Remember Memorial Day

Here’s to taking time off to observe one of our most sacred holidays.  It is the day to reflect on the sacrifices and services of the American soldiers and veterans.  From Arlington National Cemetery to all the other national cemeteries; not only in this country, but on foreign soil also, where soldiers fought and died for freedom. 

Memorial Day strives to stir the patriotic sentiments of every American citizen and remind us that we owe our freedom and liberty to the finest of young men and women who laid down their lives for us ~ they paid the extreme price for the freedom we enjoy today. 

Bill, my favorite veteran:
Bamberg, Germany ~ early 1967

Instructor at 1st Engineering Training Brigade
Ft. Leonard Wood, MO
fall of 1967

God Bless all service members and God Bless the U. S. A.!

Have a happy, safe Memorial Day, everyone!

Bubba’s Homemade Summer Sausage

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Bubba did it again!

I posted Alice’s (my MIL) summer sausage recipe back on February 16th and I just have to post the updated version of it now.

Bubba has been working on this recipe for a while now ~ he has tweaked it way up several notches into an amazingly delicious spicy sausage.  You may remember how he loves hot spicy food but, this one does not have as much heat as the others.  (See Bubba’s recipes on the right side-bar under “labels.”)  This summer sausage is pungent with all the garlic powder and mustard seed ~ it will keep those vampires at bay.

 Bubba, 1971, almost 3 years old

It looks like it might be a lot of work as it’s spread out over so many days but, it’s not!  It just requires a little mixing each day with a long oven time on the final day.  And then you have it, freshly made summer sausage from YOUR very own kitchen.  It’s a wonderful thing!

If you enjoy summer sausage and have never tried making it yourself, you must make this!  I guarantee you will not be buying it from a store again!  It’s that delicious!!!

See updated version here:    
Bubba’s Summer Sausage


4.25 pounds ground beef ~ 80%
4 tablespoons Morton Tender Quick Cure
1 tablespoon, mustard seed, mounded
3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
3 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoon Liquid Smoke (hickory)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder


Mix all ingredients with your hands thoroughly, even knead it like bread.
Cover and refrigerate.

For each of the next 4 days, prior to baking, knead until meat starts to warm up, about 10 minutes.

Day 2:  Knead and refrigerate.

Day 3:  Knead and refrigerate.

Day 4:  Knead again and refrigerate.

Day 5:  Divide into 4 logs and place on broiler pan.
Bake at 180 degrees for 9 hours, turning every couple of hours.
Meat will appear red when fully cooked.
Transfer sausages onto a wire rack over a pan to drain excess fat.
Place in refrigerator until cool.
Slice and serve.

Give this a try ~ it’s the best!

Blueberry Martini and Cheese Pie

Hallelujah!  Memorial Day weekend is close and what better way to jump start summer than with a refreshing cocktail and some cheese pie!

I’ve done the blueberry pancake thing and the blueberry muffins ~ now it’s time for a mighty blueberry cocktail.  If you favor a fancy martini, here it is; filled with vodka, lemon juice and blue curaçao garnished with a skewer of fresh blueberries. 

Curaçao, say “cure-ah-so” is named for the Caribbean Dutch West Indian Island.  It’s a liqueur made with dried sour orange peel, a method popularized on that little island.  The blue coloring is for added flair.  Berry drinks bring out the kid in us all ~ you just might like this so much that you’ll end up making it by the pitcher!

Blueberry Martini


About 30-40 small blueberries
3 ounces vodka
1 ounce Blue Curaçao Liqueur
2/3 ounce lemon juice, or more to taste
Several blueberries on a cocktail pick for garnish


Muddle the blueberries in a cocktail shaker.
Add the vodka, curaçao and lemon juice.
Fill shaker with ice.
Shake vigorously to help the blueberries release more color and flavor.
Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a chilled martini glass.
Add blueberry garnish.
2 servings

Cheese Pie


½ pound sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
½ pound white Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup mayonnaise
1 small onion, minced
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Several drops Tabasco sauce


Spread cheese in a glass pie plate.
Mix the remaining ingredients and place on top of the cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Serve with crackers.


Sautéed Shrimp over Creamy Grits

I first had this dish in Savannah, Georgia and this is as close to it as I can get. 

Even though it is a traditional Southern dish, it is extraordinary to this Midwestern girl.  How wonderful it would be to live along the Southern coastline ~ do some fishing, go home and cook up a little shrimp fresh from the water and serve it over creamy grits!

