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.

INGREDIENTS:
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.

INGREDIENTS:
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.

INGREDIENTS:
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.


Monday, January 23, 2017

Muffaletta Pasta Salad

The other night I fixed Classic Greek Chicken and wanted a cool pasta salad to go with it. Greek, in my opinion means olives must be in the mix. Muffaletta comes from the olive salad you find slathered on a yummy New Orleans classic muffaletta sandwich. I dug around the pantry and threw this together. The next time I fix this, you will see hard salami and deli bologna chopped up. This one is a work in progress as I'm thinking Feta cheese crumbles would have been awesome too.

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups dry pasta (cook per directions and drain)
1-2 cups tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 jar Muffaletta salad (olive salad)
Shaved Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl mix the pasta, onions and tomatoes. Strain the olive salad mixture and reserve all of the olive oil. Pour 2/3 of the reserved olive oil in the bowl and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. The brand of olive salad I used was salty enough so I just added the pepper. Place in refrigerator for an hour or so before serving. If too dry, stir in reserved olive oil until it's to your liking. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Pressure Cooker 🍝 Meatballs and Pasta 🍝

Have you heard me mention a few times how much I love, love, love my pressure cooker? Seriously, I can't wait to test a few more dishes and post them for you. There is nothing like coming home, dumping a few ingredients in a pot, taking 10-15 minutes for the pot to get to the correct pressure and having this dish cooked in 8 minutes. Yes, with frozen meatballs and uncooked pasta. And delicious? Flavor infused is no exaggeration. Pressure cooker pulled chicken on hoecakes and shredded taco chicken wrapped up in a tortilla are super quick and very, very tasty using this device. Should I mention cooking two whole partially frozen chickens in around 38 minutes with the meat falling off the bone again? I'm not one to buy every gadget out there (I just don't have the space nor like to spend the money) but this one was worth every penny.

This dish makes more than enough to feed a family. It's way too much for just two. Eventually I'll scale it back but I have enjoyed the leftovers at work!
Dump one bag (26 oz--1.5 lbs). of frozen Italian meatballs in the pressure cooker.
Dump 1 lb. of uncooked rigatoni pasta over the meatballs.
Pour one 45 oz. jar of your favorite Italian spaghetti sauce on top.
Fill the jar with water and fill just up to the line in the pot.
Turn the lid into position to lock it.
Close the valve.
Push the cook button and set the timer to 8 minutes. The zeros on the left will turn as the pressure is building. Once it's at the correct pressure, it'll start counting down.
When it counts down to zero and beeps, bump the switch to release.
A lot of steam will be released so be super careful you do not get a steam burn!!
The cooker will automatically go  to KEEP WARM mode.
Once the steam is released, you will be able to move the lid to the unlock position. Carefully open the lid away from your face!! The contents will be hot and you don't want to burn yourself!
It smells heavenly!! Using a big spoon, stir the contents of the pot.
Top with some Mozzarella and shaved or shredded Pamesan cheeses. Put the lid back on and lock it.
Give it time to let the cheeses melt. Serve with garlic toast and dig in!! Remember this will be HOT!

INGREDIENTS:
1-1/2 lbs. frozen meatballs
1 lb. pasta
45 oz. jar Italian spaghetti sauce
Mozarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
Garlic bread

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hamburger Soup aka Vegetable Beef Soup

Mr. Grisham reeled me in with this soup YEARS ago. When he uses my homegrown, canned tomatoes to make it, there's nothing better. It falls into the "hurt yourself from eating so much" category. In my opinion, this doesn't need anything else but eating, but Andy likes to make peanut butter or homemade pimiento cheese sandwiches to eat with it. At times I will bake up some cornbread, but the flavor is so rich I don't want anything taking away from the flavor.

As you see in the picture below, it should be thick enough that your spoon stands up in the pot. So there is your goal! If you can fix it the night before you're going to eat it...even better! This is a one pot dish so clean-up is super easy.

INGREDIENTS and DIRECTIONS:
1 lbs. ground beef
1 large sweet onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste.
Saute beef and onions in the pot. Season. When meat is browned and onions are tender add the following ingredients and let simmer.

2 cans whole kernal corn, drained
1 cans green beans, drained
1 cans carrots, drained
1 cans baby peas, drained
1 jar (or can) of homegrown canned tomatoes (or store-bought)
1 can black-eyed peas, drained
1 can small lima beans, drained
1 can sliced potatoes, drained and diced smaller
1/2 of a 46 oz bottle of tomato juice
1 can tomato paste to thicken (if needed)



Saturday, January 7, 2017

Chicken, Mushroom and Artichoke Casserole

It's hard to believe five years has passed since I started the "Man, That Stuff is Good!" blog. When I scroll through the folders on my computer, I'm even more overwhelmed by how many recipes I haven't gotten around to posting. To say I've been in a transistional state for the past four years has been an understatement. It seems I woke up one day and my zing, energy, gusto, etc. flew out the door. In hindsight I realize how excessive stress can and will destroy your health. Add to that, as my husband tells me, "you do too much for everyone." He has accused me of putting other peoples needs (personal and work) in front of my own and worrying about the consequences of other's peoples actions and trying to fix it for them. Guilty as charged. I've been working on changing that to a positive. It's hard to say No when you are a people pleaser at heart. The last six months I quit doing so much for people who did so little for me. All I can say is I'm sorry I didn't do it sooner.

