Saturday, December 31, 2011

Spinach Artichoke Dip

This recipe is one of Mike's family's favorites.  The recipe was contributed by my Mike's mother, Carrie Ozburn, and published in Recipes and Memories of Nolensville, a cookbook compiled and sold as a fundraiser by the Nolensville Historical Society. 

2 pkg. frozen chopped spinach
2 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 can artichoke hearts (chopped)
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
Garlic powder, to taste
  • Place spinach and cream cheese in a large bowl and microwave on high till cheese melts.
  • Add remaining ingredients when spinach mix has cooled.
The first time I made this recipe I had forgotten to check the recipe for ingredients before I went to the store.  So, while standing in the aisle of the grocery store, I called Stephen, Mike's son, because I knew he had prepared the dip before.  He called off the ingredients precisely and my attempt at this family favorite dip was a success!

Pecan Pie Brownies

This recipe is one I adapted from a Southern Living Magazine

1 family sized brownie mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup coffee or water
1 frozen pecan pie, thawed

  • Cut pie into cubes and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spray 9" x 13" baking pan with vegetable spray.
  • Blend eggs, oil, and coffee.
  • Add brownie mix and half of pie cubes.
  • Stir well to mix ingredients thoroughly.  Batter will be thick and lumpy.
  • Gently fold in remaining pie cubes.
  • Spread batter into baking pan.
  • Bake for 40-50 minutes or till brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.
  • Cool brownies completely on a wire rack.
  • Cut into small squares or triangles and serve.
For chocolate lovers this one is ooey, gooey, goodness! 

    Friday, December 30, 2011

    Sea Turtles

    This recipe was published in the 2011 edition of Christmas With Southern Living

    4 cups chopped pecans
    2 (11 oz.) packages of caramels
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 (4 oz.) chocolate baking bars, chopped
    1/4 cup shortening, divided in half
    2 (4 oz.) white chocolate baking bars, chopped

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Bake pecans in a single layer in a large jelly-roll pan 5-6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.  Cool completely.
    • Melt caramel and cream in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until smooth.
    • Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
    • Drop 1 Tablespoon of caramel mixture at a time over pecans and chill 10 minutes or till caramel is firm.
    • Carefully lift candies and transfer to a serving platter.
    • Redistribute pecans on pan and repeat proceture if needed spooning caramel mix over pecans.
    • Microwave white chocolate and half of shortening on high 30 seconds until melted and stir till smooth.
    • Spoon  1 Tablespoon chocolate mix onto each candy.
    • Repeat melting and spooning procedure with chocolate.
    • Let candies harden at room temperature or in refrigerator.
    Makes about two and a half dozen candies.


    This recipe is a great way to use that stale bread and really is quick, easy, and turns out to be tastier than the boxed, bought ones!

    stale bread (I used about five slices but you could also use left-over French bread or baguettes.)
    2 Tablespoons butter
    2 Tablespoons olive oil
    spices (I used garlic, parsley, oregano, and cilantro but have used a variety of others as well.)

    • Cut bread into cubes.

    • Melt butter in skillet on medium heat and add olive oil.
    • Stir in spices.
    • Add bread cubes and toss to coat evenly.
    • Stir and turn frequently until toasted on all sides (about 5-7 minutes) - watch closely and don't overcook!
    • Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.
    This recipe is a wonderful way to enjoy croutons when you are on a low sodium/lower calorie diet plan.  They are great on tossed green salads or in soups!

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Peanut Butter Quickies

    1 can (15 oz) sweetened condensed milk
    1/2 cup peanut butter
    2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    1/2 cup chocolate chips
    •  Heat oven to 350 degrees.
    •  Blend milk and peanut butter till smooth.
    •  Mix in crumbs and chocolate chips.
    •  Drop on greased cookie sheet.
    •  Bake 12-15 minutes.
    This recipe was discovered by my sister, Brenda.  It is sort of like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in flavor.  They are quick and easy and delicious!

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    Chocolate Chip Muffins

    This is a recipe that Lillie and I concocted while her mother was in the hospital having Lydia.  The original recipe is one we found in the Betty Crocker Bisquick cookbook but we have adapted and tweaked it over time to be the tasty treat we like.  Both of Bridgette's daughters have grown to love these muffins and are a treat we share for breakfast sometimes when they come for their 'Days' with Grand B.

