Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cooking for the Storm

I always spend part of Sunday cooking foods for the week, but today has been kind of different. We have all been preparing for an uninvited and very unwelcome guest -- Gustav. Today I have been busy trying cook things to feed my family in case we lose our electricity for an extended period of time like we did after Katrina.

I have prepared several things:

* Hawaiian bread
* chocolate chip bread
* no bake chocolate cookies (my husband asked please)
* spanish rice
* two racks of pineapple glazed ribs
* macaroni and cheese
* pasta salad
* trail mix
* cut veggies
* granola
* lemonade and sweet tea
* gallons of water

I also turned my refrigerator down to its coldest setting. If the electricity goes off I want to make sure that the refrigerator is as cold as it can be for as long as it can be.

I have several recipes that will automatically post over the next few days if we lose electricity, but hopefully, hopefully, we won't.

If you are in the path like we are... stay safe and keep in touch when you can!

National Trail Mix Day

Note: The great thing about Trail Mix is that is it a great for school snack time, after school snacks, to tuck into the bicycle travel bag or carry in your purse for those "I'm hungry." moments. Trail Mix can be different every time you make it. Look for healthy and crunchy things on sale to add to your next Trail Mix.

Trail Mix


Unsalted nuts




Sunflower seeds

Dried cranberries

Dried cherries

Dried apricots


Mini chocolate chips

Mini pretzels

Multi grain Cheerios

Whole wheat Chex cereal



Add ingredients by 1/4 cup measurements in large bowl. Store in an airtight container.

God brews the coffee. Not the Cups.

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink..What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live . Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us."

God brews the coffee, not the cups.......... Enjoy your coffee!

"The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything they have."

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.Leave the rest to God.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cheesy Hamburger Dip

Note: Whether we are sitting around the table playing a game of Uno or sitting in the living room watching our favorite football team, this is a favorite snack food! This is kind of my knock-off version of Chili's Queso Skillet Dip. It isn't exactly the same, but it is close enough for us!

Cheesy Hamburger Dip


1 lb. hamburger, cooked and drained

1 jar Cheez Whiz

2 Tbsp taco seasononing

1/2 cup hot water

Mix all the ingredients and add enough of the water to make it "stir-able". Is that a word? Serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Cheese and Bacon Corn Bread

Note: This cornbread is what Emeril would say "kicked up a notch". Yummy yummy to your tummy!

Cheese and Bacon Corn Bread

1 pkg. corn muffin mix

1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

6 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1 egg

Milk, as package label directs

Empty corn muffin mix into a medium mixing bowl. Save about 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese and bacon for topping; stir in remaining cheese and bacon into muffin mix. Mix in egg and milk, following muffin mix label directions. Pour batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes; sprinkle reserved cheese and bacon over top and bake 10 minutes longer, or until corn bread is browned and firm.

Peanut Butter Cookies with a Kiss

Note: Since today is Little Guy's birthday I am posting a cookie that features his favorite thing: Hershey Kisses. And since the acronym of K.I.S.S. means Keep it Simple I am just making him a simple peanut butter cookie with a Hershey Kiss on top. Happy Birthday, Little Guy!

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 to 1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cup biscuit baking mix (i.e. Bisquick)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   In large bowl, combine milk, peanut butter, egg and vanilla until smooth.  Add biscuit mix and mix well.   Chill for 1 hour.  Shape into 1 inch balls.   Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.   Flatted with a fork.    Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned.   While still warm, press Hershey's Kiss into center of cookie.   Cool.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Redneck "Oreo" Truffles

Note: After making the red velvet balls for the teachers I remembered this recipe for truffles and decided to go ahead and try these out too. Now I have these plus a bunch of dipped honey grahams and peanut butter crackers for Big Guy's birthday party.

Redneck "Oreo" Truffles


1 package oreo cookies, crumbled
1 8oz. package cream cheese (softened)
white chocolate bark


Crush cookies and stir in softened cream cheese. Use the back of a large spoon to help mash the two together. Roll the mixture into 1″ balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. Put in the freezer to chill until solid. Melt chocolate as directed on the package and then dip balls into chocolate, tap off extra and set aside on wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry. Enjoy!

