Down the Rabbit Hole I Went

This retirement thingy….man oh man!   I have enjoyed it so much I just seem to forget to post new stuff on this here bloggy thing!

Anyhoooo…. with the holidays fast approaching, recipes should be floating in everyone’s heads… or at least they are in mine.  Both for Thanksgiving and for Christmas.

I think I am kicking up one of our recipes for Thanksgiving up a notch.  The standard green bean casserole may just have a couple of added ingredients to it.  While this is not an original recipe of mine, I am making a few changes to it to add a bit of spice to it for our crew.

What is your favorite dish at Thanksgiving?

Creole Sausage Green bean Casserole

1 pkg precooked Andouille sausage, sliced

3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1 can (10.5 oz) Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup

6 to 8 slices bacon, cooked and rough chopped, (reserve 2 tablespoons for topping)

3/4 cups milk

2 to 2 1/2 tsp cajun or creole seasoning, whichever you have on hand (i have both…imagine that)

4 cans cut green beans, drained

1 can (I use the large size for more crispies) Crispy Fried Onions

heat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the sliced sausage, cheese, soup, milk, and seasoning plus all but the reserved 2 tbsp of bacon in a sprayed 13×9 inch baking dish.  Stir in the beans and 1/13 cups of the crispy onions.

Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until hot and bubbling.  Stir, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tbsp bacon, and the remaining onions, or however many you want on top (some may want less unless you get the regular size can).  Bake another 5 minutes longer or till onions are golden brown.

I also may chop up a jalapeno and throw in the pot.  Who knows??!!

Have a great weekend/upcoming week!  Shout out your favorite Thanksgiving dish.  You never know when a surprise drawing may just pop up among those who comment!!!

Let’s talk side dishes

Having trouble thinking of side dishes?  Here’s one that I believe you will enjoy serving AND eating!  we have even served this as our main course as it is full of protein and the flavor is out of bounds!

Try this and see if you don’t think so!   It would also be good as a filler in your burritos, on top of nachos, alongside your tacos, fajitas, or just with some tortilla chips and grilled pineapple!

Black Beans and Yellow Rice

1 (5-ounce) package saffron rice mix (yellow rice mix)

1 (15-ounce) can black beans

3 Tbsp fresh lime juie

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, divided

For garnish: sour cream, sliced green onions

Cook rice according to the package directions and keep warm.  (do you know a good way to keep rice, mashed potatoes, veggies warm while preparing other foods:  place in a bowl and set over a pot with just simmering water in it.  It will keep the veggies warm till ready to serve!)

Drain the beans, reserving 2 Tbsp of the liquid.  Combine the beans, reserved liquid, lime juice, chili powder and cumin in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated then stir in 1 Tbsp cilantro.  Serve beans over the rice, and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp cilantro.  Garnish each serving with a bit of sour cream and a sprinkle of green onions.

More Mexican to come.Ole!  Enjoy what’s left of the week.

It’s Fresh Veggie Season

And I couldn’t be happier! An all-veggie meal with fresh vegetables from our local farmer’s market is what makes the summer worth it!
We had fresh snapped green beans, fresh field peas, fresh squash cooked with a Vidalia onion sliced and cooked in it, rutabaga ( for hubby) and fried squash and fried okra! No room for fresh sliced tomatoes!

squash

See those fried slices of squash?

okra

And this fried okra?
Man, those were some of the best we have had. And here’s what made them so good, or what I believe made them so good.
First I sliced the amount I wanted to fry and put the squash in a small bowl and the okra sliced and in a separate bowl. For each, I beat an egg and mixed with about a half to 3/4 cup of buttermilk for each one-you may need a full cup of buttermilk if frying more than what I did- it just needs to cover them-pour this over each bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour before frying.
In a bowl, mix together ( you can use the same mix for both but if only making one or the other just decrease the amount of dry ingredients by half or just eyeball it for the amount of veggies you are frying) 1 1/2 cups plain flour, 1 1/2 cups cornmeal, about 3 Tbsp of creole seasoning (use homemade or store bought), 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. Stir the dry ingredients together.

When ready to fry, add about an inch of oil to your frying pan and let it get hot. Drain the squash and okra. Dredge the squash in the cornmeal mix and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Do the same with the okra. And then chow down!

What is your favorite veggie plate must-have? Hope you have a great week!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Let’s talk here a minute.   We love our fried green tomatoes.  We love the batter and sauce that goes along with them.  And we have determined we like a cornmeal crust compared to a crust that resembles a cracker crumb base or panko crumb base or a tempura batter base.   There’s something about the crunch of the cornmeal batter

Eating healthy leaves us little options on this subject.

tomatoes

Look at those babies.  YUMMY!  (And yes, that is a “Land Before Time” melamine plate from many, many MANY years past my grandkids ate off I can’t seem to part with). Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up flavor, crunch OR BAKED (fried) green tomatoes.   Y’all.   These.   The crunch.  The flavor.   I could go on and on but I won’t.  Just try some.  They went well with our fresh veggies from the “curb market”.  Fresh sliced red tomatoes, fresh snapped green beans, and some good old fresh yellow squash.  We ate like kings (and queens!).

