6 Year Blogiversary and ~ a Giveaway for You!

Woo hoo!

Today is this blogs 6th anniversary!

Way back on October 29, 2009 was my first post.   It doesn't seem that long ago, but looking at the whole picture, it has been 730 posts and a fantastic wild ride! 

I've learned a lot over the years ~ how to make everything from Apricot Glazed Pork Chops to Zucchini Fettuccine, there's Homemade Gravlax, Mom's Quick Streusel Coffee Cake, and Chiles Rellenos thrown into  the mix; with Bill at my side as my awesome grill chef and taster tester!

A couple of my most popular recipes being Bubba's Summer Sausage Recipe and my Italian-Style Baked Chicken Breasts.  Thankfully, Bill, Jr. has overlooked me calling him "Bubba" here over the years ~ must be all the good food he gets here!  ☺

But, that's just part of the picture:  What I have really learned over these 6 years is that, it's really about all you great bloggers out there in the community who have kept me motivated and persevering.  I've been awed by your great recipes and photographs!

I truly appreciate the time you take out of your busy day to read my posts, and leave me a comment.  You're the best!!!

In honor of the occasion,  I have a great giveaway of a cookbook (imagine that!) for you...

Since this is the Midwest, with us living in a NW Chicago 'burb, I have a cookbook for you, written by Chef Susan Goss and Drew Goss, the owners of West Town Tavern, a former restaurant in Chicago.  It was a great restaurant serving comfort food here for 11 years, when they up and closed shop, relocating to New Orleans.  At least they escaped the cold, snowy winters here!

West Town Tavern cookbook is divided into seasonal chapters, plus an extensive pantry.  Recipes range from Iron Skillet-Seared Rib Eye Steak to Warm Bread and Butter Pudding with Raisins, Roasted Pecans and Crème Fraîche (please invite me over for that one, if you make it!)

Here's a sampling of the awesome cookbook:

To enter the cookbook giveaway:

1.  MANDATORYIf you could invite any 4 people, living or dead, over for dinner around your table, who would they be.  You don't have to invite relatives or loved ones because they'd probably be there any way.   (For the record, I'd invite Bill Clinton, Peter Robinson, Rod Stewart and Martha Stewart.)

2.  The giveaway will remain open until midnight CST Friday, November 6, 2015.

3.  The winner will be chosen by a random number generator and announced on Saturday, November 7, 2015.

4.  This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Good luck to you all and thanks again for being here!

Great Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Pork Loin


That’s what this incredibly delicious roasted pork was!

Mom, and Grandma, always roasted pork in a covered pan, maybe with a little liquid added to the bottom of the pan ~ so did I, until now…

Begin with a fully pre-heated oven before placing the pork into the oven, to give the meat a nicely browned crisp exterior.

Rub the meat with an herb mixture, then transfer it onto a rack in a shallow uncovered pan; adding no liquid to the pan, and pop it into the oven for roasting. 

Ummm mmm!  The drippings from the roasted meat are packed with delicious flavor, perfect for making gravy for mashed potatoes.

This was undoubtedly some of the best pork we’ve ever had ~ great seasonings with a great crust, producing tender moist roasted pork!

Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Pork Loin
Printable recipe

4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
Salt and seasoned pepper, to taste
2 pounds boneless pork loin roast


Preheat oven to 350°.
Using a mortar and pestle, crush garlic, rosemary, salt  and pepper, making a paste.
With a sharp knife, pierce meat in several spots and press the garlic paste into the openings.
Rub the meat with the remaining garlic mixture.
Transfer the pork to a rack in a roasting pan.  
Roast, uncovered, for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 145° to 160°, or until desired degree of doneness.
Let roast 10 minutes on cutting board before carving.


Italian Sausage w/Onion and Jalapeño Chowchow

In the nick of time, I discovered this recipe yesterday, before our evening meal…

The weather has been a little unusual here lately, in the low 70’s, so it’s still grilling season until the deck is empty in another week or two, making way for snow.

