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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Breakfast Pie

Here's another breakfast idea... good any time of the day! I've tried different cheeses and different meats. They are all good!

Breakfast Pie

1 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup Potatoes, boiled & cubed
4 Eggs, beaten
2 cups Milk
2 T Green Onion, sliced
½ t dry Mustard
1 t Salt
1/8 t Black Pepper
2 cups unseasoned Croutons (or day-old Bread)
½ cup Ham, diced (or crumbled Bacon or Sausage)

Place cheese, meat and potatoes in pie plate. Mix remaining ingredients, except croutons. Sometimes I used day old bread.(Either one works) Pour over meat and potato mixture. Cover and refrigerate no longer than 24 hours. You don't have to refrigerate if you use the bread. Just let it sit for a few minutes.

Heat oven to 325. Sprinkle croutons over egg mixture. Bake uncovered until knife inserted comes out clean, about 50 to 55 minutes. Do not overcook. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Grits Casserole

Breakfast in the South just wouldn't be truly Southern without grits! Here's a recipe for Mama's Grits Casserole:

1 cup Grits
1 cup boiling Water
1 t salt
2 cups Milk
4 Eggs
½ stick Butter, room temp
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated

Add grits and salt to boiling water. Cook over medium heat until thick. Add milk and cook until thick again. Remove from heat. While hot fold in eggs, butter and 3/4 cup cheese. Pour into greased 8x8 casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 350.

Note: For an added kick, add: 1 minced garlic clove, 1 t black pepper and 1 sm minced, seeded jalapeño.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Salt History

Salt is so simple and plentiful that we almost take it for granted.

In chemical terms, salt is the combination of a sodium ion with a chloride ion, making it one of the most basic molecules on earth. It's also one of the most plentiful: it has been estimated that salt deposits under the state of Kansas alone could supply the entire world's salt needs for the next 250,000 years.

But salt is also an essential element. Life itself would be impossible without it, since the human body requires salt in order to function properly. The concentration of sodium ions in the blood is directly related to the regulation of safe body fluid levels.

And while we're all familiar with the many uses of salt in cooking, we may not be aware that salt is used in some 14,000 commercial applications. From manufacturing pulp and paper to setting dyes in textiles and fabric, from producing soaps and detergents to making our roads safe in winter, salt plays an essential role in our daily lives.

Salt has a long and influential role in world history. From the dawn of civilization, salt has been a key factor in economic, religious, social and political development. In every part of the world, salt has been the subject of superstition, folklore, and warfare, it has even been used as currency.


As a precious and portable commodity, salt has long been a cornerstone of economies throughout history. In fact, researcher M.R. Bloch conjectured that civilization began along the edges of the desert because of the natural surface deposits of salt found there. Bloch also believed that the first war - likely fought near the ancient city of Essalt on the Jordan River - could have been fought over the city's precious salt supplies.

In 2200 BC, the Chinese emperor Hsia Yu levied one of the first known taxes. He taxed salt. In Tibet, Marco Polo noted that tiny cakes of salt were pressed with images of the Grand Khan and used as coins. Salt is still used as money among the nomads of Ethiopia's Danakil Plains.

Greek slave traders often bartered salt for slaves, giving rise to the expression that someone was "not worth his salt." Roman legionnaires were paid in salt - a salarium, the Latin origin of the word "salary."

Merchants in 12th-Century Timbuktu - the gateway to the Sahara Desert and the seat of scholars - valued salt as highly as books and gold.

In France, Charles of Anjou levied the "gabelle," a salt tax, in 1259 to finance his conquest of the Kingdom of Naples. Outrage over the gabelle fueled the French Revolution. Though the revolutionaries eliminated the tax shortly after Louis XIV fell, the Republic of France reestablished the gabelle in the early 19th Century; only in 1946 was it removed from the books.

The Erie Canal, an engineering marvel that connected the Great Lakes to New York's Hudson River in 1825, was called "the ditch that salt built." Salt tax revenues paid for half the cost of construction of the canal.

The British monarchy supported itself with high salt taxes, leading to a bustling black market for the white crystal. In 1785, the earl of Dundonald wrote that every year in England, 10,000 people were arrested for salt smuggling. Protesting British rule in 1930, Mahatma Gandhi led a 200-mile march to the Arabian Ocean to collect untaxed salt for India's poor.


