Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ranch Dressing




Ranch Dressing is my absolute favorite type of salad dressing.  I have bought several different store-bought dressings and they are either too tart, sour or bland.  So, I started making my own Ranch Dressing and I love it.  It is so fresh and homemade is always better

Ranch Dressing

2 cups real mayonnaise
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. Kraft Grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp. dill
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. grated pepper
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 green onions, finely diced

Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree.  Jar or bottle and refrigerate.  Will last for a good while as long as it is tightly sealed. 

Occasionally, I use this in my chicken salad or my egg salad.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Hazelnut Pudding


So, do you like your pudding cold or warm?  I love warm pudding right off the stove.  I buy the cook pudding all the time and have that for an evening snack.  Then one day I was out of the box-type so I came u with this recipe and I love it.  You can add Vanilla instead of Hazelnut for a regular vanilla pudding.  It works great for pies and in other recipes also.  Add Nutella for some chocolate pudding.

Hazelnut Pudding

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp. butter
3 tsp. Hazelnut flavoring
1/8 tsp. salt 
3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Blend sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add brown sugar, evaporated milk and whole milk.  Whisk the entire time you are cooking this or it will stick and burn.  It will thicken, but won't get to the heavy pudding consistency until it cools some.  So, pour into dessert dishes and chill.

This is great to use in pies if you are making a coconut cream pie. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Quick and Easy Nachos


Mexican food is one of my favorites!  I especially love Nachos.  There is nothing like fresh, homemade Nachos with some fresh salsa (see previous recipe).  It only takes about 15 minutes and you can serve your family a great Mexican nacho night!  Using Velveeta cheese makes these Nachos creamy and the cheese won't set up on you like it does with shredded cheese.

Quick and Easy Nachos

2 lbs. ground beef
1 bell pepper, finely diced
1 small onion, finely diced
3 green onions, finely diced
1 small can green chilies (optional)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. Italian Seasonings
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pepper
(you can substitute a packet of taco seasoning for the seasonings above if desired)

1/2 can refried beans + 3 Tbsp. water
 
2 cups cubed Velveeta Cheese
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. real butter

1 bag your favorite tortilla chips (I like the Cantina style chips)

In a deep skillet over medium heat, sauté ground beef, bell pepper, onions, green onions, green chilies and seasonings.  Cook through and then drain grease from hamburger. Place back into skillet over low heat and stir in 1/2 can of refried beans and 3 Tbsp. water.  Stir until combined.  Can add more water if it is a little too thick.

In a sauce pan, combine the butter, cheese and milk.  Simmer slowly, stirring constantly until cheese melts completely.  Remove from heat.  Ladle the cheese sauce over tortilla chips on individual plates, or on a large serving platter.  Top with the hamburger/beans mixture and then Garnish.

Garnish:  Fresh Salsa (see previous recipe), sour cream, additional diced green onions, hot sauce, or any mixture of the above.

Serve immediately.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Quiche


I get rants and raves over my Quiche.  It is truly different from most of the other Quiche you have had, I would almost guarantee it!  Mine is thicker and cheesier and is never gooey in the middle like some seem to be. 

You can create all sorts of different combinations from this one recipe, adding meat, spinach, veggies, etc.  So, give it a try, I'm sure you will love it.

Quiche

6 large eggs
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pepper
1 unbaked pie shell

Optional:  Diced, cooked bacon;  chopped cooked smoked sausage;  chopped spinach;  chopped bell peppers; or any other veggies or meat you desire.

Beat eggs and milk together.  Add salt and pepper and fold in cheese.  Add optional ingredients of your choosing.  Pour into an unbaked pie shell and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until middle of pie bounces back to the touch. 

For a shiny crust, brush edges of crust with beaten egg prior to baking.




Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fresh Cilantro Salsa


Good morning.  I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday weekend.  Over the weekend I did a lot of cooking, even though it was a hectic time.  I made up a batch of homemade Fresh Cilantro Salsa.  I also make the cooked type of salsa, but this is quick and has such a fantastic taste.  So, if you love Cilantro like I do, give this a try.

