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Recipe: Sautéed Spinach with Shallots and Bacon


This quick and easy recipe for Sautéed Spinach with Shallots and Bacon is so delicious… a terrific side dish for so many meals. I’ve made this for years… I like to serve it with Schnitzel or even just grilled meats such as chicken or steak.

TIPS

I wrote the recipe for frozen spinach… but you can easily use fresh spinach… just chop it well. I like to buy a bag of frozen spinach as opposed to a box… I find the bagged variety draws less water when cooked… and this way I can use any amount I need without having to thaw a standard sized box.

I either thaw the spinach at room temperature or put it in a dish and nuke it in the microwave for a few minutes.

You need to drain the spinach of any water it accumulates during thawing.

Any bacon will work… but I found thick sliced smoked bacon to have the most robust flavor… use any type you prefer.

If you don’t have shallots, you can substitute onions.. sweet onions would be the first choice… but any onions will work… shallots are best though… they have a light flavor.

If you don’t want to use any meat in this… you can just sauté the spinach with only onion.. but the bacon does add a wonderful flavor. If you do omit the bacon… sauté the shallots and spinach in 2 tablespoons butter.

This recipe makes approximately 2-3 servings….. and is easily doubled or tripled.

I hope you try!






Recipe: Sautéed Spinach with Shallots and Bacon

All you need:

2 cups frozen spinach, thawed
2 strips thick sliced smoked bacon, chopped
1-2 large shallots, finely diced

All you need to do:

Add the chopped bacon to a skillet over medium heat.

Cook until bacon has rendered fat and is cooked but still a little soft.

Add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the spinach and stir well.

Cook until spinach is cooked, stirring periodically.

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Recipe: Kielbasa and Pierogies with Sautéed Onions and Bacon


This recipe for Kielbasa and Pierogies with Sauteed Onions and Bacon is more of a cooking method than a recipe… nothing is essentially from scratch…. but it is nonetheless very good…. a perfect weeknight meal that requires little work.

This traditionally Polish meal is so hearty and good… with the bold flavors of the Kielbasa and onions… just perfect with pierogies.

I hope you try this wonderful meal!






Recipe: Kielbasa and Pierogies with Sauteed Onions and Bacon

All you need:

1 Hillshire Farm Kielbasa, sliced (¼ inch slices)
12 regular size Pierogies (frozen or fresh)
2 large onions, halved then sliced
3 strips thick sliced smoked bacon
2-3 tablespoons butter
Sour Cream

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F.

In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the bacon strips until cooked but still pliable.

Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels… then chop. Set aside.

Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet with the rendered bacon fat. You should have a total of about 3 tablespoons of fat between the butter and the bacon grease. Melt the butter.

Add the onions and Kielbasa slices… cook the onions until soft and translucent. Remove the onions an oven safe 9x13 baking dish. Keep them warm in the preheated oven.


Continue to cook the Kielbasa slices until browned on both sides.

Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Add them to the baking dish and return dish to the oven to keep warm until pierogies are done cooking.

Add 1-2 tablespoons butter to the skillet.

Note: You should have about 3 tablespoons of fat totally in your skillet…. the Kielbasa will render some fat… so depending on the fat from the bacon and the Kielbasa… will determine how much butter you need to add.

Add the frozen (you do not have to thaw them first) or fresh pierogies to the hot skillet. Cook over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides… approximately 8 minutes for frozen pierogies.

Remove from the skillet when they are lightly browned and drain on paper towels.

Add the pierogies to the baking dish with the onions and Kielbasa…. Toss lightly to mix.

Sprinkle chopped bacon over the top and serve with sour cream on the side.

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A Terrific Brunch Idea – Poached Eggs


Poached Eggs!... now we’ve talked about making poached eggs for a crowd before… and it can be a little dicey… depending on how big your poacher is and just how many poachers you have….and how many poached eggs you need.... Well… problem solved!

You can make poached eggs in the oven… and in your muffin tin… yes… that’s right… your muffin tin… in fact even small ovens can fit two muffin tins (12 standard muffin size)… that’s 24 poached eggs… all at once… hardly any work… and hardly any clean-up… what could be better?

What can you do with poached eggs? LOTS!... Eggs Benedict… Eggs Florentine… put a poached egg in a baked pastry shell and drizzle (okay…ladle) cheese sauce over it… and you have a wowza brunch…. and it leaves you plenty of time to spend with your guests.

So just how do you do this? See my post about How to Poach Eggs in the Oven… trust me it’s quick and easy!

