Amazing Bacon Tomato Cups!

“I can resist anything but temptation.”  I know Oscar Wilde said it years before my time but, it’s my motto!

And as an example, it’s that bacon and tomato thing that is hard for me to resist!  If you need a savory appetizer in the near future, here’s the one to try!  

A friend gave me this recipe a while back.  She told me she took the train into Chicago one day to visit an old family friend who served these delicious little bites.  Joyce told me it was the best appetizer she could remember eating.  Thankfully, her friend shared the recipe!

It combines the great flavors of tomato, bacon and mayo.  But that’s not enough!  Add a little chopped onion, some shredded Swiss cheese and a little dried basil if you want to; pile it all in biscuit dough lining a mini-muffin tin, bake and VOILA!  You have a very divine little temptation that’s hard to resist!

You have to try it to believe it!

By the way, have you ever heard of a tomato called Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter?  A West Virginia auto mechanic named M.C. Byles, aka Radiator Charlie, crossbred large tomatoes in the 1930’s and came up with a whopper that he sold for $1 a plant, making enough money that it was appropriately called the Mortgage Lifter.  Now that’s a whopper tomato!

Now, here’s the recipe:

Bacon Tomato Cups


8 slices of bacon, chopped and cooked crisp
1 medium tomato, chopped and seeds removed
½ small onion, chopped
3 ounces Swiss cheese
½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried basil, optional
1 can flaky biscuit dough*


Mix first 6 ingredients together.
Separate the biscuit dough into halves or thirds and shape them into greased mini-muffin tins.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until dough is golden brown.

*Pam’s note:  I have also used crescent roll dough for this, dividing it into about 16 mini-muffin cups.

I think the next time; I’ll add some chopped shrimp to it!  YUM!!!

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes.  She’s having a Double Giveaway now!

Home-made Salad Supreme Seasoning

You’ve probably bought a jar of Salad Supreme Seasoning at your favorite grocery store but, did you know it tastes the same and it’s easy and cost effective to make your own?

This is a great blend of herbs and spices and Parmesan cheese.  You can claim it as your version by adding more or less of one of the ingredients.  I go a little heavy on the garlic powder and cayenne pepper.  Parmesan cheese can be replaced with Romano cheese, or leave the cheese out altogether.

Home-made Salad Supreme Seasoning tastes great when added to most any salad:  potato salad, cabbage salad, chicken salad, pizza salad, crab salad and pasta salads.  Sprinkle some on grilled or steamed vegetables ~ try it on baked potatoes or deviled eggs and even egg salad.  It will spice up your hamburgers and chicken wings before grilling.  Slather it on buttered breads before toasting, appetizers and sprinkle some on cottage cheese.   Add it to vinegar and oil for a delicious vinaigrette.  Then try it on pork ribs!  Wherever your imagination takes you with it…

Here’s the home-made version (I double it):

Home-made Salad Supreme Seasoning


3 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons paprika
1½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 dashes cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese or Romano (fresh is best)


Combine all ingredients and mix well.
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.
 Makes ½ cup

It’s a great “perk-up” for salads and veggies!

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes.  She’s having a Double Giveaway now!

Carolina-Style Barbecue Chicken Breasts

OK, I know there are endless recipes for chicken on the grill but, you really should try this one ~ it really attracted me!  Maybe it was the “mustard” that caught my eye.  Or, maybe it’s because of the word “Carolina.”  I love, love the “Carolina’s” and envy you if you reside there!

We looked at homes, and fell for one, in the Greenville, South Carolina area before we retired.  Due to some circumstances of elderly relatives here, we decided it was best to stay put.  And now we have our first grandchild, Matthew, who is 5½ months old and South Carolina is just too far from him.  Here is a photo of him since some of you have kindly asked about him:

Matthew at 5 months

As for the chicken…

This grilled chicken is about the best I’ve ever eaten.  According to the recipe in Food Network Magazine, they only have to marinade for about 10 minutes.  (Their recipe is for chicken thighs).  

