Saturday, February 28, 2009

Homemade Stovetop No Bean Beef Chili

A nice, thick highly seasoned, no beans, ground beef chili.

Homemade Stovetop No Bean Beef Chili

Gotta love a good pot of chili and personally, I love all kinds. With beans, without beans, spicy, not so spicy, I'm not one to argue that there is only one kind of chili. Let's enjoy them all!

Instead of all ground beef, I often use 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of a raw sausage of some kind, such as Italian, bratwurst, breakfast, or Mexican chorizo. I do recommend browning off then draining the ground meats for this chili, whether cooked stovetop or in a slow cooker just to remove some of the excess fat.

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Velveeta Crabmeat Au Gratin

A crabmeat au gratin casserole made with a butter and cream sauce and topped with Velveeta.

Velveeta Crabmeat Au Gratin

I picked up some crabmeat the other day, thinking that I would cook some pan fried crab cakes. Then decided nah, didn't want crab cakes ... maybe a casserole instead, but changed my mind again before I finally settled in on doin' an au gratin. Cheese. Now that appealed to this Lenten sweets deprived little ole me. Oh yeah!! That's really how I cook anyway - never much on planning ahead, mostly cooking on the fly.

I adapted this recipe from one in Best of the Best from Bell's Best Cookbook (say that 4 times fast) which is a compilation of recipes from the TelecomPioneers of Mississippi. The purchase of one of their cookbooks helps with Pioneer projects such as Habitat homes and building playgrounds and supports their other educational and health related projects ... just in case yer interested.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Southern Slow Stewed Chicken

This traditional stewed chicken dish begins with a browned, cut up chicken, that is slow cooked in a roux based gravy.

Southern Stewed Chicken

This is another form of what we refer to in the south as smothered chicken, beginning with the searing of cut up chicken, then a roux based gravy is prepared, to which the chicken is returned and slow simmered. It's somewhat similar to Chicken Fricassee, a smothered chicken and gravy dish, except that the chicken is not floured before frying. It's a simple southern dish created with layers of flavor and that's one reason that it's so good!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Southern Pralines

Creamy southern pralines are a simple candy confection, made from boiled sugar and nuts, and are a holiday tradition.

Southern Pralines

The Cajun came home the other day with a handful of pralines that his Mama has sent him home with when he stopped by for a visit with her on his way to a meeting. Now I don't honestly know how many he started off with between his Mama's and his meeting, but trouble is, see, me. Me, the sugar junkie, got into 'em that evenin' by mindlessly munching on them while I was busy putting a recipe into the blog. Well, before I knew it, those few that did make their way to the house, well... they were gone! Yikes!

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fried Chicken Seasoning Blend

Fried Chicken Seasoning Blend - my take on the 11 herbs and spices KFC copycat.

Fried Chicken Seasoning Blend

This seasoning blend is my take on the KFC copycat seasonings that can go with any good Southern Fried Chicken. You have to have a commercial pressure fryer to get the texture of KFC's original recipe though and since most of us don't own one of those, we'll have to settle for open fryer chicken, which is more crisp than the original recipe. Still good though!

Add a salt brine for a few hours or use a brief dip in a buttermilk marinade to make it Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken, if ya like. Simply add buttermilk to a large bowl and sprinkle it with hot sauce - enough to just give it color, or as much as you want! Add the chicken (brined or not) to the buttermilk, let marinade in the fridge a few more hours to overnight. When you're ready to fry, remove the chicken, shake off the excess buttermilk, and dredge it in a mixture of seasoned flour and fry.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Almond Joy Cake

Chocolate cake mix with marshmallows, sweetened coconut, sliced almonds, butter, chocolate chips make Almond Joy Cake, a fabulous and well loved candy bar cake.

Almond Joy Cake

Almond Joy Cake is one of the most popular of the doctored up cake mix cakes and it's no wonder really. Chocolate cake, topped with a layer of gooey marshmallow and coconut cream, that is topped with a creamy layer of chocolate and almonds, and more crunchy almonds on top - it's really rich and decadent I promise ya.

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Homemade Sloppy Joes

A little Trinity, a few key seasonings and you'll have a homemade sloppy joe that'll beat any canned version hands down.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Whenever I serve these, The Cajun says "this is my most favorite food of all."

