Monday, April 30, 2012

Grisham Garden Part 1


We just got back from the river and before I knew it, Andy was out running the tiller through the garden. We were expecting rain Friday and just didn't happen. The ground is getting pretty dry.

When we planted the lettuce, spinach and radishes; heavy rains came through later that night and a few of the seeds were washed into the middle of the row. I pulled what came up before Andy turned them under and ended up with a pretty good salad!

It's not as pretty as what we will be fixing when the tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and squash come in. Wait a minute! I just remembered there's some fresh cilantro that popped back up from last year! That might make it even better!


Spaghetti squash...can't wait to cook this and twist the strands out and serve up with some homemade spaghetti sauce!

Sunflower seeds. I have a row with several varieties. The birds go nuts!

Green beans. The real thing canned is a job, but they're so much better than
what you buy in the store.

Cherry tomatoes, Bradley Heirloom and Romas. Cherry's for salads;
Roma's for canning whole, sauces and juice; and Bradley for sandwiches. 

Lettuce

Rutabagas. An orangey, slightly sweeter member of the turnip family.
Me, Andy and Momma LOVE them!

Potatoes


Corn

Cucumbers

Watermelon

Also out there...okra, yellow squash, zucchini, cantalope, beets, asparagus, cilantro

Nothing's better than home-grown!!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Grandma's Super Easy Pickles

My friend Jody was kind enough to share this recipe with me after she brought me a batch to work. We proceeded to inhale the whole container within days. She got the recipe from Rick's Grandma Ratz. Every time I bring these to work, everyone has a fit over them. They're crunchy and delicious!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chicken on Bubba Keg II

Andy's Chicken on the Bubba Keg II
When it comes to cooking on the Bubba Keg, Andy has got it going on. I don't care what it is, it's going to taste good. Andy's Chicken on the Bubba Keg tells how he fixes leg quarters using a rub. It's probably one of my all time favorites...until you bring up bone-in chicken thighs with his SECRET  BBQ Sauce.  Last weekend I mixed up a fresh batch of BBQ sauce and I was ready to use it on something. 

This is one thing you will not find on this blog. He made me swear to secrecy on this sauce. Like I've said before,  I did have to date him like 5 years before he would give the recipe to me. So...if you can finagle it out of him some way...more power to you! 

Rinse chicken. Place on a baking sheet and salt and pepper (go heavy on the paper)
Heat Bubba Keg to 275 degrees.
Place chicken on top rack.
Close and lock lid and cook for 2 hours at 275 degrees.
Completely shut down the heat.

Liberally coat one side with your favorite BBQ sauce. After 10 minutes, turn and coat again.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Grilled Reuben Sandwiches

Andy and I love to fix (and eat) Grilled Reuben Sandwiches. There's a few people I know who turn up their nose at the sauerkraut and I just don't understand it. When you eat it with the homemade Thousand Island Dressing I fix, you don't realize it's even there.

Homemade Thousand Island Dressing

Here's the perfect topping for your Reuben Sandwiches or garden salads. What I love about it is you should have all ingredients on hand; it's freshly made, and you know what you're putting in it! It makes up a decent amount so you won't cringe when you open the fridge and  you're trying to figure out what year you made it.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. sweet pickle relish (or more)
  • 1 tsp. finely minced sweet onion
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • black pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Let chill in the refrigerator at least one hour before using.





Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Panko Breaded Fried Pork Loin Chops

Anytime whole pork loins go on sale, Andy is jumping on buying a few ASAP! He'll cut about half of it into 1/2" chops which we usually grill and the other half typically will get cut into 1/4" slices for breakfast.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tracy's Nanner Jammers

Saturday night my fellow co-worker Tracy Ayers had checked in from Cocina de Tracy touting a delectable concoction she dreamed up all by herself. I showed Andy the photograph of this chocolately, peanut buttery creation and he was like, "I believe I'd like to have one of them!"

