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Monday, December 29, 2014

Jamie's Vegetable Soup

My D-I-L, Jamie brought me some of her soup to try when they came over for our family Christmas Saturday. Thank goodness, because I don't feel that great, and this really hit the spot. I just added some left over turkey from Saturday. That made it supper for the hubby... he has to have meat, or it's just a side dish! LOL

5-6 Red Potatoes, cubed
1 can or 1 cup fresh Carrots
1 cup Celery, sliced
1 can Sweet Peas
1 can Corn 
1 can Green Beans
1 can Tomatoes, crushed or diced
1 Onion, chopped
2 (8oz) cans of chicken stock
one packet of Italian dressing mix
2 cups water
1 tsp tomato paste
Salt and Pepper, to taste*

Saute onion and celery in pot with a little oil or butter until onions are translucent. Add chicken stock, dressing mix, salt and pepper, and water. Bring to a boil then turn down to med~high heat for a simmer for 30 minutes. Then add green beans, corn, sliced carrots, (or cup of fresh carrots), potato, peas, tomato and tomato paste. Let simmer for another 30 minutes or until the potatoes have cooked through. Then enjoy!!! I like to eat it with saltines or a good homemade sweet bread.

*I added a little garlic powder, because everything I eat seems to have some garlic in it! LOL That's not everyone's cup of tea!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014 with the kids and a Heritage Turkey for Supper!

Presents! :-)

My Plate!
We have a tradition of celebrating Christmas with all the kids and grandkids on the Saturday after Christmas. Everyone is welcome to come over on Christmas day if possible, but my stepkids and their children have in-laws and other parents to visit. So, I decided to take the pressure off them and insure that I get a good day with them, without them having to rush off! It's worked out well. This year, Kayleigh, Joe and Jack had to stay home with baby Benjamin, since he's so young and susceptible to the flu and respiratory illness that's out there!

I received an early Christmas present from my foodie friend Mary over at All Things Food - Cooking with Mary and Friends. She brought me one of the turkeys that she received from Paradise Acre FarmTom and Denise offer awesome pastured poultry, eggs and gluten free baked goods that they sell at the Rosewood Market in Columbia, SC.

Roast Garlic Teriyaki Turkey

This is a very easy way to make a Thanksgiving turkey using an oven bag. The bird will be perfectly moist when done, plus, cleanup is a snap!
12 pound turkey
Teriyaki Marinade (Or 
1 bottle of good quality)
1 head of roasted garlic, mashed
2 turkey size oven bags

The night before... place the turkey in one of the oven bags, pour in teriyaki marinade and roasted garlic. Massage the marinade over the turkey and make sure some of it goes into the cavity. Close the bag with the tie and sit it in a bowl to insure safety from contamination. Place it in the frig overnight.

The day of... Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sprinkle the second oven bag with flour, and shake to coat. Remove the turkey from the frig and take out of the bag. Carefully place it in the floured oven bag, sitting in a roasting pan. Pour half the juice oven the turkey in the bag. Seal the bag and poke several holes in it with a fork. Bake 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until internal temperature of the thigh meat reaches 180 degrees F .

I was afraid that I had overcooked my turkey! I was told that these turkeys cook much faster than ones from the grocery store. I pulled it from the oven and it wasn't up to temperature, so back to the oven. Come to find out, my probe was broken! Yikes!!!

BUT, the oven bag protected the meat, 
and as you can see, the turkey is moist,
tender and delicious!

Juicy white meat!

The kids were all "OMG"-ing and picking at the turkey while their Daddy was trying to cut it up! He had to fuss at them a few times to make them, leave it alone so we'd have some to plate up! :-)

Ranch~Dill Crackers (Using Mini-Club Crackers)

Brittney's Turtle Pie

Jamie's Apple Pie

Check out this information about this wonderful South Carolina farm...

Paradise Acres Farm is a small family farm dedicated to producing fresh and naturally grown fruits, vegetables, and eggs for the local community. They produce products free from harmful fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones.
Hen and Chicks at Paradise Acres Farm

This summer would you like to raise some backyard chickens?  

Would you like to:
  • collect your own farm fresh, healthy, natural eggs?
  • know exactly what the hens ate to produce your eggs?
  • Do a test-run before you invest in your own Hens?