Fresh Cilantro Salsa

1 can Rotel tomatoes with Green Chiles (drained)
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1/2 small onion, diced
2 green onions, diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced into chunks
4 Tbsp. chopped Cilantro
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground pepper

Mix all ingredients in a food processor and pulse one pulse at a time until all ingredients are mixed and chunky or to the consistency you like.

Refrigerate at least an hour before eating.  This salsa will keep in the fridge for about a week in a covered container.  Makes about 2 to 3 cups depending on the size of the tomatoes.

If you like your salsa a little spicier, you can add a dash or two of Hot Sauce.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Easy Sausage Appetizers with Dill Dipping Sauce


My grandbabies love these little appetizers.  They are quick, easy and they can help wrap up the mini sausages before cooking.  Great way to get your kids in the kitchen.

Easy Sausage Appetizers

1 pkg. mini sausages
3 slices provolone cheese cut into 1/2" x 1" pieces
1 can crescent rolls


Open and lay out 1 roll of crescent rolls.  Cut each triangle into small pieces about 1" x 1/2".
Lay sausage on top of the crescent roll pieces and top with a piece of the provolone cheese and wrap the sausage up in the crescent roll.

Place on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until crescent rolls brown on top. 


Dill Dipping Sauce

1 cup Miracle Whip
1/2 cup Sour Cream
2 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. dill
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients well and place in a bowl for dipping the sausages into.  You can also omit the milk and make this into my Dill Dip for chips

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cheesy Ground Beef Mushroom Cups



I have a knack for coming home to a semi-empty refrigerator and throwing a meal together out of mostly nothing.  Last night we came home and I had one of those "What am I going to fix for dinner" nights.  I had some hamburger in the freezer so I defrosted it slightly in the microwave and threw together this little recipe.  These are so easy and quick and pretty yummy, I must say.

Cheesy Ground Beef Mushroom Cups

1 lb. ground beef
1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1/4 can of water
1/4 onion, diced
2 rolls of refrigerator crescent rolls
2 cups mozzarella cheese

In a skillet, brown ground beef with onion.  Drain.  Add Cream of Mushroom soup and 1/4 of the can of water.  Stir until mixed well and heated through.

In deep Popover or Muffin Baking pan, spray with cooking spray.  Press 2 crescent rolls together and form into each cup until it covers the bottom and sides.  Use all crescent rolls until pan is filled.  Sprinkle about 2 Tbsp. mozzarella cheese in the bottom of each cup.  Ladle in hamburger mixture until it reaches almost the top of each cup.  Sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella cheese on top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until sides turn brown and cheese is melted and bubbly on top.  About 15 minutes.

I serve this with fried potatoes or sometimes mashed potatoes.




Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ham and Cheese Flat Bread with Walnut Pesto


I love flatbread.  I use it for Pizzas, sandwiches, and am always coming up with creative ideas to kick it up a notch.  This is one of my favorites.  There is no sauce, simply pesto and garlic on the base.  You will love it.

Ham and Cheese Flat Bread with Walnut Pesto

Your favorite type of flatbread (I use Hungry Girl or the ones from the Deli at Walmart, which are quite large)

1/2 lb. to 1 lb. (depending on size of flatbread) Deli Honey Ham
3 Tbsp. Pesto  (make your own or store bought)
2 to 3 cups mozzarella cheese
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained well
1 to 2 Tbsp. Italian Seasonings
2 Tbsp. minced garlic

Mix pesto and minced garlic and spread over the flatbread, covering it completely.  Scatter diced tomatoes all over the top of the pesto.  Layer slices of Honey Ham over top until entire flatbread at least 2 pieces thick.  Sometimes I dice mine up and scatter it over the top and sometimes I just layer it in slices.  Up to you!

