Saturday, November 20, 2010

Grandma Mae's Strawberry Fig Preserves

You will hear me talk about my grandmother more than once.  She was one of the most incredible women I have known in my life.  I adored her.  I spent summers with her.

She let me have free access to her the age of 10, 12, 15, whenever I was there to visit.

She canned...a LOT!  She made the best jams I have ever consumed.

Even in college, I begged for a few jars of whatever she recently put in jars.  It was gold.  It was wonderful.

I just wish she was here now so that I could get her to make this jam for me.  I miss her. 

3 cups fresh figs, peeled and mashed
2 3-ounce boxes of strawberry jello
3 cups sugar

Mix all ingredients and bring to boil over medium heat.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Put into prepared canning jars and seal.  Check your Mason/Ball jars for appropriate canning methods if you are unfamiliar.  I will post some canning techniques at some point in the future.

This is my most favorite jam ever in the entire world!  Enjoy.

Strawberry Salad

This is my mom's recipe which she handed to me on a pink sticky note years ago, which I still have.  The recipe AND the sticky note.  :)  As a kid, I did not like this recipe.  Don't know why.  Just didn't.  I think it was the thought of cottage cheese, which I despised.  However as an adult, I really enjoy this simple summer concoction and wonder why I never ate it, nor would I try it, as a kid.

24oz.  cottage cheese
1 small strawberry jello packet
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
1 pint strawberries, chopped
8 oz. coolwhip

Mix all ingredients, place in your favorite clear serving dish (because it is so pretty).  Refrigerate overnight.

This is the perfect summer "salad" to bring to a brunch, baby/bridal shower or outdoor holiday.  It is usually a HUGE hit with the kids.....just not me when I was a kid.  Go figure!

Teriyaki Marinade

In need of a quick dinner for the kids?  Put on your rice to cook.  Steam a veggie then saute the chicken right before serving.  It's a 30 minute meal and one that the kids will love!

1 cup soy sauce (you can use low sodium variety if desired)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tblsp fresh grated ginger (or ground if that's what you've got)
1/2 tbsp minced garlic

Heat in a saucepan until it comes to a slow rolling boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Pour over your favorite cooked meat.  Or allow to cool and use as a cold marinade for meats.

French Dressing

This recipe is from the archive's of my father's recipe file box.  I love handwritten recipes, they mean so much.

2 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp dry mustard
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tblsp grated/minced onion
2 tsp celery seed
2 cups canola oil

Mix all ingredients, warm slightly in the microwave and beat til thick.

Refrigerate.  Use within 2 weeks.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Blog....

Yes, there is a new blog in town.

I know, how many more blogs can there be?

At least one more, I say!

This blog is going to be an edible living legacy to my kids.  I will "attempt" to post all the recipes I make that my family loves.....and there are hundreds of them.

It's gonna take a while to get them all posted.......anyone got any extra time on your hands and want to help?  Just kidding.

Actually, when I post each recipe, most will come with a story of the date I first made it, who was there, if it was good or not, if I changed the original around or if it was my own original.  Coming soon, there will also be steps. 

I hope some day my kids, as they go off to college, will be able to access these archives and remember all the great times we shared around the dinner table and want to prepare some of these meals for their own families.

In the meantime, as I slowly add to the categories, I thank you for stopping by to share in our family meal time history.  If you try a recipe and love it, please share your feedback.  If you hate it, keep quite......just really, let me know what you loved and didn't.  I might like your way better!

I have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season and you can bet that once again, those things we are thankful for will be shared.........around my dining room table!

Happy Thanksgiving.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Basil Scented Chicken Salad

A fabulous spring salad from Southern Living Easy Weeknight Favorites Cookbook!  I make this recipe when I have to bring a brunch dish to a spring event.  Serve with buttery croissants and some fresh grapes. 
It always gets rave reviews and is one of my favs!

½ cup Mayo                                          
2 tblsp lemon juice      
½ tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning                         
¼ tsp. hot sauce      
1 tblsp Dijon mustard                     
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
½ cup chopped celery
¼ cup shredded fresh basil                     
¼ cup chopped green onions
6 cups torn or shredded  spinach                                               
1 tblsp pine nuts or pecan pieces, toasted

Combine 1st 5 ingredients, stirring well.  Add chicken and next 3 ingredients, toss gently.  Place spinach on individual serving plates, top with chicken mixture.  Sprinkle with nuts.  Yield: 3 servings.

Mae McKinnon’s Crisp Cucumber Pickles

Her handwritten recipe, circa late 1980's
Everyone, including those who don't particularly like pickles, always rave about these perfect pickles.  This recipe is handed down from one of the most amazing women to have ever walked this earth.  You simply must try's a must I tell you!

Slice 7lbs cucumbers.  Soak in 2 cups lime and 2 gallons of water for 24 hours.
  Wash good and soak in ice water 2 or 3 hours.
Mix together:
2 quarts vinegar (white preferred)
4 ½ lbs sugar
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp pickling spice
1 tsp mace
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 stick cinnamon (chopped)
1 tblsp salt

Bring to boil and cook until sugar is dissolved. 