All I did was spray the pan with pam spray.  I sliced my green tomatoes, dipped them in a small bit of flour to coat (I shook off all excess – all you are doing is making sure they are dry and slightly coated so the wet stuff sticks), dipped them in an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water, and then in Zatarain’s Fish Batter -( comes in a box and has the seasoning in it) spicy and good – no need to add extra anything!   Once coated, lay on the prepared pan, then spray the tops of the battered tomatoes with the pam cooking spray, and place in a preheated 375 degree oven – let cook for about 15-20 minutes – depends on your oven – just peep under one of the slices and make sure they are good and golden on the underside; then flip them over and bake for another 10-15 minutes – again, depending on your oven till the other side gets a bit of color to it.

Serve them with your favorite sauce or eat just as they are.   And y’all come on back and let us know if you make them and what you served them with!  Happy summer!

Not just any old side dish

We had Baked Chicken for dinner last week and needed a side dish to go with it.  I had a can of sliced carrots and wanted to “jazz” them up a bit.  There’s nothing more bland than a can of sliced carrots, folks.

carrots

See these?  Man were they tasty.  (and I apologize if the lighting isn’t that great – I don’t claim to be a photographer! at all!) I drained all the juice from the can, put about teaspoon of butter in the skillet, added about a scant tablespoon of Splenda brown sugar, and about a scant tablespoon of (sugar free) Apricot Preserves along with about a teaspoon of chopped jalapeno pepper (seeds and all for a bit of heat)a pinch of salt and a dab of pepper in the skillet also.  I let this simmer on low heat to get everything melted together, added the drained carrots, and let them hang out a bit in the sauce to get the flavors all through the carrots.

Boy oh Boy.  Were these ever good.   Feeding the kiddos?  Just leave the seeds from the pepper out.  But put them in.  Adds a bit more flavor.  But you can leave them out all together.  And if you want, use orange marmalade.  Whatever flavor you have.   Hubby loved them and were diabetic friendly but not short on flavor.   Jazz your side dishes up next time you open a can.  Have a great rest of the week!

Grillin’ Time is here

We love spending time on the patio now that we both are retired, especially on days like today. So what better time than to get grilling! Hubby has been wanting to grill his deer tenderloins on the grill and I asked him to grill me some chicken.

For his tenderloins, I seasoned them real good with a bit of kosher salt and a small amount of pepper, and added a layer of Hardin’s seasoning mix and rubbed it in real good. (who misses our Hardin’s on Coliseum Blvd???) Then I wrapped them in bacon and they are ready for the grill. My chicken is marinating in McCormick’s “Mexican Fiesta” Seasoning mix. I can’t wait.

For our side I mixed this up to also grill in our grill pan:
IMG_0215 (2)
Simple and full of flavor, these veggies are something we enjoy hot off the grill – cherry tomatoes (these look like baby roma tomatoes and they have so much flavor), yellow squash, zucchini, and onion, all sliced and thrown in a bowl, sprinkled with kosher salt, resh ground black pepper, and fresh rosemary that I just stripped off the stem and threw in, drizzled with a bit of olive oil and mixed all together. Now it is just sitting and ready to get cooking.

I say that is a perfect spring (well, almost) afternoon.

Enjoy the weather and the rest of your week! What’s for supper in your neck of the woods?

“Baked” Fried Okra

Yep. You read right. Baked, not fried, but with all the flavor and crunch of fried okra – minus the grease, minus the calories from the fat. Man, were these good.

Here’s what you need;

Fresh okra, sliced (I used about 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
plain bread crumbs (make sure it isn’t the italian flavored kind as shown in the photo)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
cayenne pepper
creole seasoning (forgot to leave out so it is not in the picture because I am a dunce)
1 egg white, beaten or one whole egg beaten = I normally use just the egg white but went ahead and used the whole egg – I was feeling wreckless today)

ingredients
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place sliced okra in a bowl and put about 2/3 of the beaten egg (if you are using the whole egg) and all of the slightly beaten egg white (if you are using just the egg white in with the okra and mix.

