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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jello -n- Cantaloupe

I was sitting here staring at this blank page wondering what to post. I'm finally cooking the roast that Craig brought home late last night, but I've already posted that recipe and picture several times. So, I figured that I'd post a silly little post of jello... I remember eating jello as a kid. My Daddy used to squish the jello through his teeth with his tongue. That was something that my Mama did not tolerate. No food noises... no smacking or chomping! Of course Daddy loved to taunt Mama! That's when she started putting fruit in the jello, to make it more difficult for him to make noise. It didn't really work... but she tried. Here's the same concept, but backwards. Jello in the Fruit... instead of fruit in the jello!

1 Cantaloupe 
1 package Jello 
 Cut the cantaloupe in half lengthwise, remove seeds & dry center well with a paper towel.

 Prepare Jello powder following package Instructions for Jello Jigglers. Place cantaloupe halves in small bowls and spoon the liquid jello into the centers, fill to the brim. 

Chill until firm approximately 3 hours.Cut into wedges to serve.When placing on serving plates do it carefully so the jello stays on the cantaloupe.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mama's Red Chicken Stew

This is Mama's Recipe for Red Chicken Stew. It's a very simple recipe with not a lot of instruction. It's basically written the way Mama would have told you to make it. It's a hearty meal that will go a long way. Great for cold, rainy nights like tonight... here anyway.

Red Chicken Stew

5 pound Chicken
4 slices Bacon
6 large Onions
14 oz Ketchup
4 T Worcestershire Sauce
¼ t Red Pepper
1 t Black Pepper
¼ pound Butter
½ cup Flour
½ cup Water
4 Hard Boiled Eggs*

Cook chicken in 3 cups water. Debone and chop. Chop bacon and fry. Add onion slices, and cook til tender. Add seasonings, butter...add 3 cups stock. Make paste with flour and water. Add. Cook until creamy. Add chicken and eggs.

 * Slice the eggs and lay them out on a few paper towels to dry out a little. That way the eggs won't fall apart in the stew.

This time, I was out of eggs...

7 Layer Salad

Sometimes I add tomatoes or vidalia onion... whatever I'm in the mood for. It's up to you what you want to add or leave out.

Layer in a large bowl:
  1. 1 small head Lettuce
  2. 1 Cucumber, chopped
  3. Green Onion (optional)
  4. 1 can Very Young Garden Peas, drained
  5. Mayonnaise, enough to cover the peas
  6. Parmesan Cheese
  7. Bacon Bits
Note: It's even better after it sits in the frig overnight.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tea Cakes... Sweetly Simple

Tea Cakes

½ cup Margarine
1 cup Sugar
1 Egg
2 T Milk
2 ¼ cup Flour

Cream margarine and sugar. Add egg and milk gradually. Add flour a little at a time. Store in a cool place for an hour. Roll on floured board and cut in shapes desired. Bake on greased cookie sheet for about 8 minutes at 400.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fried Mushrooms

These are so yummy! I could make a meal of them. Try one or both of the sauces with them too! Mmmmmmm!

1 to 1 1/2 lb fresh Mushrooms
2 cups Bisquick Mix
2/3 can of beer (or 8 oz Club Soda)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder

Clean mushrooms with a dry paper towel. Mix together dry ingredients with a whisk. Add beer (or soda) until batter is about the consistency of pancake batter. It should be just thick enough for dipping. Dip dry mushrooms in the batter and fry in a deep fryer or electric skillet until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a 170 degree oven until ready to serve.

Dill Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dried dill weed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & Pepper, to taste

In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings; mix well. Chill for 1 hour. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Spicy Cocktail Sauce

1 cup ketsup
1 T hot sauce, or to taste
1 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T Horseradish sauce
splash of lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl combine ingredients; mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Baked Fish

This is a recipe that I developed after studying the recipes of the Frugal Gourmet! How many remember Jeff Smith and his show on ETV back in the '80s? I loved his show and the way he cooked. I still refer to the two cookbooks I have... The Frugal Gourmet and The Frugal Gourmet Cooks With Wine. I was intrigued by the intro to his recipe Baked Fish in Vinegar Sauce. "This is actually fish in salad dressing, and it will startle the children in your house who claim that they don't like fish." Ok... I like fish, but I like it more for the sauce it's in or whatever concoction I've come up with to dip it in or slather on. After trying his recipe, which involves sauteing, chopping and mixing, I came up with short cut recipe that works great. It's simple and you don't have to go buy a bunch of spices that you might not keep in the pantry. It's a quick recipe to put together, leaving time for family and friends while it bakes... and it smells heavenly! You don't have to worry about the smell of fish filling your house!