I had three bananas sitting on the counter and peanut butter in the pantry, but believe it or not...we were completely out of Nutty Bars! (That issue was resolved after a grocery run Sunday afternoon). If you live in the South, you know all about Little Debbie snacks. If I had a dime for every time I've seen Andy devour a pack of Nutty Bars, I wouldn't have to win the state lottery. Back to the story....The plan was we would eat her soon-to-be WORLD FAMOUS...drumroll, please...NANNER JAMMERS after a meal of Panko Breaded Pork Loin Chops (to be posted tomorrow), potato salad and macaroni and cheese. (I can't believe I'm admitting to not having something green on the plate and two starches on top of that.) Needless to say, we were stuffed and had to put the dessert off one more day.

I spoke with Tracy today and told her we would be officially "testing" them tonight and spreading the word about this never-before heard of treat on Man That Stuff Is Good. She shared how she came up with the idea. It was kind of like the chocolate bar diving into the vat of peanut butter and lo and behold out came a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup!! Tracy had the banana and peanut butter and sweet baby James wanted a chocolate bar (aka Nutty Bar) and the rest is history!  

All I can say is....believe it or not, Nanner Jamers are the bomb! Andy liked it, I liked it and even Blair liked it. When Blair said honey drizzled on top would make it even better, we knew Tracy had hit the dessert jackpot.

Peel and split the banana.
Lay halves flat on some Wal-Mart china.
Open pack of  Nutty Bars.
Spread peanut butter on one side of a Nutty Bar and lay on one half of banana.
Spread peanut butter on the other side of the Nutty Bar.
Top with other half of the banana
Honey drizzled on top (optional)*


*Has not been officially tested in our kitchen, use at your discretion!

Zucchini, Squash and Tomatoes

Each summer, when the vegetables start coming in, I can't wait until there's enough to make a meal out of what we pick. Then the day comes and there's so much of everything and you're scrambling to come up with something different. Last year we ran into that problem with zucchini and squash. Here's a simple dish that can be fixed all year long, and is the perfect solution to an abundance of vegetables from the squash family. When I fix this in-season, I use the Roma tomatoes from the garden and save the canned tomatoes for winter. As an option, fix a bowl of pasta and top it with this dish as a delicious vegetable sauce.

INGREDIENTS:
4 small zucchini
6 yellow squash
1 vidalia onion rough chopped
1 quart of whole canned tomatoes (or store-bought equivalent)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning* (optional)
1 stick butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

In a large skillet, heat butter. Add onions and let them cook a little. 


Add zucchini and squash. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning.


Stir until vegetables are tender. Pour in whole tomatoes. (I like to give the tomatoes a squeeze as I drop them in.) 


Let simmer until mixture is bubbly. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

Andy and I were stumped as to what to fix for Wednesday night (Momma's night). We had been so busy at work I knew it had to be something simple. Beef Stroganoff came to mind with whole kernel corn and a salad with lettuce, red bell pepper and cucumbers as sides. I have made this dish with canned mushrooms, but I prefer fresh. It allows you to control how "done" they get. Rubbery mushrooms are not very appealing to me.

For dessert, Momma fixed her famous Meme's Brownies with a twist! She added a little raspberry extract to the mix, the icing and grated Dove raspberry chocolates on top. Thank goodness she cut really small pieces as they were wickedly good!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1lb. hamburger (or stew meat)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 8 oz. carton sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 6-8 ounces of sour cream
  • 6 oz. water
  • Better Than Bouillon Beef Flavor (or beef bouillon cubes)
  • Good on Anything Sauce (or Dale's or Johnny's sauce), to taste
  • Egg noodles (4 cups dry, add more or less), cooked as directed

Brown hamburger meat and onion in a very large skillet. When the meat is almost cooked through, add the pack of mushrooms.

When meat is totally browned, drain off grease. Blend in: mushroom soup and water/bouillon mixture. Let it cook down on medium at a slow boil for 15 minutes.

Stir in sour cream by the spoon full. Blend in well before you add more. I always say you can always add, but it's a little hard to take away. Taste the broth. Add in enough Good on Anything sauce to kick up the beef taste. I usually add about 1/2 tbsp., blend well and taste again to see if it needs more.

Stir in cooked egg noodles. Let them absorb the sauce a little before serving.



Saturday, April 21, 2012

Orange Muffins


Last weekend I found this recipe posted on Beth's DEFintely Leopard blog and I pinned it for future use. Today just so happens to be Orange and White game day for the Tennessee Volunteers and I thought this would be a perfect dessert in honor of our favorite SEC team.

