Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Grilled Burgers

First grilled burgers of the season! To accompany the Vidalia onion rings, we used Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet Vidalia Onion BBQ Sauce.  f course, burgers can be topped with anything from bacon to mushrooms to pimento cheese.

But last night, I wanted simplicity. These 5 oz. burgers were seasoned only with salt and pepper and were grilled to perfection. The only condiments I used were the BBQ sauce which was applied during the last few minutes of grilling, a little French's yellow mustard and Duke's mayonnaise.

Exactly what I was craving.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Simple Garden Salad

Sometimes when you have a carb loaded meal such as a huge pot of spaghetti and meat sauce, it's a good idea to have a crunchy, fresh, simple garden salad to go alongside.

This salad was served at my dad's 83rd birthday party.  He likes "simple."


Chopped iceberg lettuce
Chopped tomatoes, green bell peppers and cucumbers

He requested his favorite salad dressing - Kraft French.  

But any light vinaigrette would be great. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Steak Oscar

How about serving this to Dad on Father's Day?  Thick cut rib eye steaks and then topped with crab meat and Bearnaise sauce? What's not to love there for the meat lover in your life?

Start with 2 - 4  1 1/2 inch thick cut rib eye steaks or Filet Mignon.  

Season the steaks liberally with salt and coarsely ground black pepper on both sides. Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat until it's almost smoking, then sear the steaks on each side for 1 minute.  

Lower the heat to low and cook the steaks for about 7 to 10 minutes, turning once, until very rare in the middle. Remove to a plate, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Serve with the Bearnaise sauce on the side or on top or under......

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good white wine
2 T. minced shallots
3 T. chopped fresh tarragon leaves, divided 
Kosher salt 
Freshly ground black pepper 
3 extra-large egg yolks 
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted 

For the sauce, put the vinegar, white wine, shallots, 1 tablespoon tarragon leaves, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is reduced to a few tablespoons.  Cool slightly.

Place the cooled mixture with the egg yolks and 1 teaspoon salt in the jar of a blender and blend for 30 seconds.  With blender on, slowly pour the hot butter through the opening in the lid.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of tarragon leaves and blend only for a second.  If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon of white wine to thin.  Keep at room temperature until serving.

For this meal, I spooned some of the sauce on the plate and then placed lightly blanched asparagus spears.  Next came the steaks and then I put crab meat with additional sauce on top.  

Adapted from Ina Garten's recipe.

Lobster Salad over Mixed Greens

1 cup cooked lobster (I steamed two lobster tails for about 7 minutes and then removed meat from shells very carefully to keep it in large pieces)

1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/3 cup mayonnaise, a little more or less
1/4 t. salt
dash of pepper
mixed salad greens

Sprinkle lobster meat with lemon juice. Add celery, salt and pepper. 

Stir in mayonnaise, chill thoroughly. Arrange lobster salad on top of mixed greens.

Monday, May 26, 2014

No food photos or recipes today.

Just an extreme expression of gratitude for all those who died for our freedom. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Fleur de Lolly is now on Pinterest and there is also a "Pin It" link on each recipe. Happy Pinning!

Mexican Cornbread Salad

Here's another version of the classic Southern Cornbread Salad.  This is a zesty version if you will.  It was a hit at our Memorial Day Cookout.

2 packages Mexican cornbread cooked according to package directions
       cooked and crumbled
16 oz. sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large green bell pepper chopped
1 can of Rotel tomatoes (your choice of flavor)
1 can of Mexicorn
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
3 green onions, white and some green, thinly sliced
1 T. lime juice
8 oz. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup finely shredded Mexican blend cheese

In a large bowl, combine first nine ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to serve and top with bacon and cheese at time of serving.

Smoked St. Louis Style Ribs

You can buy many types of ribs.  Our family's personal favorite are the St. Louis style. They are larger, meatier and have a higher fat content.  They will take a little longer to smoke, but you will get more meat for your money.

First you will need to apply a dry rub to the ribs before putting them on the smoker.  I made a mixture of the following:

dried thyme
white pepper
chili pepper
ground coriander
granulated garlic
onion powder
freshly cracked black pepper
dry mustard
dark brown sugar

In a medium bowl, begin with paprika.  Then begin adding more or less of the following seasonings.  Taste as you go and add more or some and omit the ones you think you don't like.

It's fun to "invent" your own special dry rub.

Apply the rub to the ribs for a few hours before putting on the smoker.  Overnight is even better.