    1 1/2 cups self rising flour (or Bisquick can be used if you leave out the butter)
    1/2 stick butter, melted
    3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    3/4 cup
    2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 egg
    2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate baking chips
    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
    • Spray muffin tin with vegetable spray to thoroughly coat.
    • Stir all ingredients except chocolate baking chips in a medium mixing bowl just until moistened.  Batter will be lumpy and thick like a runny oatmeal.  Add a splash more milk if the batter is not sticky and moist.
    • Fold in chocolate baking chips and divide batter evenly among muffin cups.  (You can sprinkle with 1/4 cup more oats if you would like a more strusel-like topping.)
    • Bake fifteen to eighteen minutes.  Slip a knife along the side of the muffin cups to loosen if needed. 
    These muffins are tasty to eat warm from the oven and to save for later and eat cold!  For muffins with nicely rounded tops, mix ingredients only until all are moistened and batter is slightly lumpy and be sure your oven is preheated well.

    Makes a dozen muffins.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Country Fried Swiss Steak

    6 (4-oz) minute/Swiss steaks (1 1/2 pounds
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1 large egg
    1 sleeve wheat saltine crackers
    vegetable oil

    • Crush saltine crackers.  (I use the Pampered Chef food chopper to do this.)
    • Sprinkle steaks with seasoning of choice (I use a Cajun seasoning and Paula Deen's House Seasoning).
    • Pour enough vegetable oil in bottom of skillet to just cover the bottom (about 1/4 inch deep) and set heat to medium-high.
    • Dredge steaks in flour, dip in egg, dredge in crushed crackers.
    • Cook steaks in skillet 3-4 minutes on each side until breading is golden - turning twice.
    • Transfer steaks to a wire in a jelly-roll pan and keep warm in oven while making your gravy.
    • Serve by topping with a cream gravy.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

    1 can cream of chicken soup
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1 cup salsa or picante sauce
    2 teaspoons chili powder
    2 cups chopped cooked chicken
    1/2 cup shredded Monteray Jack or Mexican Blend cheese
    6-8 flour tortillas
    1 small tomato, chopped
    1 green onion, chopped

    I used a couple of frozen chicken breasts to make this dish.  Simply browned them in a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of bacon grease.

    Then, I used the Pampered Chef Salad Choppers to cut the hot chicken breasts into chunks.  It made fast work of the chopping, speeded up my prep time, and prevented my fingers from burning!

    • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Stir soup, sour cream, salsa, and chili powder together in a medium bowl.

    • In a large bowl, mix chicken, 1 cup of soup mixture, and cheese together to make filling.

    • Divide chicken mixture among tortillas, roll one-by-one, and place seam-side down in a 13x9 baking dish.
    • Pour remaining soup mixture over filled tortillas.
    • Cover baking dish.
    • Bake 40 minutes or till enchiladas are hot and bubbling.  (I baked for about 30 minutes covered and uncovered for the last 8-10 minutes to reach a rich golden brown.
    • Top with tomato and onion and serve with Mexican or Spanish rice and pico de gallo.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Company Club Braid

    This is one of those recipes that is quick, easy, and looks fabulous.  Pictured here I have laid it out as a rectangle but I have also separated the crescent rolls into triangles and laid them around the bread stone in a circular shape and it comes out looking like a wreath.  Either way, it looks elegant and it is super easy!

    1 pound ground beef
    1 cup mayo
    2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
    2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, snipped
    1 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
    4 slices crisply cooked and chopped bacon
    1 cup (4-oz) Swiss cheese
    2 pkg. crescent rolls
    2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
    1 medium-sized sliced red bell pepper
    2 cups shredded lettuce

    Preparation Steps:
    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    • Brown ground beef, onions, and peppers.

    • Combine mayo and mustard and add parsley.
    • Fold in ground beef.
    • Arrange crescent rolls on cookie sheet in a rectangle, mashing edges together.

    • Snip outside edges of dough into 1" strips.
    • Scoop beef mixture onto center of dough.

    • Top with tomatoes and cheese.  (Usually I use grated cheese but this time I had a variety of mild, sharp, and white cheddars in slices on hand.)

    • Braid strips over the top.

    • Bake 20-25 minutes.
    • Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese and serve on a leaf of lettuce.
    * This is also wonderful using chicken or sausage instead of ground beef.  I have been known to forget to include tomatoes inside and simply placed them decoratively on top and it turned out fine as well.

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Sauerkraut and Weiners

    4-6 slices smoked, fatty, bacon
    1 small onion
    1/2 quart sauerkraut
    1 cube chicken bullion or 1/2 can chicken broth
    2 bottles beer
    4 jumbo hot dogs or bratwurst wieners

    • Chop bacon and place in a large saucepan over medium heat to fry, stirring occasionally until bacon browns.
    • While bacon is cooking, chop or slice onion and add to almost-browned bacon, stirring till onions are soft and translucent.
    • Cut wieners into bite-sized pieces and add to bacon/onion mixture to lightly saute.

