Friday, February 27, 2015

Blueberry Buttermilk Cobber

You all know I am a fan of slow cooker desserts ever since I discovered the Slow Cooker Heavenly Chocolate Dessert.  So when I was thinking about a dessert for this week, I thought about a cobbler ... and blueberries.  This would be perfect for Sunday lunch.  Just mix it up and turn it on before you go to church and as soon as you get home, turn it off and take off the lid.  It will be done just in time!  And do not forget the vanilla ice cream ... in generous scoops.  :)

· 5 cups blueberries
· ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
· 2 tablespoons plus ¾ cups all-purpose flour, divided
· 1 lemon
· ¾ cup self-rising cornmeal
· 1/3 cup white sugar
· 1 egg
· 2/3 cup buttermilk
· 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
· Vanilla ice cream


1. Place the blueberries in a lightly greased medium slow cooker. Sprinkle with brown sugar and 2 tablespoons flour.
2. Grate the zest of half of the lemon and squeeze 2 tablespoons of the juice onto the blueberries. Toss gently to combine.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining ¾ cup flour, cornmeal, and white sugar. Make a well in the center and add the egg, buttermilk and butter. Stir until just mixed and drop spoonfuls of the batter onto the blueberry mixture.
4. Cover and cook on high for 3 ½ hours. Turn off the heat and uncover. Let stand for 1 hour before serving with generous scoops of vanilla ice cream. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Crock Pot Cube Steak and Gravy

With all of this nasty weather I sure was glad that I had some things to go in the slow cooker this week.  I've been wanting to make this cube steak and gravy recipe forever so I thought this was a good time to load us up with some comfort food.  And heavens, it was super easy and the meat was oh so tender and tasty.  I served it up with some rice, green peas and a fruit salad.  Snow day meal perfection!

1 package cube steak
2 cans (10.75 ounce) cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope onion soup mix
3/4 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Put one layer of cube steak in slow cooker.
2.  Mix together mushroom soup, onion soup mix and water.  Pour between the layers of meat and on top of last layer.
3.  Cook on low 7-8 hours. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Saucy Bean Medley

This Saucy Bean Medley is so good!  I served these with ham and cole slaw and we couldn't stop eating them.  I'm going to remember these beans this summer for a side for hamburgers.  They would also be perfect for tailgating.  Winner winner chicken dinner!!

· 1 ½ cups ketchup
· 1 medium onion, chopped
· 1 sweet red pepper, chopped
· ½ cup packed brown sugar
· ½ cup water
· ½ cup Italian salad dressing
· 2 bay leaves
· 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
· 1 teaspoon ground mustard
· Pepper, to taste
· 1 (16-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
· 1 (15.5 ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
· 1 (15.5 ounce) can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
· 1 (15.25 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
· 1 (15.25 ounce) can lima beans, rinsed and drained
· 1 (15.25 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained


In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine ketchup, onion, pepper, brown sugar, water, salad dressing, bay leaves, cider vinegar and mustard. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or onion and pepper are tender. Discard bay leaves. 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday's Tip: Cilantro

It seems like no one is neutral about cilantro. You either love it or you don’t. If you don’t like cilantro and a recipe calls for it, substitute fresh parsley leaves or finely chopped spinach in its place. Problem solved!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cheesy Meatballs

· 1 egg
· ½ cup milk
· 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
· 4 tablespoons chili powder, divided
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1 teaspoon pepper
· 1 ½ cups Ritz crackers (about 1 sleeve)
· 2 pounds ground beef
· 1 pound bulk pork sausage
· 2 cups shredded process cheese (like Velvetta)
· 2 cans (10.75 ounce) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
· 2 ½ cups water
· 1 cup packed brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk egg, milk, onion, 2 tablespoons chili powder, salt and pepper; stir in crushed crackers. Add beef, sausage and cheese; mix lightly but thoroughly.
2. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Place meatballs on greased racks in 15x10x1-inch baking pans. Bake 15-18 minutes or until browned.
3. Meanwhile, in a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker, combine soup, water, brown sugar and remaining chili powder. Gently stir in meatballs. Cook, covered on low for 4 to 5 hours or until meatballs are cooked through.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cold Oven Brown Sugar Pound Cake

· 1 cup butter, softened
· ½ cup shortening
· 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
· 1 cup granulated sugar
· 6 large eggs
· 3 cups cake flour
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· 1 cup canned evaporated milk
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· 2 cups chopped toasted pecans

1. Do not preheat oven. Grease and dust with sugar a 10-inch tube pan.
2. Beat butter and shortening in a large bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add brown sugar and granulated sugar, beating at high speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating only until the yellow yolk disappears after each addition.
3. Sift together flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add to butter mixture in thirds, alternately with half of the milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat batter at low speed only until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla and pecans. Pour batter into prepared pan.
4. Place pan in cold oven. Set oven temperature to 300 degrees.
5. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tex Mex Macaroni and Cheese