Shrimp and grits is an easy recipe.  Just have all the prep work done before you begin.  Then it will be a snap to cook up the dish.  And, you can even make the grits a little bit ahead of time as they will stay hot for a while.

This is one of the most satisfying grits dishes!  I could eat grits with just about anything ~ especially shrimp. 

Sautéed Shrimp over Creamy Grits

For the grits: 

1 cup heavy cream
2 cups water
1 ½ cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
¼ cup butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup stone-ground grits

In large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine cream, water and hot stock, bring to a boil.
Add butter, salt and pepper.
Add grits slowly, stirring constantly, scrapping the bottom of the pan.
Reduce heat to medium-low.
Cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally so that they do not scorch.
The grits should have absorbed all the liquid and be soft.
If they are too thick, add a little water or warm stock. 

For the shrimp:

1 pound raw shrimp
6-8 bacon slices
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
Hot sauce, optional
4 ounces amber beer
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Place shrimp on a plate and season with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning and paprika.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, fry bacon until nearly crisp.
When cooled, crumble into pieces.  Set aside.
Reserve 2-3 tablespoons bacon grease in the skillet.
Add onion, garlic and bell pepper, sautéing about 3-4 minutes.
Slowly add beer and Worcestershire sauce; cook down until onion is transparent and peppers are cooked about 10-12 minutes.
Add shrimp mixture and crumbled bacon.
Sauté 5-7 minutes until shrimp are opaque in center (cut to test).
Remove from heat.
Spoon hot grits onto serving plate; top with shrimp mixture.


Blueberry Corn Muffins

I have baked a plethora of blueberry muffins and am thrilled when I see a new recipe for them.  This recipe definitely got my attention when I read it and tore it out of some magazine; now I don’t have a clue what magazine it was.  Anyway, blueberry muffins ~ corn muffins; they’re both great.  But combine the two, who would’ve thought?

These are so very delicious, I couldn’t believe it!  The blueberries and cornmeal with a little sugar and a touch of cinnamon is a wonderful thing.  I much prefer a muffin that is not terribly sweet and these have just the right amount of sweetness.  I used fresh blueberries; however, frozen can be used also but, do not thaw them before adding them to the batter.

These blueberry corn muffins are so good and the color is just-right with the corn meal addition.  And to make matters better, they are just as delicious a day or two after baking!

I really hope you give these a try as they are easy and filled with great blueberry corn flavor.  Yummy delicious warm or room temperature!

Blueberry Corn Muffins


¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 cup flour
½ cup stone ground corn meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup milk, whole or 2%
1 cup blueberries


In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars.
Add egg, mix well.
Combine flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Add to the butter mixture alternately with the mik.
Stir until just combined well, do not over-stir.
Fold in blueberries.
Spray muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or use paper liners.
Fill each cup two-thirds full.
Bake at 400 degrees 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes in pan.
Remove to wire rack.
Makes 12

This is now my favorite blueberry muffin and Bill’s too!


Parmesan Potato Wedges

It’s satisfaction to the hilt when you bite into a potato wedge that has some crunch on the outside and then sink your teeth down into the fluffy potato inside.

I have not made French fries in years because these Parmesan potato wedges are so easy to make and delicious with hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, steaks or about any meat.  Just cut the potatoes into wedges, add the seasonings and bake.  I made certain these were golden brown and covered well with the seasonings by turning them over in the pan a couple of times while baking.  This also ensures that they will be cooked evenly. 

These wedges are great and definitely a change from the run-of-the-mill potatoes.  Add more paprika or garlic powder or even make them using chili powder ~ there are so many options!  Lovely chunky potato wedges; they are the best!

By the way, I’m sure you can guess what shop the filet came from if you read the post before this one!  One great meal!

Parmesan Potato Wedges


3 russet baking potatoes
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4  teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon McCormick’s Seasoned Pepper
½ cup olive oil


Scrub and dry potatoes.
Cut each unpeeled potato lengthwise into 8 wedges.
Combine remaining ingredients in a shallow bowl.
Coat wedges with the mixture.
Place wedges on baking sheet, cut side down.
Bake at 400 degrees about 45-50 minutes, turning and basting occasionally until golden brown.

They are addicitive!

Spicy Calabrese Sausage with Red Peppers and Our Favorite Butcher

We have a wonderful quaint specialty butcher shop here in Cary!  The name of it is Orchard Prime Meats, located on Main Street.  They have a huge variety of prime meats to choose from.  