Salt has long held an important place in religion and culture. Greek worshippers consecrated salt in their rituals. Jewish Temple offerings included salt; on the Sabbath, Jews still dip their bread in salt as a remembrance of those sacrifices. In the Old Testament, Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt. Author Sallie Tisdale notes that salt is as free as the water suspending it when it's dissolved, and as immutable as stone when it's dry - a fitting duality for Lot's wife, who overlooks Sodom to this day.

Covenants in both the Old and New Testaments were often sealed with salt: the origin of the word "salvation." In the Catholic Church, salt is or has been used in a variety of purifying rituals. In fact, until Vatican II, a small taste of salt was placed on a baby's lip at his or her baptism. Jesus called his disciples "the Salt of the Earth." In Leonardo DaVinci's famous painting, "The Last Supper," Judas Escariot has just spilled a bowl of salt - a portent of evil and bad luck. To this day, the tradition endures that someone who spills salt should throw a pinch over his left shoulder to ward off any devils that may be lurking behind.

In Buddhist tradition, salt repels evil spirits. That's why it's customary to throw salt over your shoulder before entering your house after a funeral: it scares off any evil spirits that may be clinging to your back.

Shinto religion also uses salt to purify an area. Before sumo wrestlers enter the ring for a match - which is actually an elaborate Shinto rite - a handful of salt is thrown into the center to drive off malevolent spirits.

In the Southwest, the Pueblo worship the Salt Mother. Other native tribes had

significant restrictions on who was permitted to eat salt. Hopi legend holds that the angry Warrior Twins punished mankind by placing valuable salt deposits far from civilization, requiring hard work and bravery to harvest the precious mineral.

In 1933, the Dalai Lama was buried sitting up in a bed of salt.

Today, a gift of salt endures in India as a potent symbol of good luck and a reference to Mahatma Gandhi's liberation of India, which included a symbolic walk to the sea to gather tax-free salt for the nation's poor.


The effects of salt deficiency are highlighted in times of war, when human bodies and national economies are strained to their limits.

Thousands of Napoleon's troops died during the French retreat from Moscow due to inadequate wound healing and lowered resistance to disease - the results of salt deficiency.

Salt production facilities in Saltville, Va., Virginia's Kanawha Valley and Avery Island, Louisiana, were early targets of the Union Army. The North fought for 36 hours to capture Saltville, Va., where the salt works were considered crucial to the Rebel army - so crucial that Confederate President Jefferson Davis offered to waive military service to anyone willing to tend coastal salt kettles to supply the South's war effort. In addition to dietary salt, the Confederacy needed the precious mineral to tan leather, dye cloth for uniforms and preserve meat.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dirty Rice

 Ok. I've been on a Cajun kick this week, recalling my trip to Louisiana and K-Paul's restaurant. The wonderful food and music of the city of New Orleans. The hustle and bustle of the industrial Baton Rouge. The stroll on the grounds of the majestic Plantation Homes dotted in the countryside. The smell of the sugarcane fields. Oh, I want to go back... in time!

This one has some chicken in it...

My grandmother, although not cajun, fixed a version of Dirty Rice, but we called it Greasy Rice. I was looking through my old Chef Paul cookbooks and found a Greasy Rice recipe that his mother used to make. There were no meats, but it did contain good ole pork lard! Yum! Here is Grandmama Bradham's Greasy Rice...

• 1 lb bulk pork sausage (Mild or Hot)
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 lb chicken livers, chopped fine
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 green bell pepper, chopped
• 3 celery stalks, chopped
• 4 cups hot cooked white rice
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
• 1 1/2 to 3 tsp. Cajun seasoning or Louisiana hot sauce
• Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the sausage and chicken livers in a large heavy skillet until browned, breaking up any large chunks as you go. (Sometimes I add a handful of leftover shredded chicken also.) Add vegetables and sauté until soft. Gently fold in the rice and parsley, serve immediately with Louisiana hot sauce on the side for those who like more of a kick.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cornbread Salad

This is a great way to use that leftover cornbread, if you have any! I sounds and looks strange, but trust me! It is delicious :-)

Prepared Corn Bread (I use 1 Jiffy mix, 1 egg and 1/3 cup milk)
Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix
2 cups Sour Cream (or 1 1/2 cups Sour Cream and 1/2 cup Mayonnaise)
1 - 16 oz diced Tomatoes, drained
1 - 16 oz Seasoned Pinto Beans, drained
1 - 16 oz Corn, drained
1 cup Cheddar Cheese
(optional) ½ cup each Green Onions, Red Bell Pepper, Green Bell Pepper

Make Cornbread, and cool completely. Stir together HVR dressing mix, sour cream and mayo. Crumble cornbread into a 9X13 casserole dish. Top with beans, tomatoes, (optional onion and peppers), corn, bacon and cheese. Finally top with dressing. Cover and chill at least 3 hrs. When it is time to serve, take a spoon and stir alittle section at a time to mix the ingredients to get a nice moist salad.