I’m a “mustard” addict and this is a perfect mustard marinade.  It’s loaded with the good flavors of apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, mustard powder, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper and as much hot pepper sauce as you dare to use. 

Grill and serve the chicken with some reserved sauce, tomato salad and maybe a pasta side-dish.  Now, that’s good summertime eating!

Carolina-Style Barbecue Chicken Breasts


½ cup Dijon or yellow mustard
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup packed Splenda Brown Sugar, or regular
1½ tablespoons dry mustard
1-2 teaspoons hot sauce
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoons McCormick’s Seasoned Pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts


Prepare grill.
Whisk the yellow mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, dry mustard, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in a bowl.
Toss the chicken with about one-third of the sauce in a large bowl until coated.
Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Put ¼ cup of the remaining mustard sauce in a small bowl for basting and reserve the rest for topping.
Grill the chicken, basting occasionally with the sauce, until well marked and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 170 degrees, about 12-15 minutes per side.
Serve with the reserved mustard sauce.

I will be trying this on wings the next time!  Yum!

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes.  She’s having a Double Giveaway now!

Tuna Macaroni Salad

Bill said, “Why don’t you make tuna macaroni salad like my Mom did?”  I told him that's because I've never had it.

This time of year, Bill reminisces about being a kid at the family picnic, anticipating beating his uncles in the baseball game and eating his Mom’s tuna mac salad.  He claims it was the best and I’m a believer.

                                                                                                               Bill, circa 1960

Unfortunately, I don’t know the recipe but I try my best to replicate his Mom’s; however,  there are so many possibilities:    sweet pickle slices, pickle relish, sliced olives, onions, mayo, miracle whip, mustard, celery, green onions, red onions, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, salt and pepper. 

This is the way I usually make it; it’s pretty simple and it makes Bill happy. 

Do you like macaroni tuna salad and if so how do you make yours?

Here’s mine:

Tuna Macaroni Salad


8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
12 ounces Albacore tuna, drained
½ cup red onion, chopped
3 tablespoons pickle relish
1 tablespoon white vinegar
½ teaspoon celery seed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup Miracle Whip


After macaroni is cooked and drained well, add remaining ingredients and blend.
Refrigerate for several hours and serve.

Sooo good!!!

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes.  She’s having a Double Giveaway now!

Kelly’s Calico Beans

I remember when she was born; it took a while to receive mail back then.  The letter announcing her arrival reached us a good week after the fact. 

She was born a month and 4 days after Bill and I married, while we were living in Oberheid, Germany when Bill was serving in the Army. 

She's Bill's niece, Kelly...

Kelly, almost 4

Calico beans is her specialty, this is her recipe. 

Baked beans are the best, especially in the summertime with meat from the grill.  This recipe calls for 4 types of beans:  1 can each of Great Northern, butter and kidney beans, plus 2 cans of pork ‘n beans. 

Use whatever beans you prefer.  I swapped Pinto beans and mayocoba beans for the butter beans and kidney beans. The ivory-yellow mayacoba beans are a meaty bean with a mild-flavored buttery taste.

Browned ground beef is added also, ending up with a delicious side dish for your family or a crowd.  They go quickly and that can be good but, bad too because they are just as delicious left-over! 

Calico Beans


½-1 pound bacon
1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cans (16 ounces) pork ‘n beans
1 can (16 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 ounces) mayocoba beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (16 ounces) Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
½ to ¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard


In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain well and crumble into large pieces.
In the same skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain.
Combine the beef mixture, bacon, beans, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar and mustard.
Spoon into a greased 2-qt. baking dish or slow cooker.
Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 45-60 minutes or until the beans are as thick as desired.
Or, cook for 4-5 hours on low in slow cooker.
About 12 servings


Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes.  She’s having a Double Giveaway now!

Mom’s Pressed Chicken Spread

I was going through Mom’s recipe box recently and came across this recipe.  I don’t know the origin of it but, I remember her making the spread for some pretty tasty sandwiches when I was a kid.  This is simple and light for the hot summer days we’re having now.  

