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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cheeseburger Macaroni

This is a dish that I make for my Wednesday night crowd at PBC. The kids especially like the flavor of it. When I make it for 60 people, I use the big 6 pound cans of Cheese Sauce, but at home I use Velveeta cheese. You could also use a condensed Cheddar soup. It is super simple and yummy!

12oz elbow macaroni
2 lbs hamburger, browned and drained
16oz box Velveeta (Mexican flavor)*
1 cup milk
1/4 cup spaghetti sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook and drain pasta. Place pasta and hamburger in a greased casserole dish. Heat cheese, milk, spaghetti sauce and seasonings in a sauce pan until warm and mixed well. Pour over pasta and meat. Stir until combined. Cover and cook for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

* Sub a homemade cheese sauce to save money. Recipe below.

Cheese Sauce

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp chili powder

Add the butter to a small sauce pot. Heat the butter until melted. Add flour and whisk. Cook until the mixture turns dark beige.
Whisk the milk into the flour and butter mixture. Turn the heat up slightly and allow the milk to come to a simmer while whisking. When it reaches a simmer, the mixture will thicken. Once it's thick enough to coat a spoon, turn off the heat.
Stir in the shredded cheddar, one handful at a time, until melted into the sauce. If needed, place the pot over a low flame to help the cheese melt.

Once all the cheese is melted into the sauce, stir in the salt and chili powder.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Spaghetti Pie

I've had a lot of people asking for the recipe for this one, so here goes...

3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1 lb Spaghetti Noodles, cooked and cooled

Mix eggs, sour cream and cheeses well. Toss in noodles. Place in a greased 13X9 casserole dish.

1 1/2 lbs Ground Chuck, seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder, browned and drained
1 - 24oz can Spaghetti Sauce, your choice
1 - 12oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste

Combine the above ingredients and simmer 15 or 20 minutes. Cool and top the noodle mixture with the sauce.

Top with an additional 1 1/2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
and 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes
or until golden brown and bubbly.

Slice and serve... maybe with some toasty garlic bread!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Twice Baked Potatoes

I was asked to write down and post my recipe for twice baked potatoes. Again, it depends on what I have on hand or what flavors I might be craving that day. This time I used the cheese that I had on hand which was a combo of cheddar and mozzarella. I also added a little garlic powder. Feel free to use your own add-ins such a chives, parsley or onion!

3 large baking potatoes 
¼ cup butter 
¼ cup bacon bits 
¼ cup sour cream 
1 ½ cups Colby Jack cheese 
2 T milk 
Salt, to taste 
Freshly ground black pepper 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Spray them oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 1 hour. Pierce with a fork to check for doneness. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scrape out the insides into a mixing bowl. Leave a small rim of potato. Be careful not to break the shell. Place the hollowed out potato shells on a baking sheet.

Smash the potatoes while adding butter, milk, bacon, sour cream and salt. Add 1 cup of cheese; mix together well.

Fill the potato shells with the filling. Top each potato with a little more grated cheese and fresh ground black pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is starting to brown.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Okra Chips

If you have ever been to the Farmer's Market in Charleston, SC, you have probably seen a funny looking bag of green fried stuff called Okra Chips. The majority of people that buy a bag, come back for more. They are really like chips... you can't eat just one!

I started out just like I would if I were making regular fried okra. I mixed up the flour, bread crumbs and seasonings in a plastic bag... but I prepared the okra totally different. I tried to remove as much of the seeds as possible...

I cut the tender cooked okra right under the cap (stem end)
 and slit it down through the end.
I turned it and cut it again leaving four dangling 'legs' on each pod.
I then took the knife and scraped out the seeds.

16 oz bag of frozen okra, thawed
1 cup bread crumbs
1 cup flour
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Oil for frying

Heat oil to 350 degrees.
Mix the bread crumbs, flour and seasonings in a plastic bag. Place the okra in the bag, in batches. (The okra is pretty slimy at this point and does not require an egg wash.) Seal the bag and shake to coat. Only coat as much as you are frying in one batch. I pulled each pod out by the stem end and shook off the excess coating and even wiped some around in the coating to separate the four strips so they would fry up nice and crisp. Make sure the oil is up to temp before adding okra, or the coating/breading will fall off. Gently place the okra in the oil. Cook until browned and crunchy. Remove from oil and place on paper towels or butcher paper. I used popcorn salt to season since regular salt basically bounces off the crispy coating!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Monkey Bread

This recipe reminds me of Christmas time, cooler weather, sharing favorite dishes and family and friends spending time together. It reminds me of my Mom and all the times we cooked together making memories that last a lifetime. We used to travel to the mountains each year and go to the all the shops. There was a little place that was a Christmas Shop all year round. I bought one of my favorite cookbooks there... The Nutcracker Sweet. That is where I first found a recipe for this wonderful treat!