Sprinkle with Italian Seasonings and cover with the mozzarella to the edges.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.  If you like a crispier crust, you can bake the bread for about 5 minutes, remove from the oven and add the toppings.

Homemade Walnut Pesto

2 cups of fresh Basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup walnuts (or pine nuts if you prefer)
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Add all ingredients except oil into a food processor or blender and slowly drizzle the olive oil in until the consistency is like hummus. 


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cooking With Children: Casey Grant

                          Cooking with children


                 Children love to cook, bake and experiment with food. Cooking is also very beneficial for children. They are gaining a lot of different skills and lessons from cooking. They learn science along with fine motor skills, sequencing and direction following; as well as math and reading. The kitchen can be a fascinating place for young kids. They see grown-ups working briskly in there, watch the steam rise from pots on the stove, and smell what's on the menu that night.

Plan ahead a little when deciding what you'll prepare together. For younger kids, consider starting with simple dishes with fewer than five ingredients. Then your child won't have to wait it out while you tackle a complicated step. A tossed salad or easy muffin recipe can be good starter projects. You also might set up a pizza-making assembly line where kids can choose their own mini-crusts, sauces, cheeses, and toppings. Older kids can take cooking to the next level and work with you on more challenging recipes.

There are so many ways that you can teach children in the kitchen, there are many lessons online, books and articles that show parents ways to teach children. The one thing that I love about having my children in the kitchen is I can get them to try things that they would not normally try. I always tell them that they can’t cook with me if they are not going to try what they are cooking. This runs the younger ones out, but the older ones I can get to stick around.

                My oldest daughter loves to help me in the kitchen. I find that giving her a recipe that I would use works just fine for her. She is almost 9, so she can read and understand what the recipe is asking for, and anything that she doesn’t understand she asks. She has cooked many meals completely by herself. She is ready and eager to learn how to cook. She always asks “do I have to go to a class to learn how to be a cook?” I always tell her that a lot of people who are great cooks have never went to a culinary school, it’s all about learning the craft and taking pride in what you do. The following is pretty simple recipe that my daughter and I made together the other night.


English toffee


1 cups of butter (not salted)
1 cup of sugar
3 Tbsp. water
1/8 tsp. salt
1 ½ Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract

¾ of a cup chocolate chips (we use more than this)

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom pan sauce pan, over medium heat. Add the sugar, water and salt, stir well to incorporate. Bring to a boil and add the corn syrup. Continue boiling and stirring until the mixture reaches 280-285 degrees. Be sure to have a thermometer to check this, if you don’t get the right temp then it won’t set up.
Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract. Stir to combine and then pour into a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper and coated with butter or cooking spray. Spread until you have a layer that is the same thickness. At this point take the chocolate chips and pour into a bowl and melt in the microwave then spread on the top of the toffee and let set up. This is the hardest part for us, waiting!! It takes a while before it is set enough that you can break into bits and eat.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Yum Yum Yummy Salad


I love this salad.  If you have never tried Yum Yum sauce, which is the Japanese Shrimp/Steak seasoning, it is fabulous.  I put it on this salad, thus the name and it just makes it taste fantastic.  It reminds me of a light French dressing because it is sweet, but it is lighter.  The french fried onions in this recipe balance out the sweet. 
Try it, you'll like it!

Yum Yum Yummy Salad

Salad:
1 stalk Romaine Lettuce - chopped for salad
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions, chopped

In large bowl, combine lettuce, cheese and green onions and set aside

Chicken:
1 boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

In a skillet, sauté chicken with butter and oil.  Add salt and pepper.  Stir often and fry until chicken pieces are completely done (about 10 to 12 minutes).  Remove from heat and strain on a paper towel or in a colander.  Toss chicken into salad mixture above and add the Yum Yum sauce and toppings below.  You can omit the egg, onions or walnuts if you choose, but not the Yum Yum sauce.