Note: I always seem to have some white chocolate left so I use it up by dipping crackers, pretzels or even Teddy Grahams in it. I always make up a bunch of peanut butter crackers and dip them in white chocolate. The boys love the treat!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Baked Nacho Chicken

Note: Tried this in the crock pot, but the chips turned out soggy. Basically this has to be done in the oven!

Baked Nacho Chicken


2 Egg + 2 T water
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cup crushed baked or regular Doritos (your favorite flavor)


Spray a baking pan with Pam. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dip chicken in egg wash and then coat in crushed Dorito. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Cookbook: Feasting on Asphalt

I am a sucker for cookbooks. Recently while strolling through Lemuria Bookstore I picked up this Alton Brown cookbook. I'm not sure I'll ever make grilled alligator tail, but I bet my hubs would love the pecan coconut pie. Who doesn't love Alton Brown and I just loved browsing all the amazing pics and GREAT places that he visited along the mighty Mississippi. has this on sale right now for $11.00 which is a 60% savings from its original price.
If you have a cookbook collector in your life, this would make a great Christmas gift!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Red Velvet Cake Balls

Note: School has been going for a little while.... time for a little treat for teachers who are so sweet!

Red Velvet Cake Balls


1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)

1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.)

1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)

wax paper


After cake is completely cooled, crumble into a large bowl. Mix crumbles with 1 can of cream cheese frosting. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet. This will make about 50 red velvet balls. Chill for several hours. If you are in a hurry, put them in the freezer.

Melt chocolate in microwave checking about every 30 seconds. Use a spoon to drop balls in chocolate and roll around. Pick up with fork and lay on wax paper until firm.

For a pretty effect, drizzle with the opposite color chocolate or colored sugar.

Summer Night Tea

Note: This is our favorite special summer tea. My boys absolutely love it and if we are having company over they always insist that I make it.

Summer Night Tea

1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries, thawed
1 ½ quarts boiling water
3 family sized tea bags
½ cup sugar
1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed and undiluted
1 (2 liter) bottle lemon-lime carbonated drink, chilled
Garnish: fresh mint sprits or slices of fresh lemon


Place strawberries in blender, process until smooth, and set aside. Pour boiling water over tea bags; cover and steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeeze gently. Stir in sugar, lemonade concentrate, and strawberry puree, chill. Stir in lemon-lime beverage just before serving. Serve tea over ice. Garnish, if desired.

Unbaked Chocolate Cookies

Note: These are my hub's absolute favorite cookies. Since today is his birthday I will be making them for him. He will know I truly love him because just the smell of them makes me nauseous not to mention the sight of them. Long story... I love you, sweetheart! Happy Birthday!

Unbaked Chocolate Cookies


2 cup sugar

4 tsp. cocoa

1/2 cup milk

1 stick of oleo

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 tsp. vanilla

3 1/2 cup quick cooking oats

Put sugar, cocoa, milk and oleo in a pan; boil for 1 1/2 minutes. Add peanut butter, vanilla and oats. Boil for 2 or 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently. Drop on wax paper.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What Would Your Cardboard Say?

I saw this on Melissa's blog and loved it. What would your story be?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bird's Nest

Note: When the boys came out and asked for lunch they wanted grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. While I was making their sandwiches I realized that I really wanted a Bird's Nest. Simple, quick and hits the spot. Good for breakfast, sandwich substitute or just when that craving hits you.

Bird's Nest


1 slice of bread


1 egg

salt and pepper


Butter both sides of the bread. With a biscuit cutter or glass cut a circle out of the center of the bread. Place buttered bread in hot skillet (as hot as you would do grilled cheese). After butter has had a chance to melt, crack the egg into the "hole". Sprinkle with desired amount of salt and pepper. Once the egg has cooked enough to set, flip. When toast is browned to taste. Serve.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cowboy Cornbread

Note: I am making this tonight as part of our supper to celebrate the wrap up of Rodeo Week for Little Guy. We made a stick horse and he dressed up for school today. I am a sucker for playing into the "themes" of school.

Cowboy Cornbread


2 bx Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

1 pk Taco Seasoning

1 can Cream Style Corn

1 lb Ground Chuck, browned

2 c Cheddar Cheese, shredded

1 can green chilies (small can)

3 eggs

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 c milk


Cook meat and onions in skillet until done. Drain any excess fat and stir in taco seasoning. Set aside.Mix together corn, cornbread mix, chilis, and eggs. Add milk and blend. Place 1/2 of mixture in a 9 x 13" pan (spray bottom with non stick spray). Add meat mixture and cheese. Cover with remaining cornbread mixture. Bake at 350 deg. F until golden brown, aprox. 30 min.