Monkey Bread

4 tubes refrigerator biscuits
¾ cup Sugar
 1 tsp Cinnamon

¾ cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
2 tbsp Corn Syrup
½ tsp Cinnamon

In a saucepan, heat butter, sugar, syrup and cinnamon to boiling. Cut biscuits into fours and roll into balls. Combine sugar and cinnamon and roll biscuits in cinnamon and sugar. Butter or spray a loaf pan. Stack biscuits into loaf pan. Pour syrup over biscuits and bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes. When partly cool, turn out onto serving platter. To serve, let each person pull pieces off. If desired, drizzle with basic sugar glaze. Recipe below…

Basic Sugar Glaze

2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 T Butter or Margarine, softened
1 t Vanilla
3 to 4 T Milk or Half-n-Half

Combine all ingredients, adding enough milk for desired consistency.
Makes 1 ½ cups glaze.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Beef Enchiladas

This is my son's favorite dish. I must admit that every once in a while, I do cheat and buy Ole El Paso brand frozen burritos to make this dish. I know... Enchiladas are corn tortillas, but Elliott doesn't like the corn. I use flour... So, if you want to get technical, these are burritos cooked in enchilada sauce and cheese. Either way, they make my son happy and that's what I'm after!

1 pkg. 8-inch tortillas
1 1/2 lb. hamburger
1 med onion, chopped
1 -16 oz can refried beans
1 - 4 oz can chopped mild green chiles
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tsp cornstarch
1 -10 oz can mild enchilada sauce

Arrange tortillas on a plate; cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 30 seconds at the time until soft and hot.  Cook ground beef and onion, drain.  Add refried beans, green chiles with liquid, and 1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese.  Heat until blended, remove from heat.  Spoon about 1/3 cup meat mixture in lengthwise strip on center of each tortilla; roll up jelly roll fashion, place seam side down in large baking pan.  Stir milk and cornstarch until smooth, cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens slightly.  Add enchilada sauce and remaining 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese.  Cook, stirring until smooth.  Pour over tortillas, sprinkle cheddar cheese over top and bake at 350 degrees approximately 25 to 30 minutes.  Serve as is or can be garnished with tomato slices, shredded lettuce, black olives and sour cream.

Sourdough Bread Starter

How many people remember when the ladies of the church or any social group passed around a bread starter? Since we lived far out in the country, we only made trips to town maybe once a month. My Mama always had a jar of starter handy to make bread. Here is the recipe for the starter and directions on how to use it... Mama's own Sourdough Starter!

Sour Dough Starter

2 cups Flour
1 ¾ cups Warm Water
6 t Dry Yeast
2 T Honey

Combine flour and dry yeast in a bowl. Mix honey in warm water and gradually add to dry ingredients. Store in earthenware pot at room temperature for two days to one week.

Sour Dough Bread

1 cup Starter
2 cups Warm Water
1 T Salt
1 t Baking Soda
2 ½ cups Flour

The night before baking, combine one cup of starter with warm water. Mix salt, baking soda, and flour and sift them together into mixture. Beat well. Cover and leave 12 hours in a warm place. Now, before adding more flour, return one cup of batter to the storage pot for future use. After it has been removed, add enough flour to make stiff dough. Turn out onto lightly floured board; knead vigorously until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top.
Cover. Put in warm place and let rest for 20 minutes. Form into loaves. Let rise until doubled in size. Bake at 400 about 25 minutes. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pork Loin Roast with Greek Seasoing

What started out as a plan of pork scallopini for the kids, turned into a roast when it thawed out! LOL  I thought I had pulled out a bag of pork chops. The hubby didn't label them before he stuck them in the freezer! No problem... I sprinkled it with Greek Seasoning and topped it with sliced lemon. I also baked potatoes sprayed with oil and sprinkled with Coarse Sea Salt. I finished the meal off with a side salad with carrots and cucumbers.

I like the end piece. It has more seasonings and flavor.

Pork Loin
Cavender's Greek Seasoning
Lemon slices

Preheat oven to 400. Place loin in a casserole dish. Sprinkle pork loin with Cavender's Greek Seasoning and top with slices of lemon. Bake for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours or until center reaches 160 degrees. I prepared the potatoes and put them in the oven 15-30 minutes after the loin. Everything was done at the same time!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mock Ribeyes... Cooking with Elliott

I love it when my son decides that he wants to cook something. Let's face it... I love it when my 14 yr old son wants to do anything with me. (Excuse me a moment!) Yes, Elliott! I know that you will be 15 in 2 1/2 months!