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Recipe: No-Bake Cream Cheese Pie


This No-Bake Cream Cheese Pie recipe is a favorite of my son.. he loved it so much growing up.. I’d make it frequently .. especially during the summer. It is the only recipe around that uses cream cheese, sour cream and Cool Whip… it has just the right amount of sweetness and a little tang from the sour cream.

If you recall… I while back I made an Oreo No-Bake Cream Cheese Pie… this recipe is actually the base for that one…

I got the recipe years ago… and I do mean years ago… either just before I was married or shortly after… my husband loved it also… it was a recipe on one of the pie crusts packages … and what shocks me.. is this recipe is nowhere to be found… it really is so good… I can’t believe Ready Crust or Keebler didn’t keep it in their list of recipes… I’m pretty sure it was one of theirs… there weren’t many pre-made pie crust people back then.

TIPS

You do have to let it chill at least 2 hours… but it takes less than ten minutes to make… make it up quickly before supper… and you have a nice dessert pie for a little while later.

I used Cool Whip Light… you would never know the difference…honest!

You can use any flavor pie crust you prefer… and any topping you want… or leave it without the topping… it’s good either way.

This recipe is so quick and easy.. you really need to try it… it’s perfect for that unexpected guest or just a last minute dessert…







Recipe: No-Bake Cream Cheese Pie

All you need:

1 pkg. (8 ounce) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tub Cool Whip
1 Ready Crust pie shell (graham, chocolate or shortbread)
1 can cherry pie filling

All you need to do:

Using the paddle attachment of the mixer, beat the softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl until creamy.

Add the sugar and vanilla, and beat until well mixed, scraping the bowl and paddle periodically.

Add the sour cream and beat on low speed until well mixed.

Remove the paddle attachment and add the Cool Whip, folding it until well incorporated.

Scoop the cream cheese mixture out of the bowl and into the pie shell.

Refrigerate one hour, then remove and add the pie filling on top of the pie… don’t use all the pie filling “gell” otherwise it will run… use a spoon to pick out the cherries out of the can. Return the pie to the refrigerator for at least another hour.

OR

You can just leave the pie in the fridge for the whole 2 hours and then when serving it… put the pie filling on each piece.

Keep refrigerated.

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How to Make Poached Eggs in the Oven


This method is so quick and easy… it makes making poached eggs a snap!... It also adds the possibility of serving them for a crowd…. while they’re in the oven… reheat made-ahead sauce… toast English muffins and prepare plate for serving… even make breakfast potatoes in a skillet…. you can have a terrific breakfast and serve a small crowd.

TIPS

The time for cooking these is a range… 15-20 minutes… it will depend on how you like your eggs and how your guests will like them… 15 minutes will have a bit of runny white and a nicely runny yolk… as the cooking time increases… the egg white becomes less runny and so does the yolk.

If you like a solid white and a fairly runny egg yolk… about 17 or 18 minutes is what you are shooting for… 20 minutes will give you a solid egg white and egg yolk… the yolk will be cooked but still a little soft… a hair away from hard boiled…. I hope that helps.

Beware… when looking at the eggs and trying to decide if they are done enough for you… the water will have risen to the top… so it may look like the white is very runny when it is not… I really hate to say this… but you will need to try this out for yourself… everyone likes eggs differently and you have to find what you like best…. I like it at 17 minutes.

Use a non-stick muffin tin for best results.

I like to break the eggs into a small custard cup then pour them into each muffin “well”.

You must use a muffin tin for standard size muffins. Make 1 or 24 .. the directions and time will be the same...

You have to try this... it is so easy... I may never use my poacher again!






All you need:

Standard size muffin tin
Spray cooking oil (butter flavor preferred)
Eggs
Water

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.



Spray each muffin “well” with cooking oil… spray as many as you need… 1 egg to each.





Add 1 tablespoon water to each muffin well to be used.







Drop one egg into each well.







Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on preferred doneness.






To remove poached eggs easily… simply use two soup spoons… the eggs should flip easily onto one spoon when pushed by the other.

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Recipe: Vanilla Ice Cream and Basic Ice Cream Making Instructions


Okay… we’re ready to start making ice cream… you peruse the recipe booklet… ohhh… there are a few tempting recipes…. Chocolate Fudge Brownie comes to mind… but… it really makes sense to start with a basic ice cream first… what’s more basic than vanilla?... well …. you may answer chocolate… but chocolate requires a little different technique and a little more work with the batter… vanilla is really the best place to start….