· 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni or pasta of your choice
· ¼ cup all-purpose flour
· 2 ¾ cups milk
· ½ grated Parmesan cheese
· 2 cups shredded Mexican-blend cheese
· ½ teaspoon pepper
· ¼ teaspoon salt
· 1 tablespoon butter
· ½ cup diced onion
· 1 can Rotel tomatoes, drained
· 1 cup fresh, frozen or canned corn

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish.
2. Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water.
3. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together the flour, milk and Parmesan cheese. Bring to a boil.
4. Remove from heat and add the Mexican-blend cheese, salt and pepper, stirring until the cheese is completely melted.
5. In a small skillet, melt the butter and sauté the onions until the start to soften. Stir in the Rotel tomatoes and corn. Stir the pasta and onion mixture into the cheese sauce. Spoon into the baking dish.
6. Bake for 20 minutes covered with foil; uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes until bubbly and browned.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday's Tip: How soft is Softened Butter?

To achieve that just-right stage, leave the butter in a cool, shaded spot on the kitchen counter for about two hours.  Test the softness by pressing the butter with your finger.  If the indention shows and the butter holds its shape, it’s perfect.  If you forget to set out the butter and have to use the microwave, be very careful.  Use the lowest power level for 10 second intervals.  Overly soft or melted butter will not work properly in recipes.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

Poppy Seed Chicken Pot Pie

Nothing says comfort more than chicken pot pie. Friday night I had 4 young people around my table who were needing some comfort food. I made two big pans of this and by the end of the evening there was barely a spoonful to be found.

· 1 (10.75 ounce) can of cream of chicken soup, undiluted
· 1 (16 ounce) container of sour cream
· 1 cup green peas (recommended: canned LeSuer peas), drained
· 1 cup chopped cooked carrots
· 3 teaspoons poppy seeds
· 3 cups cooked chicken
· 1 refrigerated pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
2. Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Gently stir in chicken. Pour into baking dish.
3. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. Spread pie crust on top of chicken mixture. Cut about 6 2-inch slits in the crust. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Coca-Cola Cake

Ingredients for the Cake:
· 1 cup Coca-Cola
· ½ cup buttermilk
· 1 cup butter, softened
· 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
· 2 large eggs
· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
· 2 cups all-purpose flour
· ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
· 1 teaspoon baking soda
· 1 ½ cups miniature marshmallows

Ingredients for Frosting:
· ½ cup butter
· 1/3 cup Coca-Cola
· 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
· 1 pound powdered sugar
· 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
· ¾ cup chopped pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking pan.
2. Stir together Coca-Cola and buttermilk in a small bowl; set aside.
3. Beat butter in a large bowl at low speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar; beat until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating only until yellow disappears into the batter. Beat in vanilla.
4. Whisk together flour, cocoa, and baking soda in medium bowl. Add to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with half of Coca-Cola/buttermilk; beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed only until blended. Fold in marshmallows.
5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the frosting.
6. To prepare frosting, bring butter, cola and cocoa to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla. Pour immediately over warm cake, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with pecans, if using. Cool completely.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sweetheart Mix

· 4 ½ cups Rice Chex cereal
· ½ cup white chocolate chips
· ¼ cup peanut butter
· 2 tablespoons butter
· 1/3 cup powdered sugar
· ¼ cup red, white and pink M&Ms
· 2 tablespoons red or pink jimmies sprinkles

1. Place cereal in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a microwaveable bowl, microwave white chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter on high 1 minute to 1 ½ minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.
2. Place half of the cereal mixture in a 1-gallon re-sealable plastic bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag and shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper or foil for about 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, stir candies and sprinkles into remaining cereal mixture.
4. In a medium bowl, mix together both cereal mixtures. Store in airtight container.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chocolate is my Food Love Language

Hi y'all!  Check out my column in today's Gainesville Times!   The column recipe is the Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache.  Our family loved it so much that it was Emily's birthday cake last year!  It is yummy chocolatey goodness! 

Crispy Fingerling Potatoes

· 1 ½ pounds fingerling potatoes
· Kosher or sea salt, to taste
· ¼ cup olive oil
· Pepper, to taste
· 1 tablespoon garlic powder
· 2 teaspoons paprika, to taste

1. Put the potatoes into a large pot and cover them with water. Add salt, then cover and put on high heat. Bring to a boil, uncover and cook just until the potatoes start to soften but aren’t cooked all the way; about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the warm pot. Shake the potatoes around to roughen up the sides and let them dry out. Put them in a large owl.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put a baking sheet in the oven to preheat.
3. Add the olive oil, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Toss to coat. Spread the potatoes out onto the preheated baking sheet and roast them until they are cooked and crispy, about 20 minutes. Flip the potatoes halfway through the cooking time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday's Tip: A Great Valentine's Menu

I thought I would give y'all a sample menu for a great Valentine's Day meal!  Many of these recipes are from the "ole days" when I did the "What's for Supper?"  segment on WDUN's afternoon show.  We linked to the J&J website then.  

