Monday, August 31, 2009

Brunswick Stew

My hubby spent most of Saturday afternoon outside with the smoker. Usually, I am in charge of anything that is being cooked ahead to go in the freezer, but that was his job this weekend. He smoked pork and a couple of chickens.

Pulled pork sandwich, cole slaw and Brunswick Stew....

I have seen a lot of recipes for Brunswick stew that call for things like lima beans and potatoes. That is not what I call Brunswick stew. Maybe mine is the Redneck version from Georgia, but it's close to the way I remember it from Uncle Jerry's back yard barbecues.


1 cup chopped onion
4 cups shredded smoked meat (pork, chicken or a combination of both)
1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
2 (15 ounce) cans chicken broth
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (vinegar based, hot)

In a large pot, sauté onion in a little oil until softened. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about an hour.

Yield: 8 large servings

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Icy Lemon Ginger Cocktails

This is one of the tastiest frozen drinks I've had in a long time. It takes a little planning ahead and a little extra effort, but it is really worth it.

Originally, a recipe from Tyler Florence, but I found it here:


4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
finely grated zest of one lemon
1 cup fresh lemon juice
8 cups crushed ice
2 cups vodka

In a small saucepan, combine the ginger with the water and sugar and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, then let the ginger syrup cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and puree. Strain the syrup into a shallow glass dish (about 9 x 9 square). Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Cover and freeze the lemon-ginger syrup until firm, about 4 hours.

Let the frozen lemon-ginger mixture stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Chop the mixture into large pieces. Put half the pieces in a blender. Add 4 cups crushed ice and 1 cup vodka. Blend until slushy. Serve. Repeat with remaining mixture.

Yield: Makes about 6 drinks if you use tall glasses.

Note: The lemon-ginger mixture can be frozen for up to 1 week.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Apple Carrot Muffins

A nice breakfast treat... May not be healthy overall, but it has some healthy components!

Raisin bran cereal, apples, carrots, yogurt...


1 3/4 cup raisin bran cereal
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup grated Granny Smith apple (about 1 apple)
3/4 cup grated carrots (handful of baby carrots)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Line a muffin pan with paper muffin cups and coat with vegetable oil cooking spray; set aside. Combine cereal and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl; set aside. Whisk the egg, buttermilk and oil in a small bowl until combined well. Stir into cereal mixture just until moistened. Fold in apple, carrot and walnuts. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 23 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Yield: 12 muffins

Variation: Use miniature muffin pans. Bake for 12 minutes. Yields 30 mini-muffins.
Naturally, I made some substitutions: I used a Gala apple and pecans. Also, I did not have buttermilk on hand (who does?) nor did I have plain yogurt. I used a Weight Watchers amaretto cheesecake flavored yogurt, worked just fine!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chicken Amaretto

I've had this recipe in my collection of 'untried' recipes for at least five years. I don't know why I haven't tried it until now. I think I just didn't want to buy a can of frozen orange juice concentrate and use only part of it. Don't worry, I won't waste it, I'll use the rest for something.

The original recipe was found on, I have adjusted the recipe to serve just two.


1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
1/8 cup water
1/3 cup Amaretto liqueur

In a shallow dish, combine first five ingredients (all dry ingredients). Coat the chicken breasts in the flour mixture. Sauté the chicken in oil on medium-high heat until golden brown (chicken does not have to be completely done here, will finish cooking in oven). Transfer chicken to a greased casserole dish.

In a small bowl, combine mustard, juice concentrate, water and Amaretto.

In the same skillet used for the chicken, melt butter. Pour in Amaretto mixture; stir constantly until liquid is reduced some. Pour the sauce over chicken. Cover casserole dish with lid or aluminum foil.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Yield: 2 servings

Oh, I didn't use paprika (didn't have any). I bet the chicken would be a nicer color with the paprika.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin

I put the hubby to work at the grill this weekend. He did an excellent job cooking pork tenderloins.

It was so very yummy!

I found this recipe on another cooking/recipe blog that I frequent,, written by a naughty girl named Donna. You'll see what I mean if you visit her blog. And you should visit her blog, great recipes and great reading entertainment.