Their fresh cut steaks are the absolute best with their stuffed pork chops coming in close but, one of their unique, tasty items is Chicken Dijon.  In fact, they say it is their biggest seller and I know why after eating it.   It is so very savory delicious and the aroma as it bakes in the oven is to die for, I’m not kidding!  It fills the house with the best garlic aroma you can imagine.  The chicken breasts are pounded flat and seasoned with garlic and panko bread crumbs and the rest is a secret.

 Orchard Prime Meats also has delectable cold cuts and cheeses.  Then there is the wine ~ the shop is filled with a plethora of varieties of it and they have wine tastings to help you decide which one meets your criteria. 

 Bill does most of the shopping here.  He is not much for grocery store shopping but loves his trip to Orchard Prime Meats at least once a week.   And then at holiday time, he especially enjoys buying the goose, ducks and fresh, delectable oysters there for dinner.  Bubba doesn’t live in Cary but, he too shops there often for the Chicken Dijon, Cajun Pork Chops and he really craves their jerky.

Orchard Prime Meats is a high quality market with the customer appreciating their personal service and advice on the best way of cooking the delicious meat while enjoying a friendly atmosphere in the shop.  It’s just a superb meat shop I wanted to tell you about with the best of butchers and I wish you all were able to visit. No doubt in my mind that they couldn’t deliver whatever type of meat you’re shopping for!  

The other day, Bill picked up some Spicy Calabrese Sausage.  It is a great spicy sausage filled with some delicious flavors, packed with heat.  The red peppers are a perfect accompaniment with the spicy sausage served on rice. 

Now, on with the recipe:

Spicy Calabrese Sausage with Red Peppers on Rice


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound Spicy Calabrese sausage
1 medium onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 celery rib, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1¾ cups whole roasted tomatoes or 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 cups white rice, cooked


In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy, about 8 minutes.
Add, onion, garlic, red pepper and celery.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.
Add tomatoes and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Remove to a serving bowl.
Spoon over rice on serving plates.
Serves 4

It is delicious!


Sole Piccata

When I buy fish, it is usually orange roughy, tilapia or turbot but, this time I saw sole and wanted to try it.

Sole is a delicate fish in more ways than one.  It has a mild delicate flavor but is downright frail as it cooks and you must be careful when handling it.  So, turn it carefully, plate it with even more care and hope that it does not break apart.  If it does, don’t worry about it ~ just eat it.

Since sole is a mild fish, it needs some help and capers come to the rescue.  If you have never cooked with capers, you are in for a treat as they definitely have a unique taste.  

A caper is a spiny perennial bush that bears rounded, fleshy leaves and white to pinkish-white flowers that grows like a weed in the Mediterranean.  A caper is also a pickled bud of this plant.  They have a sour, salty taste from the pickling and come in a variety of sizes; small is better.  One of the classic ways to eat capers is a lemon sauce which leads us to this delightful Sole Picatta. 

The sauce in this dish combines butter, garlic, lemon juice, wine and capers.  Whatever white wine you are enjoying with your dinner will also be fine in the sauce.  This will actually work well with most thin skinless fillets of fish.  The combined flavors are great and it is quick to prepare.  I served it with brown rice and steamed broccoli for a healthy delicious meal. 

By the way, here’s the definition of piccata:  Piccata is an Italian word meaning “larded.”  It is used in reference to a way of preparing food; it means “sliced, sautéed and served in a sauce containing lemon, butter and spices.”  So, here’s the Sole Piccata recipe:

Sole Piccata


1 pound sole fillets
¼ cup flour
Salt and pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
½ cup white wine
2 tablespoons small capers
2 tablespoons lemon juice


Season the fillets with a little salt and pepper.
Dust with flour.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over moderately high heat.
Add the sole and sauté until the fillets are a little browned, a minute per side.
Remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat the butter and add the garlic and onions, cook for about 2 minutes.
Deglaze the skillet with the wine, scrapping up any bits.
Add capers and lemon juice. 
Bring back to a simmer.
Place the fillets carefully into the sauce.
Sauté the fish for about 3-4 minutes per side.
Arrange the fish on serving platter and pour remaining sauce over the fish.
Serve immediately

Pam’s note:  I like this sauce so much that I double the recipe!  


Balsamic Cucumber Salad with Tomatoes and Red Onions

Did you know “cool as a cucumber” isn’t just a catchy phrase? It’s actually true; the inside temperature of a cucumber is 20 degrees cooler than the outside air!