2 or 3 pounds of your favorite fish fillets
Talapia, Bass, Catfish or Whitefish (all white meat fish will work)

2 yellow onions, sliced
2 Lemons, sliced thin
1 bottle Zesty Italian or Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour and salt and dredge the fish. Place them in a shallow baking dish so they fit snug. Place lemon slices on the fish, then sprinkle with onions. Pour dressing over the fish (use 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of dressing). You can add your favorite spice such as dill, basil or garlic to the dressing if you like... just taste it and adjust the flavor. The flour will bake with the dressing and thicken into a wonderful sauce! Bake fish uncovered for about 45 minutes or until fish is firm and flaky.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bad Weather Food... Soups On!

Tornado and Severe Weather Warnings out today... It has been unseasonably warm, but with the bad weather comes cold rain and wind! These soups are wonderful to have on the stove staying warm until you're ready to eat.

Baked Potato Soup

3 bacon strips, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
2 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Shredded Cheddar cheese
Minced fresh parsley

In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. Set bacon aside. Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper; mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, cream, sour cream and hot pepper sauce; heat through but do not boil. Garnish with bacon, cheese and parsley.

Cheeseburger Soup

2 T butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups beef stock
1 cup milk
16 oz Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 lb hamburger
2-3 T flour
lettuce & tomato, largely chopped

Saute the onions in butter until translucent. Add 2 cups beef stock and 1 cup milk. Add cubed Velveeta and stir until melted. Cook hamburger. Add about 2 - 3 tablespoons of flour to the hamburger. (This will make a slurry when the flour combines with the fat off of the hamburger.) Add the hamburger mixture to the soup. Bring soup up to a high simmer. If the soup is too thick, add a little more stock. When ready to serve, throw a handful of lettuce and tomato in a bowl and top with several spoonfuls of soup. Cheeseburger in a bowl!

Tuscan Soup

6 cups chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
3 (3.5 ounce) links spicy Italian sausage
3 large potatoes, cubed
1 bunch fresh spinach, washed and chopped
1/4 cup evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste

Remove skin from sausage and crumble into frying pan. Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Place meat in a large pot; add stock and potatoes. Boil until potato is cooked.
Add spinach. Continue boiling until spinach is lightly cooked. Remove soup from heat, stir in evaporated milk, and season to taste.

Reuben Soup
Could you get anymore twisted than Reuben Soup? This sounds so weird, but the flavor is outstanding! Unique and delicious!

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups water
4 cubes beef bouillon
8 ounces shredded corned beef
1 cup sauerkraut, drained
3 cups half-and-half cream
3 cups shredded Swiss cheese
8 slices rye bread, toasted and cut into triangles

In a large saucepan, cook onion and celery in butter until tender; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in water and bouillon, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in corned beef, sauerkraut, cream, and 1 cup of the cheese. Cook and stir for 30 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Preheat broiler. Ladle soup into 8 ovenproof bowls. Top each serving with a slice of bread and sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese on top of each slice of bread. Place in oven under broiler until the cheese melts and lightly browns.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Buttermilk Dressing

  • With this recipe, you don't need to go out and buy a $3 bottle of buttermilk to get the great flavor of buttermilk dressing. Use the old substitution of whole milk and lemon... Things we usually have on hand anyway!

  • 1 cup whole Milk
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 5 tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 small Shallot, finely minced
  • 11/2 teaspoons House Seasoning*

  • 1 bunch Romaine Hearts, sliced
  • 1 bunch Watercress, trimmed
  • 1 bunch Radishes, thinly sliced
  • Seasoned Croutons

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and lemon juice; let stand until milk thickens, about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest, mayonnaise, shallots, and house seasoning. Whisk to combine, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Place romaine, watercress and radishes in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to combine; cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Top with Croutons and Parmesan Cheese, if desired.