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch garlic powder
2 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins

Place first 7 ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Place pork in a re-sealable gallon size plastic bag. Pour in the marinade, seal the bag and squeeze a bit to coat the pork. Refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours.

Pre-heat the grill to high heat. Lightly oil the grate. Place tenderloins on grill and discard marinade. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes to desired degree of doneness. Remove from grill and let rest for a couple of minutes. Slice into medallions to serve.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Veggie Pizza

This is my favorite pizza to make at home. It's very filling with so many veggies.

See how many veggies... Don't cook them until their mushy, you want a little crispness.

This is how much sauce I like, kind of a thin coating. If you like more, good news, the recipe makes twice as much sauce as you see here.

A little cheese on the bottom and then pile up all the veggies.

Skipped a few steps.... And it's out of the oven!

And it's on my plate! I think I've gotten all my veggie servings for the day.


1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (basil, garlic, oregano variety)
1/3 cup sundried tomato pesto (like Classico brand)
1 pre-made pizza crust (like Boboli 100% whole wheat thin crust)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sliced onion
1/2 cup sliced green bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small zucchini, sliced
salt and pepper
1 Roma tomato, sliced
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 shredded Parmesan

Mix tomato sauce and pesto together in a small bowl. Spread half of sauce on pizza crust. Save the other half of sauce for a second pizza or freeze for use at a later date.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add onions and bell peppers first and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and zucchini; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

Add about half of the mozzarella cheese to the sauce covered pizza crust. Place all of the vegetables on top of that. Add the rest of the mozzarella and then the tomato slices. Sprinkle Parmesan on top of tomatoes.

Place the pizza directly on the pre-heated oven rack. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. (This is longer than the Boboli instructions, with so much topping, you need more time for the center to heat through.)

Friday, August 21, 2009


Maybe I'll cook something good this weekend to show you...

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Smokehouse Quesadillas

Years ago, Chili's restaurant had Smokehouse Quesadillas on their menu. It was one of my favorite things to order there. When I found out this wasn't on the menu anymore, I came up with my own version.

This can be served as an entree for 2 or 3 people, an appetizer for about 6.


2 tablespoons margarine
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1/2 pound thinly sliced smoked turkey
sweet and smoky barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons margarine, melted

Melt 2 tablespoons margarine in pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.

Brush one side of 2 tortillas with melted margarine. Place buttered side down on an extra large baking sheet. Spread each tortilla with a thin layer of barbecue sauce. Sprinkle each tortilla with about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Add onion and top with turkey. Add another layer of cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, pressing firmly. Brush tops of tortillas with melted margarine.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once halfway through. Cut each tortilla into 6 or 8 triangles and serve hot.
Note: You can use any kind of smoked turkey. I generally use smoked turkey from the deli shaved really thin so it's falling apart. It works just as well to use smoked turkey lunchmeat slices.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Blue Cheese Wedge Salad

I think I started a trend!

Just kidding.

I made this salad about two weeks ago and just two days ago saw that Outback Steakhouse is serving a wedge salad now. In addition to the lettuce, blue cheese dressing and tomatoes, they add red onion slices and bacon. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Do you really need a recipe?

Be sure to use a chunky blue cheese dressing. Yum!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Product of the Day - Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Just sharing a product recommendation today...

I like to mix it in pasta, especially orzo.

I mix it about half and half with canned tomato sauce to make pizza sauce. I also mix it in with the ground beef mixture for stuffed bell peppers.

Right now, I'm thinking that I should try it in a pasta salad. This same brand makes a regular basil pesto, too. I normally use that in pasta salad.

Have a good week!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cuban Black Beans

My version of 'Cuban', of course. Shortcuts included.


1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup bacon pieces (like Hormel, the ones that come in a pouch)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (14 ounce) can black beans (drain slightly leaving a little liquid)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Heat oil in a small saucepan. Add onion, bacon pieces and garlic. Sauté until bacon is crispy and onions are tender and browned. Add black beans, cumin and oregano to pot. Cook long enough to heat through. Remove from heat and add red wine vinegar.