A couple of years ago we fell in love with Clementines. They are so easy to peel, have no seeds, and are sweet and juicy. I bought a crate (or so it seems) of them recently and I ended up substituting them for the orange and orange juice. I'm leaving the original recipe as it's listed and listing in orange, (shocker!), what I substituted with.

I believe today was the first time I had broken out the food processor since we made cherry, or was it(?) blackberry wine last summer. To my surprise it was still working. The muffins were pretty easy to make once I got finished squeezing juice out of the Clementines and they had a great flavor.


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 orange, quartered and seeds removed (with peel) 
  •   (3 Clementines-I sliced the white core piece out of all)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (Juice from 6-7 Clementines)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Line a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or baking cups




Put orange quarters in food processor with orange juice and blend until pureed
Add egg and butter to orange mixture until blended


Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
Mix orange mixture in with dry ingredients


Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full


Bake for 18 minutes (23 minutes in my oven)


GLAZE:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbs freshly squeezed orange juice
(4 Tbsp. Clementine juice...so I could drizzle the glaze)

Whisk together until smooth
Spread (drizzle) on warm muffins

I place my cooling rack on a sheet of wax paper so the glaze won't mess up my counter.

Serve warm


Source: DEFinitely Leopard 

Lemon Pound Cake

I know ya'll are going to be shocked...Momma finally shared her Lemon Pound Cake recipe with me. Well, almost all of it.* This ranks so high up there on my favorites it isn't even funny. When my Dad was a patient at MD Anderson in Houston, TX the last year and a half of his life; they lived at an apartment complex that offered shuttle service to the Medical District. (I promised him, If I ever hit the lottery, I would set up some type of trust to provide parking passes for families with loved ones in the hospital) There were two bus drivers, Darlene and Albert, who treated my parents with so much love and respect; I knew they had to be angels sent there from Heaven. 


Over time, Momma got Darlene hooked on Sun-Drops and it became mandatory for visitors to bring an ample supply to share. Not for Momma, as she never drank them (she's a Diet Caffeine-Free Coke drinker), but for Darlene and the few her daughter could con out of her. Now that they're nation-wide, I wonder if she sees them and thinks about my parents?


Anyone who knows my Momma (girls at the hair salon, for example), knows how she is about sharing food. She may come strolling through the door with a whole meal just for the heck of it. While in Houston, she made it her business to share Lemon Pound Cake and some of her other treats with the nurses, caregivers and especially Darlene and Albert. She'd fix one for them and of course one for her and Daddy.


CAKE:
  • 1 package Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Lemon Supreme Cake Mix
  • 1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) lemon instant pudding 
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil


CAKE DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour 10" Bundt pan


Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water and oil in a large bowl. 
Beat at medium speed with mixer for two minutes.
Pour into pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Toothpick inserted in center should come out clean.
Cool in pan for 30 minutes.
Invert cake onto serving plate.
Cool completely.


*************************************
CANNED FROSTING GLAZE*:
1/2 cup Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Frosting (favorite flavor)


After Cake cools, heat frosting in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thin. (You can microwave also) Do not overheat!!


OR, MY FAVORITE...

HOMEMADE LEMON GLAZE:
2 cups powdered sugar 
1/4 cup lemon juice
A little hit of lemon extract if it's not lemony-tasting enough!



Drizzle over cake.


*Since Momma is known to not divulge all her secrets...I noticed there was no mention of adding lemon extract to the glaze. I'm here to tell you, her glaze doesn't taste like the heated plain ol' vanilla frosting on the recipe she gave me! It's so lemony, you know it's got the real deal in it.


As a child, I remember her whipping up homemade glaze for everything from oatmeal cookies to just about every kind of pumpkin bread, cakes and more. She always used powdered sugar, milk or the juice of the fruit and a little extract.
*******************************

Friday, April 20, 2012

Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie

If there is one thing I can't stand, it's a frozen chicken pot pie. One can only imagine what has to happen to make carrots and peas take on that texture. Yuck! Once you see how easy it is to fix the real deal, your family will be begging you to fix it again. 