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pralines & Cream Oatmeal

Here's another one for The Oatmeal Chronicles - or How to Make Your Oatmeal More Interesting. I started off trying to create one thing and then thought about this instead. Oh my gosh was this a delicious treat!! Don't prepare the topping until right before you need it though, because if you do boil it too long it will eventually harden like candy once it starts cooling. You want it warm and pliable as a topping. This topping is also a great accent for just about anything sweet - try it drizzled over Greek yogurt, cake, ice cream or cheesecake!

Pralines & Cream Oatmeal
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Praline Topping

4 tablespoons of Land O'Lakes unsalted butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of heavy cream
2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
1/4 cup of chopped pecans
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Melt the butter in the microwave using at least a 2 cup measure. Stir in the brown sugar, cream and corn syrup and return to the microwave, heating on high for about 1 minute, stirring halfway through. Stir in the pecans, return to the microwave for about 1 more minute or until bubbly. Set aside to cool.


3/4 cup of Quaker old fashioned oatmeal
pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups of water
Heavy cream to drizzle
Drizzle of honey
Tiny pinch of chopped pecan for garnish

Combine the oatmeal, salt and water in a large microwave safe bowl, between 2 and 4 quarts to allow for expansion. Stir together well and microwave on high for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on your microwave, or until oatmeal is creamy.

Spoon oatmeal into serving dish and drizzle it with cream around the outside edges and a bit on top. Spoon praline topping in the center and drizzle a bit of honey on top. Garnish with a pinch of chopped pecan.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chicken and Dumpling Casserole

One of the most popular recipes on the site, this no-stir chicken and dumpling casserole, made with self rising flour, cream soup, and chicken broth, is reminiscent of the flavor of the real deal, but in an easy casserole form.

Chicken and Dumpling Casserole

While the name may be the same, this version is of course, a casserole, and not technically exactly like good ole old fashioned chicken and dumplings. To me, however, it provides a consistency and flavor similar to the more labor-intensive homemade version, but in a super-easy form, especially if you are using leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. If you are cooking fresh chicken, especially if you are using boneless, skinless chicken you want to just slightly under cook it when you poach it, since it will essentially continue cooking in the oven.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Shrimp Creole

Fresh shrimp, cooked in a spicy Creole tomato sauce and served over a bed of hot steaming rice. Served here with my cucumber and onion salad, sweet tea and hot French bread.

Shrimp Creole

Folks down here make shrimp creole in all sorts of ways - some are very thin and soupy, others are thick and much more dry - but without a doubt all include The Trinity. I think that mine falls right in the middle, a little on the thick side but not dry.

True to many of our seafood dishes along the Gulf Coast, this one has a goodly little kick to it, not so much to burn your mouth or take over the flavor of the dish, though you might just clear out your sinuses a bit, so adjust those spicy seasonings down if you want to tone down the heat.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Grits Cakes

Remember those yummy garlic cheese grits we made last weekend? Well, we're about to turn these into some awesome grit cakes! Talk about good. Give 'em a try ... they are fantastic!

First preheat your deep fryer to 355 degrees, or heat oil in a large skillet. In a medium bowl, mix up some flour with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning.

Get out the container of leftover grits.

And slice off some of it.

Shape it however you want. I cut mine into squares and then triangles.

Dip them in the flour.

And fry! Only takes maybe 3-4 minutes or so. Be sure to drop them or just set them in the basket with some space between them because you don't want to touch them for that first minute to avoid breaking them up. You'll know when they are done when they start floating and look golden brown.

Total yum!
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Friday, February 13, 2009

Sticky Sweet and Spicy Asian Style Oven Baked Wings

Chicken Wings with a Hoisin Honey Chili Sauce Marinade

Sticky Sweet and Spicy Asian Style Oven Baked Wings

This wing marinade made with honey, hoisin and chili sauce and a touch of citrus, produces a sticky sweet chicken wing with just a tad bit of spicy heat and I guarantee you'll be lickin' your fingers on this one! Give it a try and tell me how much you love 'em y'all.