Bill grilled delicious spicy Italian sausages last night and I made the recipe that I saw here on Nee's blog and here on the Food and Wine site, to accompany it.
I may be a little lazy ~ I adapted the recipe slightly by sautéing Vidalia onions and jalapeños in a large skillet, instead of using skewers, and charring them on the grill; then, cooked the sauce in the same skillet.  

It’s a year-round relish to side with sausages cooked indoors, especially since heartier food in this neck of the woods gets a bit humdrum toward the end of winter.  

This chowchow is a chunky tangy tart-sweet relish:  I can think of a lot of other uses for it ~ hot dogs, sloppy joes, burgers, omelets, a topping for whitefish or salmon, or shrimp, it could be mixed with tuna salad, chicken salad, or pasta, or stirred into rice for a little kick, you get it…
Onion and Jalapeño Chowchow
Printable recipe  


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 Vidalia onions, large chop
2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
½ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup grainy mustard
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon caraway seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 pounds Italian sausages


Heat oil in a large skillet.
Sauté onions and jalapeños until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes.
Transfer to a plate and set aside.
In the skillet, combine vinegar, sugar, both mustards, caraway seeds and turmeric.
Bring to a simmer, add onions and jalapeños, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced, about 10 minutes. 
Stir cornstarch and water together, add to skillet, and stir mixture until slightly thickened.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with sausages.

Note:  The chowchow can be refrigerated  for up to 1 week.  


Mom's Golden Fried Mush w/Sausage

It’s groovy how certain foods can trigger childhood memories…

Food brings forth strong emotions and seeing a favorite dish on a menu or hearing someone talk about a certain dish can transport us back to being young.  

That’s what fried cornmeal mush does for me…
When Mom or Grandma made it, it was a huge treat.  The aroma of it sizzling in the skillet was mouth watering.  

Hot from the skillet, placed on the plate with a dollop of butter and a swirl of maple syrup, it was heaven - delicious beyond words ~ and it still is to this day!

Mom usually served plain mush; meatless.  In later years, she started adding crumbled fried sausage to the batter, or maybe, crumbled fried bacon.  So many options…
If you’ve never experienced fried mush, I hope you give this a try!

Now, you tell me:  what is your favorite childhood food, what food brings back memories for you?  

Mom’s Golden Fried Cornmeal Mush
Printable recipe


2¾ cups boiling water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup cold water
1 pound pork sausage, fried and crumbled*
Vegetable oil or non-stick cooking spray
Flour for dredging


Mix cornmeal and 1 cup cold water. 
Gradually add to boiling water and salt, stirring constantly.
Add cooked crumbled sausage.
Cook, about 15-20 minutes, covered, on low heat until thick, stirring frequently.
Grease or spray loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Refrigerate over-night.
Next morning, place small amount of oil in skillet.
Cut cornmeal loaf in slices.
Roll in flour and fry in oil until golden.  
Serve with butter and maple syrup or powdered sugar.
*Omit sausage, it’s delicious plain ~ or add fried crumbled bacon, that’s good also.


Mouthwatering Cheddar-Garlic Oven Fried Chicken Breasts

This is hands-down some of the best chicken I’ve eaten ~ well, that is, that’s not deep-fried!

If you like garlic, and moist and tender chicken, this recipe, which I found here, is for you!


I added extra garlic and plenty of seasoned black pepper; however, the next time, I will be doing as the original recipe states...

“To take the recipe to another level, about 10 minutes before the cooking time is finished, drizzle the top of the chicken with a little pasta sauce, and then sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Return to oven to bake for 10 minutes until the sauce is hot and cheese has melted.”

This is some delicious chicken!  Bill and I agreed ~ it's “finger-lickin’ good!"

