Friday, May 28, 2010

Homemade Chocolate Brownies

Our favorite family recipe for years, this homemade brownie recipe produces a chewy, fudgy brownie with a crusty top - just as a brownie should be. Just be sure to do everything in order & make no substitutions!

Homemade Chocolate Brownies

It happened a couple of days ago when brownies came up on a Twitter conversation. And then a day or two later, they came up again. Before you know it, I was having a serious desire for brownies. Ah, the power of suggestion and it happens to me all of the time with brownies. These brownies.

This has been our family go-to brownie recipe for well, as long as I can remember, back when recipes were passed about on hand penned paper or photo copies of typed notes. In fact, I lost it a couple of times over the years, and tried loads of other brownie recipes in between, but this is the one I always came back to. In the moving about between Mississippi and Louisiana and back again in my younger years, and upgrading to new computers, I know I had to retrieve it several times from my sister and I'm grateful that she, unlike her wayward sister, managed to hold on to a copy of the recipe!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Time for a GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway is CLOSED! Click here for the winner! Thanks for participating!

Okay all you foodies out there – do I have a terrific giveaway just for you!

Many of you likely know by now, that I’m working with RO*TEL as a judge on their RO*TEL Across America Recipe Contest, where one original winning recipe will receive a grand prize of a cool $2000, but… maybe you’ve been too busy to make your way over there to visit the site or submit a recipe yourself.
1 - Well, I’m hoping to nudge you just a tad, so I’m giving away a full case – yes, that’s right – a FULL CASE of RO*TEL Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies to one lucky blogger!

2 - And, just for fun, WE'RE GONNA THROW IN THIS NICE, PRETTY SERVING BOWL TOO, for you to make up some salsa or some queso with all that RO*TEL! Isnt' it pretty?

All you have to do to enter, is pop over to the RO*TEL Across America Recipe Contest page and click on the Facebook “Like” button. Then, poke around a bit, browse the site, and have a peek at the recipe entries submitted so far.

Come back here and leave a comment about why you’ll be submitting a recipe, or... why you won’t! That’ll earn you ONE entry for a chance to win this FULL CASE OF RO*TEL and a lovely serving bowl.

Blog about the RO*TEL Across America Recipe Contest {} - feel free to grab the graphic above if you like. Come back and leave me a link to your post and you earned yourself 5 BONUS ENTRIES for this case of RO*TEL and cool serving bowl giveaway. That’s it!

I know we're all busy, so if you prefer, grab a badge for your sidebar here as a way to let your readers know about the RO*TEL contest instead, and I'll give you the bonus entries anyway! Don't forget to come back and comment to let me know!  All I ask is that you please leave the badge up until the end of the contest on June 13th.


Good luck y'all and thank you all so much in advance for your help in getting the word out about this fantastic RO*TEL contest and the opportunity for someone – possibly someone you know - to win $2,000!

Giveaway closes Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010 at 12:00 p.m. CST.  Open to U.S. residents only please.

Disclosure: ConAgra Foods has provided me with the products for this giveaway.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Memorial Day Recipes


Update:  Be sure to pop over and check out my
Labor Day menu ideas and recipes
with these and more updated recipes!

Memorial Day is right around the corner y'all! Why is it time drags when you are young, but once you become a man or woman of a certain age, it seems to fly by? It is almost June! {and, ugh.. hurricane season for us}

Besides the commemoration of our country's servicemen and women who have died in the line of duty, Memorial Day also kicks off the unofficial beginning of summer in the U.S., with sporting events like the Indianapolis 500, family gatherings, picnics and, of course, yummy barbecues!

If you're looking for some time-tested, tried and true recipe ideas for your party, I've gathered below just a few of my own recipes fitting for a Memorial Day feast, however, be sure to pop by my updated BIG LIST OF COOKOUT & PARTY FOOD MENU IDEAS!

Need more ideas? Stop by my updated BIG LIST OF COOKOUT & PARTY FOOD MENU IDEAS for even more recipes!

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bacon Wrapped Lit’l Smokies Stuffed Jalapenos

A delicious party appetizer, these bacon wrapped, smoked sausage and cheese stuffed jalapenos are a true crowd pleaser.

Bacon Wrapped Lit’l Smokies Stuffed Jalapenos

Bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos, like its deep fried cousin, are such a tasty little popper, that although this recipe is written for roughly 24 of these bite size jewels, you'll probably want to make up many more.  People do these all sorts of ways and cook them as many. I imagine that smoked they must be killer, but y'all know how I feel about that time commitment, so I usually just bake mine. 