In another small bowl mix about 3/4 cup bread crumbs, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp creole seasoning and mix in the bread crumbs. Pour bread crumbs into the okra bowl and mix until the okra is thoroughly coated and no longer sticky. You may need to add a little more bread crumbs or you may have some excess bread crumbs in the bowl. Place okra on a pan that has been sprayed with pam spray in a single layer. Spray the top of the okra with pam also as this helps it to get crispy. Trust me on this!
oven ready

Bake in a single layer for 20 minutes; stir okra so that it basically gets turned over so all sides gets crispy. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Enjoy! If needed, sprinkle with a bit more of salt.
finished okra
This was so good – We will be making this from now on – we didn’t miss the “fried” factor at all. Try and see what you think. Play with the spices and add/subtract with the amount you would like in yours.

Asparagus with Jalapeno Hollandaise or with a Citrus Sauce

I love fresh asparagus and I love jalapenos and this combination is a must try.  Make it mild or with as much heat as your mouth can stand or likes.  Or if you aren’t in to Jalapeno Hollandaise, switch to the Citrus Sauce.   Either will have you eating your veggies in no time!

Asparagus with Jalapeno Hollandaise

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus spears

1/4 cup water

1 (0.9 oz) package hollandaise sauce mix (sure makes this recipe quick and easy)

2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded (or not) and chopped

1 (2-ounce) jar diced or sliced pimento, drained

Snap off tough ends of asparagus.  cook asparagus in water in a large skillet over medium heat 4 to 6 minutes; drain.  Arrange asparagus on a serving platter; set aside, and keep warm.  Prepare hollandaise sauce mix according to package directions.  Stir in cheese, jalapeno pepper, and pimento.  Serve over warm asparagus.

With Citrus Sauce

Cook asparagus as above.

For sauce:

1/4 cup butter

1/2 tsp grated lemon rind or orange rind

2 Tbsp lemon juice or orange juice

1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Combine first three ingredients in a saucepan.  Cook over low heat until butter melts; pour warm sauce over cooked asparagus and top with almonds.  

 

Either recipe is sure to having you serving these fresh, delicious asparagus on your table soon.  Happy Monday!

 

Grilled Corn with Smoked Paprika Compound Butter

Its the top of grilling season and fresh corn is in.  I see it everywhere I go especially at the local Farmer’s market, since I don’t grow any.  (I need to go see Julie, who seems to grow a lot of it…Tiny, tell her I’m coming!)  

And there’s nothing better than grilling a fresh ear of corn.  Do you grill yours naked?  (the corn, silly- out of the husk) Or do you grill yours in the husk with all kinds of seasoning on it?   Or in foil with seasoning?   

However you grill it, fresh grilled corn is the bomb.  It just doesn’t get any better than that.  Here’s a butter recipe you just may want to try next time you grill your fresh corn.   And if you have any grilled corn left over, cut it off the cob, and save it for that next salad you make,   

Smoked Paprika Compound Butter

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 heaping tablespoon smoked paprika

Mix all ingredients together until smooth.

Coat the corn with half of the smoked paprika butter while reserving the other half of the butter for later use.  

Grill as you normally would, flipping when browned on each side.  

Enjoy!

Making compound butters is so easy.  You just decide on the flavors you enjoy most and mix.  Fresh herbs work well in the butter and serve up great. 

Experiment with your favorite flavors and butter.  

Crispy Root Vegetable Roast

These were so good……..see all these veggies?   They are delicious….and easy….and good for ya!  Look how pretty they look all sliced and nestled in the skillet before cooking:

Image

Combine the listed ones, leave out the ones you don’t care for and include more of the ones you want, just try them.   So good.

And if you don’t have a mandoline to cut yours up, your grater may have a slicer on the side of it that slices, or just slice thin.  Either works.  

And now they have cooked:

Image

One note:   make sure you “brush” the melted butter on top of the veggies – i just dribbled and think I missed some spots – and I may cook them a bit longer next time – I want them more caramelized/golden colored.

Wouldn’t this be good with your favorite roast recipe?  Or a pork loin?  They can cook in the oven at the same time!  Whala! Dinner done! 

Let me know how you like your veggies.

Roasted Crispy Root Vegetables

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and divided

2 russet potatoes, peeled

2 sweet potatoes, peeled

1 rutabaga, peeled

1 turnip, peeled

6 cloves garlic, smashed

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Garnish: fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, add 3 tablespoons melted butter, swirling to coat bottom.

Using a knife or mandoline, slice potatoes, rutabaga, and turnip into 1/8 inch thick rounds,.  Keeping sliced vegetables together by type, place in skillet.  Tuck in garlic among sliced vegetables.  Brush vegetable tops with remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake until vegetables are tender and golden brown, approximately 1 1/2 hours, depending on your oven.  Garnish with fresh thyme if desired.  

**Note:  I actually pulled some thyme off the stems and sprinkled on top of the veggies and baked it with the veggies.  Great idea.  This would also be good using rosemary and olive oil.