Friday, October 30, 2009

Scratch Garlic Cheese Biscuits

Homemade cut or drop biscuits featuring cheese and garlic, onion, parsley, freshly ground pepper and even a touch of Cajun seasoning.

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

I know canned biscuits are pretty darned good and mighty convenient - heck I have a general purpose can of them in my fridge right now. Let's face it. They put some biscuits on your plate pretty quick, but they are especially good to use as a shortcut in recipes too.

That aside, who doesn't really love a homemade biscuit? And everybody seems to be super crazy about copycat Red Lobster garlic cheese biscuits (for the record, these are not those). Well, I haven't exactly had one of those in ages, so I won't even try to say this resembles those, but tell me, how can you not love a homemade biscuit combined with garlic and cheese? I know I sure do and the other night I just decided I had to have some!


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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spicy Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops


The inspiration from this came from repeatedly seeing maple-glazed-something-or-another all over the place here lately! Well, I guess it is that time of year.  I ended up serving these chops with Shortcut Red Beans and Rice as a side, since I already had the chops thawed out when I decided I also had a taste for red beans. Yep, that's how I roll when I cook!

This is a wonderful glaze with just a bite of Cajun spice to kick things up just a bit. Be sure to spoon some of that delicious sauce over each pork chop before you serve them - you won't want to miss that. And remember, chops cook pretty quick, so keep an eye on 'em. Nothin' worse than a chewy, tough pork chop.


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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shortcut Red Beans and Rice

Quick Red Beans and Rice made with The Trinity, bacon, smoked sausage and canned kidney beans - you'll never believe they're a shortcut version!

Shortcut Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice made from dried beans are delicious, but of course, like any dried bean, take a bit of time to stew down to delicious creaminess on the stove top, so there is a bit of a time commitment.


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Monday, October 26, 2009

Cajun Cabbage Au Gratin Casserole

Cajun Cabbage Au Gratin Casserole, a seasoned cabbage baked with a Velveeta cheese sauce.

Cajun Cabbage Au Gratin Casserole

Had some cabbage on hand so decided to do an au gratin for y'all. I am happy that it is "casserole season," but I hate the way that casseroles photograph - the pictures just do not ever do justice to the dish - but don't let that lead you.


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Friday, October 23, 2009

Fresh Fruit Cobbler - Apple

Super easy fresh apple cobbler made with cinnamon sugar, fresh apples, pecans and a simple butter batter - highly adaptable too. Use this batter with peaches, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, mixed berries, pear - whatever you have!

Fresh Homemade Apple Cobbler

It's fall, and that mean apples are both plentiful and cheap right now and even though Mother Nature cannot seem to decide whether we are in full blown summer or fall down south, I thought that an apple cobbler sounded so good. I've mentioned before that I'm not really much on "seasonal" cooking anyway because I like to cook what I have a taste for, when I have a taste for it, and my taste buds don't seem to have a calendar.


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chap Chae - Korean Mixed Vegetables with Beef and Cellophane Noodles


The first time I tasted this I loved it.  My neighbor, right across the street from me, was born in Korea. She married a military man and has been living in the states for many years now, but most of her family are still living in Korea.  She is such a sweet and delightful person, and I love her to death. She has the most beautiful yard and is the only person I have ever seen, who can dig around in her garden putting in new plants, while fully dressed in street clothes, and not break a sweat or get a speck of dirt on her! You'd understand the significance of that better if you saw what I look like when I dig in the garden. It's not pretty.


Every once in awhile when she makes this dish, she comes across the street and brings me a plate of it, and even if I've already had dinner, I cannot help but to get into it right away. I've mentioned several times to her that I would love for her to show me how she does this, but she sort of brushes me off and I think it's because she really enjoys making it and bringing it to me. According to her, her girls don't like it, but she knows I love it!

Every once in awhile in between those visits though, I would have a taste for this dish, so I set off trying to recreate it. I can't seem to quite get the sauce right, so while it doesn't taste quite the same as hers, it is an acceptable substitute. Sometimes she'll use shrimp or chicken in her version, but most times it is thinly sliced beef. This is her version she brought me once, made with chicken. Looks a lot different than mine, huh?  I don't know how she gets the flavor without all that soy color. Eh... I'll keep trying and maybe I'll get there one day.