These are all over the internet, and there's nothing really out of the ordinary here, but I made 'em so here they are! For me, it's just a simple cream cheese and cheddar cheese blend that gets stuffed into cleaned peppers. I like to leave the stem on one of the halves just for presentation, but definitely use some kitchen gloves when handling any kind of hot pepper.

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Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Garden Fresh Herbs

Scrambled eggs, cooked to a creamy perfection with butter and heavy cream and by constant and gentle stirring, tossed at the end with fresh flat leaf parsley and chives.

Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Garden Fresh Herbs

These creamy eggs were featured in the Spring menu section of the April 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, and it reminded me of how delicious eggs are with herbs, freshly clipped right out of the garden.

If you don't have room for a big vegetable garden, at least put in one small, raised bed or some containers of basic herbs that you enjoy. When you can walk out your door and snip off some fresh chives, flat leaf parsley, oregano, thyme, or basil to use in a recipe, you'll be so glad you did. I am absolutely no gardening expert by any means, but if you are interested, you can click over to my other blog to check out my crazy escapades. Over there I show you step by step how I built my very first raised bed, square foot gardens, one of which is a bed of basic herbs, and you'll see my ongoing efforts to have fresh veggies in the backyard.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

Known as a Suddenly Salad copycat, this pasta salad made with small shell pasta, ranch seasoning mix, peas, carrots and mayonnaise, is a well loved dish for any potluck, church supper or other gathering.

Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

This recipe for Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad is pretty much the same one floating around the internet everywhere for what they call a Suddenly Salad copycat, with a few of my own twists of course! I honestly used to love that boxed stuff when I was younger - so quick, easy and good - but it's been so long since I actually had pasta salad out of the box {not that there's a thing wrong with that}, that I can't even tell you if this tastes anywhere near the original. It is definitely another good one to add to the repertoire of pasta salads here, even if it's not so photogenic.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Homemade Beef Sliders

Delicious little mini burgers made with very thin meat patties, melted cheese and real minced onion.

Homemade Beef Sliders

I don't mean to imply that these are authentic "Sliders" or "Slyders" because heaven forbid that someone scold me for trying to claim these little mini burgers to be an authentic copycat of the original White Castle Slyders - which by the way, we never had around here. Only Krystal's little yummy burgers were available around this part of The Deep South, but they sure were a favorite late night after party snack after a long night of dancing back in the days of disco.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grilled Backyard Barbecued Chicken

One of my favorite grilled foods is backyard barbecued chicken. Mine starts with a brine, gets a nice rub before hitting the grill and is basted with sauce at the end. Delicious!

Backyard Barbecued Chicken

Grilled barbecued chicken - meaning chicken cooked on the grill and doused in barbecue sauce - is one of my favorite foods. I just simply love it. It's been a little bit hard to get it in here lately though, since April showers seem to have surfaced full force here in May, and I don't have a covered patio.

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Dressed up Bottled Barbecue Sauce

I have a favorite homemade barbecue sauce that I like to use for chicken and ribs and a favorite bottled sauce I like to buy - original Sweet Baby Ray's is my favorite right off the shelf sauce. But... it is a bit more costly than the cheaper versions, which can almost always be found on sale somewhere.  You can easily dress up those cheaper versions and make them taste pretty darned good - and nobody has to know but you!  Here's how.

Great with my Grilled Backyard Barbecued Chicken y'all! 

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Kickin' RO*TEL Restaurant Style Salsa

Tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, garlic, a little lime juice and cilantro, whirled up in the food processor to give you a nice restaurant style salsa that we all love.

Restaurant Style Salsa

Restaurant style salsa is so easy to make at home and a can of RO*TEL tomatoes will give it just the right kind of punch. Really, just about any place that you use a canned tomato, you can substitute RO*TEL for some added flavor, and salsa is just one way I love to use RO*TEL tomatoes.

Now, don't get me wrong. I absolutely love fresh from the garden tomatoes - when they are in season and at their peak flavor. A fresh chopped tomato salsa is incredible as a garnish, or for a fresh salsa, such as pico de gallo, so for this, you'll want to pretty much pulverize them since here, we're talking my favorite super easy, perfect for dipping with white corn tortilla chips salsa, like the kind that you get in a Mexican restaurant.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Caramel Bars

A layer of chocolate chip cookie dough, topped with melted chocolate, gooey caramel, and chopped pecans.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Caramel Bars

These little bars are just evil. Evil. Evil. Evil. A layer of chocolate chip cookie dough. Topped with melted chocolate. Topped with gooey caramel. Topped with crunchy chopped pecans. Just evil I tell you.