This recipe is from Cuisinart.

Basic Ice Cream Making Instructions

So here we are… the freezer bowl has been in the freezer for 24 hours… really.. don’t skimp on this step… you will regret it… you want this stuff to freeze and freeze well.

Leave the freezer bowl in the freezer until the last minute before you need it. So while you make the batter… leave it in the freezer.

Get everything set-up… the machine on the counter… lid and paddle next to it… simple enough.

TIPS

Ingredients…. get out everything you need… so it’s handy…

Just a quick word about ingredients here… use the best quality… you really don’t use a lot… and the freshest and best quality will only make your ice cream that much better.

Don’t cheap out on the vanilla… after all… that’s the flavor here… you screw up the vanilla.. you screw up your ice cream…. use a good quality vanilla…

I’m all for store brands.. and in some baking… and dessert recipes it’s really not that big a deal to use a cheaper quality vanilla… only when it enhances a dish’s flavor… if it IS the flavor… you really want the best quality available.

Their instructions say to use a medium bowl and a hand mixer or whisk to combine the milk and sugar…. I used my standing mixer with the wire whisk… I set the mixer on low speed and blended for about 2 minutes… you need to mix it until the sugar dissolves… this is not quick doing it by hand since the milk is cold… I just found my method easier.

Heavy cream versus trying to make a lowfat ice cream… for your first ice cream.. stick to the recipe… you can always try variations later on when you’re not trying to learn just what it needs to look like to be done etc.

All you need:

1 cup whole milk, well chilled
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (to taste…I used 2)

All you need to do:


In a mixing bowl combine the milk and sugar… beat at low speed until sugar is dissolved…about two minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.




Take the freezer bowl out of the freezer and set it on the machine base.

Insert the paddle with the little point into the little hole in the freezer bowl.





Place the plastic lid over the freezer bowl and turn to lock it into place.











Flip the machine on and pour the ice cream batter through the opening at the top of the plastic lid.

Set a timer for 25 minutes. It will take between 25-30 minutes for the ice cream to thicken (this is using the Cuisinart ICE-20 model)… if you are using a different brand or model… check your instruction booklet to be sure the timing is the same.


TIP - The first time I made a batch of vanilla ice cream I only did it for 25 minutes.. it was only slightly thick… after making ice cream a few times… I realized… with my machine it was best to do it for 30 minutes…. it froze much better when it was a bit thicker when removed from the freezer bowl.

The consistency is like thick frozen soft serve ice cream… see photo.



When your ice cream has thickened… turn the machine off… remove the lid and paddle… then remove the freezer bowl and pour into your container… secure the container lid and pop it into your freezer… and you’re done!

Be careful when removing the last bits of ice cream along the bottom sides of the freezer bowl… the ice cream has a tendency to stick… don’t use sharp objects to scrape it out… just let it set a bit to melt… then the cook gets to use a spoon and eat the spoils!

Your ice cream will need to ripen for about 2 hours or more to become like a hard ice cream… or you can eat it like a soft serve ice cream.

Now that was easy…wasn’t it?

Clean-Up

Here it really is important to follow your manufacturer’s instructions… you don’t want to do anything to damage your ice cream maker...especially the freezer bowl.

Let the freezer bowl set in your sink with warm water for a while… it needs to get to room temperature so you can wash it without water freezing to the sides… you can’t adequately dry it if it isn’t at room temperature… and towels and paper towels will stick to it.

It needs to be thoroughly dry before placing it back in the freezer for the next time.

Now wasn’t that a snap? … Come back for more flavors... tips and ideas.

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Ice Cream Making – The Basics


Getting Started


Before we launch into a “How To” on ice cream making… let’s get familiar with the machine… the better you know the machine… the easier it is… trust me. Okay… reading manuals is boring… and you just don’t want to do it… I know… been there…

I’ll walk you through the steps.. and believe me there aren’t many… of my ice cream maker… you will have to at least peruse your manual if you decide to purchase a different brand or model. The good news is… most ice cream makers are basically the same… so you should be able to breeze through your boring manual.

Machine Parts















The Base – it is what it sounds like… the actual machine… mine is surprisingly light weight… nothing fancy… no settings.. just on and off… I think I can handle that.

The Freezer Bowl- this insulated bowl needs to be in the freezer for 24 hours before making the ice cream… you really do need the 24 hours… you want this thing to freeze your ice cream. I cleaned mine when I got it and made sure I carefully dried it… and popped it in the freezer. One review I read said they keep it in the freezer so whenever they decide to make ice cream …it’s ready to go… I thought it was an excellent idea… and we do that now too.