    • Rinse and drain sauerkraut (to cut back on the salt and brine flavor) in a colander before adding to bacon/onion/wiener mixture to heat through.
    • Pour in one can of beer, sprinkle with black pepper to taste and bring to a boil.  Then, lower heat and simmer 30-45 minutes or until kraut is tender and most of liquid has evaporated.  (If liquid reduces too much, add more chicken broth.)
    • Taste to see if there is too much 'whang' to the kraut.  If so, add a tablespoon of brown sugar.
    Serve with mashed potatoes. 

    *You may be wondering why the recipe calls for two cans of beer.  The other one is for you to drink while this is cooking to help dull the smell of the kraut!

    Let me just say that this is NOT one of my favorite concoctions!  I prepared it for my sweet husband because I love him so much and he has requested it several times.  My nieces prepared and canned the kraut that I used in my dish and advised me on how to make the dish.  (Of course, I had to add my own little flourish!)  Megan said that she likes to eat the kraut on a sandwich prepared like a grilled cheese.  (I'm sure it is something like a Reuben without the corned beef from her description.)  I did enjoy the mashed potatoes - with some left-over roast beef! 

    For an additional little story about Kraut and Wieners, click HERE.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    Eggplant Parmesan

    2-3 eggplant
    2 eggs
    3 1/2 - 4 cups Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix or Italian seasoned bread crumbs
    1 1/2 cans or quart jar of spaghetti sauce
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    2 (16-ounce) packages mozzarella cheese, shredded
    1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 1 teaspoon fresh, chopped
    1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    garlic, salt, and pepper

    • Peel and thinly slice eggplant.

    • In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and add a splash of milk
    • Dip eggplant slices in egg mix,
    • Then dip in crumbs (stuffing or bread). 
    • Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. 
    • (I cover my baking sheets with foil and give them a light spritzing spray with vegetable oil and this makes for an easier cleanup process.)  I set this up to be sort of an assembly line process like this:
    • Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 5 minutes per side, flipping the eggplant with a spatula half-way through.
    • In a 2 quart casserole baking dish, spread spaghetti sauce to cover the bottom of the dish. 

    • Place a layer of baked eggplant slices in the sauce.

    • Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  (I usually sprinkle with garlic, salt, and pepper at this stage, too.)  Repeat layers, ending with cheese.
    • Sprinkle basil, oregano, and parsley on top.
    • Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.

    Bread Sticks

    1 pkg yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
    1 cup warm water
    3 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    3 cups bread flour
    1/4 cup oil
    4 tablespoons butter, melted
    1/2 teaspoon garlic
    1/2 cup dry Parmesan cheese

    • Dissolve the yeast in the water.
    • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and brown sugar.
    • Add the yeast and water and the oil.
    • Stir till combined and then knead till soft and pliable.
    • Flour the bowl return the dough to it, and cover with a towel to let rise for an hour.
    • Butter a large cookie sheet/baking pan (one with sides is best).
    • Roll the dough out so that it fills the pan.
    • Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough in half lengthwise once and crosswise about 11 times - this will make about 24 sticks.
    • Cover the dough with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes to one hour.
    • Bake the breadsticks in a 375 degree F oven for about 12 minutes.
    • Combine the melted butter and garlic and pour or brush it over the hot bread.
    • Sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese
    I adapted this recipe from one Sarah over at Clover Lane posted HERE.  They are fabulous and extra wonderful dipped in marinara sauce - even the cheapo, generic, grocery store kind!

    Mike and I also enjoyed them on the night I made Eggplant Parmesan.  You can find that recipe HERE.

    You could also omit the garlic and Parmesan cheese and sprinkle the breadsticks with some cinnamon-sugar mixture for a sweet treat!

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Peach Fried Pie Filling

    1 gallon peach peelings
    2 cups sugar
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    3 tablespoons vinegar

    • Place peelings into food processor and puree till they are about the consistency of runny applesauce.
    • Put puree into pot and cook until tender.
    • Add other ingredients and bring to a low boil over medium heat.
    • Cook until the mixture is thickened and about the consistency of a thick applesauce.
    • Freeze (or put into jars) and use for fried pies.

    This recipe was offered by my Mama.  She learned this one from a customer at Pratt's Peach Orchard.  The mix is really beautiful and tasty.  Plus, it is using a by-product that you would normally toss in the compost heap!  Daddy says this is like using all of the pig except the squeal!

    Mama's Peach Pie with a Crust

    Crust for one double crust pie
    3-4 cups sliced or diced fresh peaches
    3/4 cup sugar

    • Make crust.  (I cheated and used a Pillsbury refrigerated crust.)
    • Wash, peel, and slice or dice peaches.  (Do not throw the peelings away!  They can be used to make fried pie filling using the recipe found HERE.)
    • Roll bottom crust into pie plate.  Then, fill with peaches.
    • Pour sugar evenly over peaches and sprinkle with cinnamon.
    • Place top crust over this.
    • Dot top crust with pats of butter and sprinkle with sugar.
    • Bake in 350 degree oven till golden brown.
    This makes a really juicy, rich pie!  It can easily be doubled and made in a 9x13" casserole dish to serve a crowd.