Do all this and more without any long term commitments or expensive cost associate with owning your own flock.
Try the Rent-Laying-Hens Program, new this year!
For $350 the Paradise Acres Rent-Laying-Hens program includes everything you need to produce your own eggs for the duration of your rental period ... AND Paradise Acres will deliver everything you need right to your backyard.  (delivery fee included within 40 miles of Paradise Acres Farm)  Before the weather turns cold, we’ll return to pick everything up and the hens will return to Paradise Acres Farm. (Purchase available in case you fall in love with your hens).
With our program you’ll get:
  • 2 Laying Hens that are already producing eggs
  • Portable Chicken Tractor (coop with run)
  • Bedding for the nesting box
  • Feeder
  • Waterer
  • 100 pounds of feed
  • Delivery, Setup, and Pickup
  • Instructions
Our standard rental periods start in May or June and last for 6 months.  After 6 months, we’ll pickup the hens and equipment. Call for a quote for destinations further than 40 miles.  Longer or shorter rental periods are available.
You’ll get an average of 8 to 12 eggs a week from 2 hens.
A $75 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your Rent-Laying-Hens. 
To contact Paradise Acres Farm, call 803-427-6943 or email
Find Paradise Acres Farm on Facebook
Shop their online store

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sugar and Cinnamon Candied Pecans

These candied pecans remind me of Christmas! They smell awesome and taste delicious! Just a word of caution, they are addictive! We eat them by the handful!

½ cup sugar
¼ cup butter
¼ cup light corn syrup
½ tsp cinnamon
3 cups pecans

Whisk sugar and cinnamon together in a medium sauce pan. Bring sugar mixture, butter, and corn syrup to a boil. Place pecans in a grease 13X9 dish, pour sugar mixture over them and stir. Bake at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Cheeseburger Pie and a South Your Mouth Cookbook Giveaway

My friend Mandy at South Your Mouth has some awesome recipes! I've made many of her dishes, and all of them have turned out delicious. As a matter of fact, she has compiled them in her cookbook, "South Your Mouth: Tried & True Southern Recipes", and I'm giving away a copy! It's easy to enter! Go to the link below and enter to get wonderful recipe like the one I've linked in the picture... Cheeseburger Pie! This cookbook is a great guide for the beginner or anyone wanting some good ole comfort food!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Homemade Beef Jerky

This first time I made this was for Christmas gifts for the guys to take hunting... In turn, they brought me venison to make them some more! LOL  It must have been pretty good! I like making it in the oven better than a dehydrator. Basically, you put it in the oven and walk away... Your nose will remind you it's in the oven!

2 1/2 pounds lean round steak
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid smoke
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black powder

Place the meat in the freezer for a couple of hours to make it hard and easier to cut into thin strips. Cut long narrow strips about 1/8” thick.
For the marinade, combine the remaining ingredients in a gallon plastic bag. Add meat slices to the bag, seal and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Remove meat from the bag and drain. Line a cookie sheet with foil and place wire racks on top. Place meat slices on the racks, leaving a little space in between each slice.

Place racks in the oven and prop the door open with the handle of a wooden spoon. This will allow the air to circulate. Bake for 6-8 hours. 

The meat will lose about half its weight and will be dark brown. It will be dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Store in an air tight container. 

This recipe makes about a pound of jerky. :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pies

These pies are a favorite at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The name sounds strange, but it's just a pumpkin cheesecake in a pie crust.

2 - 8oz packages Cream Cheese
2 Eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
12oz Pumpkin

2 Homemade Pies Crusts, uncooked

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Pour into the two pie crusts. Bake 35-45 minutes or until set.

Mama's Macaroni and Cheese

There were certain dishes that my Mama made especially for her Daddy for Sunday Dinners. The most requested was her Chicken and Dumplin's, but the runner up was her wonderful Ole Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese! This one will be on my Thanksgiving table this year for sure!

1 cup Macaroni, uncooked
2 Eggs, beaten
2 cups, Milk
½ pound, Sharp 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. (I use the giggle method. I shake the pan gently, and if it barely moves in the center, it's done... If it's set hard and doesn't move, it's over-done and hard. It takes a while to get this method down, but after you've made as many as I have, you can just look and tell!)