I highly recommend using Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick Aluminum Foil when preparing wings in the oven. Here's how to make them.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Crockpot Barbecue Beef for Sandwiches

Beef for sandwiches with a delicious homemade barbecue sauce made so easy with a slow cooker. Pop it all in before you leave and come home to an easy supper.

Barbecue Beef

This is an absolutely delicious barbecue beef that is perfect for sandwiches, and so simple. Toss it all into the crockpot in the morning and it's ready for you when you get home. Fresh and homemade from ingredients you control and the flavor shows it. Stick with the fattier cuts of meat, or if you use leaner cuts, use them in combination with a mixture of the fattier cuts for the best flavor.

Here's how to make it.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Honey Wheat Bread

A light wheat bread, using whole wheat and all purpose flour, wheat germ and a touch of honey, and made with the Kitchen Aid.

Honey Wheat Bread

Time for another bread! Since my forced unemployment, thanks to Hurricane Katrina and this economic tsunami on the heels of her, I have been fortunate to be able to make loads of homemade bread. I guess that is one advantage of being an unemployed career woman now stay at home housewife with no little ones up under my feet all day. I have loads of time to play around in the kitchen. Maybe not so good on my waistline...)

Now, I love making bread. I love the process. Putting it together. Feeding the yeast. Watching the dough come together. Watching it rise. And I really love the smell of it baking. Oh do I love the smell of it baking! And frankly while it takes a bit of the hands-on work away which many people enjoy, the Kitchen Aid sure makes an easy job of it and is certainly less stressful on these older hands.

Sooooo I admit it ... I've gotten a bit spoiled by having homemade bread around. In fact it's truly to the point that I just don't care much for store bought bread anymore, so much so that I'll actually skip a sandwich if I don't have homemade bread on hand. I'm just gettin' rotten like that.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ranch Style Cowboy Beans

Ranch Beans, known also as Chuck Wagon and Cowboy Beans, are made with pintos and slow cooked with a slight southwestern flavor twist.

Ranch Style Cowboy Beans

Ranch beans have been around a very long time, in fact, I'm pretty sure that some form of them probably date all the way back to pioneer days and wagon trains, and in this version they are very often referred to as Chuck Wagon or Cowboy Beans. When I think of these beans I can't help but to think about that scene around the campfire in the movie Blazing Saddles! You know the one.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Yummy Loose Meat Hamburger Sandwich

Dry onion soup mixed with ketchup, mustard and sweet pickles, combined with cooked ground beef, makes this loose meat sandwich sort of like a deconstructed hamburger.

Loose Meat Hamburger Sandwich

I just love this Hamburger Sandwich! Kind of like a cross between a po'boy and a sloppy joe, it's a loose meat sandwich with all of the flavors of the typical All American Burger packaged in a saucy ground beef.

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Oven Braised Beef Eye of Round Roast with Pan Gravy

An eye of round beef roast, lightly sprinkled with Worcestershire, soy sauce, seasoned salt, garlic powder and ground pepper, then wrap tightly with foil and left to slow braise in the oven.

Oven Braised Beef Eye of Round Roast

This braised eye of round roast is similar to the rump roast I recently posted, except that this one is made with an eye of round roast and doesn't require an overnight marinade, so it simplifies preparation time a little bit. I don't know about you, but I have the hardest time remembering to do things the night before sometimes. You can also use a rump roast here as well, but if you're looking for a delicious top of the stove rump roast, stop by and check out this recipe for another delicious roast.

Eye of round is very similar texturally to the rump for slicing, and this recipe produces a nice tender slicing roast that is also super flavorful. Don't go too heavy-handed with the seasoned salt, otherwise between that, the Worcestershire, and the soy sauce, you'll end up with an overly salty roast. The pan drippings make a equally flavorful and easy gravy. Just remember to vigorously whisk in the flour a little at a time so you don't end up with lumps!

Here's how to make this delicious roast.

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Creamy Southern Garlic Cheese Grits

A favorite breakfast staple of grits are taken a step up with the addition of garlic and cheese, making them the perfect bed for shrimp and grits, grillades or eggs in purgatory.