Anyway, he said to me the other day, "Mama, I want to cook something!" So we get into the conversation of what to cook and how. He loves to grill, but our grill bit the dust quite a while back and we haven't been able to replace it yet. He decides on steak, but he says, "Mama don't get anything too expensive. I don't want to waste good meat if it doesn't turn out good!" As a Caterer, Cook and Mama that budgets a dollar to death, I was getting a little teary! He's really been paying attention! Good food is too precious to waste! So, I bought us some little chuck-eyes for a few dollars at the grocery store while shopping for the week, and here goes...

He pulled out his ingredients he wanted to use and started opening the steaks. He then turns to me and says, "What? You mean I'm cooking for you, and you are not even going to put it on your website?!?!?! You could at least take a picture and acknowledge that I cooked for you and maybe even say 'thank you' !" (teenage sarcasm) Sooo, I got the camera and started taking pictures. He had me take the picture at the top of the page, saying that he needed a new profile picture anyway!

He decided not to use the tenderizing mallet that I suggested.
Instead, he decided to go with a fork to tenderize and
get the marinade into the meat! Good choice! 

Poking both sides with a fork...

In the bag, he added several shakes of Worcestershire Sauce, a good squirt of ketchup, a little mustard, 3 garlic cloves mashed through the garlic press, a 1/2 tsp of Black Ops Seasoning and some salt. No pepper. He decided that the Black Ops seasoning had enough spice to round it all out!

He added the steaks to the marinade and 
rubbed it in good, letting it sit for a while to soak in.

The final step was to spray the pan with oil and heat the pan.
Once the pan was smoking hot, he quickly
seared the steaks on each side,
to seal in the juices.

Then, they went into the
oven at 400 degree for about 5 minutes.

Chuck-eyes are not the kindest type of meat to work with, but these were GREAT! Elliott had the perfect marinade and the right amount of seasoning... notice he's just like his Mama when it comes to measuring! (And I guessed that the Black Ops was about 1/2 tsp, but we would use more next time. We weren't sure about the heat, but the flavoring is awesome!!! Click on the link above for info on how to get your own Black Ops Seasonings! Or click here BlackOpsFlavor on Facebook and 'like' them on Facebook.

I'm proud of my son for trying new things and trusting his instincts when it comes to the flavors he likes. Even though he says that he doesn't like cooking that much, he shines when he puts his mind to it... I just love having him in the kitchen with me! :-)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Country-Style Steak

When I'm at home, I fix country-style steak the traditional southern way. I coat it in seasoned flour and fry it in oil until done, then I smother it in gravy, letting it simmer until fork tender. However, when I'm cooking for my Wednesday night crowd at church, time does not permit me to fry every piece of cube steak... 60+ pieces. So, I adapted my recipe to allow me to fix it for them. Some of you may enjoy this as a healthier way to eat country-style steak. I hope you do!

Family pack of cube steak... about 6-8 pieces
Salt, pepper and garlic powder

Family size can of cream of mushroom soup (or 2 regular cans)
Kitchen Bouquet Browning & Seasoning Sauce, about 1 tsp

Sprinkle cube steak with seasonings and place in a 13x9 pan sprayed with oil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until done. Do not drain. Remove meat and add soup and Kitchen Bouquet. Stir until blended and replace meat to pan. Cover and bake for another 20-30 minutes or until tender. Serve with mashed potatoes, sweet peas and biscuits for a good ole southern dinner.

Lodge Logic Dutch Oven, 5qt. (Google Affiliate Ad)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Caramel Chocolate Brownie Tartlets

I wanted to do something different. I was at the mercy of what I had on hand, since as most of you know, I live out in the country. A quick dash out to the grocery store does not exist out here! I had a box brownie mix in the pantry, some chocolate chips (very few since the hubby found them and has been munching on them in secret!) and caramels. (very few of them also since my son found them...) Hmmm... what to do? I didn't want just plain old brownies, so I made more of a cookie batter and stuffed them!

Cookie Batter:
1 Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix
1 egg
4 oz cream cheese, room temp
1/4 cup butter, melted

Caramels, cut each into 4 pieces
Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini-tart pan with oil. Combine ingredients in a large bowl, and beat until well combined.

Scoop with a cookie batter scoop and place in pan.
Place a caramel on the center and push into batter, but do not cover it. 

Bake for 12-14 minutes.

Take out of the oven and place 2 chocolate chips on each tart.

Cool and serve.