Seriously though... this is a recipe that came in my power association's monthly newsletter. Those of you who also live in the country, or in rural areas of your county, know exactly what I'm talking about. We get a monthly newsletter that talks about what our power association is up to, articles about and around our state, and a few teaser recipes, usually from a community cookbook from somewhere in our state.

This recipe comes from West Lauderdale Mighty Knights Marching Band from West Lauderdale High School in Collinsville, Mississippi and contains those kinds of tried and true recipes from friends and family that we all love.  You can order a copy of Excalibur: Victory Rising by sending a check for $15, along with your mailing address to: West Lauderdale Band Boosters, 9916 West Lauderdale Road, Collinsville, MS 39325. If you do, you'll find these cookie bars under the name "Fat Ladies" in the cookbook.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Goober Peas - Cajun Boiled Peanuts

A southern staple, raw peanuts are boiled in a salty, Cajun seasoned water - stovetop, crockpot or pressure cooker.

Cajun Boiled Peanuts

♫Sitting by the roadside on a summer's day
Chatting with my mess-mates, passing time away
Lying in the shadows underneath the trees
Goodness, how delicious, eating goober peas.

Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness, how delicious,
Eating goober peas.♫
"Goober Peas" by P. Nutt and A. Pindar, 1866

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Quick and Easy Ice Cream in the Cuisinart

Quick and Easy Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Chocolate and Strawberry Ice Cream all made in my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker.

Quick and Easy Ice Cream in the Cuisinart

We were talking ice cream over on the Facebook page and I tell you, it's been humid enough down here to enjoy plenty of cold ice cream.

I'm a big fan of the ice cream makers that make just a couple of quarts of frozen goodies like ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbets, sherbets, even slushies, a nice quantity that's perfect for The Cajun and me, without going overboard. Easy to do with ice cream for me! After years of using the old fashioned and super noisy bucket style ice cream maker, I can't believe I waited so long to buy one of these. No rock salt, and no ice needed, and with the bucket at the ready in the freezer all the time, it's a breeze to make ice cream now.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Finally... The Secret is Unveiled!


You know how hard it is to keep a secret?  Well, I have been chomping at the bit to share this tidbit of news with y'all what seems like forever, and thank goodness the day has come that I can finally shout it from the rooftops!

It's no secret that RO*TEL is a regular pantry item in my house.  Ya'll see it here all the time. Besides the original Famous Queso Dip (and all its wonderful variations) we all know and love, I also use RO*TEL in a white dip made with white cheeses and spicy sausage, in casseroles like Baked Spaghetti where it bumps up the flavor, in potatoes, pasta sauce, soups, stuffed peppers, well, I could go on and on. I just love the way that RO*TEL adds a punch of extra flavor, and today we aren't limited to only the Original RO*TEL either, with varieties like Mild, Chunky, Mexican, Hot and even Chili Fixin's!

Well, the folks over at RO*TEL are conducting a fantastic recipe contest where one of you could be the big winner of the grand prize of $2,000 for your best recipe using one of those RO*TEL products - and ... they have asked me to be their guest judge. I am so excited! 

I'll be working with RO*TEL to analyze recipe submissions, give a few of them a round in the kitchen, and help come up with a group of ten finalists!  Now I already know that there are a bunch of great cooks that are readers of Deep South Dish both right here and at the Facebook page, and how many of you couldn't use a little extra money in your pocket to celebrate your deliciousness?

Here's how it works.
Pop over to the RO*TEL Facebook page and join by clicking on the "Like" button, or you can do it all over at the RO*TEL Across America Recipe Contest page. Just click to join, browse the submissions, read the rules, and get your creative juices flowing for your own submission. Don't be shy y'all - sometimes it's the simplest ingredients that make up the best recipes - so if you don't already have a RO*TEL specialty, get busy thinking one up! 

You can pick up all of the complete rules and details at the RO*TEL Across America site, but in a nutshell, recipe submissions will be accepted at the site beginning today, May 12th through June 13th, and will be rated on creativity, presentation and, of course taste!  And get this ... you can enter as many times and categories as you like, so long as the recipes you submit are your own creation! The judging process will end with ten finalists selected from all submissions and then everybody at the RO*TEL Facebook page will help select the winning recipe beginning on June 16th, with the final winner announced on July 7th.

There's 2,000 darned good reasons to to showcase your cooking talents and just in time for summer vacation too!  What are you waitin' for -  y'all get busy and break out some of those RO*TEL family favorites - I can't wait to see what's cookin'!!  Good luck!

Disclosure:  ConAgra Foods has provided me with compensation in exchange for agreeing to participate as a guest judge.  