Creamy Southern Garlic Cheese Grits

Grits, plain with just butter, salt and lots of pepper are a delicious Southern staple. They are made from hominy or plain corn that has been finely ground to the consistency of sand, and are typically served as a side dish with eggs and toast at breakfast, but often show up at other meals too. I love grits, but I truly love garlic cheese grits. I mean these make my eyes roll back they are so good - creamy, cheesy and loaded with garlic. And, if you're lucky you'll have some left to make fried grit cakes too, because they are over the top, I'm tellin' ya!

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Basic 1-2-3-4 Yellow Cake

This classic, old fashioned, homemade from scratch 1-2-3-4 cake, gets its name from the use of 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs. It's a great homemade cake for a birthday, or for any day!

Basic 1-2-3-4 Yellow Cake

Now I gotta tell ya, while I certainly do use them like anybody else, I'm not real big on boxed cake mixes - not that there's anything wrong with them - not at all. I have a few of those recipes that specifically have always called for boxed cake mixes, and in those cases I use and love Duncan Hines brand cake mix. It was the brand Mama used and the one that I have always preferred. Generally speaking, most boxed mixes just come off far too sweet for me and homemade is always best, plus I just prefer being able to control the sugar myself. But I totally understand the convenience of box mixes for sure.

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Friday, February 6, 2009

Weekend Cocktails - Biloxi Breeze

It's Friday night, the weather's warmed back up again, so what better time for a cocktail? And some music to go along with it. That's on further down, but first a story. Hope you find it interesting!

Now, hubs doesn't drink at all these days and so I don't imbibe much myself, so when I do, well, one generally will do it for me, and this is a good one. It's the kinda drink that invokes all kinds of memories of growing up here along the Gulf Coast. And I'm guessin' that when CrazySista put it on her menu, and Jimmy wrote the song and did the video, well, they both knew it would.

Now from what I hear, Jimmy Buffett had originally written this song as a dedication primarily to one little dive that we all knew and loved here on the Coast called the Flora-Bama Lounge & Package store, or better known around here as "The 'Bama" bar. As you can pretty much guess from the name, the bar was located right on the beach at the border of where Alabama and Florida join. I always heard that half the bar was in Florida and half was in Alabama, though I have no idea if that was actually true.

As you see, it really was quite a hole in the wall, but for some reason it was legendary and all sorts of famous people seemed to make their way there for some reason. You'd hear rumors all the time of famous people and rock stars showing up there all the time, course Jimmy Buffett goes there alot, but I've heard lately Big & Rich, the NFL Peyton brothers, and Kid Rock have been seen, and they say that Taylor Hicks cut his teeth playin' there.

One common practice there was that everybody wrote all over the walls everywhere in that bar, which could be entertaining just reading in and of itself. I left my name (and likely an ex or three's too) written in a couple spots myself over the years. Now understand that this dive sat right in the midst of some pretty posh high rise condominiums, so you might spot a millionaire at the bar rubbin' shoulders with a hobo sittin' next to a model. It was just that kind of place.

The 'Bama was most famous for it's annual mullet toss - yes, as in the fish - which became and still is a huge event. Well you can learn much more about all that here if you're so inclined. (click on that "preview" link at the bottom for videos) Anyway, the original Flora-Bama bar was pretty much destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and was finally demolished about a year or so later.

Now, I hear it's been rebuilt and is much nicer though I have not personally been there to attest to it with my own eyes.

And I hear some of the old traditions have been carried on.

Anyway, not long after Hurricane Katrina destroyed so much of our shoreline along the Gulf Coast in Mississippi, taking away every single beachfront hotel, casino, restaurant, tourist attraction, gas station, fast food places and yeah, the bars and the beer joints, we heard that Jimmy Buffett was in town recording in the old shell of a washed out building that once housed the Fire Dog Saloon in Bay St. Louis. Bay St. Louis is on the far west side of the Mississippi coast, near the Louisiana border. Nobody quite knew what he was recording at the time or why, until sometime in 2006, when Bama Breeze was released.

What started out as a tribute to the old Flora-Bama bar, became a tribute born out of the destruction of Katrina to all the old juke joints all along the Coast that were lost - the kind of places that we all grew up hanging out in, taking shelter in from the searing sun on the hot beach, cooling off, having a few beers, listening to a jukebox or sometimes a live band, playing pool, dancing and just being with our friends. This video could have been shots taken in any one of them at any time in my past. It brought tears to my eyes, for that reason and for many others. Well, all those joints are destroyed and gone now, but the memories never will be.