When you are mixing up the soup and veggies, check out the consistency. If it's way too thick, and it probably will be, mix up 1/4 cup of water with a smidgeon of chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon. Carefully add broth until the soup is smooth and creamy, but not runny.


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 small can each of peas, carrots and potatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
  • 1 10 oz. can of cream of potato or chicken soup
  • 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 c. chicken broth *you may not need the full amount--don’t make too soupy!
  • 2 unbaked, thawed, deep dish pie shells

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine vegetable and onion in a large bowl.
  3. Add chicken, soup, and poultry seasoning, mix well.
  4. Add broth to thin, but don’t thin it too much!
  5. Spoon mixture into pie shell
  6. Place other pie shell on top.
  7. Press sides to seal top and bottom pastry. Trim off any excess pastry.
  8. Crimp edge and pierce top pastry to vent
  9. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 55 minutes or until golden brown.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tomato Pie

Saturday Andy and I finished up the planting this year's garden. We now have a total of 24 tomato plants including cherry, Roma, Better Boy and Bradley Heirloom. The first thing I’m going to fix when the Roma's start to ripen is a tomato pie. 

Oh yeah. I know what you’re thinking. A tomato pie? This is beyond delicious! I prefer to use Roma tomatoes as they are so much more meatier. If you go this route, you’ll need a few more tomatoes because of the difference in size.

Vidalia onions are my preference when it comes to onions, but if you can’t get them or they are out of season, be sure you use a sweet onion.
INGREDIENTS
  • 4 tomatoes peeled and sliced*
  • 1 Vidalia onion sliced thin with rings broken apart
  • 1-9" pre-baked deep dish pie pan
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise (Do not use Miracle Whip!)
DIRECTIONS
*Once you slice your tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and allow to stand for around 30 minutes. Drain off the excess water from the tomatoes. This will prevent your pie from being too soupy.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer tomatoes and onions in the pie shell, adding a little salt and pepper to taste. In a bowl, mix cheese and mayo. Spread on top of tomatoes. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fresh Homemade Salsa

Oh the things I'll be fixing fresh every chance I can...when the garden comes in! I noticed yesterday I have a bunch of cilantro popping back up in the garden from last year. The tomatoes are planted and the onions are growing like crazy. All the veggies in this simple homemade salsa will be come from our back yard.

Vidalia Onions

All is right in the world!

I knew it was just a matter of time before they came out! The window of opportunity is such a short one; but while they last, we will be using them in a multitude of ways. Here's just a few of my favorites....

Zucchini and Onions, Sauteed
Steak with Peppers and Onions
Chicken and Veggie Pasta
Mango Salsa











Seven Layer Salad



INGREDIENTS:
  • Lettuce
  • Bell pepper
  • Green onion
  • English peas
  • Boiled eggs (3 or 4)
  • 8 strips of bacon, fried and crumbled
  • Shredded mild cheddar cheese

DRESSING:
  • 1 cup Hellman's mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons milk

DIRECTIONS
Drain peas. Layer lettuce, pepper, onion, and peas in that order. Pour dressing mix over peas and top with eggs, bacon bits and cheddar cheese. Refrigerate.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mexican Stuffed Rolls

One night my daughter-in-law Amanda had me and Andy over for dinner and she fixed these wonderful Mexican stuffed rolls. Her friend Selena taught her how to prepare them. They're simple to fix and disappear quickly. The meat is seasoned with El Pato tomato sauce which has a nice little kick and gives it a wonderful flavor. A little melted cheese adds a nice texture. I prepared a Vidalia onion casserole as a side dish and it was a great combination.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 lb. hamburger meat
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1, 7-3/4 oz. can El Pato tomato sauce.
  • 4 oz. Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 pack of rolls (the fluffier, the better)

Saute' hamburger meat and onion in a large skillet until meat is browned. Drain fat.

Stir in half the can of the tomato sauce (more if you like it spicier). Blend well.
Adjust the temperature to medium low. Drop in cubes of cheese and stir until melted.
Let it simmer and cook down a little.

Cut with a knife or poke a hole in the middle of the roll. With your finger, mash in the insides of the roll a little to form a pocket. Stuff with meat mixture.

There would have been 12 or more rolls...but my husband kept dipping the meat out with tortilla chips!