The Paddle- this piece fits into the bowl… the little point on the end fits into a little hole in the freezer bowl. It does fit somewhat loosely… so don’t think you’ve done it wrong… chances are you’re right… just double check your manual.

After the plastic lid is fitted on… and the batter is poured in… machine is turned on… the bowl will rotate… the paddle gets caught on little “catches” this is part of the normal operation.

The Plastic Lid – this is also exactly what it sounds like… the lid you place over the freezer bowl with the paddle in it. It will easily snap into place… all that’s left is to pour in the batter and flip it on.

And that my friends … is the extent of it… I know… very very easy!

My ice cream maker came with use and care instructions… it’s worth while to take a look at them. It also came with a recipe book… my advice is to try their recipes first… then venture off on your own. The first few recipes I will post will be from their booklet… good basic instructions.

So go freeze your freezer bowl… and stop back and we’ll start making ice cream together.

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Ice Cream 101-The Purchase


I’m just too excited to start this series…. I just love ice cream…. and I just couldn’t wait to dive in…. it’s like Christmas morning when you’re a kid with a new toy… Warren may have his power tools… he may walk into Home Depot and just drink in the smell of wood and machinery…. I walk into a kitchen shop and … well… Nirvana…

So before I made the big purchase…. actually not so big a purchase… it was in the neighborhood of $50 (US) plus tax…. The price range for these things range from $50-to over $200 …depending on size and manufacturer………….. I investigated the various types and brands. After deciding on Cuisinart… I’ve had their various kitchen machines over the years… I had to decide what model was best for us… I decided on the smaller… Automatic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker – ICE20.


This model makes up to 1 ½ quarts… not a lot… but there is only two of us here… and we like a variety of flavors… so we felt this size was good for us… also I have a small freezer… the write up says …it’s “quick and easy”… and if you’ve followed my blog at all… you know I live by those words. So the decision was made.



Some Advice

The Machine

If I end up inspiring you to by one of these little babies… think about your needs and think about your freezer and more importantly…available space in your freezer.

Read reviews…. Amazon has reviews from previous customers… they are extremely helpful… the ice cream makers have a lot of reviews… some complaints may not apply to you… some may…

For instance… there was a complaint that it was a pain to clean… well… the cover and paddle can go in the dishwasher… the unit wipes clean… the freezer bowl.. is somewhat of a pain.. you have to let warm water soak in it and let the bowl get to room temperature before attempting to clean it… otherwise… I know this because I tried… a thin layer of water remaining after washing will freeze on contact.. and if you try to wipe it dry with a paper towel… that, too, will get stuck. It’s not a big deal.. just let it set in your sink for about an hour.

So when reading reviews… keep these things in mind… good points and bad…will they matter to you?…

I don’t know if you have ever made homemade ice cream with an older machine… ones where you had to use ice and salt… it was fun as a kid… but a pain as a parent doing the getting of the supplies to the clean-up.

In fact, when I mentioned to Warren what I wanted to do.. he groaned ever so slightly because of past memories. Well… ice and salt no more… and clean-up is very easy with these new machines….



BUT… you have to be able to put the ice cream freezer bowl into the freezer for 24 hours before using….obviously the bigger the machine … the bigger the freezer bowl.

A family of four would wipe out the ice cream bounty in no time… so you may want to consider the larger model if your freezer space allows for it.

Since you have to put the freezer bowl in the freezer for 24 hours before whipping up a batch of your favorite ice cream… it limits you to one batch every 24 hours… you can purchase a freezer bowl separately from Cuisinart... but that lists for $30… not much of a deal when the whole machine is $50…. but something to consider if that is something you feel you need.

Ice Cream Container


Funny… I’ve read lots of articles and tips on ice cream making.. and haven’t found one that talks much about storing your ice cream. I’ve used airtight containers for freezing many things… have you ever tried opening one up while it’s still frozen?… no?... I didn’t think so… it’s pretty tough… but most times it doesn’t matter because you’re thawing the contents anyway… not so with ice cream… so I found a great air tight container that has flaps and snaps with the flaps… it’s been working perfectly.






Next in the Ice Cream Series: Basic How To’s & Basic Flavors

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Simple Days of Summer


I love summer… well… I do like all the seasons… winter … well… not so much… but summer has a special place in my heart…. to me.. it reminds me of getting out of school for a couple of months… summer camp… family vacations… hot, lazy afternoons… afternoon thunderstorms… and best of all… ice cream.