So here's my salute to the juke joints of old with what I'm calling a Biloxi Breeze Cocktail, an adaptation of the
Bama Breeze Cocktail named after the song that can be found at Jimmy's sister's place called LuLu's in Gulf Shores, Alabama, another one of our favorite places, located less than an hour's drive from us. Except for those pesky months of hurricane season, it's sure a blessing to live on the Gulf Coast.

(if the video isn't showing up you can catch it here)

First you'll need to make up some simple syrup. Put 2 parts of sugar to 1 part of water, stir together and microwave on high until boiling. Stir well and set aside to cool at room temperature.

Next we need some crushed ice. Just throw some ice cubes in a Ziploc bag...

and smash the heck out of it with a mallet. This is especially good if you have some frustrations leftover from the week.

Fill up your glass with the ice.

And top the ice with the vodka ...

...and the rum. Whoa. Hoochiemama....

Top it off with the cranberry juice, lime juice, orange juice, grenadine (I didn't have any this time) and then sweeten to taste with some of the simple syrup. Garnish with a slice of orange or lime and reminisce about by-gone beach days and string bikinis. Enjoy!

Biloxi Breeze Cocktail
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Make a simple syrup with equal parts of sugar in equal parts of water, stir together and microwave on high until boiling. Stir well and set aside to cool at room temperature. You'll want about 1/2 a jigger of syrup per drink.

Tall glass
Crushed ice
2 jiggers of citrus vodka
1 jigger of rum
3 jiggers of cranberry juice
1 tablespoon of lime juice
Squeeze of orange juice
Splash of grenadine
1/2 jigger of simple syrup, or to taste
Orange wedge, for garnish

Put crushed ice in a tall glass. Top with the vodka and rum. Add the cranberry juice, lime juice, squeeze of fresh orange juice, light splash of grenadine for color and sweeten to taste with the simple syrup. Garnish with an orange or lime wedge.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Baked Chicken with Honey Orange and Garlic Ginger Glaze

Whole cut up chicken marinated and baked in a honey, orange and soy garlic ginger sauce.

Baked Chicken with Honey Orange, Garlic and Ginger Glaze

This chicken offers a fantastic contrast between the tang of the hot sauce with the sweet orange and honey against the traditional flavors of soy and ginger in this dish and is a pleasant surprise from more typical honey and soy combination for chicken. Frequent basting produces a pretty glazed surface and pulls double duty as a very tasty side sauce as well. Just delicious and The Cajun absolutely loves it. The best part? It's super easy to put together.

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Birds in a Nest

Birds in a Nest or Egg in the Hole, is a simple dish - just an egg, fried into the center of a slice of bread & finished with a sprinkle with bacon.

Birds in a Nest

This isn't really a "recipe," but I had this for breakfast this morning and it's so darned good I knew I had to post it. If you haven't had one of these in awhile, I hope this will serve as a reminder for you to make one! It's a great thing to cook with your kids too, because they are just fascinated with the whole idea of cookin' an egg in the middle of a slice of bread.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Old Fashioned Egg Custard Pie

A very basic, old fashioned egg custard pie.

Old Fashioned Egg Custard Pie

There is something about the simplicity of an Old Fashioned Egg Custard Pie that just spells comfort to me. With this cooler weather movin' in here again it seemed appropriate to make one. I like the custard warm more than I like it cold but if you try to cut it before it cools, it'll run. I admit, I have been known to do that anyway. But let it cool and then warm a slice up in the microwave for about 30 seconds or so if you want it warm. I gotta tell ya ... it just soothes the heart.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Pan Fried Banana Fritters

Banana Fritters - Bananas dipped in a cinnamon batter, skillet fried in butter, then rolled in a mixture of brown sugar and toasted coconut.

Pan Fried Banana Fritters

This works best with the fresher and more firm bananas just from the store, rather than the riper ones that have been on the counter for a few days. They are awesome served alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream, alone with just a simple drizzle of cream, couple sprinkles of pecan or walnut, or even as a side to some hot pancakes or waffles, and with an extra drizzle of cane syrup or honey. Just delicious!

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