Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Green Beans, Sausage & Potatoes

This dish is an old stand-by that can be taken to pitch-ins, served in a pinch or anytime you want for that matter.  Who doesn't love one-pot meals?

Green Beans, Sausage & Potatoes

1 pkg. of your favorite Smoked Sausage, cut into rounds and then in half again
4 to 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
2 large cans of green beans (or 2 pkgs. of frozen green beans)
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. dill
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 15 oz. can chicken broth

In a large stock pot, add green beans (with juices if canned) and the rest of the ingredients.  Cook on medium for approximately twenty-five minutes until potatoes are fork-tender.


*Note, this recipe can also be prepared in a crock-pot.  Add all ingredients and cook for about 4 hours on high until the potatoes are cooked through.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Nutella Fudge

My favorite fudge is Peanut Butter, but this Nutella Fudge is a close second.  It is a little different from most fudge recipes you will find because I make it with Nutella and Molasses.  Give it a try!

Nutella Fudge

2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup molasses
1 stick real butter
1 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

In deep saucepan over medium - high heat, add 1 stick of real butter.  Allow to melt then quickly add 2 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup molasses.  Bring to a boil and boil for 8 minutes, stirring constantly.  Check with candy thermometer and it should be between 230 and 235 degrees. 

Remove from heat and immediately add Nutella, vanilla and walnuts.  Pour into a 9x9" square pan sprayed with cooking spray.  This will be thicker fudge, so if you want it thinner, pour it into a 9 x 13" pan.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.  Enjoy!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Chicken, Spinach and Cream Cheese Soup

This is one of my most favorite soups.  It is creamy with cream cheese and thickened milk....and heart with small chunks of chicken.  And the spinach...well the spinach just tops it all off and is good for you!  Try this one, you won't be disappointed.

Chicken, Spinach and Cream Cheese Soup

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into very small cubes
4 Tbsp. of frozen spinach chopped finely
1 large chicken breast, cut into tiny cubes
1/4 small onion, finely diced
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. cream cheese
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
2 Tbsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. real butter
3 cups water

In deep pan, add 3 cups of water and 1 cup of chicken broth.  Peel and dice 3 medium potatoes into small cubes.  Bring to a boil and boil just until the potatoes are tender.  Add spinach and boil another 3 to 5 minutes. 

In the meantime, in a small skillet, sauté the chicken breast cubes and onion in 2 Tbsp. real butter.  Add to mixture along with the salt and pepper.  Reduce heat, add in cream cheese and whisk slowly until it is completely melted.  Add the evaporated milk and simmer for another 5 minutes until milk is good and hot.  Do not boil! 

In a small cup, add 1/4 cup water and 3 heaping Tbsp. cornstarch.  Beat together well.  Turn off heat and immediately stir in the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until it is thick and ready to serve!

Mmmm this is so good!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Restaurant Review: Magnolia's in Charleston South Carolina

Magnolias Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina
185 East Bay Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401

Visit Date:  12-10-2015

My husband and I were recently in Charleston, South Carolina.  What a beautiful city!  The rich heritage and fantastic weather made it a perfect long weekend!  The last night of our stay, we headed downtown and stopped at Magnolias Southern restaurant.  It came highly recommended by several people in the area. 

Magnolias offers a sweet southern charm unlike many I have seen.  The atmosphere was warm and inviting and the staff were amazing!  I'm sorry I didn't catch our waitress's name, but she was very attentive.  (Her name may have been Kim, but not sure)

My husband ordered the braised Short Ribs.  They were fall-off-the-bone tender.  He was delighted with the mashed potatoes and veggies.

I, on the other hand, had to have something native to the area, so I ordered the Trout stuffed with Crab.  Oh my goodness, it was fabulous.  Now, I'm not a big fish eater, but for some reason it sounded good that night and I was not disappointed. 

My daughter always gets on me for not eating enough veggies, so my dinner came with crispy kale and I was not disappointed.  I loved it!  And, the fingerling potatoes were good, although I felt they were a little under-done.

I highly recommend Magnolia's if you are in the Charleston area. 

4.5 Stars!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Walnut Cake with Burnt Butter Frosting

This is a very heavy cake, almost like a pound cake.  But, the Burnt Butter Frosting really makes it over-the-top good.  Easy to make and yummy!  Give it a try.

