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Showing posts from January, 2010

Mom's Shrimp-stuffed Mushrooms

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I have had my fair share of stuffed mushrooms and these are some of the best! There is no party food quite like stuffed mushrooms. Even those who aren’t mushroom aficionados are surprised how good they are when they try a stuffed mushroom cap at a party. They are always a huge hit at parties and with the Super Bowl being a week from today, they would be just perfect. 



This is another of Mom’s great recipes.  Mushrooms were one of her favorite foods, right up there with strawberries and we were served mushrooms of different versions often.  These mushroom caps are stuffed with a heavenly mixture of shrimp and cheese, and then baked until they are a sizzling, golden color.  They are easy to make too!
Shrimp-stuffed Mushrooms are a great tasty morsel that would be perfect for almost any occasion.  OK, maybe not breakfast, but they would fill the bill at brunch, as an appetizer before a formal dinner or a cook-out in your back yard.  I bet you won’t be able to eat just one!


Shrimp-stuffed…

Mom’s Scrambled Grits

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You know how to tell a Yankee down South? 

He’s the one at breakfast staring at the grits on his plate along side the bacon and eggs and trying not to gag. 



Grits is considered standard fare down South and you get it whether you order it or not. Northerners just don’t “get” grits. It goes together with breakfast like peanut butter goes with jelly or cookies go with milk.



I can eat them plain, with just a little butter and salt and pepper; however, there is a little more with this recipe.  This is Mom’s recipe for Scrambled Grits.  It’s very plain and simple, just another good “comfort food” dish! 


Mom’s Scrambled Grits
Ingredients:
2½ cups cold, cooked stone-ground grits* 2 eggs, beaten
Bacon drippings
Method:
Place grits in medium bowl, break into pieces with fork. Gently stir in eggs. Melt enough bacon drippings to cover bottom of skillet. Spread grits mixture evenly in skillet.
Cook until brown on bottom and is consistency of scrambled eggs. Place in a bowl and serve.


Yum! 


Nippy Bourbon Smokies

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It is winter and that means it’s almost time for the main event:  The Big Game!  It does not make any difference if you’re a die-hard football fan or just want to check out all the pricey commercials, food is the big attraction also.   With the Super Bowl parties being just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about some great appetizers to go with the big event. 
These bourbon smokies are sure to be as big a hit as the game itself.  When I take them to a party, they are one of the fastest going appetizers.  It is the combination of the brown sugar and bourbon that gives the smokies all the flavor.  Actually, you could make meatballs with the sauce and have the same results. 
The great thing is that they are quick and easy to make.  I add just a splash more of bourbon than is in the recipe and at the party; the aroma leads everyone right to the dish.  Serve them with colorful toothpicks and let the game begin! 
Nippy Bourbon Smokies
Ingredients:
1 large package of Little Smok…

Tangy Cube Steak

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How about a satisfying, enticing entrée for your family’s dinner tonight?  Cube steaks are a great change of pace and the price is right for families in the present economy with sales of cube steak being up 10%, making it one of the hottest cuts of beef in the country right now. 
I just really love them and was happy when Mom cooked them as I was growing up; a fast good dinner.  Years later, I sautéed them in a little butter or olive oil, added some salt and pepper and dinner was ready. It is kind of like hamburger that is kicked up a notch.  But, the great news is that I have got a delightful amazing ingredient that will put some zing into your cube steak.  It will not be just any ordinary cube steak for you and your family!
Remember when I told you about the delicious Meijer’s Gold Garlic Parmesan Spread on January 18th?  There are close to 100 products in the Meijer Gold line and all of the products have a distinctive story to tell regarding origin, such as the cream pasta sauces th…

Blueberry-Banana Muffins, the Low-Fat, Low-Sugar Way

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Ummm, love freshly baked muffins and I am always on the quest for a great low-fat, low-sugar muffin.  These muffins are some of the best I’ve found.  They have less than 1 gram of fat and less than 9 grams of sugar with 20 grams of carbohydrates at 94 calories each.  

The muffins are even better the next day as the addition of the fruit makes them bake up very moist and light.  This is a great way to use up over-ripe bananas.  

Make them with the combination of fruits that you like, chopped strawberries would work well also.  This recipe could be made even healthier by using whole wheat flour and as the fruit makes them quite sweet, you may not want to add as much Splenda. 

Dispensing with the paper liners and spraying with a no-stick cooking spray would make them not quite as moist and add a crispier edging to them, if that is to your liking.  If you want to bake more of these muffins at one time, do not double the recipe; make them in 2 separate batches.   

For low-fat, low-sugar muff…

Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower

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Whenever I ask Bill what vegetable he would like for dinner, I really know without asking what the answer will be ~ cauliflower!  He loves it and for that matter, I do also.
Have you ever tried roasting your cauliflower?  I generally steam it but, it makes perfect sense to roast it.  First of all, it’s easy.  Second, it is nutritionally good and not calorie laden.  Third, it is delicious; almost addictive.  This recipe is delectable with the rich, nutty flavor of the Parmesan complementing the cauliflower beautifully. 
Thanks to cooking the cauliflower in a very hot oven, the florets are not at all mushy.  But, before putting it in the oven, it is necessary to stir the ingredients thoroughly, covering the cauliflower with the olive oil and seasonings well. By slicing the florets before roasting, it creates more of a flat surface to aid them in caramelizing and turning a golden brown.  Simply delicious!





Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower

Ingredients:
1 large head fresh cauliflower or frozen and…

Fudgy Brownies

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Here is how to please that chocolate lover in your house! 
This recipe is from Carolyn, a friend in Louisville who I worked with years ago.  The brownies are unbelievably good!  They are thick and decadent; worth every single calorie and after hearing about the recipe you will know why.    And to make them even more decadent, she was known to slather fudge frosting over the top!
The hardest part about baking brownies is waiting for them to cool before cutting.  The smell will be amazing and it will take all of your will power not to slice into them.  They will crumble to pieces if cut warm, so you must wait until they are fairly cool to get a nice brownie square.
These brownies are fast, easy and great for whoever needs a chocolate fix.  They’re just too good to not share with you...

Rich and chocolaty to the max!
Fudgy Brownies
Ingredients:
2 sticks butter 2 cups sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla 4 eggs 4 – 1 ounce squares unsweetened dark chocolate, melted 1 cup sifted flour 1 cup pecans or walnuts, c…

Home-made Cheese Straws

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If you are a big fan of cheese like I am, you will love these cheese straws!  Should you have some leftover hard cheese in your refrigerator, this is a great way to put that cheese to good use.  

I like sharp cheddar or Parmesan myself but, it really does not matter what type of cheese you use; any variety works well.  You can make them for a fraction of the price of store-bought, which are usually stale or have broken into pieces by the time you get them home. 
This is an easy recipe that young and old alike will savor.  The buttery dough filled with cheese and red pepper comes together easily with several methods of finishing them.  

Some cooks pipe the cheese straws from a pastry bag, some use a cookie press with the star or serrated ribbon disc and still others roll the dough out and cut it into strips.  Then, just pop them in the oven!  They can be stored in an airtight container; actually, they improve in flavor when they are made the day before being served.  Cheese straws can al…

Bubba’s Citrus Tilapia

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Catch from his first fishing trip, 1975

Bubba's all grown up now, but when he has the appetite for a light seafood dinner, he turns to tilapia.  It is the perfect fish that you can dress up or down, depending upon your taste buds and the occasion. It can even convert that non-seafood lover you know. 
Tilapia recipes vary from spicy to mild; remember, he loves spicy and hot as in his chili (see Nov. 21st post) and enchilada (see Jan. 12th post) dishes.  This one falls close to the middle.  It is a hugely popular fish and due to its mildness, it needs extra help.  Bubb is a lover of seafood and fish and he knew just how to help this tilapia out with a wonderful citrus flavor combining orange juice with lemon and a little added tang with the ginger.  If you like more of a kick, add a little more ginger and garlic. 
Tilapia is very adaptable and any number of combinations works with it; base it on what is on your cabinet shelf and in the refrigerator, even adding chopped pecans for a …

Cuban-Style Picadillo

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Have you ever eaten Cuban Picadillo? If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat! 



Picadillo, also known as Cuban meat sauce, is a thick, stew-like dish of ground beef, tomato sauce, garlic, raisins and capers that is simmered over low heat to combine the flavors.  Serve it over rice or even corn bread, with black beans on the side.  It isn’t a fancy company dish but, it is great for a week night dinner and it will make your mouth water as it is cooking and fills your house with a fragrant aroma. 
This dish is eaten in many Latin countries but, the Cuban and Puerto Rican versions contain olives.  The briny, salty taste of the olives and capers is mellowed out with the sweetness of the raisins.  If you like, you could add chopped apples to the mixture also. 
Cuban-Style Picadillo is not spicy and other than the chopping of vegetables, it can pretty much take care of itself once you start it cooking.  It can set until you are ready to eat and in fact, is better if allowed to set for a few minu…

Alice’s Broccoli Rice Casserole

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Alice, in 1986

This creamy casserole will persuade you to eat your vegetables! I love broccoli and rice also, so combining them is the best. 
Alice, my mother-in-law loved this recipe and she had a good reason for that, because it is delicious.  It is so very easy and tastes great.  Broccoli Rice Casserole makes an excellent side dish; however, by adding a couple of sautéed cut-up chicken breasts to it, you’ll have an entrée.  Or, adding salmon or tuna would work well also.  That would make a full meal!
It’s a great winter casserole and that is just what we need right now.  By the way, it is just as good leftover!
Alice’s Broccoli Rice Casserole
Ingredients:
2 – 8 ounce packages frozen broccoli 1 onion, chopped 1 cup water 8 ounces cheese whiz 1 can cream of mushroom soup ½ cup milk 1 cup minute rice
Method:
In saucepan, add broccoli, onion and water. Cook al dente, not soft.  Do not drain. Add cheese. Mix well, Add soup, milk and rice. Mix well. Pour into greased casserole dish. Bake at 300 degrees fo…

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I want to enjoy my life, and food is a big part of it.

~ Gwyneth Paltrow





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Jules-Alexandre Grun

Since 2009