A Great Valentine’s Menu:

One of my favorite cakes of all time ...

Monday, February 9, 2015

Shrimp Scampi

Hi All!  This week I thought I talk about some recipes that would be great for your special Valentine's Day celebration but really, any day is special enough to cook a great meal!  
This Shrimp Scampi is yummy and would be perfect with a steak for a "Surf and Turf!"

· ¼ cup olive oil
· ¼ butter, melted
· ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
· 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
· 1 tablespoon minced garlic
· Black Pepper, to taste
· Crushed red pepper, to taste (optional)
· 1 ½ pounds, medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1. In a large glass bowl, stir together the olive oil, butter, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, black pepper and crushed red pepper (if using). Add shrimp and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
2. Heat grill pan to medium-high heat. Discard marinade.
3. Grill for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until opaque.
Great served over linguine noodles.

Here's a photo of my Shrimp Scampi.  I decided at the last minute to make some cheese grits and sprinkle with bacon bits.  Because well... grits and bacon.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Classic Chess Pie

· 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust shell, chilled
· 2 cups sugar
· 2 tablespoons cornmeal
· 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
· ¼ teaspoon salt
· ½ cup butter, melted
· ¼ cup milk
· 1 tablespoon white vinegar
· ½ teaspoon vanilla
· 4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line pie shell with aluminum foil o parchment paper, making sure it extends over the edge of the crust. Fill with pie weights, dry uncooked rice or beans. Bake at 425 degrees for 4 to 5 minutes or until pie shell no longer looks wet. Carefully remove foil and weights, bake 2 to 3 minutes longer or until crust looks dry and golden. Cool on wire rack.
2. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Whisk together sugar, cornmeal, flour and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in melted butter, milk, vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in eggs. Pour mixture into pie crust.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until set, shielding edges with foil after 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Cool completely on a wire rack.
*Coconut Chess Pie: Prepare filling as directed; stir in 1 cup toasted sweetened flaked coconut before pouring into piecrust. Bake as directed above.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Best Pizza I've Ever Made

I love pizza but when I make it at home, I don't always love it as much.  I think it is the crust that I don't like because I'll be honest, I've been taking the easy way out and buying a prepared crust or rolling out the refrigerated version.  Or perhaps the problem is that I don't have a pizza oven at my house.  Maybe I need one. 

Anyway,  I started looking at pizza crusts I could make from scratch.   Pizza crusts require yeast which requires rising and perfect temperatures for such and oh my goodness, I just wasn't sure about all of that.  But then I was perusing the All Recipes website and found this  and it said "Quick and Easy Pizza Crust."  Well, I'm all about quick and easy so I decided to try it and it was in fact, quick, easy and delicious.  Score!

I just wanted to share with you my recipe for the Best Pizza I Ever Made.  In the interest of full disclosure, I am a work-in-progress when it comes to pizza making.  Do any of you have any great pizza recipes you would like to share?  Feel free to leave me a comment. I'd love to know!

The Best Pizza I've Ever Made
** Quick and Easy Pizza Crust - adapted from All
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2.  Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.  Let sit for about 10 minutes until creamy.
3.  Add flour, olive oil and salt.  Beat with electric mixer until smooth.  Let rest 5 minutes.
4.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll or pat into a round.  Transfer crust to a pizza stone dusted with cornmeal.
--I deviated from the All Recipes recipe at this point --
5.  Brush the crust with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until crusted is lightly browned.
6.  Turn oven heat down to 425 degrees.

Ingredients for Pizza:
1 (28-ounce) bottle Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, original
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

2 small packages fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 medium onions, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 cups mozzarella cheese
Sliced black olives, to taste
1.  In a medium bowl, mix together 3/4 cup BBQ sauce and chicken; set aside.
2.  In a medium skillet, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and turn to medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and onions; cook until tender about 15 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook about 5 more minutes, just until tomatoes are soft.  Remove from heat.
3.  To assemble pizza:  Spread remaining BBQ sauce on the warm, partially cooked pizza crust.  Brush edges of crust with olive oil.  Add 2 cups mozzarella cheese and then the chicken.  Spread evenly with the mushroom/onion/tomato mixture, then remaining cheese.  Sprinkle with black olives.
4.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until crust is browned and cheese is melted.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday's Tip: Canned, Fresh, or Frozen?

Many of us appreciate the convenience of canned peas and beans.  However, some of prefer to cook fresh, frozen or dried legumes from scratch.  You’ll need 1 ¾ cups fresh or frozen to replace each 15-ounce can.  One pound of dry beans makes 5 to 6 cups of cooked peas or beans, equivalent to about 3 cans.