*House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix together and pour in a shaker.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lemon-Lime Daiquiri... Judy's Poolside Lemonade

Here's another one of Mama's recipes from my cookbook. It is also the subject of one of the stories in my short stories collection in the book 'Crazy People'...

Judy’s Poolside Lemonade
Mama used to make a big plastic gallon pitcher full of her poolside lemonade in the summertime. She would put it in the freezer and it would turn to slush. It was like a lemon-lime daiquiri, but slushy not icy. She’d get her raft and a big glass of ‘Lemonade’ and float for hours.
One hot summer afternoon, Deepy and Charlie were swimming. Mama was floating on her raft soaking up the sun. Her lemonade was over by the side of the pool. Everybody was enjoying the water and the lemonade. About that time Charlie said, “Hey, Uncle!” Mama looked up and Uncle was walking over to her glass. (Uncle never drank that we know of...and didn't approve of such things.) She paddled as hard as she could but he already took a gulp. He set it down and said, “Now, that’s the best lemonade I’ve ever tasted! Got any more?” Mama said, “Well, thank you! But Sorry! That was the last glass!”

The yellow pitcher in the freezer is Mama's Daiquiri Pitcher.

 Judy’s Poolside Lemonade

1 12oz can frozen Lemonade Concentrate
1 6oz can frozen Limeade Concentrate
36 oz 7-Up
1 fifth Bacardi Rum

Mix ingredients in gallon pitcher. Freeze until slushy (at least 24 hours).

To serve:   Stir with large metal spoon (mixture will freeze on top, but the center will be soft). Spoon into plastic glass. Serve with 'spoonstraws'.

Mama's Note: Uncle (Dargan) got to my glass (before I could) by the pool one afternoon…said it was the best lemonade he had ever had…I told him “last glass…sorry!”

Mardi Gras Virtual Party at La Belle Cuisine

There's a party goin' on at !!! We are having a Mardi Gras Party! "The beer is flowing like wine, and the wine is flowing like water!" I'm headed on over to her Facebook party with these goodies, and wouldn't you know it! I had to put a TWIST on my Mardi Party Food!!! Enjoy and 
Laissez les bons temps rouler !!!

1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon TABASCO pepper sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 cups thinly shredded Green cabbage
1/2 cup thinly shredded purple cabbage
1/2 cup very thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
½ - 1 cup Mayo
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 pounds freshly ground chuck
1 tablespoon
Louisiana hot sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 good-quality hamburger buns, split
1/4 cup melted butter

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

To make the sauce, combine the mayonnaise, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, pepper sauce and red pepper flakes in a bowl, mixing well; cover and refrigerate.

To make the slaw, combine the cabbages and bell pepper in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss, combining well. Refrigerate until ready to assemble burgers.

For the burgers, place the ground chuck in a large bowl and add pepper sauce, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Combine and shape the beef mixture into 6 equally-sized patties. Cover and set aside until ready to grill.

Brush the grill rack with oil. Place the patties on the grill and cook, turning once, until done to your liking, about 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium.
Meanwhile, brush the melted butter on the top and bottom buns. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the grill for about 2 minutes to toast lightly.

When the burgers are cooked, remove from the grill and keep warm while resting.
To assemble, spread a generous amount of the Zydeco Sauce on the buns. Add a burger and add a spoonful of the slaw. Top with bun tops and serve.
Makes 6 burgers

·                                 Traditional Southern Deviled Eggs… with a Mardi Gras Twist
·                                 6 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
·                                 1/4 cup mayonnaise
·                                 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
·                                 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
·                                 Salt and pepper, for taste
·                                 Cayenne Pepper, for garnishing
·                                 Sweet gherkin pickles sliced, for garnishing
***Andouille Sausage

Halve 6 eggs lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl.
Mash yolks with a fork and stir in mayonnaise, pickle relish, and mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Place mixture in a plastic  bag and cut one corner. Pipe yolk mixture into egg halves. Garnish with pepper and pickles. Store covered in refrigerator.