* I use twice as much dressing for mine, so it's not too dry.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Triple Sin Chocolate Cake

I wish I could take credit for this cake recipe, but it has been around since the candy bars cost 5 cents.

8 plain Hershey bars
2 sticks butter
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups chopped nuts (optional)
2 1/2 cups sifted plain flour
1/4 teaspoon soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate syrup

Soften candy is double boiler, let cool. Cream butter, add sugar, add eggs. Put candy in. Add soda to buttermilk. Combine nuts, salt and flour. Add alternately with buttermilk. Stir in vanilla and chocolate syrup. Line bottom of pan with greased and floured brown paper. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes. When cool, drizzle more chocolate on top or ice with your favorite chocolate icing. Unbelievably rich and more like a giant brownie than a cake.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

I made this cake yesterday for Wednesday Night Supper at PBC. It's not the prettiest dessert, but it is OH SO GOOD... How can you go wrong with ice cream sandwiches???

2 boxes Ice Cream Sandwiches
16 oz tub Whipped Cream Topping
8 oz jar Caramel Ice Cream Topping
8 oz jar Hot Fudge Ice Cream Topping
Mini Chocolate Chips, Chocolate Shavings or Ground Nuts

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Spread a layer of whipped cream in the pan, then layer with sandwiches. Pour on the caramel topping, then the hot fudge. Top with another layer of sandwiches. Continue to layer until all sandwiches are used. Finish with a covering of Whipped Cream. Freeze for about 3 hours. Invert cake onto serving dish and peel away plastic wrap. Garnish the cake with your choice of toppings.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Baked Chicken Salad

I prepare this dish for Wednesday night suppers at church. I've given out the recipe dozens of times. It always goes over well. It's great for pot luck and covered dish suppers...

3 cups chopped cooked Chicken
4 Eggs, boiled and chopped
1-1/2 cups sliced Celery
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Mayo
1 Tbsp. chopped onion
1 Tbsp. Lemon juice
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp Basil
Dash of pepper
1 sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed
1 stick Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix chicken, celery, eggs, mayo, onion, lemon juice and seasonings until well blended. In a separate bowl, combine cracker crumbs and butter. Set aside.

Spoon salad mixture into 1-1/2-quart casserole dish top with cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to get a little color; remove from oven and top with cracker mixture.  Bake an additional 5 minutes or until the cracker crust is a little browned but be careful not to burn it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Red Lobster's Cheddar Biscuits

If you love Red Lobster's Biscuits, you are going to love-love this recipe. I've tried the Bisquick Garlic-Cheese Mix and it is good; but this recipe is so light and airy! It is as close as I have ever come to Red Lobster's Recipe...

2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking mix
3/4 cup cold milk
4 Tbsp cold butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 heaping cup grated sharp cheddar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine Bisquick and cold butter in a medium bowl. Using a pastry cutter or for mix until butter is in chunks the size of peas. Add cheese, milk and garlic powder. Mix until combined, but do not over mix. The dough will be sticky. Drop 1/4 cup portions onto a cookie sheet. (an ice cream scoop is perfect for this) Bake for 15-17 minutes or until tops of biscuits turn light brown.
While biscuits are baking, melt 2 Tbsp Butter. Add 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp parsley flakes and salt to taste. (I used Garlic Salt with parsley flakes from 'Fresh Finds')

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Quick Doughnuts Recipe

Ok... So, if you didn't go for the Watermelon Salad, maybe you'll try this 'Quick Doughnut' recipe:

2 cans refrigerated Biscuits
Using a small cookie cutter (or doughnut cutter if you have one), cut out center of each biscuit. Deep fry at 375 degrees for 2 minutes on each side. Also fry centers. Drain and dry on paper towels.

2 cups 10X sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
5 to 7 tablespoons heavy cream or evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix well. Dip hot doughnuts in glaze. Cool on wire rack. Yields 20 doughnuts and 20 rounds.

Watermelon Salad

This is a refreshing simple summer salad. It may sound a little odd, but give it a try.

