Saturday, December 31, 2011

Shrimp and Grits

This is a Paula Deen recipe.  I serve the Shrimp with my Garlic Cheese Grits.  I posted that recipe on Wednesday, February 9, 2011.  Rich and decadent, the perfect meal to serve to those special to you.
  • 3 lbs. shrimp, 20 count, peeled and deveined
  • 2 C. tasso, chopped into small cubes
  • ½ C. olive oil
  • ½ C. onions, chopped
  • ½ C. green peppers, chopped
  • ½ C. celery, chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ¼  C. Crystal hot sauce
  • ½ T. Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning
  • ½ C. white wine
  • 4 C. heavy cream
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook tasso in olive oil until crisp
  2. Add onions, green peppers, celery, and green onions and cook until onions are translucent
  3. Add garlic and cook 1 minute
  4. Add shrimp and sprinkle with Creole seasoning
  5. Cook until pink about 2 minutes
  6. Remove everything from the pan and add the white wine to deglaze
  7. Slowly add the heavy cream and hot sauce and cook until the cream thickens
  8. Add everything back to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes
  9. Serve over Garlic Cheese Grits and garnish with chopped chives
Tips and Tricks:
  • Serve in a shallow bowl and ladle the shrimp mixture over the grits.
  • This can be made the day ahead and stored in the refrigerator, then reheated before serving.
  • Follow my link to find out how I make the Garlic Cheese Grits.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Santa Fe Chicken

This is so easy!  I got this recipe from a blog called "Recipe girl".  I needed it a little more spicy, so I added the jalapenos. THIS recipe girl is adding this one to her list.
·        1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
·        1 (12oz.) bag frozen sweet corn
·        1 ½ C. bottled chunky salsa
·        ¼ C. sliced, pickled jalapeños, 
·        6 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, each thigh cut into 4 pieces
·        1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, cut into chunks
·        1 C. shredded cheddar cheese

  1. Combine the black beans, corn, salsa, jalapeños, and chicken in a crock pot
  2. Cook on high for 3 hours
  3. Add the cream cheese and allow to melt
  4. Stir all ingredients together and serve over Mexican rice
  5. Sprinkle each serving with ¼ C. of cheese
 Tips and Tricks:
  • I use 1/3 less fat cream cheese.
  • I buy the frozen packs of boneless/skinless chicken thighs at Sam’s.  There are 5 in a pack and that is what I use.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Cheesy Broccoli, Rice and Chicken Casserole

I like the broccoli rice casserole at Piccadilly. (Yes, I eat at Piccadilly)  This is SOOOO much better than the one at Piccadilly.  The fresh broccoli makes it great!  It  is a wonderful potluck contribution.  It is a "Deep South Dish" recipe.
  • 2 small heads of broccoli, cut so that only the florets remain (4 C.)
  • 2 T. butter
  • ½ C. chopped onion
  • ¼ C. chopped celery
  • 1 C. mayonnaise
  • ½ C. sour cream
  • 1 can of cream of celery soup
  • ½ lb. of Velveeta, cut into small cubes
  • 1 t. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • ½ t. black pepper
  • 2 C. cooked rice
  • 2 C. shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 C. cooked, cubed chicken breast
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Boil water in a large pot and add the broccoli florets to the boiling water for 5 minutes
  3. Strain the broccoli, allow to cool, then chop
  4. In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, sauté the onions and celery in the butter
  5. Add the next 7 ingredients and heat until the Velveeta is melted
  6. Add the rice, 1 C. of Cheddar, and chicken
  7. Stir well, then transfer to a casserole dish with a lid, that has been sprayed with cooking spray
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, covered, then remove from the oven add 1 C. of Cheddar and bake for an additional 10 minutes
  9. Serve hot!
 Tips and Tricks:
  • I use light sour cream.
  • I buy a rotisserie chicken and cut the breast meat into small cubes.  The breast creates about 2 C. of cubed chicken.
  • The chicken is not a necessary ingredient to this recipe.  It makes a great one dish meal, but you can skip it and just have a Cheesy Broccoli Rice Casserole.
  • Sam’s sells a 3 lb. bag of broccoli florets in the produce section.  This recipe calls for 4 C.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

I made these for a cookie exchange this holiday season.  Everyone loved how cute they look!  They taste good, too.  This recipe is from the "recipe girl" blog.
  • 2 ½ C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 C. (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 ½ C. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 t. peppermint extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 bags of  Hershey Candy Cane Kisses (½ C. chopped)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking soda, and salt
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, peppermint, and vanilla with a hand mixer
  4. Add the egg and continue to beat
  5. Add the flour mixture about ½ C. at a time
  6. Mix until the flour is incorporated (it will be crumbly)
  7. Stir in the chopped kisses
  8. Roll the cookie dough into 1 inch balls, then roll each in green or red sugar
  9. Place each on a cookie sheet
  10. Bake for 10 minutes, or until set and slightly brown
  11. Unwrap kisses to place on each cookie
  12. Remove the cookies from the oven and quickly press a kiss into each cookie
  13. Transfer the entire cookie sheet into the refrigerator and allow cookies to set
Tips and Tricks:
  • Green or red sugar is not necessary.  You can roll the cookies in granulated sugar and they still look cute.
  • I use parchment paper on my cookie sheets.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mock Oyster Dip

