Wednesday, June 30, 2010

4th of July Menu Ideas and Recipes

Check out my newly updated page of July 4th menu ideas and recipes - just pop by right here to view the list!

I can't believe that it's almost the 4th of July!!  Course the fireworks have been popping around my house ever since the stands opened a few weeks back.  Last year we had a front row seat on a boat in the Gulf to watch the Biloxi firework display and I hope the oil in the Gulf and the weather from tropical storm Hurricane Alex doesn't interfere with our view this year.

Here are a few of my favorite hand picked recipes you might want to consider if you're still looking for menu ideas for your celebration.  There's plenty more in the archives under the "Past Post Archive" over there in the right hand sidebar, and also in my e-Cookbook - though I confess I'm a bit behind in updating those manual links. 

Shrimp with Bow Tie Pasta Salad

Bow tie pasta, onion, bell pepper, celery and black olives with seasoned boiled shrimp, dressed with a creamy mayonnaise and mustard vinegar dressing.
Bow tie pasta, onion, bell pepper, celery and black olives with seasoned boiled shrimp, dressed with a creamy mayonnaise and mustard vinegar dressing.

Shrimp with Bow Tie Pasta Salad

This pasta salad recipe for shrimp with bow tie pasta is hands down one of my summertime favorites, but honestly it is great for any time of the year. It's a great dish to make when you need something for a potluck, church social, and any party you have in mind.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Pimento Cheese

A lovely pimento cheese made with roasted red peppers.

Roasted Red Pepper Pimento Cheese

I don't what it is about pimento cheese, but I sure love it. Yeah, I even like the stuff in the little containers in the refrigerator case at the market, though I admit, homemade is so much more delicious, and just super easy to throw together. A southern favorite, and of course, like most traditional and old fashioned recipes, every southern cook has their own way of making it too. I happen to have a couple of my own, but I love this one that replaces those little jars of chopped pimiento peppers with flavorful roasted red peppers.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Introducing House-Autry Mills


Whew y'all, it has been the dog days of summer around here for sure.  You know that sun is beating down when you have to put on sunscreen to take out the trash for pete's sake!  Well, who couldn't use a little bit of help to cut down on time in the kitchen, and House-Autry is a sure bet to get supper on the table in record time and with practically zero effort too!

I was introduced to House-Autry Mills products by my dear friend Christy over at Southern Plate, when she asked if I would be interested in partnering with her to try the products and share my experiences with them. Well, imagine my surprise when I received this gorgeous basket, chock full of a variety of the House-Autry Mills products, and a few nice kitchen goodies thrown in.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Weekend Cocktails - Watermelon Pomegranate Rum Cooler

I have talked before about the benefits of pomegranate juice and specifically the quality of POM Wonderful brand of pomegranate since being introduced to it last year. Back in the fall, I made several recipes using POM, so I was delighted when the POM Wonderful folks offered to send me another case to try some summer recipes. Loaded with powerful antioxidants and frankly pretty great just straight up, if you haven't gotten around to trying POM Wonderful, you should!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Iron Skillet Blackberry Dumpling Cobbler

A tender, fluffy sweet buttermilk cobbler dough, dropped like dumplings into freshly stewed blackberries and topped with homemade whipped cream.

Iron Skillet Blackberry Dumpling Cobbler

When I was in what we used to call junior high school, it's hard to believe now, but we actually used to walk home from school a lot.  It wasn't that we didn't have an easier way home - we certainly did - but there was something much more peaceful about that long, casual stroll from school to home than there was riding in that hot, smelly bus.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Eggs in Purgatory

Eggs are dropped into a bed of fiery tomato sauce, made from fresh tomatoes paired with chunky Rotel and enhanced with bacon, onion and sweet bell peppers, and then passed in the oven to set, topped with cheese and served over cheese grits.

Eggs in Purgatory

Eggs in Purgatory is one of those recipes that I consider to be a lost classic. You don't hear about them much anymore, though thanks to us bloggers, they seem to be making a resurgence in the past couple of years. I see folks doing it all the time, but I have never been one to put ketchup on eggs, though I do love them with salsa, especially in a breakfast wrap. I absolutely adore these Eggs in Purgatory though, done up in a bed of thick and spicy creole tomato sauce. They are just delicious!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mama's Grilled and Smothered Chicken

A grilled chicken breast, finished with caramelized onion, crisp bacon and sauteed mushroom, topped with provolone cheese.
A grilled chicken breast, finished with caramelized onion, crisp bacon and sauteed mushroom, topped with provolone cheese.

Grilled and Smothered Chicken

I lost my Mama in 1997 but she was always such a fun person and I sure do miss her. One of the things that I used to love to do with her was to go to restaurants together for lunch or dinner, and one of our favorites was Ruby Tuesday located right on the beach in Biloxi - gone now thanks to Hurricane Katrina.

We would eat far too much, laugh a lot, and it was just a wonderful time, and boy did she love those ribs! We never had enough room left for dessert and used to say we should just go out and eat dessert sometime, but sadly we never got around to doing that before she passed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Southern Red Rice with Shrimp and Bacon

Similar to Spanish rice, red rice is a blend of vegetables, tomatoes, rice and of course for us along the Gulf Coast, our sweet, Gulf-fresh shrimp.

Southern Red Rice with Shrimp and Bacon

This is one of The Cajun's favorite rice dishes and it's really easy to make. It's a Carolina dish with a bit of my own Deep South flare and similar in some ways to our jambalaya with a touch of flavor akin to a Spanish rice. My version contains some of our familiar Deep South elements, like Creole seasoning, hot sauce, and what else but the Trinity of Deep South cooking, plus the addition of one of our favorite southern seasonings - bacon.