My last doctor appointment showed that my TSH jumped in one year from 3.78 to 4.958 with 5 being the magic number that a traditional doctor will begin treating you for hypothyroidism. To me, that was like saying, "OK. I realize you stay fatigued, have brain fog, your skin is dry, hair is falling out, nails are breaking, face is puffy, you can't lose weight, muscles and joints ache and you can't sleep. However, we're gonna wait and check your blood again in a few months. Then, if you push five and over, we'll see about prescribing a synthetic hormone." After thinking about it a week, I opted to check into a holistic option. If it works, the proof will be in the next blood test. I will say, two weeks in and my energy has improved and I seem to be sleeping better. And the cause of that stress? Let's just say the sooner you get rid of it, the sooner your health can begin to improve.

Time to get off the soap box. I believe in the motto "Life is Good" and try to embrace that everyday!

Here is a simple casserole filled with two of my favorites: artichokes and mushrooms. The pictures show my old counter tops so it's been a while since I fixed it. I have my scratch pad sheet with my hand-written notes of what I put in the casserole dish. I don't know if I was making this with stuff in the fridge or what. I'm really surprised I don't have spinach in this dish. The next time I do it, it will.
 

INGREDIENTS:
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (stewed and shredded)
16 oz. sliced, fresh Portabella mushrooms
2-3 cans quartered artichokes, drained (I used 3 cans, but I love artichokes)
Olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic salt to taste
1 tablespoon capers
5 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large casserole dish, layer artichokes and mushrooms.
Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top. Season to taste.
 Add chicken to casserole. Pour broth and lemon juice over meat and veggies.
Drizzle olive oil over the top.
Spread capers over all. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.
 Bake until mushrooms are cooked and Parmesan cheese is melted.
Serve with steamed brocolli and carrots for a delicious, healthy meal.

Friday, January 6, 2017

🎉 5 YEARS 🎉 AND COUNTING!

It's hard to believe five years has "rolled" by. Man, That Stuff is Good has been a great online recipe book for Andy and myself. My hope is that you are able to use it the same way. With over 500 posts and counting, there is no reason to be stuck deciding what to fix for dinner.

It is snowing in Pulaski, Tennessee today, which isn't saying much, but schools, work and a good portion of the town has shut down. I was supposed to be on WKSR radio with Mr. Ed this morning to talk about what's going on this month at the Giles County Public Library but that has been rescheduled for Monday. I'm looking at big fluffy snowflakes falling while trying to make this a productive day.

For the most part, I don't know who checks in to read this blog unless you reach out to me personally. I do want to share a few analytics with you because when I do randomly look at demographics; what I see is very encouraging! Over one-third of my followers fall in the age 25-34 age group and with almost another one-third in the 18-24 range. Wow!! I find that very amazing and makes my heart beat loud and proud!!

One of my goals was to help beginning cooks learn to prepare easy to fix meals that taste good and don't break the bank!!

54% of people who visit are males. As the Mother of two boys and a husband who cooks as much or more than I do...super cool! My first cookbook was a guide for my boys when they moved out of the house for college.

This demographic at may explain why Homemade Venison Summer Sausage is ranking as most popular post this month. It is that time of year after all!

I was absolutely astounded to see that the Pickled Eggs, Summer Sausage and Wine-making links were among the most visited posts. That led me to believe the Redneck Food and Fun would be the hottest index page, but no, it was the Main Courses Page that was the most accessed.

So the young ladies were searching for daily dinner foods and the guys, being the "gatherers" were preparing the above ??? Maybe? Either way, I appreciate your visits and I love the comments. The most interesting one being the person who emailed me pictures of their wine-making experience. Specifically how they substituted the air-lock system with something that had similar properties to a balloon and that device going limp and then brought back to life. (Trying to keep this family friendly, so use your imagination) All I can say is necessity is the mother of invention. I'm not sure who that quoted should be attributed to, but it definitely applied here.

I look forward to the next milestone!



Monday, January 2, 2017

🐸 Bullfrog 🐸 Cocktails

I don't know about y'all, but there is something about near 70 degree weather on the second day of the new year that gets me thinking about summer. Once I get to thinking about summer or warm weather, I start thinking about the river. Now that I'm on that path, I think about enjoying an ice cold toddy on the dock watching the boats go by. The drink I'm going to talk about earned my son Dale the nickname "Cricket". Someone (not me, or was it?) got the bright idea to mix up some Bullfrog since everyone was coming down for the weekend and nobody would be driving home. We enjoyed brutal rounds of UNO, lots of laughing and cutting up and numerous bottles of Bullfrog as the sun started to set. About once a year someone asks me how to mix them up. Every year I swear it's on the blog and it isn't. Now it is. This one is about as easy as it gets and cheap.

I grew up drinking Kool-Aid as a kid. You got that or milk. I really don't remember drinking soft drinks until we moved to the South. I'm always surprised when summer rolls around, the flavor options at our WMart get pretty slim on the pickings. If you want to keep it green, like a frog, go with lemon-lime or the "invisible". Good luck finding that one. Kiwi-lime is good and so is strawberry-kiwi. There is such a thing as a Pink Red Eye Tree Frog, so there you go! However, after mixing a few two liters of the strawberry-kiwi, someone started chirping like a cricket.
INGREDIENTS:
2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew (or diet)
2 packs of lemon-lime Kool-Aid
Vodka

Read the directions before you pour anything out!

Pour out enough Mountain Dew so that the bottle is full to the top of the label. Fill the bottle back up with vodka so it is again full as pictured. Add the two packs of Kool-Aid. Gently roll the bottle back and forth, side to side, to mix.

Remember, if you shake it up like you're mixing a martini, you'll be wearing it. Along with your floor, cabinets, etc. Carefully open it to serve.

Go ahead and mix a few bottles up as people tend to knock out the first one rather quickly.