Pour ice water off and drain well.

Pour boiling mixture over cucumbers

– Let stand overnight and then cook next morning for 35 minutes.

Put into jars and seal.

My darling daughter placing the seals atop each jar.

**** I realize that this recipe is a little vague but it is posted exactly as my grandmother wrote it down on paper however; I do remember my mom and grandma using large coolers to do the mixing and soaking in.  If you need assistance with how to seal jars, refer to the mason box when you purchase the glass jars and lids, the info is there.
Pickles completed!  Now share with those you love!


The title says Filet Mignon Chili, however if you are like me and on a budget, you can never afford worries......use whatever cut of beef you have.  Don't want to use 5lbs of ground sirloin?  Mix the ground sirloin with ground pork and/or turkey.   It's all good, don't be afraid to change it up a bit!
  1. Heat up ½ cup of the butter in a large sauce pot over medium high heat until very hot.
  2. Add diced filet and cook until seared and browned around the edges.
  3. Add ground beef and cook until all of the beef is browned thoroughly.
  4. Remove the meat and set aside, draining off ¾ of the fat (leave the rest of the fat in the pot).
  5. Add the diced onions and chile pepper to the pot and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the meat back to the pot.
  7. Add the Guinness and let boil for 1 minute.
  8. Add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute.
  9. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and the beef stock and stir thoroughly.
  10. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and add both of the beans, the chili powder, cumin, salt, white pepper and brown sugar.
  11. Let the chili simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  12. Finish by stirring in ½ cup more of the butter and the shredded cheddar cheese.
  13. Garnish or serve with any of the following: sour cream, diced red onions and pepper, shredded cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, fresh chopped cilantro or my son’s favorite add-in honey, yes, you heard that right, honey.
Enjoy.  Serves 12-15
You can brown all your meats and put this in a very LARGE crockpot or 2 smaller ones and let it cook on low all day.  Serve the next day, it’s always better.  It also freezes well.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Paul Prudhomme's Jambalaya

Seasoning Mix:
2 whole bay leaves
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 ½ tsp dried oregano leaves
1 ¼ tsp white pepper
1 tsp black pepper
¾ tsp dried thyme leaves

2 ½ tblsp chicken fat or pork fat (I used olive oil or safflower oil instead)
2/3 cup chopped Tasso or other smoked ham
½ cup chopped andouille sausage (or other good smoked sausage)
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 cup celery
¾ cup chopped green bell peppers (I have been known to add a jalapeno or other fun spicy pepper to kick it up as well – depends on who’s coming to dinner, wink!)
½ cup chicken, cut into bite size pieces
1 ½ tsp minced garlic (I add more because I love garlic and it really enhances the dish!)
4 medium size tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I use 1 14 oz can of the Hunt’s diced tomatoes with green peppers, onion and garlic or celery – whatever you can find)
¾ cup canned tomato sauce
2 cups Basic Seafood Stock (again, I use my leftover shrimp shells to make a broth and substitute chicken broth for any additional stock that is needed, always turns out divine)
2 cups uncooked long grain
1 ½ dozen (or more, J) medium shrimp
1 ½ dozen oysters in their liquor (I have never added these although I am sure they would be great in it)

Sidebar: When I am cooking for a crowd, I just adjust the recipe as I see fit.  I might add more broth and more rice and a few more shrimp and seasonings to taste.  This is a recipe that you can play with until your heart is content, it will never turn out bad!!!

Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.

In a 4 quart saucepan, melt the fat (or oil) over medium heat.  Add the Tasso and andouille sausage and sauté until crisp, about 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently.   

Add the Trinity – the onions, celery and peppers; sauté until tender but firm, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping bottom of pan as well.   

Add the chicken.  Raise heat to high and cook 1 minute stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to medium.   

Add the seasoning mix and minced garlic, cook about 3 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pan as needed.   

Add the tomatoes and cook until chicken is tender, about 5-8 minutes.  

Add the tomato sauce; cook about 7 minutes stirring often.   

Stir in the stock and bring to a boil.  

Add the rice, shrimp and oysters, stir well.   

At this point the recipe calls for you to transfer it to an oven safe pan and bake for 30 minutes however, I have always just put the lid on the pan, reduced the heat, set the timer for 20 minutes (without lifting the lid at all) and let it cook.  After 20 minutes, lift the lid, stir and determine if more cooking time is needed.  If so, return the lid until done.  If it is ready, plate it and dig in!!

Tortilla Soup

2 skinned and boned chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
2 cans Mexicorn
1 can white whole kernel corn
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 cans chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes (I use the flavored kind)
1 can Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies, undrained
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
4-5 tortillas (any flavor)
Garnish: (optional) fresh chopped cilantro, chopped red onion, chopped tomato, sour cream, cheese and tortilla crunchies!