    Peach Butter/Preserves

    3 1/2 cups peeled, diced peaches
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    • Wash, peel, and dice peaches.  (Save peelings to use for fried pie filling.  You can find that recipe HERE.)
    • Stir peaches, sugar, and lemon juice together. 
    • Bring to a boil using medium heat.
    • Continue boiling and stirring about 15 minutes.
    • Spoon cooked mix into hot, half-pint jars which have been sterilized.  (I do this by running them through the sterilization cycle in my dishwasher.  Then, keep the jars hot by placing them on a cookie sheet in the oven which is at 200 degrees.)
    • Place the jar lids into a pan of boiling water for a couple of minutes.  Then, lift out of the water with tongs and place on top of jars. 
    • Screw the lid ring on till it is barely firm.
    • Place jars into a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
    • Remove from water bath and let cool on the counter.
    This recipe will make 2 half-pints.  I doubled it and simply boiled the peaches for about 40-45 minutes.  It is absolutely superb on a biscuit!

    Saturday, July 9, 2011

    Italian Chicken Pasta Bake

    I got this recipe at the local Kroger deli section.  There was a lady passing out samples and I tasted it and chatted with her while I was waiting for Mike's ham and cheese to be sliced.  It is super easy and takes on about 15 minutes prep time.  It makes enough for a family or for Mike and I to serve when we have company.  So, I make it in two 9x9 square dishes instead of the one dish.  I can put one in the freezer for later or to take to somebody.  Add a side salad and it is a delicious meal!
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    8 ounces white sliced or whole mushrooms
    2 small zucchini, sliced or diced
    2 cans (14.5 oz.) crushed tomatoes
    1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 Kroger Deli Rotisserie Chicken, deboned and broken into chunks
    1 package (8 oz.) shredded Italian blend or Mozzarella cheese
    1 package (9 oz.) Kroger Wholesome @ Home Chicken and Bacon Borsetti Fresh Pasta, uncooked

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.
    • Heat large skillet over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add onion and garlic and saute one minute.
    • Add mushrooms and zucchini and saute for five minutes.  Add crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and pepper.  Stir to combine.
    • Remove from heat, add chicken and one cup cheese.  Stir to combine.
    • Spread uncooked borsetti pasta evenly in bottom of baking dish. 
    • Top with chicken and vegetable mixture, making sure all pasta is covered. 
    • Sprinkle with remaining cheese over top.
    • Bake uncovered for twenty minutes on center oven rack until heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let stand five minutes before serving.
    1. As I noted at the top, it makes a big batch.  So, unless Mike and I want lots of leftovers, I separate it into two dishes when I'm preparing it and freeze or gift one of them.
    2. Since Mike isn't so crazy about chunks of tomatoes, I've tried it using tomato sauce and it is just as tasty.  (I also decided that Mike just isn't much of a casserole guy and I might save this dish for a girly day with friends.)
    3. I've also tried this with frozen cheese tortellini and it is also delicious.
    Total time needed from beginning of prep till dining:  35 minutes
    Yields 4-6 large servings.

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    Old Fashioned Cheesecake

    I first found a recipe for cheesecake when I was in college as a young woman in the late 70s/early 80s.  Over time I have adapted it and improved it.  (I hope!)

    1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 15 squares)
    2 tablespoons sugar
    4 tablespoons butter, melted
    • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Mix cracker crumbs, sugar and butter.
    • Press in bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
    • Bake 10 minutes and cool.

    Yum!  Golden, buttery deliciousness.
    3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
    1 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    4 eggs
    • Heat oven to 300 degrees.
    • Beat cream cheese in a large mixing bowl.
    • Add 1 cup sugar gradually, beating until fluffy.
    • Add lemon peel and vanilla.
    • Beat in one egg at a time.
    • Pour over crumb crust and bake exactly 50 minutes.

    Mix 2 cups sour cream, 4 tablespoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla together and pour atop.
    • Bake 20 minutes more.
    • Cool to room temperature.
    • Refrigerate at least 3 hours but no longer than 10 days.
    • Loosen edge of cheesecake with knife before removing side of pan.
    This is delicious served as is.  It is also delightful with fresh fruit, chocolate fudge sauce, or a variety of fruity pie fillings or glazes.  A tasty strawberry glaze recipe follows:

    Strawberry Glaze
    • Arrange 1 cup sliced strawberries on cheesecake. 
    • Heat 2/3 cup strawberry jelly and 1 teaspoon lemon juice, stirring constantly until jelly is melted and smooth.
    • Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.
    • Pour over strawberries just before stirring.