Going back to the days of Dad’s gardens, I loved cucumbers and still do. 

Summer time is great for this salad but, I can’t wait that long so spring is a wonderful time for it also!  Sweet onions such as Vidalias or Walla Wallas can be substituted for the red onions in this, just double the quantity.  

It’s a quick salad with a little olive oil, balsamic and red wine vinegars and Dijon mustard added.  If you don’t have balsamic vinegar, use more red wine vinegar. 

This salad never fails to satisfy us with all its great flavors.  I think the next time I will add a green chili to it for a little heat.  

I can’t resist a good cucumber salad and this one leaves me yearning for summer!

Cucumber Salad with Onions and Balsamic Vinegar


2 medium cucumbers, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 large red onion, thinly sliced and separated
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon McCormick’s Seasoned Pepper Blend


In a medium bowl, cut cucumbers into ¼” slices.
Add onions and tomatoes.
Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the cucumber mixture.
Can refrigerate 1 hour or so before serving.
4-6 servings


Chocolate Kahlúa Cream Pie

Kahlúa is a well-known Mexican coffee-flavored liqueur. It is sweet and dense with a distinct taste of coffee, from which it is made. 

Chocolate, Cream, Cinnamon
Cabannes and Ryman

This chocolate pie uses Kahlúa for its deep rich coffee flavor, along with chocolate and cinnamon wrapping up into a decadent, creamy dark chocolate pie filling.  It is made even more delicious by being smoothed out over a chocolaty pecan crust, then covering it all with whipped cream that’s loaded with even more Kahlúa.  

Another great thing about this chocolate pie is that it may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.  What could be easier and more delicious?  This pie could make a chocoholic out of about anyone, it’s heavenly!

Chocolate Kahlúa Cream Pie


1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
¼ cup pecans, ground fine
½ stick butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 large egg yolks
2 cups milk, scalded
3 tablespoons Kahlúa
2 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped

For the topping:

2/3 cup well-chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Kahlúa


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine well the wafer crumbs, pecans, butter, 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon.
Pat mixture into 9” glass pie plate and bake for 10-12 minutes until set.
In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks and whisk in the milk, scalded.
In a heavy saucepan, bring the custard to a boil over moderate heat, whisking and simmer it, whisking for 2 minutes.
Whisk in the Kahlúa and chocolate until the mixture is smooth.
Pour into pie shell, smoothing the top.
Chill the pie with its surface covered with plastic wrap for at least 6 hours.

Make the topping:

In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters beat the cream until it holds soft peaks, beat in the sugar and Kahlúa and beat topping until it holds stiff peaks.
Spread the topping over the pie.

This pie will delight all you chocolate lovers!

Green Chile Chicken Pasta

Chicken and Rigatoni!

Wanted:  camera skills!

This recipe was posted by Linda at My Kind of Cooking

I thought the list of ingredients sounded delicious and knew I had to try it.  I broke the chicken into bite-size pieces and added about three-fourths of a pound of mushrooms to it along with a few twists of freshly ground pepper.  The green chiles are a perfect complement to the dish and it baked quickly to a golden brown. 

I divided it into 2 casserole baking dishes and froze one for later usage.  You must try this dish to see just how mouth-watering delicious it is!  It will make a perfect entrée for guests!  Thanks for the recipe, Linda!

Here is Linda’s recipe:

1 (16 ounce) package rigatoni noodles, cooked, drained
2 (16 ounce) jars Alfredo sauce
1 pound chicken breasts, cooked, shredded
2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chiles
2 (8 ounce) packages shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In 4 quart baking dish, arrange rigatoni noodles. Pour 1 jar Alfredo sauce over top.  Arrange chicken over sauce.  Pour remaining Alfredo sauce over chicken.  Sprinkle chiles over Alfredo sauce.  Sprinkle cheese over top.  Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly golden brown.  Makes 8 servings.

The green chiles give this recipe a unique flavor.  You get all the chile flavor without any of the chile heat.   If you are serving this to company and are in doubt about whether they like green chiles or not, just sprinkle them on half of the dish.

Do give it a try and enjoy!

You know,

nobody can ever

cook as good as

your Mama.

~ Paula Deen

You know, nobody can ever cook as good as your mama. Paula Deen
Read more at:
You know, nobody can ever cook as good as your mama. Paula Deen
Read more at:


Jules-Alexandre Grun

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!



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