BBQ Cowboy Pinto Beans

Note: O.K. Seriously, we can't have our cowboy meal tonight without having cowboy beans! That just wouldn't be right!!

BBQ Cowboy Pinto Beans

16 ounces packaged dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over
4 cups hot water
2 medium onions -- chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
3/4 cup hickory-flavored barbecue sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 1/2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1 dash Tabasco sauce, or more to taste

In a 3 1/2-quart electric slow cooker, mix together the beans, hot water, onions, and chili powder. Cover and cook on the low heat setting about 7 hours, or until the beans are tender but not falling apart.

Drain off all the cooking liquid. Stir in the barbecue sauce, ketchup, mustard, and Tabasco sauce. Cook, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes longer, until heated through.
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Buffalo Chip Cookies

Note: These will be good when my hungry cowboy gets home from school.

Buffalo Chip Cookies


1 cup margarine

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup oatmeal

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 12 ounce pkg. chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup cornflakes


Mix all together and bake at 350 for 12 minutes. These freeze well.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Note: We love sugar cookies and these cream cheese sugar cookies are simply decadent!

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter
1 8 ounce package of low fat cream cheese
1 & 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel, powdered or grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 cups unbleached white flour

In large mixing bowl, blend softened butter and cream cheese until combined. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until light in color. Add salt, baking powder and 2 cups of the flour - stir well. Add additional 3 cups flour, one at a time. Divide dough into 3 or 4 parts, form into flattened disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 3 to 4 hours, until very firm. Working with one disk at a time, roll out on floured surface, to about 1/4 inch thick and dipping cutters in flour to prevent dough from sticking, cut out shapes and place on baking sheets, covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for about 8 min, till just slightly brown on the bottom, being careful not to get too brown. Cool completely.

1 cup confectioner's sugar
pinch salt
1-2 Tablespoons milk or cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 t vanilla

In small bowl, combine sugar, salt and 1 Tablespoon of the milk. Stir very well and add additional milk a few drops at a time until the mixture does not quite hold a peak. Stir in corn syrup and vanilla.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

National Lemonade Day

Fresh Lemonade


2 cups sugar

1 cup hot water

2 cups fresh lemon juice

1 gallon cold water

In a 1 gallon container, place sugar and hot water, and stir until sugar dissolves. Add lemon juice and
cold water to render 1 gallon. Stir until well mixed. Serve by pouring lemonade over glasses of ice.

I Heart Your Blog

Willow at Apron Strings and Angst awarded this "I Heart Your Blog" award to me and I am tickled to get it! Thanks so much, Willow! The rules of the award are:

The rules of the award are:

1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.

2. Link the person you received your award from.

3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.

4. Put links of those blogs on yours.

5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you’ve nominated

I’m off to leave messages for these fabulous bloggers! I love getting inspiration for my weekly menus and these are my favorite places to visit for inspiration. Just promise me once you start visiting their blogs you won't forget about me, O.K.?

The blogs I am nominating are:

Hash Brown Casserole

Note: This is comfort food for us. I don't know why since neither of us grew up eating it, but since we have gotten married it is something that we both want when we are stressed.

Hash Brown Casserole

2 lbs frozen southern style hash brown potatoes


2 cups sour cream

1 10 1/2 ounce can cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup chopped onions

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 stick butter, melted

2 cups crushed corn flakes

1. Place potatoes in greased 9 x 13-inch pan.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In bowl, combine onions, sour cream, and cream of chicken soup.
4. Stir soup mixture into potatoes.
5. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup melted butter.
6. Sprinkle with crushed corn flakes and 1 stick melted butter.
7. Bake in 350°F oven for 45 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mississippi Mud Cake

Note: During your fourth grader year of school in Mississippi, you participate and perform in a Mississippi play. When I was in the fourth grade I was selected to be in the square dance. My Mom made me the best square dance outfit of the group. At one point in the play we sang a song that said, "It's a treat to beat your feet in the Mississippi Mud". I always think of that song when I make this cake. I don't want to beat my feet in it, but boy is it a treat to sink your teeth in it!