Topping:
4 Tbsp. Yum Yum sauce (more or less to your taste)
1/2 cup Durkee French Fried Onions
2 boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts



Monday, May 18, 2015

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas


Many years ago, my friend/co-worker's husband brought us Chicken Enchilada's to work.  They were fabulous and over the years, I have refined the recipe to make it my own.  These are not too spicy, but you can add additional spice if it suits you.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

2 chicken breasts, boiled and then pulled or cut into thin slices
1/2 small onion, sliced
1 bell pepper sliced into strips
2 tsp. butter
2" slab of Velveeta Cheese
3 Tbsp. milk
1 small can of green chilies
1 can of Cream of Chicken
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
1 Tbsp. Oregano
1 Tbsp. Basil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 cup of Sour Cream

6 to 8 large flour tortillas
2 or more cups of shredded Mozzarella cheese
2 green onions, diced

Boil and shred chicken. 

In a small skillet, saute' sliced onions and bell peppers in 2 tsp. butter. When onions become translucent, add chicken and stir until heated through. Set aside.

In a separate sauce pan, mix Velveeta cheese, milk, green chilies, Cream of Chicken, Rotel tomatoes and spices.  Cook over medium heat until heated through, but not boiling.  Remove from heat and fold in the sour cream.  Set aside.

Use a 9 x 11" baking dish, sprayed with cooking spray.  On a flat surface, place a tortilla and add about 3 heaping Tbsp. of the chicken mixture.  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese .  Roll the tortilla into a burrito shape, tucking the ends in slightly and place in the bottom of the baking dish.  Continue until all of the baking dish is filled with filled tortillas.

Pour the contents of the pan of Velveeta mix over the chicken.  Bake in a 375 degree pre-heated oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and browning slightly on top.  Remove from oven and add additional shredded mozzarella to the top and garnish with diced green onions.

Serve with sides of salsa, additional sour cream, hot sauce, etc.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Breakfast Hash


We are in Illinois for my Husbands daughters wedding.  Yesterday morning before we left I fixed my Breakfast Hash.  It is quick and yummy!

Breakfast Hash

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1link of smoked sausage cut into small diced chunks
2 eggs beaten with 2Tbsp. Milk
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup cheese (optional)
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 To 2 diced green onions (optional)

Fry potatoes In butter and oil until done.  Add smoked sausage pieces and cook until heated.  Add beaten eggs.  Continue to stir until eggs are scrambled. Add onion if desired.   Cover with cheese and remove from heat And place lid on until cheese melts.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Not My Mamaw's Semi-Homemade Biscuits


My Mamaw made the best biscuits I have ever tasted.  They were huge and buttery and so flaky.  I remember she always had a huge wooden bowl under the sink that she kept flour in.  It was always covered and she would pull it out and add lard, and I never knew what else, but when she made biscuits, I swear people would come from miles around. 

Mamaw has passed on now, and I still have that wooden bowl, but I never could make a good biscuit.  Oh, I tried and I tried.  In fact I spent about a month where I made biscuits at least once or twice a week.  Finally, my granddaughter, Kaitlyn said, "Grandma just give up and buy some biscuits."  (Kids!) 

Well, I didn't give up and resorted to the next best thing.  I finally got the recipe down that I like, even if it does use Jiffy Baking Mix.  So, here is my Semi-Homemade Biscuit recipe.  They aren't my Mamaw's biscuits, not even close, but they are pretty good!


Not My Mamaw's Semi-Homemade Biscuits

3 cups of Jiffy Baking Mix
1/4 cup of real butter, cut into small chunks
Approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of evaporated milk (more or less)
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. Sour Cream (sometimes I substitute Miracle Whip here)

Place Baking Mix into a large bowl.  With a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the baking mix until it is crumbly and all butter is cut in.  Add sour cream, pepper and salt.  Start adding evaporated milk, slowly until it forms a soft dough.  It will be a little sticky, so don't add too much of the milk.