Now I come from an ice cream family… my Mother… and she will probably deny this… is addicted to ice cream… every night she would have a scoop or two… I think she inherited that trait from my Grandmother… the sweet tooth queen… my Grandmother would visit us for a few days every so often …. She’d come in the house and headed directly for the cookie jar to see if there were any cookies in it… then she’d peer up on top of the fridge to see if there was cake in the cake keeper… and the next stop… the freezer.. to see if we had ice cream… and if by chance we were empty.. she’d look at my Mother and say in a low voice… such a poor house…. tsk tsk… I can still hear her say it… and I hope I never forget it.

I’ve wanted to make ice cream for some time now… believe it or not… I’m in south Georgia.. the ice cream selection is nothing short of pitiful… and frankly, I’m shocked… you would think in this Amazon-like climate they would have a decent selection of ice cream… they don’t.

I’m used to upstate New York… where the selection of regular ice cream is excellent.. the grocery stores have walls of freezer space devoted to ice creams and sherbets…they also have a really good selection of non-fat and light ice creams and frozen yogurts… here.. I’m lucky I can find the basic vanilla and chocolate in non-fat… and an occasional specialty flavor in it… I’m guessing eating light is just not done in south Georgia…. So my solution is.. I’ll make it myself.


Now my Mother is probably laughing at this… because as a child… we had Howard Johnson… remember their 28 flavors?… hey … that was a big deal back then… I’d stand there and hem and haw… and what would I ask for?… vanilla…. I’m still a vanilla freak… but I have graduated to the big time… I could eat my way through the flavor selection at Ben and Jerry’s if my butt and cholesterol count would let me. By the way… I’m not ancient.. we did have Baskin and Robbins … and Friendly’s when I was still in school… and yes… when they came to our neighborhood… I thought I’d died and went to heaven..

So where am I going with this you might be wondering… we’re going to make ice cream… all kinds… after all… food blogging does have its perks… and this my friends.. is one of them… let’s just hope my butt doesn’t end up the size of Alaska.






Vintage Howard Johnson Poster picture can be found on their site.

The cookie jar wasn't what we had growing up... I happen to like Slyvester... so he made it to my blog ... the cookie jar is available at The Cookie Jar Store... if interested... hurry these things sell out fast.

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Recipe: Brownie Bites


These cute little bite-sized brownies are absolutely perfect for picnics at the park or beach… they pack easily in an air tight container… no worries about something melting or getting ruined with the heat… and they’re the perfect size for little people as well as adults.

If you want to include them in a party tray of little desserts… just dress them up with a little ganache and a cherry… and you have a terrific little addition to your party tray.

TIPS

You can use either my brownie recipe or your own… or even a boxed mix (gasp! I know… shhh … don’t let the blog snob hear you say those dreaded words… boxed mix… I won’t tell if you won’t.

If you do decide to use a boxed mix… I really have had a lot of luck with Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies – Traditional Chewy Brownie Mix… they come out perfect every time… I do prefer making my own from scratch… but I have one of these mixes in the pantry.. just in case.. I need to make something really fast…

Be very careful.. do not over-bake these… I baked mine for exactly 18 minutes… and they were perfect.

Enjoy your summer… don’t slave in the kitchen… look here at Cooking Tip of the Day for quick little ideas to help you breeze through summer!






Recipe: Brownie Bites

All you need:

Brownie Batter (my recipe or yours or a mix)

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray 4 mini muffin tins (12 mini muffins each) with cooking oil spray (butter flavor preferred)

OR

Fill each mini muffin tin with a mini paper cupcake cup.

Fill each 2/3 full with brownie batter.

Bake 18 minutes.

Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes.

Remove them from the pan and allow to cool on a rack.

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Recipe: Eggs Beauregard


Eggs Beauregard… if that doesn’t sound southern… I don’t know what is…. I came across a description of this dish not long ago…. It’s simply… a biscuit…. Layered with a sausage patty… then a fried egg… topped with sausage gravy… yummmm… truly a terrific way to start your day.

TIPS

Make your own sausage gravy… you can make it in 5 minutes.. it really is easy… see my recipe….

You can use any biscuits you like… homemade… store bought… Pillsbury canned…
Any breakfast sausage in a tube is good… get whatever brand you like.