Yield: 2 servings

The red wine vinegar really makes a difference. If you don't have it, try apple cider vinegar, some of the recipes I have seen use that.

By the way, shrimp and scallops in the photo were marinated in a liquid Jerk seasoning and grilled in a grill basket.

Spaghetti Sauce

My 'American' spaghetti sauce is pretty average. I like meat, onions, bell pepper and mushrooms in it. I use pasta sauce from a jar, whichever kind is on sale. (Publix has some brand of pasta sauce on sale [buy one get one free] about every other week).

The real purpose of this post is to remind you to make a batch of your own spaghetti sauce and freeze it. You'll be glad you did on that night you really don't feel like cooking.

Here's my recipe anyway, just in case you need one.


1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green bell pepper
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (24 ounce) jars pasta sauce
1 (8 ounce) package sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced

Place ground beef or turkey, onion and bell pepper in a large skillet. Brown the meat mixture; then drain and rinse with hot water. Move meat mixture to a larger pot. Add all other ingredients. Simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve over vermicelli or angel hair pasta.

Yield: at least 6 servings

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sweet Potato Mash

Okay. So, the picture is not so enticing. But if you like sweet potatoes, you will like this.


3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 cup golden raisins

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain. Return to pot and add brown sugar, orange juice and ginger. Mash until smooth. Stir in raisins.
That's it. Done.
You know there's a shortcut: I used Gourmet Garden ginger. It comes already grated, in a tube, refrigerated, in the produce department.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Swedish Meatballs

What makes them Swedish? I have no idea and a google search did not yield a good answer either.

What makes them 'Swedish' to me? I grew up having these and calling them 'Swedish'. Nutmeg in the meatballs is what makes them different than any other meatball.

I prefer them served over egg noodles, but forgot to buy those, so I used bowties.


1 pound ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
black pepper

In a large bowl, combine meat and next 4 ingredients; mix well. Shape into 20 or 30 meatballs depending on size you like. In a large skillet, cook meatballs in butter over medium heat for about 10 minutes; turning meatballs often to brown all sides. When meatballs are cooked throughout, remove them from skillet reserving 1 tablespoon of drippings. Drain the meatballs on paper towels. Stir soup, sour cream, milk and pepper to taste into the drippings. Cook and stir until thickened. Return meatballs to pan and heat through. Serve over egg noodles.

Yield: about 4 servings

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bean and Ham Soup

Here's another soup you can make ahead and freeze for use at a later date. This one also comes together pretty quick so it's good for a weeknight meal, too.

I buy Cumberland Gap ham steaks for this. They come two in a package and are very lean and boneless. I get them at Publix. The recipe calls for 2 cups of diced ham. I use both ham steaks in the package (about 3/4 lb.), I think that's more like 3 cups of ham.

The recipe makes just four servings, so go ahead and double the recipe if you want.

Cooking it...

Preparing to freeze it...

You can see that it makes a rather thick soup. You can add some water or more chicken broth if you want it a little soupier.

3 (15 ounce) can Great Northern Beans
1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup diced onion
2 cups diced cooked ham
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Rinse and drain beans. Process one can of beans and half of chicken broth in a food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and ham; cook and stir until onions are tender and ham is lightly browned. Add bean puree, remaining beans and remaining chicken broth. Add some water here if needed for soupier consistency. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in pepper.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Watermelon Mojitos

We were watching the Food Network yesterday morning. Sunny Anderson (Cooking for Real) was making Watermelon Mojitos. Her recipe looked great, but you know I like a shortcut when it's possible. Instead of fresh lime juice and mint leaves I decided to use a Mojito mix that I already had on hand. By the way, the picture is the actual drinks I made (without any color enhancement!).


5 cups watermelon juice (about half of a medium size watermelon??)
2 cups mojito mixer (Rose’s traditional flavor)
1 1/2 cups white rum
lemon-lime soda

To get the watermelon juice: Puree fresh watermelon cubes in a blender in batches. Pour through a strainer to remove pulp (there won’t be much pulp to remove).