Turn out onto a floured surface.  Cover your hands with flour so that the dough doesn't stick to your hands and pat down until the dough is smooth and about 1" thick.  Do not over-knead the dough or it will make tough biscuits.  Using a biscuit cutter, or a glass dipped in flour, cut out biscuits.  Should make about 6 to 8 biscuits depending on the size of your cutter.

Lightly coat a baking sheet with real butter.  Place biscuits on the sheet and turn them over once so that the butter is on both sides.  Place into a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 to 18 minutes or until tops of biscuits are lightly browned.

When I remove the biscuits, I put a little more butter on the top while they are still warm.  We can't ever have enough butter on a biscuit, right?

NOTE:  If you want to turn this recipe into garlic cheddar biscuits, just add 1 cup of shredded cheddar and 2 Tbsp. minced garlic into the flour before you add the evaporated milk.  Then when they come out of the oven, sprinkle them with a little parmesan cheese.


PS:  My husband loves my biscuits, which really makes me feel good since I struggled so long to make them.  Grandma's got this, Kaitlyn! 




Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I love fresh made cookies, but otherwise I'm not a big fan of over-the-counter cookies.  I'd rather spend a Sunday afternoon baking my own cookies than to buy store-bought.  But, that being said, I'm not as good a baker as I am just a plain-old cook.  But, I get by.  I do, however, like these cookies.  Snicker Doodles are a part of all of our childhoods, so make a big batch and share them with your kids, grandkids, or heck, just eat them all yourself!

Snicker Doodle Walnut Cookies

1/2 cup real butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. cream of tartar  (do not omit this)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix butter, sugar and eggs in a bowl until combined.  In a separate bowl, mix cream of tartar, flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add to wet ingredients mixing completely.  The dough works better if you chill it for about 15 minutes in the refrigerator.  Remove and roll into balls and then in the Cinnamon/Sugar mixture below until completely coated.  Place on cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and press a walnut half down into the top of each cookie. 

Cinnamon Sugar Mixture

3 Tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes per batch.  Make about 12 to 14 cookies, depending on the size of the balls you create. 



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Beef Chuck Roast Rocks!


Who doesn't love a big beef roast?  Mmmm Mmmm!  Most cooks I know fix their roasts in a crockpot.  I used to do the same thing, but I visited my Aunt Ruth in Florida several years ago and she made the most fabulous roast on top of the stove.  I have been cooking mine stove-top ever since and I get rave reviews for my roast.  Course, you can do this in a crockpot if you want, just cook it on high for about 6 hours vs 2 to 2 1/2. 

Beef Chuck Roast

1 large beef chuck roast                                            serves 4 to 6
1/2 stick real butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 onion cut into small, thin slices
1 Tbsp. pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
Water

In deep pan on top of the stove, melt butter, add soy sauce, onion, seasonings and finally the roast.  Add enough water to just come about half way up on the roast.  Over medium heat, bring the roast to a boil and check it about every 20 to 30 minutes because you will need to add more water.  Keep the water level about the same throughout the cooking process.  Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Once the roast is done, remove and use the broth to make gravy. 

You won't need to add any salt to this roast because the soy sauce is salty.  The real butter is the key.  Don't omit it because it is what will make your roast fall apart.

Gravy

Remove the roast from the pan to a serving platter.  To the roast drippings add 1/4 cup evaporated milk.  In a small cup, mix 1/4 c. water with 2 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch.  Pour in the cornstarch and stir with a whisk until the gravy thickens.   If it doesn't thicken enough, you can make another mixture of water/cornstarch and add a little at a time until it thickens.

Make some mashed potatoes, a little corn on the cob, and you have a fantastic meal.  Oh yes, and pour that gravy over the roast and the potatoes when you serve it.  You won't regret it!



Monday, May 11, 2015

Homemade Granola


Homemade Granola is so easy to make and delicious.  A friend at work brought in some homemade granola once for a pitch-in (thanks Bettina)...and I loved it.  So I played with the recipe until I got it just how I like it.  My husband loves this recipe because he eats it with milk on it in the mornings, like cereal.  And my son-in-law is a truck driver who loves to take this on the road with him, although he has to fight with my granddaughter to get it out the door without her knowing it. 