I didn’t list quantities.. because they depend on how many of these you make…. I suggest figuring two sausage patties and two fried eggs per person. I always split the biscuit and put a patty and an egg on each half.

Try this … a wonderful southern breakfast.






Recipe: Eggs Beauregard

All you need:

Biscuits (homemade or store bought)
Cooked breakfast sausage patties
Fried eggs (any way you like them)
Sausage Gravy (my recipe or yours)

All you need to do:

Split the biscuit in half.

Put a sausage patty on each half.

Put a fried egg on top of the sausage.

Top with a generous helping of sausage gravy.

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Recipe: Sausage Gravy


In the south I think babies are weaned on Sausage Gravy…. It’s a staple in almost every southern home… I grew up in the north so I only had southern specialties when we traveled south to Florida. We would wait for the South Carolina border.. because it was after that … that we knew we could get biscuits and sausage gravy…grits… and country fried steak in almost every restaurant we would stop at.

Sausage gravy is very easy to make… it’s basically a white sauce that uses sausage grease for all or part of the fat portion of the roux. Sometimes recipes call for (I always) a small chopped up sausage patty to be added to the gravy. I like to do that since I think it adds even more of the smoky sausage flavor.

TIPS

You can lower the fat … I know that sounds funny given what it is… but you can… use a lower fat milk… the gravy will be a bit thinner… but not too much… honest!

You will need 2 tablespoons of fat (butter or sausage fat rendered when cooking the sausage)… if you don’t have 2 tablespoons from the sausage… make up the difference with butter.

This is delicious on biscuits… a southern tradition. It also is used in Eggs Beauregard (see picture above).

Try this… a great addition to a weekend breakfast or a weeknight supper….. you will definitely like it!






Recipe: Sausage Gravy

All you need:

About 2 tablespoons sausage grease or part butter (see Tips)
2 tablespoons flour
1 ½ cups milk
1 cooked sausage patty, cut-up into very small pieces
Salt and pepper to taste

All you need to do:

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, add the rendered sausage fat (or part butter).

Add the flour and stir well to make a roux.

Cook for about 1-2 minutes to cook off the flour taste.

Add milk and vigorously whisk until all lumps are out and sauce is smooth.

Continue stirring until desired thickness.

Add the cut-up sauce bits.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes approximately 4 servings.

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Recipe: Banana Buttermilk Pecan Bread


Hmmm… that’s a mouthful to say… Banana Buttermilk Pecan Bread…. but it does the job.. let’s you know exactly what you’re getting… and what you’re getting is a wonderfully moist banana bread with pecans.

I grew-up eating leftovers… and mind you… I’m not complaining.. I love leftovers… what’s better than a round two of a great meal?... It was part of my upbringing to use as much as you possibly can… and not waste… oh sure… I have tuppers in the fridge sometimes that have a tablespoon left of something unidentifiable … or has the cure for something growing… but I mean well… I do try to use everything up… and bananas are no exception.

Sometimes I think Warren over-buys bananas and lets just the right number of them get too ripe to enjoy eating… so I just have to make banana bread… I have made banana breads, muffins… sauce, pancakes… you name it.. I probably have made it. In fact.. I have so many banana recipes I still haven’t shared with you for fear of turning off readers with too many banana recipes.

Well… here’s another banana bread recipe. It’s slightly different from the other one I posted. This one is a little more dense and moist because of the addition of buttermilk… and I use pecans with this recipe… I happen to really like pecans.. and it gives this bread a really nice flavor.

TIPS

As I mentioned… I used pecans… if you don’t want to be adventurous and try using them.. you certainly can substitute walnuts.

I used white sugar… you can also use some brown sugar… just substitute half of the white sugar with brown sugar.

Bananas are best when they are almost black… they should be at least black in large areas of the peel. When they get that ripe.. they’re sooo aromatic and soft… they really are the best for baking breads and muffins.

I used cinnamon in the recipe… you can also add a little nutmeg for even more flavor.
This is extremely quick to put together.. and really very good… I hope you try it.






Recipe: Banana Buttermilk Pecan Bread

All you need:

3-4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 stick butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 ½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cup flour
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped

All you need to do:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Spray a bread pan with cooking oil (butter flavor preferred).

In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mash until fairly smooth, leaving a few lumps.

Add the melted butter and mix well with a fork.

In a small bowl, beat the buttermilk and eggs with a fork.

Add the egg mixture to the banana mixture and mix well with a fork.

Add the sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to the mixture, mix well with a fork.

Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the batter and mix well with a fork.