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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Scalloped Potato Casserole

Thin slices of seasoned potatoes, layered with onion and baked in a buttery milk sauce.

Scalloped Potato Casserole

I grew up with two basic potato casseroles. One that was made with milk that my Mama called scalloped potatoes; the other made similar but adding in cheese, that we called potatoes au gratin. I used to love it when Mama made them.  Both are just simply heartwarming and delicious and a perfect potato side dish for cooler weather.


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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spicy Sweet Bacon Chicken Breasts

Bone-in chicken breasts seasoned with garlic powder and Cajun seasoning are wrapped in bacon and sprinkled with brown sugar. Served here with a side salad and steamed broccoli.

Spicy Sweet Bacon Chicken Breasts

This idea for chicken breasts came about one night when I had chicken, but could not figure out what I wanted to do with it.  A quick tweet and a friend mentioned this concoction of sweetness she'd seen on another blog, Full Bellies, Happy Kids. Well, y'all know she had me at bacon, and as a plus, it sounded quick and easy and that is what I was in the mood for.


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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hamburger Steak with Creamy Onion Gravy

A diner classic and a southern favorite, seasoned ground beef patties cooked with caramelized onion and gravy is a belly-pleaser.

Hamburger Steak with Creamy Onion Gravy

Hamburger steak should be in everybody's go-to recipe box and this one is the best ever. Seriously! I know that's a bold statement, but to be honest, it always gets a boatload of compliments, and isn't that what we're all after in this anyway?


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My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are truly one of the best chocolate chip cookies, producing a chewy textured cookie due to the higher ratio of brown sugar to granulated sugar. If you like more crisp to your cookie, exchange those ratios so you have more granulated sugar than brown sugar.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everybody has a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe that they think is the best. Well, this one is my go-to recipe and the only one that I have used for years. Would I go so far as to say that these are The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever?? Well, in my opinion, and solely mine, a resounding YES! These are truly at least, One of The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!! It produces a chewy textured cookie due to the higher ratio of brown sugar to granulated sugar, but if you like more crisp to your cookie, try exchanging those ratios so you have more granulated sugar than brown sugar.


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Monday, October 12, 2009

Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo with Okra

A traditional roux and tomato based gumbo made with shrimp, spicy andouille sausage and okra. Pass hot sauce at the table, add some hot, buttered French bread and a side salad to round it out.

Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo with Okra

Delish. But, admittedly, homemade gumbo can take a bit of time between planning and preparing, though there are ways that you can save some time and make it an easier process when you get in the mood for gumbo. Next time you are chopping an onion, go ahead and chop an extra one or two and bag it in a zipper freezer bag.  When you make rice for one dinner, double up on it and then bag and freeze half. All it needs is a sprinkle of water, cover and microwave to freshen it up. For okra, pre-sliced frozen okra works fantastic.

And if you don't have in-shell shrimp or just don't feel up to making a stock from the shrimp shells, next time you bake a whole chicken, save the carcass and make homemade stock, cool it and bag it in freezer bags by 1 or 2 cup measurements. Chicken stock works great for gumbo, as does plain ole water.

When I do a recipe that requires a caramel or lighter roux, I cook my roux on the stovetop or in the microwave, and that is definitely a time saver. But I like my seafood gumbo to be rich and dark - think Mary Mahoney's or McElroy's if you're from around here - and frankly to accomplish that on the stovetop is just too time consuming for me. Plus I have a short attention span. Plus I always get burned.

One of the biggest time savers I use now for making gumbo is pre-made, refrigerated dark roux - yes, just like you see on the grocery store shelf - and you can certainly use those here too. But I'm talking about making your own dark roux ahead, right in your own kitchen, and then storing it in your fridge. And, get this. You make it in your oven. Yes! It really does work. The oven method works fantastic, you don't have to keep standing over a pot of hot oil and stir your arm off, and you can make up a big batch and store it in your fridge. If you like to make up a pot of gumbo frequently, whether it be seafood or chicken, try the oven method sometime to put up your own roux, you will love it!