Homemade Granola

3 cups of whole oats (not the quick oats)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. real butter (melted)
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. warm water
1/2 cup of almonds halves
1/2 cup of walnuts (rough chopped)
1/2 cup Craisins (cranberry/raisins)

In bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, honey, salt, vanilla, butter and water.  Pour over oats and stir until well coated.  Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 to 8 minutes so that it doesn't burn.

Remove into a large bowl and add the Craisins and nuts.  Stir well.  Cool completely and store in tightly closed containers.

*You may mix this up and add a bag of dried fruits, raisins, pecans, or anything else that you really like in your granola.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Peanut Butter Fudge



Peanut Butter Fudge has to be my all-time favorite homemade sweet treat.  I struggled for years with different recipes that just weren't quite up to my liking.  So, I finally, through trial and error, created the perfect Peanut Butter Fudge recipe.  This one is going to be different from others you may have tried.

Peanut Butter Fudge

1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup honey
1 stick real butter
2 1/2 cups of sugar

Put the above ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a rolling boil.  Stirring constantly, boil for about four minutes.  Immediately remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of peanut butter (chunky or creamy) and 1 tsp. hazelnut flavoring (or vanilla).  Stir quickly until all ingredients are mixed well.  I add 1 cup of chopped walnuts and pour immediately into a 9x9" dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray (this helps the fudge come out without sticking).

I have never had this recipe fail on me!  Enjoy

Once completely cooled, cut into squares and place in a container or zip-loc bag to keep fresh.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mexican Pizza (like at Taco Bell)


I love the Mexican Pizza that you get at Taco Bell.  It is layered with refried beans, and toppings on flour tortillas.  I thought, surely, I can make this at home, so here goes.  My recipe for:

Mexican Pizza

3 extra large flour tortillas
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. minced onion
3 green onions, diced
1/2 can refried beans
1 can Rotel tomatoes with Green Chiles (drained completely)
2 Tbsp. Italian Seasonings
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. minced garlic or garlic powder
3 Tbsp. homemade or store bought salsa
3 Tbsp. Catalina salad dressing
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef with onions.  In a saucepan, heat the refried beans and chili powder just until warmed through.  Do not over cook.

I use a stone, but you can use a pizza pan.  Spray pan with cooking spray.  Place 1st tortilla on pan and heat in 350 degree oven for about 6 or 8 minutes to get it slightly crispy.  This will prevent the pizza from being soggy once all ingredients are on and it is cooked.

Remove 1st tortilla from oven and cool slightly.  Spread refried beans on tortilla and top immediately with another tortilla.  Spread second tortilla with the garlic and then the salsa.  Top with 3rd tortilla.

On 3rd tortilla spread Catalina salad dressing.  Top with 1 cup of the Mozarella, the hamburger, then the drained Rotel tomatoes and finally another layer of the Mozarella, Italian Seasonings and then finish with the cheddar cheese and green onions.

Bake in 350 degree oven until tortilla start to get crispy on the edges and the cheese is melted.  Slice with pizza cutter and serve.  I serve it with sour cream and some extra salsa, and hot sauce if you choose.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Bacon, Dill and Cheddar Cheeseball


Who doesn't love cheese?  And what better way to serve cheese than in a big ole ball of cheese covered in crushed nuts?  mmm  It is the perfect snack.  Here is my recipe for the best Cheeseball I ever made!

Bacon, Dill and Cheddar Cheeseball

1  8 oz. pkg. of softened cream cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp. Dill
1 cup walnuts, crushed

4 slices of bacon, fried crisp and crumbled in small pieces

Mix the cream cheese and dill.  Once mixed well, add the cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon pieces and about 2 to 3 Tbsp. of the walnuts.  Mix well and form into a ball.  I use a piece of plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Less of a mess and works great for forming the ball.