Add the flour and stir well with a spoon until the flour is well incorporated into the batter.

Add the pecans and stir well.

Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove bread from the pan and let cool on a rack.

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Recipe: Garlic Shrimp Pasta


Ohhh the house smells divine…. how I love the smell of garlic… I think Warren would eat something with garlic every day if I could figure out a way of putting it in every recipe. There are definitely no vampires interested in this household…

Great minds must think alike... I had been promising Warren I would make this recipe for him for weeks.. I finally bought the shrimp a few weeks ago when they were on special at the store... and put them in the freezer... then recently I saw a terrific looking Shrimp Scampi at Food for a Hungry Soul... we must be on the same wavelength! ... the recipes are different.. but then again you can't have too many Garlic Shrimp recipes... can you?

This recipe is one I've made for years....one that my husband taught me when I was first married. He would make garlic shrimp and usually put it over rice pilaf… I started putting it over pasta because I love pasta so much.

This quick and easy recipe is an “Under 30 Minute” dinner… and fit for company.

TIPS

I use a large skillet to heat cook the olive oil and butter with the garlic.. then add the shrimp…after the shrimp are heated through…. I toss the cooked spaghetti in the same skillet… it is just easier than dumping everything in a bowl and trying to toss it all in that.

Quantities will depend on the amount of servings and what you serve with it... I usually buy about ½ to ¾ of a pound of 30 count shrimp …(about 30 shrimp to a pound) for two servings.

The recipe as written would be for two-three servings.

This is a wonderful easy dish to make…

Recipe: Garlic Shrimp Pasta

All you need:

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
¾ lb. cooked fresh shrimp
About ¼ to ½ lb. cooked spaghetti
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

All you need to do:

Melt the butter and oil in a large skillet.

Add the garlic and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Stir the garlic around in the oil.

Add the shrimp and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes…stirring to coat both sides of the shrimp.
Add the cooked spaghetti sprinkle with almost all of the grated Parmesan.. reserve about 1 tablespoon for garnish.

Pour the pasta out onto a platter or into large pasta bowl.

Sprinkle with reserved Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley.

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Recipe: Enchilada Meatballs


This recipe for Enchilada Meatballs… is a Mexican take on a meatball. Served over rice… sprinkled with cheese and chopped green onions and topped off with a dollop of sour cream.. this quick an deasy recipe is sure to please even the pickiest eater.
The meatballs are made in a similar way as you would make Italian meatballs… except the seasonings are Mexican flavors… the sauce is simply enchilada sauce.

From start to finish.. you can make these and have them on the table in 30 minutes… the meatballs are baked.. so while they’re baking … you can even clean-up.

TIPS

Using lean ground beef and baking these, make these a pretty low-fat meal… believe me.. you won’t miss the frying oil.

You can use a homemade enchilada sauce or purchased one.. for my recipe for Enchilada Sauce... click the link... it's quick and easy and oh so good!

I chopped the onion and the garlic together in my mini chopper… this way the onion and garlic are well mixed and finely chopped.

I served this with shredded cheddar cheese… shredded Monterey Jack would also be good.

The seasonings are Taco seasonings… you can use a packet you purchase.. or use my recipe… it really is easy and you can control the heat and the salt.

I served these over white rice… any kind you prefer.

I hope you try these!






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Recipe: Enchilada Meatballs

All you need:

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg
Dash of milk
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 packet Taco Seasoning or 3 tablespoons of my homemade Taco Seasoning
½ cup plain bread crumbs
¼ teaspoon pepper
Enchilada Sauce or large can commercially made sauce
Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese
¼ cup chopped green onions (white and green parts)
Sour Cream
White Rice

All you need to do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, mix the beef, egg, milk, onions, garlic, parsley, Taco Seasoning, bread crumbs and pepper.

Roll meat mixture into 1 ½ inch in diameter balls.

Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil.

Place the meatballs on the foil and bake at 400 degrees F for 20-22 minutes.

When the meatballs are done, place them in a large microwaveable dish, pour the enchilada sauce over them and microwave at 50% for about 5-10 minutes.

Serve over rice with garnishes.

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Recipe: Loco Moco


Loco Moco… a dish appearing on the popular Zynga Game Network on Facebook… is an actual dish.. and being the foodie I am.. I just had to know what it was…. so I did a bit of research..

Loco Moco is a dish native to Hawaiian cuisine. It’s not a dish you’ll find on better restaurant’s menus… you will find it served on Mom and Pop restaurants and diners.

