Turns out I shared to my Man, That Stuff is Good timeline on Facebook. He smoked this shank portion ham for my birthday weekend and it was very well received!

    Andy used about 5 lbs. of charcoal to get this going. He added hickory wood throughout and kept the smoker at a steady 300 degrees.
     My country cook went all high tech with this digital thermometer.
    He went low-tech and comfirmed the final temp check. It took 2-1/2 hours on 300 degrees steady to reach am internal temp of 160 degrees. The ham was ready to wrap and go have some fun!
    We fixed a stuffed cabbage and it too was amazing!
    Andy double wrapped up the ham and let it go for another 2-1/2 hours while we were out fishing.
    We loosened the foil and let it rest a bit before slicing. It was absolutely delicious!

    This smoked picnic ham was amazing this past Easter weekend! It went down well with potato salad, green beans, macaroni and cheese and yeasty rolls. Alli and Aydan enjoyed searching for Easter eggs around the cabin and down the 71 steps to the dock and worked up an appetite for some good food!

    Monday, April 10, 2017

    Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

    When I tasted my first sweet pepper many years ago, I heard angels singing in the background. Don't get me wrong, green peppers are perfect for many dishes. However, when the pepper is the dominant flavor I'll be tasting, I will break the bank to buy red, yellow or orange. 

    I bought a bag of mini peppers for a dish and for whatever reason, the menu changed. A week rolled by and there was no way I was going to let them go to waste. What to do??? I had a small pack of mushrooms in the fridge and I got inspired. Part of the container would go in a spaghetti meat sauce and the rest of them would be stuffed inside the peppers similar to how I make my stuffed mushrooms.

    Were these good? I opened the refrigerator the next day and Mr. Grisham had a new bag of peppers ready for me. To say they went over really well is an understatement.

    INGREDIENTS (and approximate measurements):
    1 bag of mini sweet peppers (about 15/bag)
    1 cup of chopped mushrooms

    1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
    1/2 stick butter (softened)
    1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
    Garlic salt and pepper
    1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
    Mozzarella cheese
     Cut the tops off the peppers and remove seeds and membrane.
     Line a baking dish with foil and spray your rack.
     Mix mushrooms, onions, bread crumbs, garlic salt and pepper together.
    Cut in softened butter until well blended.
     Stir in Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
     Stuff mixture into peppers.
     Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until done.

    Saturday, March 11, 2017

    Whisky Balls

    If you were one of the lucky ones to enjoy the Rum Balls I made for the library's quarterly Christmas Tea, you most likely will enjoy these at the next tea. I found a bourbon ball recipe contributed by Barbara Pankey in the Fabulous Food Auction recipe book when I found the Horseradish Carrot Casserole recipe and filed it away for future use. We have our next tea coming up at the end of the month and it will have an "Irish" theme. I swapped the bourbon for a Canadian whisky and they turned out just fine. Since putting on a tea is very labor intensive and the whisky balls can be frozen ahead of time; I chose a day when I had a little spare time to go ahead and get these made. Making two batches, I ended up with around 90-100 balls.

    1 cup crushed vanilla wafers (regular size-12 oz. box will make 2 batches)
    1 cup finely chopped pecans
    1 cup confectioners' sugar
    2 tbsp. baking cocoa
    1/4 cup whisky (I used Canadian Hunter)
    1-1/2 tbsp. white corn syrup
    Additional confectioners' sugar to coat the balls*
    *I chose to tint them a light green for the tea. 
    Must use a dry color additive (I used Wilton's Petal Dust)
     In a small bowl, mix the additional confectioners' sugar and petal dust until you get the color you want.
    Set aside to roll the balls in.
     Using almost 1/2 of a tiny (not cheap) vial, I ended up with a light spring green.
     Crush the vanilla wafers in a food processor if you want to make this task easy.
     In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients.
     Line your counter with wax paper. Some for the coating and another area to set the balls.
    Spoon out a little of the colored confectioner's sugar.
    Roll into 1" balls and coat them. Store in the refrigerator or freeze them.

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    Horseradish Carrot Casserole

    I've been eye-balling this recipe for a long time. It's in one of my many local cookbooks. I love horseradish, as you know my penchant for cocktail sauce, but I couldn't wrap my head around it and carrots together. I should have never had a moment's hesitation because this recipe was contributed by Carolyn H. to a food auction sponsored by the Giles County Public Library back in 2011. Mrs. H. is a wonderful cook and I have been fortunate to get to enjoy several of her dishes recently.

    We enjoyed these carrots will bone-in baked pork shops and steamed broccoli. The combination was very good. The broccoli was seasoned with a little butter and salt; the pork chops were very low-key and the horseradish added a very nice twang to all of it.

    Approx. 2 lbs. carrots, peeled, chopped, cooked and drained (reserve some of the liquid)

    Horseradish Sauce
    1/2 c mayonnaise
    2 tbsp. chopped onion
    2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
    1/4 tsp. salt
    Dash of pepper

    Crumb Topping:
    1/2 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
    2 tsp. melted butter

    Spread the cooked carrots in a small casserole dish greased with butter. 
    Add about 1/4-1/2 cup of the reserved liquid. I just barely covered the bottom.
    While the carrots are cooking in a small bowl mix the horseradish sauce together.
    Spread the horseradish sauce on top of the carrots as best as you can. I don't know about y'all but when it comes to spreading something like this over a bumpy surface, it's like putting socks on a rooster.

    Let this bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the crumb mixture and cook an additional 10 minutes or until the crackers brown.

    Sunday, February 5, 2017

    Andy's Three Meat 🐮 Chili 🐷

    One of Andy's specialties is his three meat chili. It's not spicy hot but it's very meaty, simple and flavorful. And the stew meat? It's so tender it melts in your mouth. For some reason, when we fix a soup or stew, we have to make enough to feed Cox's army. That works out just fine for us because I love eating a chili dog, making frito chili pies or vacuum sealing for a night when we don't feel like cooking.

    2 lbs. stew meat
    2 lbs. ground beef
    1 lb. sausage
    2 onions chopped
    46 oz. can tomato juice (will use over half the can or more)
    3 jars of homegrown canned tomatoes (store bought if you have to)
    1 can of tomato paste
    2 cans of pinto beans drained
    Lot of chili powder (see picture)

    In a large pot, brown the meat and cook the onions until meat is browned and onions are tender. Drain the fat.
    Add the stewed tomatoes
    Add the chili powder. Yes, he uses a lot! He measures by eye.
    Add the pinto beans and stir well.

    Add about one half of the can of tomato juice. Let it cook at a medium boil for about thirty minutes.
    At this point add more tomato juice or tomato paste if it needs thickening up a little. Let simmer until you're ready to eat.