Monday, September 30, 2013

Taco Soup

Ingredients:
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced onions
1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chilies
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chilies
2 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can red beans, drained
1 (15 ½ ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-1/2 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
Garnish: Jalapenos , Chopped green onions, Grated cheese, Sour cream, Corn chips

Directions:
Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker.
Add the seasonings, chilies, tomatoes, corn and beans. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
To serve, top with jalapenos, onions, cheese, sour cream and corn chips.

Roll Call of Ingredients!



Browning the ground beef and onion together. Be sure and drain this well. The last thing you want from your Taco Soup is grease. This is an essential step in the process.



I don't ever cook in the slow cooker that I don't use these liners. Clean up is a breeze with these!



Underneath the bean, green chili, and tomato goodness, is the ground beef and onion mixture. This is looking yummy!






I let this soup simmer on low all day.



Talk about good. This was delicious! Perfect for a cool fall evening! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Deep Dish Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie

Ingredients: 
1 (14.1 ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts (2 sheets)
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted
¾ cup white sugar
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups pecan halves
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Unroll 1 pie crust, and place on a flat surface. Lightly brush top of dough with water. Unroll remaining pie crust and place over first sheet. Line a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with dough. Fold dough under and crimp. Whisk 1 egg and brush over top of unbaked pie crust.
3. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla and salt, stirring well. Add pecans and chocolate chunks, stirring to combine. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.
4. Bake until set, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
5. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Roll Call for this amazing twist on a southern classic:



The interesting thing about this pie is that it uses not one, but two, pie crusts stacked together. Brush a little water in between the pie crusts.




Stack the second crust on top of the first one.



Be sure to use a deep dish pie plate. You'll need it for the double crust and that great pecan pie filling.



One thing that makes a great pie is to brush the unbaked crust with a beaten egg. It gives it a beautiful shine when browning.



This is a pecan pie with a twist - chocolate chunks in the filling. Can you think of anything better to add to this traditional favorite? I think not.



The finished product!


Y'all, this is the best pie. It's very rich but oh so delicious. Chocolate chunks mixing it up with a pecan pie is a very good thing.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pound Cake Challenge - Week 4: Caramel Pound Cake

Ingredients for Cake:
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup vegetable oil
5 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla

Ingredients for Caramel Frosting:
1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar
½ cup butter
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
Dash of salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon vanilla

Directions for Cake:
1. Beat sugars and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add oil and beat until blended.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.
3. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture, alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
4. Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.
5. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes, remove from pan, and cool on wire rack.
7. Drizzle with Caramel Frosting.


Directions for Caramel Frosting:
1. Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring often. Boil, stirring constantly, 3 minutes.
2. Remove from heat, add baking powder and vanilla.
3. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened.
4. Drizzle quickly over cake.


Roll Call for the Caramel Pound Cake:



Mixing the white sugar, light brown sugar and dark brown sugar with the butter.



Added the vegetable oil.



Remember to crack your eggs one at the time in a separate bowl before adding.



Add the eggs one at a time, mixing just until the yolk disappears.



Now, we're ready for the milk (I used skim because that's what we drink at my house) and the flour/baking powder/salt mixture.



Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.






This is the photo of the vanilla being added. I felt it necessary to explain that because obviously you would never know it from this photo.



Resist the urge to use the baking sprays for the tube pan. They have their place just not in the pound cake world. Please grease with shortening or butter and then dust with flour. It will make me feel so much better.



When I test my pound cakes, I use a long wooden skewer.



Here's our cake from the underside. She's a beauty.



Now while the cake is cooling, let's work on the Caramel Icing.


This is the butter warming up to the evaporated milk.



Add the brown sugar and salt and bring to a boil.



After boiling for 3 minutes, add the vanilla and baking powder.

Then mix with a hand-held mixer for about 5 to 7 minutes.

(Oh my word, I just realized that my finger is in the photo. I'm so sorry. But in my defense, do you realize how difficult it is to hold a camera in your left hand while holding a whirling mixer in your right?)



It will get all thick and lovely.



Pour the warm caramel icing over your cooled cake. 

Okay, I have a confession to make. I accidentally got a box of dark brown sugar for the icing instead of light brown. So my icing is darker than it normally would be, just as flavorful, but darker.

(Wow - that cake carrier is bright. Kinda blinds you, doesn't it? This cake was on the go to share with some friends.)




Yum, yum, yum!!!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ginger Glazed Mahi Mahi

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed, to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 mahi mahi filets
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions:
1. In a shallow glass dish, stir together the honey, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, ginger, garlic and olive oil.
2. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper and place them into the dish with the honey mixture. Spoon honey mixture over fillets so that they are covered. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
3. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Remove fish from the dish and reserve marinade. Fry fish for about 4 to 6 minutes on each side, turning only once, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove fillets to a serving dish and keep warm.
4. Pour reserved marinade into the skillet, and heat over medium heat until the mixture reduces to a glaze. Spoon glaze over fish and serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Dream Come True!!!