So just what is Loco Moco?… basically it’s a hamburger patty served over a bed of white rice, topped with a fried egg and brown gravy over the top of it all. Sounds a bit odd?... Well I thought so.. my first reaction was… well that’s weird… but I consider myself open minded and I like to try different regional recipes… so I thought I’d give it a go… and you know what?... it’s not bad.. it’s actually pretty good… I can definitely see where it’s a diner type staple food…. just as the south has Biscuits and Gravy.. the Hawaiians have Loco Moco.

A Little History

According to Wikipedia… James Kelly, a University of Hawaii-Hilo professor, wrote that the Inouye family, who owned the Lincoln Grill in Hilo, Hawaii, invented this dish in 1949. The story goes that a group of boys from the Lincoln Wreckers sports club contributed to the creation of it. They didn’t have a lot of spending money, so they asked Nancy Inouye to put some rice in a bowl with a hamburger patty and put some brown gravy over it… and the Loco Moco was born…. the addition of the fried egg came later.

The name Loco Moco has no particular meaning …the Loco part came from a nickname of one of the boys who was known to be “Crazy” on the football field… in Spanish .. loco means crazy… Moco came just because it rhymed with Loco… why they chose Spanish is anyone’s guess… I couldn’t find that part of the history anywhere.

TIPS

I have a Brown Gravy recipe I posted ahead of this post… you can use that or use your own.. or ... (gasp!) … use a jar sauce.. but honestly… to make Brown Gravy from scratch is a cinch… I’d recommend trying it.

Use any white rice you want.. I used minute rice because it’s quick to make in the microwave.

I didn’t season the hamburger patty.. it was tempting.. and I probably will fool with that next time.. I wanted to try the authentic thing… just made a patty and threw it in a frying pan.. couldn’t be any easier than that.

I used very lean ground beef.. and I literally had no fat in the pan…. so I made the fried egg in another pan and simply sprayed the pan with butter flavored cooking spray.

I didn’t put quantities on all the ingredients… because you make what you need… figure a ¼ pound patty per person.. follow the serving sizes on the side of the rice box… and 1 egg to a customer. The gravy recipe makes enough for 4-6 servings.

Be open minded… try it… you just may find another quickie recipe you like.






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Recipe: Loco Moco

All you need:

Lean ground beef, make into ¼ pound patties
1 egg, fried per person
1 serving white rice per person
Brown Gravy (your recipe or mine)

All you need to do:

Make the gravy and set aside (keep warm).

Make the rice according to package instructions. Set aside and keep warm.

Cook the burger in a fry pan.

Cook a fried egg in either the same pan that you made the burger in or use another pan. Some people make the egg in the grease that comes off the burger… I used lean ground beef… so there wasn’t any fat… I just sprayed a skillet with butter flavor cooking oil spray .. and made the egg in that.

To assemble… put a serving of rice on a plate. Top the rice with the burger.. then the fried egg on top of the burger… then ladle brown gravy over everything.

Serve hot.

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Recipe: Brown Gravy


Brown gravy.. a simple recipe.. most cooks use it at least in some dishes… they make it from the drippings of the meat they’ll serve it with … but to just make it as a stand alone gravy… a lot of cooks just end up buying a powder version or a jar… it really is very easy to make .. and you can tailor the ingredients to your tastes or the foods you’re going to use it with… sauté a little onion… maybe add a little garlic… throw some mushrooms in it… so many things you can do to make the gravy your own.

This recipe for Brown Gravy is just a basic one.. I combined ingredient ideas from lots of different sources… and tweeked it over the years…

TIPS

I use unsalted butter so I can adjust the salt to my taste by adding it the salt in.. you can use salted butter if you prefer.

If you do have meat drippings.. use them in place of some of the butter… I always use at least some butter.. I think it adds to the taste.

Adjust the seasonings to your taste … even add other seasonings that you think will go with the meal you’ll use it with.

I know the Dijon mustard seems odd… but it really does work well in this.

It takes no more than about 5-10 minutes… 10 minutes really is on the high side here… and you probably have the ingredients in your pantry anyway… so here it is..






Recipe: Brown Gravy

All you need:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 can beef broth
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

All you need to do:

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

Add the flour and mix (make a roux).

Allow the butter and flour to cook for about 2 minutes .. to cook off the flour taste.

Gradually add the beef broth while whisking the sauce. Whisk until all lumps are out.

Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until gravy thickens… about 5 minutes or so.

Adjust seasonings to your taste.

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