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Big Hunk of a Sandwich!

No matter what you call it... Sandwich, Submarine, Hero, etc., it's a big ole hunk of a sandwich!


Red Onion strings
Oil & Vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Basil, Oregano and Garlic
French Bread, or any other large bread hollowed out

No matter what you call it, we called it supper tonight! :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pizza Monkey Bread

Pull-apart bread, which we call Monkey Bread, is perfect for parties, showers or just a great supper. They can be sweet or savory. This one is made with pepperoni and cheeses, but you can add anything you want to it. There are no limits to the combinations that you can make. I made this one very simply using Krusteaz Garlic and Onion Flatbread mix. I highly recommend it. It was delicious in this recipe!

Pizza dough or canned biscuit dough
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 tbsp. basil leaves
1/2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
1/3 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 (8 oz.) package of mini pepperoni
1 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pan well.

Cut pizza dough or biscuits into small pieces.

Add all the ingredients in a bowl, except the dough and toss. Add the dough pieces a few at the time and toss so that the oil is spread evenly on each piece of dough. If you add them all at once, they stick together and just make a huge ball... I found that out the hard way! LOL

Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the center is cooked. If the middle is still not cooked thoroughly, leave it in the oven for another 5 minutes at a time until it’s done. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with marinara, pizza or spaghetti sauce for dipping.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chicken Parmesan

This recipe is as old as the hills. Some people will scoff at using mayonnaise, but it really helps to keep the chicken moist and tender. This is also a recipe that I think you have to be willing to get a little messy in the kitchen. I've never been able to do the "wet hand, dry hand" method of breading chicken, and believe me, when you've worked in a kitchen frying chicken by the 5 gallon bucket loads... you'll try every method available... So get in there and get your hands dirty! I like to prepare the chicken for the Chicken Parmesan this way, so it stays nice and juicy. 

4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking pan or large casserole dish with oil. In a flat dish, combine bread crumbs, cheese and seasonings. Place mayo on a plate. Coat the breasts with mayonnaise (I actually used my fingers), and then roll in the bread crumb mixture. Bake chicken for 25 minutes or until no longer pink inside.

To assemble and prepare the Parmesan you'll need:

Spaghetti Noodles
32 oz Spaghetti Sauce, make your own or use your favorite store brand
½ t Basil, dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 cups Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded

Cook spaghetti noodles in boiling salted water until done and put in a greased casserole dish. Combined sauce and spices and pour over noodles. Remove chicken from oven and place on top of the noodles and sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of chicken then top with the Parmesan Cheese. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. Serve with a Caesar or Garden Salad and Garlic Bread.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Braised Shanks in the oven

I received some pork shanks a few weeks back from my friend Russell at Sunny Cedars Farm. I cooked two in the crock pot. That way is easy and effortless. Just throw them in and put whatever spices, herbs and stock/wine/water that you want in with it. This time, I tried a braising method in the oven. I put them in the pot and sprinkled them liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I poured in some stock and let them cook away at 350 degrees for several hours. When you can pull the bones out clean, they are good to go!

I drained off the liquid and put it in the refrigerator to chill. I pulled out all the meat from the skin and bones. When the fat and broth separated and chilled, I spooned off 2 tablespoons of fat and put it in my cast iron pan along with 2 tablespoons of flour. I browned the flour in the fat until golden brown, then added the stock. Add more water if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

It literally fell off the bone! Yummy, juicy and tender!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Southern Green Beans and Potatoes

I cook a lot of green beans for my Wednesday night supper crowd at church. After a while I get really tired of the same old, same old. I'm on a VERY tight budget, so I can't get too fancy. But with just a few extras, you can jazz up some boring old sides. I was cooking hams so I borrowed some of the fat and a little meat and used it for seasoning... browning it in a sauce pan.

I sliced up some onions and added minced garlic. I added a stick of butter a little at the time. You need to remember (before you gasp at the butter) that this is enough for 50 people. I also added salt and lots of pepper.

I used small potatoes, peeled cut into small, bite sized pieces and cooked. I added them to the green beans in the buffet pan. Then I stirred in the seasonings and covered them with foil. I let the heat through.