Combine ALL ingredients minus tortillas and garnishes into large dutch oven, bring to a boil and simmer over med heat for 30-45 min.  Combine ½ cup milk and 2 tbsp. cornstarch, bring soup back to a boil and pour in corn starch mixture and boil until desired thickness is reached.  Soup is then ready to serve!

Optional: Place all ingredients in crock pot and cook on HIGH heat for 6 hours.  Add cornstarch mixture when ready to serve.

Cut tortillas into ¼ in wide strips, place on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 375° for 5 minutes.  Stir strips and bake for 5-7 more minutes until crisp.  Serve with soup and garnish as desired.  Yields about 10 cups.

The BEST Coconut Cake EVER!

1 box Yellow Cake Mix
1 can Cream of Coconut well shaken (found in the liquor mixer section of the grocery aisles)
1 can sweetened condensed milk **
1 large container of Extra Creamy Cool Whip
And of course Coconut!

Bake cake according to directions on box for a 9x13 cake.   Mix the cream of coconut and condensed milk together, set aside. 

Immediately after the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes throughout the entire cake with a large tined salad fork, chop stick or something comparable (this is important to the absorption process of the liquids. However, do not mutilate the cake). 

Pour the liquid mixture over the cake.  It will look like you have too much liquid on the cake but I promise, you won’t!  Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight or until completely cold. 

Once cold spread a small amount of coconut over the cake, cover with Cool Whip and then top again with a thick layer of coconut.  You’re done!  Serve cold.

Keep in the refrigerator for best consistency. 

**You can substitute whipping cream for condensed milk if needed.

Shay's Corn Casserole

This is the PERFECT compliment to any Thanksgiving table.  It's is the easiest recipe ever.  How can it not be good with 2 sticks of butter AND sour cream......oh my!  Just be sure to wear the stretchy pants to the dinner table, you'll need them.  :)

Preheat oven to 375◦.

2 cans whole kernel corn (about 1/2 way drained - each can)
2 cans cream corn
2 boxes Jiffy Cornmeal Mix
1 16 oz. container Sour Cream (fat free works well in the recipe also)
2 sticks butter (for those faint of heart, you can use 1 stick and it will still be just as delicious!)

Place butter sticks in 9x13 baking dish and melt in preheated oven.  Mix all other ingredients together thoroughly and pour into baking dish with melted butter, do NOT stir.  The butter will rise around the corn mixture; this gives it the rich edges during baking!! 

Bake for 1 hour and 45-50 minutes or until firm and golden brown on top.  If it starts to brown too much, cover with foil until done.  You can cut this recipe in half for a small family but I have found that it is better the 2nd day re-heated and half the recipe doesn’t leave enough to enjoy the next day!!

Apple Enchiladas - SO EASY!

1 21 oz. Can Apple Pie Fruit Filling
6 8 in Tortillas
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/3 cup Butter
½ cup Sugar
½ cup Firmly Pack Brown Sugar
½ Cup Water

1.       Spoon fruit filling evenly down center of each tortilla; sprinkle evenly with cinnamon.  Roll up, place seam side down in a lightly buttered 2 qt. Baking dish.
2.       Bring butter  and next 3 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan; reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.  Pour sauce over enchiladas; let stand for 30 minutes.
3.       Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
4.       Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Maple Sausage Breakfast Casserole

  • 1 bag Country Style Hash Brown Potatoes (12-16 Ounce Bag)
  • ¼ cups Chopped Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Parsley
  • 1 pound Jimmy Dean Maple Sausage (in The Roll)
  • 8 whole Eggs, Scrambled
  • ¼ cups Butter
  • ½ cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt, Optional
  • ¼ teaspoons Pepper
  • 1-½ cup Milk
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 cup Shredded Cheese (I Use Sharp Cheddar/Monterrey Jack Combo)
  • ½ cups Shredded Cheese (for Topping)

Heat oven to 350F. Everything will get layered into a greased/buttered 9×13 baking dish. I just layer each item after it has completed cooking.

Cook hashbrowns according to package directions and drain grease. Stir in onion and parsley and cook for a few additional minutes until the onion is translucent. Place in the baking dish.

While the hashbrowns are cooking, brown the maple sausage, drain. Place in the baking dish on top of the potatoes. Prepare scrambled eggs and set aside. Do NOT place in the baking dish yet.

Melt butter in a medium size saucepan. Add flour, salt and pepper. Add milk and cook until the sauce thickens – cook on medium temperature. Stir in sour cream and 1 cup of grated cheese and remove from heat.

In your baking dish that has the hashbrowns and maple sausage, pour 1/2 of the sauce over the mixture. Cover that layer with scrambled eggs then pour remaining sauce over the top. At this point, I will take a spoon and make sure that the sauce is spread around and covering everything in the pan and in between the cracks. I just like the yummy goodness to get everywhere.

Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese and additional parsley if desired.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

****I always double this recipe, still baking it in the same 9×13 pan. Also, all ingredients are previously cooked, so the baking process is to bind everything together and heat it through.

Put this dish together the night before and refrigerate. Let it come to room temperature on the counter while the oven is heating in the morning, bake as directed and have a completely stress free breakfast ready for friends and family.