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Friday, October 9, 2009

Southern Homestyle Tomato Gravy

A roux based gravy made with tomatoes is traditional served over biscuits, but can be served with meatloaf, over rice, or spooned on grits, alongside fish and with some hushpuppies.

Southern Homestyle Tomato Gravy

Southern Tomato Gravy is another one of our classic southern recipes, that goes great with those Sour Cream Biscuits I just posted a little earlier.  Totally different from what our Northeastern Italian neighbors call Sunday Tomato Gravy {what we Down South call Tomato Sauce, or Creole Gravy, or more often, just Spaghetti Sauce} meant for pasta.  This tomato gravy is the kind of gravy that us Southerners most traditionally love to eat over hot, and preferably homemade, southern buttermilk biscuits, like we do with our sausage gravy.


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Sour Cream 7-up Biscuits

A jazzed up shortcut, baking mix biscuit, that uses lemon-lime soda and sour cream, resulting in the lightest most tender, delicious and easy biscuit.

Sour Cream 7-up Biscuits

These are a super tender, light, and melt in your mouth biscuit perfect for a slather of butter, wrapping around slices of salty ham, or spooning over with sausage gravy or tomato gravy. The texture of these are just a bit different from old fashioned buttermilk biscuits, more soft & creamy.


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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Apple Upside Down Cornmeal Cake

An iron skillet cornmeal cake, cooked upside down, with brown sugar, berries, pecans and apples.

Apple Upside Down Cornmeal Cake

Pretty much everybody is familiar with Pineapple Upside Down Cake, but when I saw Sunny Anderson do an upside down cornmeal cake on one of her episodes, I knew I'd eventually get around to trying one of these. I had all but forgotten about it though until I saw one featured in the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. Their version used apples, and I had plenty of apples on hand, so between these two resources, I came up with my own version. I loved it!

The cornmeal cake is much less sweet than the regular sweet cake versions of upside down cakes, especially those using boxed mixes, and I really loved the texture - perfect for a skillet cake. I'm sure I'll keep tweaking on this recipe but I can definitely say I will be making this again, though next time I'm thinking pineapple ... with some maraschino cherries!


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Monday, October 5, 2009

Roasted Balsamic Chicken Thighs


I had a large, 5 pound package of chicken thighs in the freezer, though unfortunately they were the kind frozen into one big blob and not individually so I pretty much had to thaw and bake the whole package.  Whatever isn't eaten up in leftovers will be deboned and frozen to use in casseroles or maybe some chicken salad.

This recipe was inspired by one I saw in Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine for October, though I've made quite a few changes with both ingredients and methodology.  I only wanted potatoes since we were having a side salad with dinner, but you could certainly add to or change out vegetables to what you prefer. I loved the balsamic vinegar here with the chicken. It adds a rich tone, just slightly sweet. If you don't have balsamic on hand, try apple cider instead.


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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Southernized Baked Ziti

A slightly southernized version of baked ziti, made with the Trinity of southern vegetables, tiny beef and sausage meatballs, a tomato based sauce with Italian sausage and mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Southernized Baked Ziti

While baked ziti may not be traditional southern fare, it's a popular dish that goes a long way to feeding a crowd of folks and y'all know I'm gonna have to southernize it just a little bit!

Actually, where I grew up here along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, not only do we have amazing access to fresh seafood, but because of our history and our military bases, bringing people here from literally all over the world, we are so fortunate to also have a large influx of a variety of cuisines in our area.


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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Casserole

An old-fashioned casserole, probably patterned as a way to use Sunday's leftover roast chicken, is combined with a creamy sauce, mushrooms and egg noodles, for one of my favorite comfort foods.

Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Casserole

Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Casserole is one of those good, ole, standby recipes common to many of us, no matter where we live - a basic chicken noodle casserole - the kind that has been around for longer than I have. Simple, easy, yummy and comforting. It's a great casserole for anytime but is especially comforting on those cooler nights that are coming up.


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