It may sound like a lot of celery---include it all; it won’t give the chicken spread a strong celery taste.  Combining the celery with the nuts adds a little crunch to the spread with the flavors complementing the chicken perfectly.  Mom always put the chicken through a manual meat grinder but I use the food processor for a speedy job.  When adding the broth, be careful not to add so much as to make it mushy.  You can always add more of it or a little mayo if needed after it has been well chilled. 

It’s good on about any type of bread or toast and slider buns also, with a lettuce leaf or two for a savory sandwich; however, spread it on crackers and you are treated to a saporous appetizer! Mom’s Chicken Spread is great summer fare that I hope you try!

Mom’s Pressed Chicken Spread


3 pounds boneless chicken breasts
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
¾ cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon onion, grated
1 tablespoons sweet pickle juice
1 cup celery, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste


Cook chicken in large sauce pan in salted water to cover until tender and done.
Remove from broth; reserving broth.   Set aside to cool.
Place chicken in food grinder and grind, or food processor or chop fine with a knife.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and mayonnaise, beating well.
Add pecans, onions, pickle juice, celery, salt and pepper.
Stir until well blended.
Place ground chicken in cream cheese mixture and combine thoroughly.
Add ¼ to ½ cup reserved chicken broth to desired consistency.
Mixture will thicken when chilled.
Mom’s note:  chicken will be moister if cooked the day before using and placed in the broth to chill in the refrigerator.


Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes and cookbook giveaway!

The Storm from Hell Meant No Cooking for This Week!

HALLELUJAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! We’re back on line in more ways than one!!!! If it had to happen, fortunately it was the day after the cookout for Bill’s birthday!

Our power is finally on after being off for 103.5 hours.  It all started Monday morning during a fierce thunderstorm that ripped through here and left us without power at 7:45 a.m.  The power came back on this morning at 10:45 ~~~ 98 hours later, only to go out an hour later.    Thankfully, it came back on a while ago at 3:00 p.m.!

The thunderstorms ripped through Northern Illinois Monday with wind gusts up to 70+ MPH.  It lingered around for a while and left our neighborhood with incredible damage.  Trees uprooted, roofs ripped off and fencing blown over.  We lost part of one of our 50-foot maple trees.  Luckily, it didn’t hit the house.  A 24-foot section of fencing in our backyard had 4x4 posts sheared to ground level.  All in all, our damages were minimal compared to a lot of people involved in the storm. 

Our entire town was not without power, the homes one road over were fine.  But, most of our town and the counties south of us toward Chicago were in the same boat:  Food thawed out in freezers, restaurants that were opened were packed, surrounding hotels booked solid and no bags of ice available for miles.  Thanks to Bubba ~ he helped stock our ice supply by schlepping ice from his town.  On top of all of this, of course our land-line phones were dead but our cell phones had no service from the carrier, making it an adventure to contact our family. 

So, this has been my week…  I’m sorry I was not able to visit all your great blogs but, I will be playing catch-up soon.  Here’s hoping you’ve all had a much better week!

Praise the Lord for electricity and air conditioning!

Have a great weekend!

Honey Poppy Seed Pasta Salad/w Shrimp

Woo hoo!!!  The heat has arrived in Northern Illinois, bringing with it the craving for cold pasta salads!  

There’s nothing quite like a crisp cool salad to dig into at your backyard barbecue when the thermometer soars.  Pasta salads are not only quick and easy to make ~ they can be prepped in advance, allowing you more time to join the esprit de corps of your guests. 

Honey Poppy Seed Pasta Salad can be easily adapted to your taste with whatever flavors you favor.   Start with wagon wheel pasta and add colorful veggies of your liking, combining it all in a honey, poppy seed and Dijon mustard dressing for the finishing touch.

This versatile salad recipe was published in our local newspaper, The Northwest Herald, recently.  I made a vegetarian version of it using shrimp; however, it is really delicious using cut-up chicken, as in rotisserie chicken ~ or you could try it with ham.   The recipe also includes one diced apple and one cup grape halves and toasted slivered almonds which I omitted, catering to individual tastes. 

If you like colorful chilly pasta salads in the heat of summer, I guarantee you’ll be wild about this one!  It’s a perfect pasta salad for your guests to relish!