Oh my word, Wednesday ranks right up there with one of the best days ever for me!    After, of course, my wedding day and the birth of my children.   It was a dream come true really.  Are you ready for this??  I had lunch with Paula Deen!!! I sat beside her ... She ate off my plate ...  It was so much fun.  And let me just say, she was kind, gracious, and funny.  I honestly felt like I had known her all my life.   This is what she said to me when she met me "Crevolyn (pronounced correctly, by the way), it is such a pleasure to you.  I've heard so much about you."  What? Excuse me?  Obviously, our friend Jeff had given her some background but seriously?

Here is how it all happened ... Darrell had a message on his voicemail at work from Jeff  who works for a local poultry producer, Fieldale Farms that there was an opportunity to have a "visit" with Paula on Wednesday mid-day at the Chattahoochee Country Club.  We immediately said - oh yes, we're there!!  We had no idea if there was going to be a ballroom full of people or exactly what.  Turns out, there were 10 of us in the room for lunch: my family; two of our JandJ associates;  Jeff; Paula's food brand manager; Paula and her husband, Michael.  That was it.  They wanted to talk to us about partnering with Fieldale's brand, Springer Mountain Farms' chicken and Paula's brand.  Paula has been the spokesperson for Springer Mountain for about two years.    We already sell this product in our Limestone store but they are expanding the brand to include some of Paula's sauces, rotisserie chickens, rubs, spices and mixes.  All were developed in Paula's kitchen.  These should be in our stores very soon!

Honestly, I'm still pinching myself that this even happened.  It was such a thrill for me!  Here are a few photos to document this wonderful occasion!





Paula and our family.


This is Paula and I solving the world's problems.


Oh, funny story.  As we were talking, she mentioned Stiver's Best corn meal that she loved but couldn't find.    Darrell told her that we had it in our store and she wanted to come by and get some.  We had her a little to-go bag ready full of her favorite!  This was taken in the parking lot at the Limestone store.



And that, friends and family, is how one perfectly ordinary day turned into a HUGE day in the life of this girl!  Love that Paula! 
And many thanks to our friend, Jeff who arranged this meeting! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Red Beans, Rice and Sausage

Ingredients:
1 package Kielbasa, cut diagonally into ¼ inch slices
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove chopped garlic or 2 tablespoons prepared minced garlic
2 cans red beans, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Creole seasoning, to taste (optional)
White or whole wheat rice

Directions:
1. In a large skillet over low heat, cook sausage for about 5 minutes. Stir in onion, pepper and garlic; sauté until tender. Pour in beans and tomatoes with juice. Season with salt, pepper and creole seasoning.
2. Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.
3. Prepare rice according to package directions. Spoon sausage mixture over top of rice.

Here are the major players. I used the minced garlic in the jar because it's easy and I was in the mood for easy.



The Kielbasa sausage ready to go in the skillet.



The sausage and the onion. Be sure the onion is tender before you add the rest of the ingredients.



The mixture needs to simmer at least 20 minutes. Your house will smell amazing about right now.



I used whole wheat rice and we did just fine. After this photo was taken, I immediately mixed my rice with the red beans and sausage mixture. Because I just like it that way (think mashed potatoes and peas - some things are just meant to be together).

Friday, September 20, 2013

Avalanche Bars

Ingredients:
· 1 (12 ounce) bag of white chocolate chips (or one package of vanilla almond bark)
· 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
· 3 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
· 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
· 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips + 2 tablespoons for garnish

Directions:
In microwave-safe bowl heat the while chocolate chips for 1 minute. Stir and continue in 30 second increments until chips are melted.
Combine the peanut butter with the melted chips, add the Rice Krispies cereal.
Let cool about 15 – 20 minutes; stirring every 5 minutes to help cool.
Add the marshmallows and the mini chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Line 9x9 pan with aluminum foil, folding extra over edges of pan, and grease lightly.
Place mixture into pan. Spread evenly, pressing lightly with the back of your spoon. Press the remaining chocolate chips into the top for garnish.
When the bars are completely cooled, pull out of pan by lifting aluminum foil. Cut into squares.


Here are the major players.  You just can't go wrong with a list that includes chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallows and Rice Krispies.


    I lined the 9x9 dish with foil and then sprayed it with cooking spray.


    Ready to go in the microwave.

    A quick mix before going back in the microwave.

    The chocolate is melted and now to add the peanut butter.


    This is the mixture of chocolate, peanut butter and Rice Krispies. 

    Adding the marshmallows and mini chocolate chips.

    Once all of the ingredients are mixed well, pat it into the prepared pan. 

    I let the mixture sit on the counter a couple of hours before lifting it out by the edges of the foil and then cutting into squares. 


    These would be perfect if you need something to put a child's lunch, take to an event, or eat before you go to bed.  (I wouldn't know.)