Mix watermelon juice, mojito mixer and rum in a pitcher. Pour into glasses over ice and top with lemon-lime soda.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Friday, August 7, 2009

Cheddar Bacon Chicken

Everthing is better with bacon and cheese, right?


4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 cup Hormel real bacon pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook on both sides until done. Place chicken on a baking sheet and top with barbecue sauce, tomatoes, bacon pieces and cheese, in that order.

Place in oven and broil just long enough for cheese to melt.

Like I've said before, sometimes the measurements aren't really necessary, just put however much of the stuff you want on there!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Quick! Make this while the blueberries are still in season and on sale!


1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups blueberries

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Cream together butter, sugar and egg until fluffy. To the creamed mixture, add alternately about a third of the dry ingredients and a third of the milk. Continue adding and mixing until mixture is combined. Batter will be very thick. Gently fold in blueberries.
Grease and flour a 9 inch square or 10 inch round pan. Pour batter into the pan and spread out evenly. Combine and mix the topping ingredients until crumbly. Spread over blueberry mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 - 45 minutes. Serve warm.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shrimp and Grits


3 cups water
1 cup quick grits
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 cup thinly sliced green onion
1 large clove garlic, minced

Cook grits according to package directions. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese.

Meanwhile, rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until crispy; drain bacon on paper towels and then chop. Remove some bacon grease, if needed, to leave just about one tablespoon in pan. Add shrimp to pan. Cook until shrimp start to turn pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, green onion and garlic. Saute for about 3 minutes until shrimp are completely done.

Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Top with shrimp mixture.

Yield: 4 servings

Unfortunately, I had some fatty bacon that did not want to get crispy. It looks more like pieces of ham in the picture. You could do some shortcuts with the bacon, like Hormel bacon pieces or microwave the bacon, but the shrimp cooked in bacon grease is really yummy!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

White Sangria

Doesn't that look tasty and refreshing? It was!


1 nectarine, pitted and sliced
8 strawberries, sliced or halved
20 grapes, halved
1 cup diced pineapple
1 bottle white wine
1/2 (2 liter) bottle Fresca

Mix all fruits and wine in a glass pitcher. Refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.

Add Fresca to wine and stir gently. Serve in glasses over ice.

I used Chardonnay, but I think any white wine would work. And don't actually count the grapes and strawberries. I just wanted to give you an idea of how many I used, it's flexible.

Recipe idea courtesy of

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Polynesian Flank Steak and more...

We had a great dinner last night. For some reason I am really proud of this one, everything seemed to go together really well. Also proud because it was an experiment with meat I've never used before and it turned out really good. Of course, the hubby did his fair share being in charge of the grilling.

Polynesian Flank Steak, Grilled Onion Blossoms, Baked Asparagus and White Sangria (coming up in next post)

Here's one of the Grilled Onion Blossoms just off the grill.


2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon beef base (Better than Bouillon)
2 Vidalia onions

Prepare 2 squares of heavy duty aluminum foil big enough to wrap around the onions with a little extra at the top. Spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Mix together melted butter, mustard, brown sugar and beef base. Set aside.

Peel and cut ends off onions. Cut into eighths without cutting all the way through, you want the onion to hold together. Gently pull onion pieces away from center without breaking them off. You want the liquid to go down in between onion pieces.

Place onion on top of foil square bringing foil partially up around the onion. Pour half of liquid mixture on top of each onion. Bring the foil the rest of the way up and squeeze together at the top leaving a little room for steam. Each one should look like a Hershey’s kiss.

Place on grill and cook for approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Be careful of escaping steam when removing foil.


1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Shake asparagus and olive oil in a plastic bag until asparagus is coated. Lay asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.


1/3 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound flank steak

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag; add steak to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 3 to 6 hours, turning once.

Prepare grill.

Remove steak from bag, reserving marinade. Place steak on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 15 to 20 minutes or until desired degree of doneness, turning and basting frequently with the reserved marinade. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting diagonally across the grain into thin slices.