Walnut Cake with Burnt Butter Frosting

1/2 cup real butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. hazelnut flavoring (can use vanilla)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (1 cup for cake and 1/2 cup for icing)

Cream butter, sugar, oil, evaporated milk and eggs together.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Slowly add flour mixture to wet mixture to combine completely.  Stir in 1 cup walnuts.

Pour into a 9 x 13" pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely and the frost with Burnt Butter Frosting.

Burnt Butter Frosting:

2 sticks real butter (burnt in microwave)  see directions below
1 16 oz. pkg. powdered sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 tsp. hazelnut flavoring (or vanilla)
1/2 cup walnut pieces

The easiest way to burn butter is in the microwave.  Place 2 sticks of butter into a deep microwave-proof bowl.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes at a time.  Check after each time and repeat until the butter takes on a brown color.  Should take about 8 to 10 minutes total.  Stir well and add in walnuts.  Frost cooled cake.


Cool butter slightly and then add in milk, flavoring and finally the powdered sugar. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hawaiian Garlic & Cheese Bread - Chris Cervantes

We had the pleasure of attending a birthday party yesterday for my very best friend, Renee Cervantes.  Her husband, Chris, is a fabulous cook and he prepared a big lunch for the celebration.  He created a fantastic bread using Hawaiian Sweet Bread that I wanted to share with you all.  I will definitely be making this one! 

Hawaiian Garlic & Cheese Bread

1 loaf Hawaiian Sweet Bread
1/4 cup melted real butter
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup cubed Swiss or Mozzarella cheese

Cut small slits throughout the bread and stick a cube of cheese into each slice.  Chris used Swiss, but I would probably use Mozzarella, as I like a softer cheese.  Melt butter and garlic together and brush over the entire loaf. 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes.  The bread will fall in the center.  Remove and serve immediately.

I can't wait to try this one myself!  It was fabulous.  Thanks Chris for sharing.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mexican Cornbread

I love cornbread.  Normally I make it in a fritter, but this Mexican Cornbread is really good.  Try it with some spicy chili or with some nachos as a side.

Mexican Cornbread

2 pkgs.Jiffy Cornbread - mixed according to directions
2 diced green onions
1 can of Rotel tomatoes - drained completely
1 to 2 small jalapenos finely diced (optional)
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper

Mix Cornbread mixture according to directions.  Drain Rotel tomatoes completely and discard juice.  Finely chop jalapenos (optional) and add remaining ingredients. 

Mix and pour into 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake according to directions on box.  Top should spring back when touched.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Butterscotch Peanut Butter Balls

This is the first year I have attempted to make Peanut Butter Balls.  I always thought they looked so hard to make, but they are incredibly easy!  I made them with chocolate (of course), caramel and these yummy ones with butterscotch. 

Butterscotch Peanut Butter Balls

1/2 jar crunchy peanut butter
8 oz. (1/2 bag) powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup melted, cooled real butter
1/2 package butterscotch chips
1 tsp. olive oil

In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and butter.  Mix with your hands until it is soft enough to form small balls.  Pre-form the balls and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix butterscotch chips and olive oil.  Microwave on low or defrost until chips are melted and easily stirred.  Stir well and dip the peanut butter balls into the mixture one at a time.  Remove with a spoon and place back on the Parchment paper to set up.  They start setting up pretty quickly.  I like to put mine in the fridge because I like them cold.

These are great to take to pitch-ins.  No cooking and really fast!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fried Potatoes with Onions

Honestly, I prefer Mashed Potatoes, but sometimes you just gotta have some fried taters.  My mom always made the very best fried potatoes and I never could quite match it....but these are pretty close.

Fried Potatoes with Onions

3 - 4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 small white onion, sliced in thin strips
2 Tbsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. ground pepper
1 tsp. real butter

In skillet over medium/low heat, place olive oil.  Once it is hot (30 seconds or so), add the potatoes, spreading them evenly over the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid and let the potatoes cook for about 6 to 8 minutes on the first side.  Flip potatoes and recover with lid.  Cook an additional 6 to 8 minutes on the second side.  Check to see if they are most of the way done.  If so, remove the lid, add the onions and the butter.  Flip one more time and when you see the onions start to caramelize, remove and serve.

Yum!  Enjoy!