Spread the remainder of the crushed walnuts onto a cutting board and roll all sides of the cheeseball in the walnuts, covering the entire ball.  Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

The best crackers to serve this with are Triscuit Olive Oil and Rosemary snack crackers.  They are fabulous!

Note:  To reduce calories in this cheeseball, you can use the low-fat creamed cheese and turkey bacon. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cheesy Dill Potatoes



I love potatoes, however, I'm not a big fan of fried potatoes.  I like 'em mashed for the most part.  However, on occasion I will make these Cheesy Dill Potatoes and they are a big hit!  The Dill, makes them so tasty and the cheese, well, what can you say about potatoes and cheese together?  mmm mmm mmm.

Cheesy Dill Potatoes

Spray a 9x9" baking dish (bottom and sides) with cooking spray

Peel and thinly slice 6 medium potatoes (slice like fried potatoes).  Place 2 layers deep of potatoes spread out and then dot with 2 Tbsp. butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Add 2 more layers of potatoes, butter, salt and pepper until all of the potatoes have been used.  Generally it is only 2 layers, but you can add more potatoes if you are feeding a bigger crowd.  End with the butter, salt and pepper.

In a saucepan:

Cube up a 2" thick slice of Velveeta cheese
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. Dill
2 Tbsp. butter

Stir constantly until cheese is melted.  Pour evenly over the potatoes.  Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Cheese will bubble on top and become slightly browned.  Let the potatoes set for about 5 minutes when you remove them from the oven.  Serve.

I assure you, if you love cheese, you will love these potatoes.  Be sure to slice the potatoes thin so that they get done through.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Guest Blogger: Casey Grant with Kitchen Staples and her recipe for Pepper Steak


Kitchen Staples by Casey Grant


                Certain foods are used in almost all stations of the kitchen.  These items have become known as staples; included are many of the processed, packaged items we often take for granted: Salt, pepper, flour, sugar, oil and flavorings, these being just a small list. Everyone will have their own list depending on what they cook in their home. Herbs and spices are the kitchen staples used as flavorings.  Spices are among the kitchen staple list as well.  Spices have been used for many purposes for thousands of years.  Many cuisines have created recognizable combinations of flavors that are found in a variety of dishes. Although many of these blends are available ready-prepared for convenience, most can be mixed by the chef as needed.

                Fresh herbs should be kept refrigerated at 34-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Large bouquets can be stored upright, their leaves should be loosely covered with plastic wrap and their stems submerged in water. Smaller bunches should be stored loosely covered with a damp towel. Excess fresh herbs can be dried for later use in an electric dehydrator or spread out on baking sheets in a 100 degree Fahrenheit oven. Dried herbs and spices should be stored in airtight, opaque containers in a cool, dry place. Avoid light and heat, both of which destroy delicate flavors. Herbs and spices are a simple, inexpensive way to bring individuality and variety to foods. Their proper use leads to better flavored and distinctively different dishes. They add neither fat or sodium and virtually no calories to foods; most contain only 3 to 10 calories per teaspoon.

Below is a list of a few herbs and spices and common uses for them



Flavoring

Form

Suggested uses

Basil

Fresh or dried

Tomatoes, salads, eggs, fish, chicken, lamb, cheeses

Cilantro

Fresh or dried

Salsa, salads, Mexican cuisine, fish, shellfish, chicken

Ginger

Fresh root or powder

Asian,  Caribbean and Indian cuisines, pastries, curries

Nutmeg

Ground

Curries, relishes, rice, eggs, beverages

Thyme

Fresh or dried

Fish, chicken, meats, stews, charcuterie, soups, tomatoes

Allspice

Whole or ground

Fruits, relishes, braised meats

Rosemary

Fresh or dried

Lamb, veal, beef, poultry, game, marinades, stews

Sage

Fresh or dried

Poultry, charcuterie, pork, stuffing, pasta, beans, tomatoes

Turmeric

Ground

Curries, relishes, rice, eggs, breads

Dill

Fresh or dried; whole seeds

Fish, shellfish, vegetables, breads, potatoes, vegetables


                                                                 Pepper Steak
Casey Grant

This recipe yields 2 servings
The ingredients you will need:

2 each  8 oz. Boneless Strip Steaks
Salt - to taste
3 Tbsp. Fresh Cracked peppercorns
1 fluid oz. Clarified Butter
2 fluid oz. Cognac
4 fluid oz. Heavy Cream
2 oz. Whole Butter
 
1.       Season the steaks with salt. Spread the peppercorns in a deep dish and press the steaks into them, lightly coating each side.

2.       Sauté the steaks in the clarified butter over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. You will want to cook longer if you want it cooked beyond medium rare.

3.       Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the cognac over the steaks, return the pan to the heat and flambé. When the flames subside, remove the steaks from the pan and keep them warm.
 
Add the cream to the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce for 2 minutes over high heat, pour this sauce over the steaks and serve immediately.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Perfect Deviled Eggs

   
 
Good morning.  Hope everyone had a great weekend.  This morning I want to talk to you about Deviled Eggs.  I have had some good ones and I have had some not so good ones.  The key is to make sure your egg is perfectly done and not under or over cooked.  Then we will talk about deviling those little eggs!

Step 1.  The Perfectly Cooked Boiled Egg

Place eggs in deep pan and cover with COLD water (must be cold), to just over the tops of the eggs.  Turn stove on high and place the pan on the burner.  Watch closely and once the water reaches a rolling boil, time the egg to EXACTLY 10 minutes.  Turn off the stove and let the eggs SIT for another 10 minutes.  Drain the water and run under cold water.  Once the eggs have cooled, drain off all water and vigorously shake the eggs in the pan against the sides to loosen the shells.  This won't hurt the eggs and will allow you to just peel away those shells without frustration.

Step 2.  The  Deviling Part

Slice the eggs long-ways around and remove the yolks into another bowl.  Place your egg halves in your container ready to fill.  To yolks, add 1 to 2 heaping Tbsp. Dijonnaise (mustard/mayo blend) and enough Miracle Whip to make your egg yolks creamy, depending on how many eggs you fix.  (the key is to add enough so they are creamy, but not so much that they are runny.  I find most people don't add enough).  I don't add any salt to my eggs, I only add ground pepper. 

Fill eggs, chill for at least an hour and serve.

My Deviled Eggs are simple, but I am the one everyone always asks to bring them to the reunions, get-togethers, holidays, etc.  In fact, my nephew calls me to make SURE I am bringing the eggs.  The Dijonnaise is the key!

Friday, May 1, 2015

French Toast


I love breakfast!  I like it in the morning, I like it for dinner, I just like breakfast food!  Bacon is my friend. I kinda have to be in the mood for syrup, so I can eat French Toast with or without syrup, depending on my mood.  I like to make my own syrup because there is nothing like hot syrup on French Toast.

French Toast

2 large eggs
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt

In a wide mouth bowl, beat eggs, evaporated milk,  cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Use your favorite bread, I like either regular white or the thick Texas Toast bread.  Dip into egg mixture on both sides.  If you like it eggier, you can let it set for a few seconds on each side.

On a griddle, melt 2 Tbsp. butter and brown coated bread on both sides.  Remove and serve with homemade syrup.  If you are not a big syrup eater, or are like me and can eat it without it, just butter up this hot French Toast and eat it. 

Homemade Syrup

1 Tbsp. mapeline flavoring (is like vanilla, only it is specifically for maple syrup)
2 cups water

Bring to a boil.  In a cup, beat 1/4 c. water and 2 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch.  Pour into boiling water, and turn heat down to medium immediately. Stir constantly with a whisk until thickens.  If does not thicken enough, you can add more water/cornstarch mixture.  Remove from heat and ladle over hot French Toast.  If you have syrup left, you can refrigerate it in a squeeze bottle and heat it back up in the microwave.