This is an oldie but a goodie.  Perfect served in a chafing dish at a cocktail party.  It calls for frozen chopped broccoli, but I don't like the stems and pieces, so I use broccoli florets and cut them up.
  • 1 (32oz.) bag of frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can of sliced mushrooms, drained
  • ½ lb. of Velveeta, cut into small cubes
  • 1 t. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • ½ t. black pepper
  • 2 T. Crystal hot sauce
  1. Boil water in a large pot and add the broccoli florets to the boiling water for 5 minutes
  2. Strain the broccoli, allow to cool, then chop
  3. In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, sauté the onions in the butter
  4. Add the next 7 ingredients and heat until the Velveeta is melted
  5. Add the broccoli and cook on low heat for 20 minutes until all ingredients are incorporated and heated
  6. Serve in a chafing dish or crock pot with flaky butter crackers
 Tips and Tricks:
  • Ritz crackers are good with this dip.
  • Some people are put off by the name of this dip.  As you can see by the list of ingredients there are no oysters in the dip.  The mushrooms give the impression of an oyster, hence the name “Mock Oyster Dip”.  If you know someone doesn’t like oysters, call it Broccoli Cheese Dip.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peppermint Bark

This recipe is on the box of peppermint extract!  Can't get any easier than that.  It is a great Christmas treat and so easy to make.  Enjoy!

  • 2 lbs. white chocolate
  • 12 candy canes, cracked into ¼ inch pieces or smaller
  • 2 t. peppermint extract

  1. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper
  2. Place white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute
  3. Stir chocolate and continue to heat in 30 second intervals until all of the chocolate is melted
  4. Add the peppermint extract and stir well
  5. Spread the chocolate onto the cookie sheet, then sprinkle with the crushed candy canes
  6. Press the candy canes into the chocolate with your hands
  7. Put the cookie sheet in the refrigerator and allow the chocolate to set, 45 minutes
  8. Remove from the refrigerator and crack the bark into pieces
 Tips and Tricks:

  • To crack the candy canes, I put them in a Ziploc bag and roll a rolling pin over them.
  • The larger pieces of candy cane look pretty in the bark, but maybe difficult for some to bite through.  Keep the pieces in small slivers for eating enjoyment.
  • I remade these and used 1 lb. of semi-sweet chocolate and 1 lb. of white chocolate.  Put the semi-sweet chocolate first, let it get firm, then pour the white chocolate on top.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Muffaletta Pasta

This is a quick fix meal and it makes about 8 large servings.  The key is a good olive salad.  I got this recipe from my friend, Nina.
  • 1 lb. bag of penne pasta
  • ¼ lb.  Genoa salami, sliced thick and cut into strips
  • ¼ lb. mortadella, sliced thick and cut into strips
  • 2 C. of olive salad mix
  • 1 can of black olives, sliced
  • 1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ½ C. grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ C. grated Romano cheese
  • ¼ lb. sliced provolone cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Boil the pasta in salted water for 12 – 15 minutes
  3. Strain the pasta and rinse with cold water
  4. In a large bowl, combine the pasta and all the other ingredients, except the sliced provolone cheese
  5. Pour into baking dish and place the sliced provolone on top
  6. Bake for 30 minutes
 Tips and Tricks:
  • Ask the person at the deli counter to slice the salami and the mortadella on #2.
  • I use the Rouses brand olive salad mix.  Boscoli is also a good brand to use.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Broccoli Salad

My co-worker, Nina made a broccoli salad for our Thanksgiving Feast.  This is "almost" her recipe.  I combined the one she uses and one of Paula Deen's.  I like the kick that the red onion gives the salad, but it is not necessary if you aren't a onion fan. 
  • 2 small heads of broccoli, cut so that only the florets remain (4 C.)
  • ½ lb. bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
  • ½ C. golden raisins
  • 1 C. sunflower seed kernels
  • ½ lb. of Colby Jack cheese, cut into very small squares
  • ½ C. red onion, chopped very fine
  • ½ C. mayonnaise
  • ½ C. sour cream
  • ¼ C. sugar
  • 3 T. apple cider vinegar
  1. Put ice cubes and water in large bowl to create an ice bath
  2. Boil water in a large pot and add the broccoli florets to the boiling water for 2 minutes
  3. Quickly remove the broccoli and plunge into the ice bath
  4. Drain the broccoli and dry with a towel
  5. Cut the broccoli into small bite size pieces and place in a large bowl with a cover
  6. Add the next 5 ingredients to the bowl and stir well
  7. In a small bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream, sugar, and vinegar
  8. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well
  9. Refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours
  10. Serve cold
Tips and Tricks:
  • I use light sour cream.
  • I cook the bacon in the microwave on a plate lined with 4 paper towels.  Cook for about 4 minutes to create crispy pieces of bacon that you can crumble.
  • If you want the bacon to remain crisp, wait to add the bacon when serving the salad.  I like the bacon flavor to incorporate into the salad, so I add it before I let it “marry” in the fridge.
  • Sam’s sells a 3 lb. bag of broccoli florets in the produce section.  I use 1/3 of the bag for this recipe.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Marshmellows

This is my mother-in-law's recipe for sweet potatoes.  It is more like a dessert, than a veggie or a starch, but that's probably why we love it.  It is a staple at holiday meals.
  • 6 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 C. brown sugar
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 ¼ C. cream
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 1 bag of marshmallows (large or small)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Bake the sweet potatoes for 1 ½ hours
  3. Peel the potatoes and place in a large mixing bowl
  4. Mash the potatoes
  5. Add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well
  6. Using an electric mixer, beat the potatoes until they are fluffy
  7. Transfer the mixture into a large baking dish
  8. Bake for 25 minutes
  9. Remove the casserole from the oven and place the marshmallows over the potatoes
  10. Return to the oven bake until the marshmallows turn light brown
  11. Serve warm
Tips and Tricks:
  • Sweet potatoes can be stringy close to the peel.  I usually cut the potatoes in half and scoop the potatoes out of the peel.
  • You can use any kind of cream (heavy, whipping, half and half, evaporated milk) whatever you have on hand.
  • If you are making this for a special occasion, you can prepare this ahead of time, but wait to bake it the day it is to be served.