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to Make Southern Fried Chicken

Southern fried chicken can certainly be challenging - it just takes practice to be honest! If you're new to frying chicken, try frying only dark or white meat your first time. I also like to brine the chicken first - it really helps to keep the breast meat nice & tender.

How to Make Southern Fried Chicken

Good ole southern fried chicken. Can't imagine living without it!  Admittedly, fried chicken is not an easy dish to get down right without practice - and unfortunately, not something we can eat regularly enough to get that practice - and... frankly, it's a mess. It's a mess to prep, it's a mess to cook, it's a mess to clean up, and then there's all that oil to contend with afterward too. Given the fact that we have KFC and Popeye's these days, it's not surprising it really isn't made much at home anymore, but... it is so good, that it is something we Southerners certainly deem worthy of all that trouble, at least on occasion.

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Buitoni Riserva Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with Meatballs and Spicy Red Sauce


If you are looking to relieve your wife of meal duties for Mother's Day, or cook a special meal for your mom, run to the refrigerated section of your store and pick up some Buitoni pasta pillows.  Then pair that with my 30 minute speedy sauce {definitely add in the Rotel tomatoes this time for a nice kick that totally compliments the mushroom agnolotti} or, use your own favorite sauce, and add some pre-made, store-bought or homemade meatballs if you like, and you want to talk about a gourmet meal.

As a Foodbuzz Publisher, I was able to participate in a Foodbuzz Tastemaker taste test of Buitoni Riserva pastas. I know, I'm a bit late to the party, but I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do with it, so rather than just throw something together, I froze the pasta. I'm here to tell you that freezing does not affect the taste or quality of this pasta at all, so you can pick up a few of these packages of fresh pasta and keep them stored in the freezer for those nights that you want a fresh meal, but don't have much time for prep work.

I love that these little pasta pillows are made with all natural ingredients and in fact, I was amazed at how fresh and homemade this dish tasted! The Mushroom Agnolotti is made with a combination of portobello and crimini mushrooms, roasted garlic, and authentic Italian Parmesan and Grana Padano cheeses.  This is the real deal and it certainly comes through in the taste. Simply fantastic.

I had recently made my spaghetti sauce with homemade meatballs and there was just enough left to combine with this pasta to make a meal for two - perfect since the Buitoni Riserva is a 2-serving package. I warmed the leftover sauce and four meatballs, placed the pasta in a very large pot of boiling water with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil {to prevent sticking} and cooked it literally for only 5 minutes! Threw a side salad together while the pasta cooked, spooned a bit of sauce on the plate, laid out a row of the cooked and drained pasta, spooned a bit of sauce on top, placed two meatballs on top of that and sprinkled with some chopped fresh oregano, right out of the garden. Not only was it an aesthetically beautiful plate, but the flavor is just out of this world.

If you happen to already have leftover sauce in the freezer like I did, this meal can be done and on the table in no time.  Pair it up with some Cheesy Garlic Bread, a tossed garden salad and some Southern Iced Tea or a nice bottle of wine, and you have one great and impressive, but easy meal that people will think you slaved over. We won't tell them any different.

Now... I don't advocate hiding ingredients from guests whose allergies you are not familiar with, but the only "allergy" my husband The Cajun has, is a perceived aversion to anything related to a vegetable. He certainly would never eat mushrooms intentionally. So, I just whipped this up, put it on the table, did not mention what was in it, and well, this was the result.

I'd say he liked it, wouldn't you?  Actually he even raved about how delicious it was.  And I just smiled, said thank you very much, and kept my lip zipped.

I can't wait to try some of the other varieties available now. With fresh, and flavorful fillings, it tastes just like I rolled out the dough and stuffed them myself, with a whole lot less effort.  You can check out what's available right here.

For dessert, how about one of these Strawberry Banana Shake Shooters?  Yum.

Disclosure: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a free package of Buitoni Riserva.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Weekend Cocktails - Strawberry Banana Shake Shooters

One of my most favorite Food Network peeps is Sunny Anderson. She is one great gal, super friendly and let me tell you, the girl can cook! Plus when you watch her, it's like she's sitting across the kitchen counter talking to you and I like that. (Did you know she has her own blog? And, she's interactive with her followers too. Check it out and tell her Mary sent ya! She is a BFF in my head don't you know?)

One day this week while I was plugging away working, the DVR flipped over to record one of Sunny's older Cooking for Real shows from 2008 and she made these vodka shake shots right at the end of the episode.  Her version was made with vodka, vanilla ice cream, a squirt of chocolate syrup and just a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Yum!

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