Cheddar-Garlic Oven Fried Chicken Breasts 
Printable recipe 


⅓ cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
3 tablespoons lemon juice 
3 teaspoons garlic powder, divided
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts


Preheat oven to 350°.
Butter a baking pan or use a rack in a baking pan for crisper chicken.
In a bowl, combine melted butter, lemon juice, minced garlic and 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
On a plate, combine bread crumbs, cheddar, Parmesan, remaining 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Dip chicken in butter mixture, then in crumb mixture.
Place in prepared pan, bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.


Sausage, Bean and Spinach Dip

I made this dip recently for a gathering and was amazed at how quickly it was devoured and how everyone raved about it!

The melangé of spicy pork sausage, cream cheese, pinto beans, white wine and Parmesan turns into a warm, hearty dip for a tailgate spread on game day.

Leave it to Southern Living to print another great recipe, it’s almost hearty enough for a main dish.  Use regular sausage instead of hot, if you don't care for the heat.

This is perfect grub for the next time you cheer your team on!  


Sausage, Bean and Spinach Dip
Printable recipe

1 sweet onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (1-pound) package hot ground pork sausage
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
½ cup dry white wine
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup (2-ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook onion, peppers and sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain.
Stir in garlic and thyme, cook 1 minute.
Stir in wine, cook 2 minutes or until liquid has almost evaporated.
Add cream cheese, and cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes, until cheese is melted.
Stir in spinach and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted.
Gently stir in beans.
Pour mixture into baking dish, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve with:  Corn chip scoops, red bell pepper strips, pretzel rods, or your favorite



Tuna, Olive & Wheat Berry Salad

You’ll give your jaws a workout eating this grain!

I like most grains, but had never cooked wheat berries  before ~ it’s a good thing to finally be on the wheat berry bandwagon!

Wheat berries are the entire wheat kernel, containing lots of fiber and nutrients. Prepared, they’re nutty, chewy and robust, working well in hearty salads, stews, cereals and stir-fries.

This is a slightly adapted Cooking Light recipe.  I wasn’t sure if it would win Bill over ~ it only did a smidgen.  

For me, it was a healthy, tasty salad, a little chewy, with a little tang and delicious.  

Next time, I will add dried cherries, some celery, or maybe chopped apples or cherry tomatoes.

Tuna, Olive & Wheat Berry Salad
Printable recipe  


1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup Sun Dried Tomato dressing
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup cooked wheat berries
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
10 olives, sliced
2 (6 ounce) cans albacore tuna, drained


Whisk first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.
Stir in remaining ingredients and toss to coat.
Serves 4



Easy Spicy Parmesan Baked Catfish

Now that it’s cooler, Bill took a well-deserved break from standing over a hot grill, and I baked this great recipe.

Usually, I dredge the fish in cornmeal; this time I combined Parmesan cheese and flour with seasonings.  Cut back on the cayenne pepper, paprika and garlic if spicy isn’t your thing.

The flavor of this catfish is deliciously spicy, the breading has a crunch, with the fish being sweet tender and flaky.

This delicious catfish is easy to prepare, with the bonus being not an overwhelming amount of calories like fried catfish, and no greasy mess to clean up!

Spicy Parmesan-Baked Catfish
Printable recipe 


1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 egg, beaten
½ cup lowfat milk
4 catfish filets
¼ cup butter, melted
3 cloves garlic, minced
Non-stick cooking spray


Preheat oven to 375°.
On a plate, combine first 6 ingredients; up to egg.
In a small bowl, whisk egg and milk until blended.
Dip fish in the egg mixture, dredge in flour mixture.
Place fish on a baking pan coated with non-stick cooking spray.
In a small pan, sauté garlic in butter.
Drizzle butter over fish.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
Serves 4



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: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/paula_deen_431843?src=t_cook
You know, nobody can ever cook as good as your mama. Paula Deen
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/paula_deen_431843?src=t_cook


Jules-Alexandre Grun

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!



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