***For a Mardi Gras twist… Sauté some Andouille Sausage. Cut or crumble and top each egg with a few pieces.

Laissez les bons temps rouler, cher!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Grandmama Elliott's Favorite Corn Puddin'

This is a very easy recipe. If you have a problem with 'weeping' or watery puddings, pan fry or saute the corn in some butter until all the liquid is cooked off. This should give the pudding a better consistency.

 Easy Corn Pudding

2 cups Corn
2 t Sugar
1 ½ t Salt
1/8  t Pepper
3 Eggs, beaten
2 T Melted Butter
2 cups Milk

 Combine corn, sugar, salt and pepper. Add eggs, butter and milk. Mix well. Pour into baking dish. Bake at 325 for 45 to 60 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

 Notes: “Grandmama Elliott’s Favorite”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Crab Pie

Here's another one of the recipe from my book, "Mama's Cookbook". As I wrote the other day, Mama loved seafood, but didn't have it very often growing up because of the cost. Unless you lived on the coast and caught your own, seafood was impractical and definitely a luxury item that struggling families could not afford. Mama made friends with a Catholic girl in school. The first Friday that she slept the night at her friends house, they had shrimp for supper. She was in love! I was named after her best friend Lynda! So the few recipes of Mama's that include seafood, I certainly do treasure! I hope you enjoy this one! Notice the note at the bottom. If you are not familiar with my cookbook, Mama jotted notes down for me on recipes before giving them to me. They are a treasure trove of memories!

Crab Pie

1 Pie Pastry, uncooked
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 cup Crab Meat
3 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Cream
½ t salt
¼ t Pepper
½ t Lemon Zest

Arrange cheese evenly over bottom of pastry. Top with crab meat. Combine eggs, cream, salt, lemon peel and pour evenly over crab meat. Bake at 325 for about 40 minutes.

Notes: “Your Daddy likes this…Cool or the cheese will burn you!”

When I make it now, I add some Old Bay Seasoning and a mixture of cheeses that I have on hand. I use Swiss and Cheddar or Colby Jack. It just depends on my mood.

Monday, February 13, 2012

More Candy!!!!!

Peppermint Snowflakes, Peanut Butter Cups, Whopper Cups, Chocolate and Vanilla Stars and Snowflakes, Almond Joy Patties and Chocolate Cups with Cherry Cheesecake Filling. Yummy!!!

Almond Bark

1 Cup Whole blanched almonds
1 Tsp. Butter
1 Lb. White chocolate

This is a microwave recipe. Place almonds and butter in a 9−inch glass pie plate. Cook on high (max. power) 4 to 5 1/2 minutes, or until almonds are toasted, stirring twice during cooking. Set aside. Place chocolate in large microwave proof mixing bowl and cook on high (max. power) 2 1/2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Stir in almonds and pour onto waxed paper lined baking sheet. Spread to desired thickness and refrigerate until set. Break into serving size pieces.

Almond Joy Bars

4 c (8 1/2−oz) shredded coconut
1/4 c Light corn syrup
1 pk (11 1/2−oz) milk chocolate pieces
1/4 c Vegetable shortening
26 almonds (1−oz)

Line two large cookie sheets with waxed paper. Set large wire cooling rack on paper; set aside. Place coconut in large bowl; set aside. Place corn syrup in a 1−cup glass measure. Microwave on high (100%) 1 minute or until syrup boils. Immediately pour over coconut. Work warm syrup into coconut using the back of a wooden spoon until coconut is thoroughly coated. This takes a little time, and yes, there is enough syrup.
Using 1 level measuring tablespoon of coconut, shape into a ball by squeezing coconut firmly in palm of one hand, then rolling between both palms. (HINT: Measure out all of the coconut then roll into balls.) Place 2 inches apart on wire racks. Let dry 10 minutes. Reroll coconut balls so there are no loose ends of coconut sticking up.

Place milk chocolate and shortening in a 4−cup glass measure or 1 1/2 quart microwave−safe bowl. Microwave on high 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture can be stirred smooth and is glossy; stirring once or twice.