After they cooked for a while, I added a little more butter and pepper. I covered it and let it simmer on top of the stove. From the remarks I received, they were VERY tasty! :-)

You need...

Meat and fat for seasoning... Ham, bacon or fat back

1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 stick of butter
Green Beans

Salt and Pepper to taste

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pork Shanks from Sunny Cedars Farm

I sent my hubby over to our farmer friend, Russell at Sunny Cedar's Farm to pick up the shanks that he had for me! For those that are not familiar with shanks, I'll fill you in...

The pork shank is a cut of meat taken from the lower portion of a ham. Traditionally, the word “ham” is reserved for a pig’s back thighs. The leg region usually comes in three sections, the shank, the hock and the foot. 
Ham is usually a tender, juicy piece of meat, but this isn't always true where the shank is concerned. This cut usually contains a lot of muscle and connective tissue, which can make it somewhat tough when cooked improperly. However, the shanks are less expensive and if cooked right, they can be just as flavorful and juicy as a ham. Slow roasting, braising in a crockpot and simmering are some of the ways to cook this type of meat. As far as pork products go, the shank portion tends to be relatively inexpensive and can be an economical option for many cooks.

Braising is one of the most popular cooking methods. Cooks start out by searing the outside of the meat, usually in a skillet, then putting it in a deep, covered pot with some amount of liquid. Water will work, but stock, broth, or wine can make the dish more interesting. The whole thing is then slow cooked on the stovetop for several hours. A counter top slow cooker appliance, or crockpot, can also be used for this method. This is the way I chose to cook mine...

I put the two shanks in the crockpot very late on Friday night. I poured what was left of a bottle of Palmetto Red Wine over them and added garlic cloves, salt and pepper. I turned it on high and let it cook all night! Do you think they are done? LOL

To finish them off, I made a bbq sauce to top the meat...
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp butter
1 cup ketsup
1/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Texas Pete hot sauce
2 tbsp worchestershire sauce

Saute onion and garlic in butter in a large pan. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer about 10 minutes. Spoon the sauce heavily over the pork shanks. Place the pork in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens and sets, and the shanks are warmed through. (Be careful not to let the sauce burn!)

If you want to get some shanks to try for the first time, or cook with that favorite family recipe, contact my friend Russell at Sunny Cedars Farm!

My plate!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Salmon with a Browned Butter Dill Sauce

Tonight, I wanted Salmon, and no one else here likes salmon! So, I made it special for myself!!! This is Salmon with a Browned Butter, Lemon Dill Sauce.On a funny note... The hubby ate half of my salmon... that he doesn't like! Humph! I guess it was pretty good then! But what do I know?!?! LOL

Browned Butter Dill Sauce

2 Tbsp Butter
1/4 tsp dill weed
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic juice*
Kosher salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper, to taste

*You can substitute a little garlic powder.

Heat a frying pan, sprayed with cooking oil, to medium high heat. Salt both sides of the fish. Place salmon, skin side down, in the hot pan. Do not try to move the fish. It cooks pretty fast. When the skin releases from the pan, it's ready to turn. If you like the skin 'blackened' a little leave it a little longer before turning.

Remove the fish and plate it. De-glaze the frying pan with the lemon juice. Add the butter, dill, garlic. Let the butter brown a bit. (This happens pretty quickly in the hot pan, so watch it closely.) Add salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the sauce over the fish. Enjoy!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Greek Pork Loin with Red Potatoes and Green Beans

I'm used to doing Greek Chicken and potatoes, but I wanted something different. I had a 1/4 of a pork loin left in the freezer so I changed things up a bit. I dusted it very generously with Greek Seasoning and poured lemon juice in the bottom of the pan. I also added potatoes and green beans sprinkled with Greek Seasoning.

Good Dark Crispy Coating on the Loin!

Pork Loin
Cavender's Greek Seasoning
1/2 cup Lemon Juice
6-8 small Red Potatoes
Green Beans

Preheat oven to 400. Place loin in a casserole dish fat side up. Dust pork loin with Cavender's Greek Seasoning very, very generously and pour lemon juice in the bottom of the dish. (not on the loin) Cover and bake for 1 hour so the lemon juice steams into the loin. Then add the potatoes and green beans. Sprinkle with Greek Seasoning and return to the oven (Uncovered) to cook another 1/2 hour or until center reaches 160 degrees and the fat and seasonings forms a dark crispy coating. A great one dish meal! Everything was done at the same time!