3 cups chopped watermelon
1 cup chopped cucumbers
1/2 cup crumbled Mild Feta Cheese
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Garnish with fresh Basil leaves and thinly sliced red Onion

Combine and serve immediately.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mama's Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Edmond Gray was, too say the least, an unusual man. Some thought that he was abrasive and cold. He was an old Navy man. For those who knew him, there was much more to him. Edmond was Mama’s favorite cousin. In November before Mama died, she wrote in her date book:

"Billy & I drove to the beach in the grey 220SEL. Edmond & Pat came down. We went to Shoneys for supper. Edmond and I stayed up until 2am!"
To me, this said a lot. If you knew Edmond, he didn’t spend that much time talking to anybody. One day, I got a splinter in my finger. I came to the table where they were drinking coffee and displayed my finger. Edmond looked at it, then me and said, “If you’re looking for sympathy, I can tell you where to find it. It’s in the dictionary between sh*t and syphilis!”

Edmond and his family came down one weekend for a visit. Mama, as always, had fixed a big meal. She went to the oven to get the casserole out, and it slipped or the dish broke. The casserole flipped onto Mama’s forearm. She screamed and Edmond came running. He was an EMT at one time. He smeared butter on her arm and wrapped it in an ace bandage. Mama called Dr. Perry and asked him about it. He told her to come in and see him on Monday morning, but to expect some scaring because that would be a 2nd to 3rd degree burn. A casserole with cheese at 375 degrees could do a lot of damage to the tender skin on the forearm. Mama went to see him on Monday and he asked about the bandage and Mama told him about Edmond. With eyebrows scrunched together, Dr. Perry unwrapped her arm carefully. He stood there staring and said “Judy, if you burnt this arm, I can’t tell it!” There was not a mark on her arm.
In memory of Edmond, I'm posting Mama's Mac-n-Cheese recipe.

1 cup Macaroni, uncooked
2 Eggs, beaten
2 cups, Milk
½ pound, Cheddar Cheese
Salt & Pepper
2 T Butter

Cook macaroni, drain. Combine eggs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in macaroni, cheese and seasonings. Spoon mixture into a casserole dish that has been sprayed with oil. Dot with butter and bake at 325 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes or until set. You can try the knife method. Stick a knife in the center. It should come out clean. Mainly just check that it's not watery.

This was the only picture I could get... It's like a feeding frenzy when you serve this mac-n-cheese!

Note: Add a little extra cheese on top, if you like the ‘Crunchy Cheese Top’.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Good down home cooking... just about every household has it's own meatloaf recipes. The possibilities are endless. This is a good basic recipe with a twist at the end. Yeah, I know I can never leave well enough alone!

2 pounds ground chuck
2 eggs
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cups italian-style dried bread crumbs
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste

Mix ingredients and place in 8x8 pan or casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.
**For an added kick, remove meatloaf from oven at 40 minutes... top with bacon and brush with 8oz can of tomato sauce. Return to oven for 15 minutes or until bacon is done.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lit'l Smokies from Hillshire Farms... Go Meat!

Sorry, I could not resist... It never fails. Every time I cater an event, these little things find there way onto the table in some form or fashion. Lit'l Smokies can sometimes be found in different flavors, including cheddar or chipotle pepper, and different recipes such as Pigs in a Blanket. They are generally made of beef and/or pork and have a smoked flavor. However, this recipe is the go to recipe for these little gems!

1 lb. Little Smokies (sausage)

1 c. grape jelly
1 c. BBQ sauce
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. mustard

Mix ingredients in crock pot. Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally; then reduce to low and simmer. A great party snack for any occasion.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Do you like the flavor of Chicken Cordon Bleu, but the thought of all that work just does not appeal to you? Well, this is a recipe for you! All the flavor of the original dish with very little effort, and you still come out of the kitchen looking like a master chef!

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

6 Chicken Breasts, boneless skinless*
6 Ham Slices
6 Swiss Cheese Slices

1 (10.75 oz) can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup Sour Cream
½ cup White Wine or White Grape Juice
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Parsley
1 tsp Pepper
Salt, to taste
1 (6oz) Dry Stuffing Mix (Chicken or Cornbread Flavor)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place chicken breasts in greased pan. Top with ham slices and then cheese slices. In a bowl, combine soup, sour cream, wine, garlic, parsley and salt and pepper. Mix well and pour mixture over chicken. Top with stuffing mix. Bake 30 min or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.

*I like to cook my chicken and diced (also dice the ham) it when making a big casserole. It is easier to serve and the casseroles serve more people than a per piece dish.