Working quickly, spoon 1 level measuring tablespoon of the chocolate over each coconut ball, making sure chocolate coats and letting excess chocolate drip down onto waxed paper. While chocolate coating is still soft, lightly press whole almond on top of each. Let stand to set or place in refrigerator. Store in a single layer in airtight container. Keeps best if refrigerated. Makes 26

Peanut Butter Cups

2 cups milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

In a small bowl, melt 1cup chips and 1 T shortening in microwave for 1 minute, stir and microwave for an additional 30 seconds or until melted and smooth. Do this in steps so the chocolate doesn't harden before you finish filling the cups...

In 2-quart saucepan combine butter or margarine and peanut butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until melted (4 to 6 minutes). Stir in confectioners' sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Let mixture cool completely.

The easiest way to make the cups is to use some sort of squeeze bottle, or maybe even a plastic bag with one corner cut to fill the cups. First, line your cups with the paper or use a mold*. Form all of the balls of the PB mixture by rolling about a teaspoon of the dough in your hands and forming it into a ball. Set the PB balls on a cookie sheet. Fill a squeeze bottle with chocolate, squeeze a bottom into all of the cups, place a peanut butter ball in the middle of the chocolate and then squeeze the remaining chocolate in around the sides and tops of the cups. Freeze until firm. Store refrigerated.

*If you look in kitchen specialty shops or candy making equipment shops, you can find the plastic candy cup molds to make these. You follow the same procedure as above. When chilled, they just pop right out when you bend the mold back and forth!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Easy Egg Rolls... Chinese Take-Out at Home!

These egg rolls are really pretty easy to do! I think the part about egg rolls that people think is intimidating is just the assembly... the rolling. It's more like folding them into an envelope shape. The most complicated part is rolling the wrappers and sealing them well, but that gets easy after you do it a couple of times! Don't work on the stack of wrappers while filling and rolling. Assemble each one separately to keep them from getting wet and sticking together. Keep your work space dry and neat. If you lay a wrapper down in water, the water turns to glue. The wrapper will tear when you try to pick it up or fold it. Give it a try! If you have kids, let them try too! It's a fun activity for everyone. I think it would make a great kitchen party with all the guests learning how you roll! LOL

Egg Rolls

Egg Roll Wrappers (about 16 -18 per package)
1/2 lb Sausage or Hamburger
1/2 lb Shrimp, shelled and cut
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, chopped
1/2 cup water chestnuts, chopped
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1 cup bean sprouts

Combine and set aside:
1/2 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1 T soy sauce
1 T sherry
1 T water
1 T corn starch

If you have a wok, that's great! If not, use a large skillet add a little oil and saute the meat and mushrooms for about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp turns pink. Add the corn starch mixture and cook until the liquid thickens. Pour into a large bowl and set aside. In the same skillet, add a little oil and return to heat. Add cabbage, sprouts, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and saute until cabbage wilts. Add to bowl with meat mixture and stir together. Let the mixture cool a little.

Take one egg roll wrapper out and place it on your work space facing you like a diamond. Place about 1/4 cup of filling in the lower corner nearest you. Brush or with your finger, wipe the edges down with water. This will seal the egg rolls so they don't pop while cooking. Fold the bottom corner up and the sides in, like an envelope. Then fold the top down to seal. Make sure each egg roll seals well. Place the on a parchment lined cookie sheet until the are all rolled and sealed. Repeat the process with the next wrapper.

It's best to use a small fryer such as a "Fry Daddy" or some with fryer with a basket. The egg rolls can split and that can cause the filling to leak. This can make the oil foam up and pop sometimes, so use caution when frying. If you use a pot on the stove, use as little oil as you can and turn the egg rolls to cook evenly.
Heat the oil to 375 degrees. Fry two or three at a time until they are golden brown... usually about 3-5 minutes. Keep them in a warm oven until ready to eat. Serve them with soy sauce, duck sauce, plum sauce or a spicy mustard. I like to use Mama's Hawaiian Sauce. It tastes just like the sweet and sour or red sauce.

This recipe usually makes 16-18 egg rolls.