Mississippi Mud Cake


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into big chunks

½ cup cocoa

4 eggs, beaten well

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups sugar

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Mississippi Mud Frosting:

One 16-ounce box (about 3 2/3 cups) confectioners’ sugar

½ cup cocoa

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

½ cup milk or evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups mini-marshmallows, or 3 cups marshmallows, quartered


To make the cake, heat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13-by-9-inch pan. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the cocoa and cook over medium heat, stirring now and then, until the butter is melted and the mixture is well blended, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the beaten eggs, vanilla, sugar, flour, salt, and pecans, and beat with a wooden spoon or spatula or with a mixer at low speed until the batter is well combined and smooth, and the flour has disappeared.

Quickly pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at the 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched gently in the center and is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Prepare the frosting while the cake bakes; so that you will be ready to poor it over the hot cake. In a medium bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar and the cocoa, and stir to mix them well. Add the melted butter, milk and vanilla, and use a large spoon or mixer at low speed to beat everything together well. Set aside until the cake is done.

Remove the cake from the oven, scatter the marshmallows over the top, and return the cake to the hot oven form about 3 minutes, to soften the marshmallows.

Place the cake, still in the pan, on a wire rack or a folded kitchen towel. Pour the frosting all over the marshmallow-dotted cake, and cool to room temperature. Cut into small squares and serve.

Grandma's Tomato Gravy

Note: I mentioned tomato gravy on my family blog and people started asking about it. My Grandma could make some mean tomato gravy. Oh, man! It was so delicious on biscuits. I wish I could say that I could make it the way she does there just isn't a chance. Some things can't be replaced with a recipe!

Grandma's Tomato Gravy


1/4 cup bacon drippings
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups water
1/2 (6 ounce) can tomato paste OR 2 large tomatoes, peeled and diced small
salt and ground black pepper to taste


Heat bacon drippings in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir the flour into the bacon drippings and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned. Slowly pour the water into the flour mixture while whisking. Whisk in the tomato paste (or fresh tomatoes). Cook the mixture until it begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thick, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Hawaiian Ribs

Note: Don't laugh, but I have a jar of apricot jam and don't want it to go to waste. I found this recipe and thought. Gotta try it!

Hawaiian Ribs

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1/3 cup apricot jam
3 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp. grated peeled fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
3 to 4 pounds pork baby back ribs

Combine pineapple (including the juice), apricot jam, mustard, vinegar, ginger and garlic in the food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Place ribs on oiled grid. Grill ribs over medium heat 40 minutes or until ribs are no longer pink near bone. Brush ribs with portion of pineapple sauce during last 10 minutes of cooking. Cut into individual ribs to serve. Serve remaining sauce for dipping.

Shortcut: I made these yesterday and knew I wasn't going to have time to put them on the grill so I put them in the crockpot to cook with a little of the marinade on them. When they were tender I took them out and basted them with the sauce and put them under the broider in the oven. I should have taken a photo, but they were gone as soon as I took them out of the oven!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

If Heaven Had Voice Mail

Thank you for calling My Father's House.

Please select one of the following options:
Press 1 for Requests
Press 2 for Thanksgiving
Press 3 for Complaints
Press 4 for All Other Inquiries.

I'm sorry, all of our angels are busy helping other sinners right now. However, your prayer is important to us and will be answered in the order it was received, so please stay on the line. If you would like to speak to:
God, Press 1
For Jesus, Press 2
For the Holy Spirit, Press 3

If you would like to hear King David sing a Psalm while you are holding please press 4.

To find out if a loved one has been assigned to Heaven, Press 5, enter his or her NRIC number, then press the # key. (If you get a negative response, try area code 666.)

For reservations at "My Father's House" please enter J-O-H-N followed by 3-1-6.

For answers to nagging questions about dinosaurs, the age of the earth and where Noah's Ark is, please wait until you arrive here.

Our computers show that you have already prayed once today. Please hang up and try again tomorrow.

This office is closed for the weekend to observe a religious holiday.

Please pray again Monday after 9:30 AM. If you need emergency Assistance when this office is closed, contact your local pastor."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Caribbean Black Beans and Coconut Rice

Note: Remember that can of coconut milk I had a while back that I didn't know what to do with? Well, this was the perfect recipe that I found. Sorry it took me so long to post it and thanks so much to The Sisters' Cafe for providing the amazing recipe!