Honey Poppy Seed Pasta Salad w/Shrimp


1 pound wagon wheel pasta
1 pound medium shrimp, (30-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and diced
1 red yellow bell pepper, cored and diced
1 orange bell pepper, cored and diced
1 cup snow pea pods, sliced into thirds
4 scallions, thinly sliced
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup honey
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Zest of ½ orange
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
 ½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


To a large pot of boiling salted water, add pasta and cook until al dente.
Rinse in cold water to stop the cooking, drain well and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, bell peppers, snow peas and scallions.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, vinegar, mustard, orange zest, poppy seeds and salt and pepper.
When the pasta has cooled, add it to the bowl with the veggies and shrimp, then toss to combine.
Add the dressing and stir to coat.
Chill for 1-2 hours and serve.
Makes 12 servings

ENJOY!!!  It’s delicious!!!

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips and recipes.  She’s having a Double Giveaway now!

Sirloin Steak and Peppers over Rice

I’m a total carnivore who really likes about any meat, but especially sirloin steak. Although, my favorite way to enjoy steak is cooked rare on the grill with a dash of salt, once in a while I enjoy it smothered with peppers and onions and so does Bill.

Turning your favorite steak into a stir-fry dish makes for a gratifying quick dinner that your whole family will like.  Having all the ingredients prepped and ready to add to the skillet makes it easy, easy. 

Pepper steak is another of those comfort food dishes that’s full of flavor ~ color also and I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!

Sirloin Steak and Peppers over Rice


1 pound sirloin steak, cut into 2-inch strips
1 tablespoon oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 green bell peppers, sliced into thin slices
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin slices
½ cup cold water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups hot cooked rice


In a large skillet, heat oil.
Add steak, onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent and steak is partially cooked.
Add broth, salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce and heat through.
Add bell peppers and stir them in the mixture.
Cook for 5-8 minutes until peppers are cooked to your liking.
In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water.
Add to steak mixture and stir until mixture thickens, about 2-4 minutes.
Serve over hot rice.

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips and recipes.  She’s having a Double Giveaway now!

Spicy Blackened Catfish with Salsa

I favor plain old fried catfish until blackened catfish arrives on the scene!

Blackened Catfish (6)

When most people think of blackened fish, they think “Cajun” when in actuality it’s a modern creation accredited to Chef Paul Prudhomme, one of New Orleans famous chefs. The food is dredged in a combination of herbs and spices such as oregano, paprika, thyme, peppercorns, chili pepper and then cooked in oil in a very hot cast-iron skillet. The spice rub makes a delicious flavorful crust. If you like more heat, go heavier on the ground red pepper ~ at your own risk!

Next time, I’d really be happy to find red snapper to blacken. I’m sure it would be delectable. Red snapper has not been available in the markets or restaurants here for several years. How about where you live? Can you purchase red snapper?

I hope you give my version of blackened catfish a try! It’s quick and piquant and is heavenly served with a little salsa on the side!
Spicy Blackened Catfish with Salsa

4 (6-ounce) catfish filets, dried
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon ground red pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup cornmeal
Oil or butter for frying
Salasa, optional

Combine paprika, oregano, salt, peppers and cornmeal on a pie plate.
Coat the catfish evenly on both sides with the cornmeal mixture.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat.
Add butter or oil to skillet; enough to just cover the bottom and swirl to coat.
Add catfish and cook catfish until cooked through and golden brown and crispy on both sides.
Serve with your favorite salsa.
My Favorite Salsa:

Cooking spray
1¼ cups coarsely chopped onion
2 cups chopped tomatoes
½ cup low-sodium salsa verde
¼ teaspoon salt

Coat a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.
Add onion, sauté 4 minutes.
Stir in chopped tomatoes, salsa verde and ¼ teaspoon salt.
Cook 15 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.
Place tomato mixture in food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.

Try this; I think you’ll like it!

Be sure to visit my friend, Linda’s blog @My Kind of Cooking for great tips, recipes and cookbook giveaway!

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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