I pulled a few chunks off the side of the roast... 
you know that good juicy darker meat?
Oh my Lawd, it's so good!

** You can also add a little butter or margarine to the pan drippings and make a sauce to drizzle over the entire plate. All the flavors compliment each other well!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rooster and Rice

Granddaddy & Grandmama Bradham
Me eating pickles!

When we used to go to Grandmama and Granddaddy Bradham’s for the day, I remember certain things I used to do with each one of them. We had our ‘together times.’ The house was on the Boulevard Road. Granddaddy was famous for having a green thumb. He had a beautiful flower garden, but the thing I remember most was the strawberry patch. On the side of the house was about a six by six recessed section of the house. This made a neat little area for the wild strawberries. Granddaddy and I would go to the patch and pick the strawberries. We would bring them in and wash them. Then we would put them in a bowl sprinkled with sugar to save until they were sweet and juicy.

Grandmama always had a great big jar of baby dill pickles in the refrigerator. We would sit in front of the TV with pickles wrapped in a paper towel. It seems like every time we sat in front of that TV, ‘Hee Haw’ was on... “I’m a pickin’ and I’m a grinin’!” She loved that show. I do, however, remember Granddaddy sitting in his recliner watching wrestling on tv. He would grip the arms of his chair until his knuckles turned blue.

One afternoon I was going to get the strawberries, Grandmama came in and said, “Oh, I know what you want! I’ll get ‘em.” She came in with a paper towel full of pickles. I thanked her. When she left the room, I went and got the strawberries out of the refrigerator. Granddaddy came in a little later to find me sitting in the living room with a pickle in one hand and a strawberry in the other. I remember he closed his eyes and shook, then he said, “Now that’s love!”

Four Generations...
Mama, Me,
Great Granddaddy White & Grandmama Bradham

I can remember watching my Grandmama Bradham go in to the yard and catching a chicken for Sunday Dinner. She would grab the chicken without even looking at it, and with a simple flick of the wrist, it was done. Now, before I receive hate mail, my Grandparents were simple country folk. They raised chickens for food and eggs. We had goose, goat, chicken, pig, squirrel, doves, fish, frog legs and probably a turtle or two. If you can catch it, hunt it, shoot it or gig it, Mama and Grandmama could cook it... and make it delicious!!! I can remember my Granddaddy BBQ-ing a goat and telling me how to clean and skin them before cooking. He said, "You know how an old billy-goat smells? Well, if you let the hair of that goat touch the meat, that's how it will taste!" I think I was about 5 years old at the time. In their house, nothing was wasted. You fried chicken necks and backs with the rest of the bird. That's why, when I buy a chicken cut up, I get the country-style cut so I get the whole bird! Waste not, want not...

My friend Mary, from All Things Food~Cooking with Mary and Friends, and I have been taking some farm tours on our "Farm to Table trips". A few weeks ago, Denise and Tom from Paradise Acres Farm, called Mary to make her an offer. They were culling chickens. Culling is a part of having a profitable farm, though not the most enjoyable task. By culling certain individuals, farmers can make sure that their flocks stay healthy, and that they are not wasting limited resources on an animal that isn’t earning its keep. In this case, it was two roosters. Mary was asked if she wanted the roosters. She accepted the offer and called me to share one with me. They were processed, vacuum sealed and frozen. 

Now you have to understand that a rooster is not like a frying hen. They are a skinny, tough bird. So they are best slow cooked or stewed. I decided to do Chicken and Rice... or in this case, Rooster and Rice!

Water to cover chicken
1 whole chicken (in this case, rooster)
1 large sweet onion; diced

1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon basil
3 cups long grain white rice

In a large stock, pot bring water, chicken, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, to boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for at least an hour.
Remove chicken to cool in order to debone. Let broth continue to simmer and reduce.
When cool enough to handle, debone the chicken.
Measure the broth from pot and put approximately 8 cups broth back into pot along with the rice, chicken. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until rice is done.
Salt and pepper to taste.