Caribbean Black Beans and Coconut Rice

5-6 c cooked jasmine rice (2 cups uncooked rice)
1 tsp dried thyme (or one Tb fresh)
1-2 Tb canola oil
4-5 small sweet peppers of red, orange and yellow
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch of green onions, sliced thinly
4 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can coconut milk

While the rice is cooking, saute the peppers and garlic in the oil until soft. Add the green onions and saute 2-3 minutes more. Stir in the black beans and warm through then add the rice and coconut milk. Stir over med-low heat until well combined and heated through. Serve hot.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

Note: Hubs doesn't like ketchup, but he likes meatloaf. That is kind of like an oxymoron isn't it? Even so, I want to make hubs happy so I went on a quest to find a meatloaf that he would really enjoy that didn't require ketchup. Paula Deen to the rescue!

Cheeseburger Meatloaf

1 pound ground beef
1 teaspoon House Seasoning (garlic powder, black pepper, and salt mix)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 cup grated Cheddar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup crushed crackers (recommended: Ritz)
1 teaspoon seasoned salt (recommended: Lawry's)
2 slices white bread
Sauce, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix all ingredients together, except the bread slices and Sauce. Shape into a loaf. Line a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan with the bread slices. Place meatloaf on top. Bake loaf for 45 minutes. The bread absorbs the grease and should be discarded after loaf is removed from oven.

Paula's recipe calls for a sauce to be put over the top, but I don't put this on mine. If want the full recipe including the sauce just click on the link at the top.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dump Cake

Note: This is a really quick and easy dessert. I have no idea what the official title of it is. I just call it Dump Cake for two reasons: 1. because you literally dump all the ingredients into a pan and bake it and 2. when my husband and I first got married, I decided to bake this for him and when I took it out of the oven I burned my hand and dumped it all over the floor.

Dump Cake


2 cans blueberry pie filling
1 can crushed pineapple, drained
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick margarine

Pour blueberry pie filling into bottom of 9 x 13 pyrex baking dish. Sprinkle pineapples on top of that. Sprinkle cake mix on top of fruit filling. Cut margarine into squares and places over the top of the cake mix. Bake in a 350 degrees oven until the cake mix is browned. Serve warm either plain or with a little vanilla ice cream on top.

Variations: Use whatever type pie filling and fruit you want to use - apple pie filling, blackberry pie filling, etc... Just whatever suits your taste!

This is one of those desserts that is really easy to throw together at a minute's notice and taste really good.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fried Dill Pickles

Note: This one is for Dr. Wifey. She and I share a love of Fried Dill Pickles!

Fried Dill Pickles

1 Cup all-purpose flour
1/4 Cup cornstarch
1 Tsp baking powder
1/4 Tsp salt
1 Cup ice water
1 Egg yolk
2 Tbsp dill pickle juice
4 Cups drained dill pickle slices (1/4" thick)
Vegetable oil for frying

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. All at once, add the water, egg yolk, and pickle juice. Stir the mixture with a wire whisk to make a smooth batter. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a deep fryer or large saucepan, heat at least 2 inches of oil to 3750. In batches, dip pickle slices in the batter, lightly and evenly coating them. Without crowding, place coated slices in the hot oil. Fry until golden and crisp, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Dain on paper towels and serve immediately. Salt to taste.

Serve with ranch dressing.

Poppy Seed Chicken

Note: This is one of Big Guy's favorites. I usually make a double batch so we have plenty of leftovers. I can eat spoonfuls of this cold!

Poppy Seed Chicken

5 cups of cooked, diced chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
16 ounces of sour cream
one tablespoon poppy seeds
one sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first five ingredients. Spread into 13x9 casserole dish. Cover with crushed crackers and drizzle with butter. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly around the edges and crackers are golden brown.

Serve over rice.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bacon Wrapped Bread Sticks

Note: My boys LOVE these and with football season about to start I'll be using this recipe more and more.