Some people prepare this dish stovetop, but I like the oven method, because to me it's a whole different texture and flavor level. But it's hot outside, so either way will work if you don't want to crank up the oven. You can also omit the shrimp if you like.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fire 'n Ice Pickles

Not a pickling recipe, but a fun way to dress up some plain dill pickles with some sweet and spicy flavor. Super easy and if you prefer them on the milder side simply eliminate the jalapeno and red pepper flakes.

Fire 'n Ice Pickles

Fire and Ice Pickles are not a true pickling recipe, so no scoffing at me okay y'all? It's just a yummy way to dress up a jar of plain ole, cheapo, boring sour dills into a pickle that has fire and ice flavor, with a combination we southerners seem to be endeared to - sweet and spicy. We have a tendency to turn a sour thing into somethin' sweet down here, don't y'all know? Yes, that can also mean personalities. It's kinda hard to frown when you get around these thick accents we have.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Rotel Sauce

This sweet and spicy sauce made from Rotel tomatoes, and seasoned with brown sugar, mustard and Cajun seasoning, is a perfect all purpose sauce for meat, poultry, pork or fish.
This sweet and spicy sauce made from Rotel tomatoes, and seasoned with brown sugar, mustard and Cajun seasoning, is a perfect all purpose sauce for meat, poultry, pork or fish.

Sweet and Spicy Rotel Sauce

This is a wonderful, all purpose tomato sauce, perfect for spooning over meatloaf, or just about any meat, poultry, pork or fish. Made with brown sugar, chunky RO*TEL tomatoes, spicy horseradish mustard and my favorite Cajun seasoning, it's a great balance between spicy and sweet and a perfect accent. We love it, and I think it will become a favorite sauce for you too.

Here's how to make it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Walkers Shortbread Cookie Review

I recently had the opportunity to try out several of the Walkers brand of Scottish shortbread cookies and of course the very first thing I did was to taste-test some of them right out of the box. As soon as I tore into the first bag, the aroma of pure butter immediately drifted out, and get this ingredient list - flour, butter, sugar and salt - that's it!

Banana Cream Cheese Pie with Shortbread Cookie Crust

Banana slices, layered in a cream cheese filling on a shortbread pie crust, covered in whipped topping, chopped pecans and chocolate sauce. 
Banana slices, layered in a cream cheese filling on a shortbread pie crust, covered in whipped topping, chopped pecans and chocolate sauce.

Banana Cream Cheese Pie with Shortbread Cookie Crust

I've had this Banana Pie on my mind for awhile, but just hadn't gotten around to making it. I wanted to produce a banana pie that was a little outside of the usual custard filling but with richer flavor than going with a pudding mix.

With bananas on the counter teetering on the edge of being overripe, and these fantastic Walkers cookies showing up, I decided to finally get around to making that banana pie and use some of these delightful cookies to make a shortbread crust. I decided to use the Shortbread Thins. Walkers cookies are available in the cookie section at most markets, including many Walmart food stores, but you could certainly substitute another commercial or homemade shortbread cookie, or purchase a commercial pie crust instead.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Weekend Cocktails - Southern Iced Tea Cocktail

A very refreshing adult beverage, this cocktail is somewhat of a cross between a Long Island Iced Tea and an Arnold Palmer. A perfect beverage for porch sittin'!

Southern Iced Tea Cocktail

With summer unofficially here, and certainly by mother nature's standards, I set out to make a refreshing weekend cocktail perfect for hanging out on the porch under the ceiling fan and with the absolute intention that it needed to be composed of southern iced tea in some manner.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Iron Skillet Southern Fried Corn

Fresh corn, bi-color shown here, is stripped from the cob, then fried in bacon drippings and butter, and finished with a little cream.

Iron Skillet Southern Fried Corn

Fried corn is a southern favorite for sure and Florida corn has just started to show up in the markets here. When it does start to appear, this is one of the favorites in our family. Back when I made my creamed corn, I promised to bring you the recipe for my fried corn. Well, here it is... finally!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone for entering my giveaway and a special heartfelt thanks to those of you who helped to get the word out by blogging about the Rotel Across America Recipe Contest, or placing the Rotel Contest Sidebar Badge on your own blog to let your readers know about this fantastic contest! It means the world to me.

I hope that all of you will be contributing your original recipes using RO*TEL to the Rotel Across America Recipe Contest also and, of course, if you haven't already, feel free to grab that badge to let your readers know you've entered - or that you plan to enter - and that they can enter too!

Now on to official business!

Congratulations to Merry Graham! 

You are the winner of my blog hosted RO*TEL giveaway - a full case of RO*TEL Original Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies and that sassy serving bowl are yours! I hope that you enjoy many of your old favorites and maybe a few more new dishes to contribute to the Rotel Across America Recipe Contest!  Please send your mailing information to me at so I can get your prizes sent out to you. 

Recipe submissions for Rotel Across America Recipe Contest will close on 6/13, 10 finalists will be selected on 6/16, and then public voting will open from 6/16 to 6/30 with the winner announced on July 7th.

There's still time y'all!  Get creative and enter your recipes!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Creamy Pesto Potato Salad

Potato salad made from small red potatoes, and a basil pesto with parsley, dried tomatoes, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes and dressed with mayonnaise and Parmesan.

Creamy Pesto Potato Salad

If you're not into green food, you might want to click away. I totally get it - sometimes green in a food is a bit off-putting to me too, especially when nature didn't intend it to be green - like all those dyed foods on Saint Patrick's Day. And then there's The Cajun's aversion to anything slightly resembling a vegetable, so I pretty much would have to say that an herb centered ingredient like basil potato salad, would literally send him running.

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