Bacon Wrapped Bread Sticks


1 cup grated Parmesan

2 teaspoons garlic salt or powder

12 slices bacon 24 (4 1/2-inch) long sesame breadsticks (1 package)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the Parmesan with garlic salt and set aside. Cut the bacon slices in half so they are approximately 5-inches long. Wrap each bread stick with 1 slice of bacon, starting at 1 end and ending at the other. Place wrapped bread sticks on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 15 minutes or until bacon is browned. Remove from oven and immediately roll bread sticks in cheese mixture. Let cool and serve at room temperature.
Thank you, Paula Deen!

How to: Re-soften Brown Sugar

We have all pulled a bag of brown sugar out of the cabinet and it has been a brick instead of soft.

Here are some ways to solve that problem.

1. Open the bag. Place a piece of bread inside and close the bag back up. The next day -- problem solved!
2. Place brown sugar in a container. Place brown sugar along with a cup of water in the microwave. Microwave for about a minute or until brown sugar is softened.
3. Place you brown sugar in a container. Place a damp towel over the top. By morning it should be as good as new.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy National S'More Day!



Chocolate candy bar
Honey Graham Crackers
Large Marshmallows

Roast your marshmallow over a fire, place on a graham cracker, top with part of a milk chocolate bar, then top with your cracker, making a sandwich so to speak. Eat and enjoy!

Make S'mores in the microwave. Break your graham cracker in half, place a large marshmallow on top, and microwave on high for 6-7 minutes (watch your marshmallow, all microwaves cook differently). Remove from microwave, top with your milk chocolate bar, and then your remaining cracker. Eat and enjoy!

Make a Simple S'More (Recipe Below).

Simple S'Mores

If you grew up in the South, you grew up eating Moon Pies. What are Moon Pies? Basically a S'More!! It is a graham cracker crust with marshmallow in the middle and then coated with chocolate. These are delicious if you put them in the microwave and warm them up just a little. It is cheating, but boy is it yummy.

Recipe for Happiness

This recipe isn't hard to make.    In fact, it is VERY Easy.

However, for it to be successful you must always get started as soon as you awake.

Take a big mixing bowl and fill it with a smile

Mix half a cup of sunshine with good deeds to last a while.

Add a pinch of work and play, a pinch of thoughtfulness and care

But don't bake it in the oven, just spread it around everywhere!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Parmesan Potato Wedges

Parmesan Potato Wedges

2 medium baking potatoes, cut lengthwise into 4 wedges
salt (optional)
1/2 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves, dill weed, Italian herbs or paprika

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray baking sheet with Pam. Spray cut sides of potato wedges generously with cooking spray. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and herbs in shallow dish. Add potatoes and toss lightly until potatoes are generously coated. Place on your baking sheet and bake until brown and tender.

Serve warm with spicy brown or honey mustard.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Southern Sideboards

My Mom gave me this amazing cookbook right after I got married. It is one of my favorites. The recipes inside are from the Junior League of Jackson. They are truly southern.

A recipe from Southern Sideboards:

Chess Pie

1 9 inch pie crust -- unbaked
1/2 cup butter or margarine -- melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt
3/4 tablespoon vinegar

Prepare unbaked pie shell. Mix butter and sugar and simmer slowly, stirring, for 5 minutes. remove from heat and let cool slightly, stirring constantly. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add vanilla, salt and vinegar; mix well.Pour filling into pie shell and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 20-30 minutes. Shake pie gently. It is done when the center quivers slightly. Do not try to double recipe.Pie keeps well in the refrigerator overnight. Can freeze and reheat.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bourbon Street Beignet Puffs

Bourbon Street Beignet Puffs


Crisco shortening for frying

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar

4 eggs - room temp.

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

powdered sugar


Heat enough shortening to cover 2 -3 inches in bottom of skillet.

In a separate saucepan, combine water, butter and salt. Bring to a boil. Add flour and sugar. Reduce heat to medium and stir until dough is smooth, glossy and comes away from side of pan. Remove from heat. Stir 2 minutes to cool slightly. Add eggs 1 at a time. Beat after each addition until well blended. Beat in vanilla.

Drop by spoonfuls, a few at a time, into hot shortening. Fry several minutes or until deep golden brown. Turn as needed for even browning. Remove with slotted metal spoon. Drain on paper towels. Toss in powdered sugar.

Serve warm!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Swirl Bread Pudding

Note: One of my favorite desserts is a GOOD bread pudding. I found this recipe at Picky Palate's blog. It has everything you could want in a bread pudding. It is easy, delicious and is served in individual servings.     My boys devoured this and I took it home to my parents and they enjoyed it too.   

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Swirl Bread Pudding with A Sweet Maple Drizzle

1 lb loaf Cinnamon Swirl Bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
½ Cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/3 Cups 1% low fat milk
3 large eggs
½ Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
Pinch of salt
½ Cup powdered sugar
2 ½ Tablespoons
1% low fat milk
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place bread cubes and chocolate chips into a large mixing bowl. In a medium bowl whisk the milk, eggs, sugar, brown sugar and salt. Pour over bread cubes. Stir to combine.
2. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray and spoon bread pudding mixture evenly into muffin tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from center of pudding. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
3. In a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, milk and syrup until well combined. Drizzle over bread pudding and serve warm. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

7th Heaven Layered Salad

Note: This salad really is best when it is made one day ahead. That is why it is so great for taking to church potlucks or even for having company over after church.

7th-Heaven Layered Salad


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 head lettuce, torn
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cucumber, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
10 to 12 green onions, finely chopped
1 (8-ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 pound bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

Blend first 6 ingredients together; cover and set aside. Layer lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots and onions in a 13" x 9" serving dish; spread cream cheese mixture over the top. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese; add layer of bacon. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

TIP: When frying bacon for this salad, reserve a few pieces. Slice a homegrown tomato into fat slices and add lettuce for a fresh BLT sandwich... lunch is ready!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bulk Cooking: Hamburger Meat

I found hamburger meat on sale so I bought several family packs. I cooked them all and used them in the following ways.

Taco Meat
3 lbs hamburger meat (browned and drained)
seasoned with taco seasoning

Divided the meat up into ziploc bags. 1 pound into each bag. We can use this for tacos or for nachos.

4 lbs hamburger meat (browned and drained)
SAMS Spicy Spaghetti Mix
Tomato Sauce

I am a huge fan of SAMS Spicy Spaghetti Mix. It has great seasonings and is easy, easy to make. This made enough spaghetti sauce for three meals.

The rest of the hamburger meat I put into Ziploc bags for use in various casseroles, dishes and even Sloppy Joes.

Always label your ziploc with a Sharpie with the date and name of what is inside.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Recipe for a Happy Marriage

1 cup consideration
1 cup courtesy
2 cupfuls flattery carefully concealed
1 gallon faith and trust in each other
2 cupfuls praise
1 small pinch of in-laws
1 reasonable budget, a generous dash of cooperation
3 teaspoon pure extract of "I'm sorry"
1 cup contentment
1 cup each confidence and encouragement
1 large or several small hobbies
1 cup blindness to the other's faults

Flavor with frequent portions of recreation and a dash of happy memories. Stir well and remove any specks of jealousy, temper or criticism. Sweeten well with generous portions of love and keep warm with a steady flame of devotion. Never serve with cold shoulder.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hot Fudge Sauce

Hot Fudge Sauce

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Microwave chips on High stirring occasionally. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, vanilla extract and salt until smooth. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Stuffed Baked Potatoes

4 baking potatoes
2 or 3 slices ham or smoked turkey (optional)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Make 2 deep slits, 1 lengthwise and 1 crosswise, across the top of each potato. Cut about halfway into the potato. Put the potatoes in the oven, directly on the oven rack, and bake about 1 hour. Prepare the filling while the potatoes are baking. Set them aside until they are cool enough to handle. Chop the ham into tiny pieces. Set aside. Remove the potatoes from the oven, but leave the oven on. Set the potatoes aside until they are cool enough to handle. Use both hands to gently squeeze the potatoes so that the white, fluffy potato flesh starts to burst out from the skin. Using a spoon, scoop out the potato flesh, being careful not to poke through the skin on the bottom and sides. You should try to leave a wall of potato flesh about 1/4 inch thick, so that the skin wont break when you try to stuff it. Put the potato flesh in a bowl. Set the skins aside. Mix the filling Add the sour cream and milk to the bowl. Using the spoon, stir and mash the potato mixture until it is smooth. Stir in the ham and 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Scoop the potato mixture back into the potato shells. Sprinkle each potato with a little of the remaining shredded cheese. Place the potatoes on a cookie sheet and put them back in the oven and bake until the cheese is bubbly and the potatoes are heated through, about 15 minutes.

Serve immediately. Serves 4.