Set your smoker so that you can maintain a constant temperature of about 225 degrees.  Depending on the thickness of the ribs, it will take about 2 1/2 - 3 1/2 hours.  

Some people brag that the "meat just falls off the bone."  I don't want them that done.  I want to have a little resistance when I take my first bite!

Vidalia Onion Rings

No matter what the holiday or occasion, my daughter always requests onion rings to be on the menu.  Vidalia onion season is upon us and what better time to make a huge batch of onion rings?  I fried individual portions and served them in these neat little plastic baskets to keep hungry would be diners happy until the BBQ feast was ready to serve.

Here's my method for making onion rings.  Adjust your amounts to the number of servings you need to make.  At my house, it's always a lot.

2 quarts buttermilk
1/4 cup of your favorite hot sauce
3 lbs. Vidalia or other sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cups self-rising flour, with black pepper added and mixed in

Whisk buttermilk and hot sauce together in a large bowl.  Add about a third of the sliced onions and, using tongs, make sure they're coated well.  

Toss the flour and black pepper and any other seasoning you'd like (Creole would be a good choice) until it's well blended.

Heat peanut oil in a deep fryer or 5 quart Dutch oven until the oil reaches 375 degrees.

Using the tongs, remove a few onion slices at a time, and dredge in the flour mixture.  Gently add them to the oil and let fry until golden brown.  

Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

Memorial Day 2014 Table Ideas

As always, two tables decorated:  one for the kiddos (or young at heart) and then another in the dining room.  You can't beat Fiestaware for the bright red, white and blues for a gorgeous, festive and patriotic themed table.  Enjoy.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Smoked Chicken

One of my son's favorite meals of summer is smoked chicken.   These are prepped using only salt and pepper.  You can certainly add your favorite dry rub or lemon pepper or dried Italian seasoning.

We used a mixture of leg quarters and also some drumsticks by themselves for this batch.

Prep your smoker using hickory chips and let the temperature reach 250 degrees. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken and you can even add a little softened butter under the skin if you'd like.

Let the chicken smoke at 250 degrees for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 180 degrees.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gouda and Spinach stuffed boneless Pork Chops

This recipe is based on a recipe from Allrecipes magazine.  I changed it up a little bit and this is my version.  The flavors melded very well together and the textures were amazing.  From the crunch of the panko coating straight through to the ooey gooey melted Gouda center this is a very "company worthy" dish.

Let's get started:

4 (1 - 1 1/2 inch thick) boneless pork chops
4 slices Gouda cheese
8 T. chopped baby spinach
Horseradish Mustard
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 T. Creole/Cajun Seasoning

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a rimmed baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.

Lay each chop flat on a cutting board and using a sharp knife cut a deep slit or pocket leaving the back side intact.  

Spread as much of the horseradish mustard as you'd like inside the pocket of each chop.

Lay each slice of cheese out flat and divide the chopped spinach onto each slice. Roll the cheese around the spinach and place inside the chops.

Pour the panko crumbs into a shallow plate and coat each chop with a thin layer of horseradish mustard, then coat with the crumbs.  Place each chop on the baking sheet and sprinkle each with the Creole/Cajun seasoning.

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes.  If the panko begins to brown too much, lower heat but you will probably have to cook the pork chops a little longer.  The thickness of the pork chops you're using will help determine how long they need to cook.

Straight out of the oven!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Chophouse

After taking a tour of the nearby Stones River National Cemetery in Murphreesboro, Tennessee we chose The Chop House for a late lunch.

The Chop House was established in 1992 by Mike Connor with the help of family and friends.  It has now become one of the premiere casual restaurant concepts in the Southeast with 12 locations in 4 states.

The lunch menu offers selections in four categories:  $7 - $10.  

Harold immediately zeroed in on The Steak Burger 8 oz. ground chuck with your choice of cheese, bacon and/or mushrooms with french fries.  $8

With a great char on the outside and cooked to a perfect medium, Harold declared this one of the best burgers he's had in a long while.  I had a small sample of the blue cheese and it was sublime.

Once I saw this item and its description, Slow-Roasted Prime Rib Sandwich 6 oz. served au jus on onion roll with Mac ‘n’ Cheese my decision was made.  $10

Now tell me your mouth didn't just water.  It did, didn't it?  I ordered mine cooked medium and it was fork tender.  Literally, fork tender.  Horseradish was offered either creamy style or grated.  I chose creamy.

The macaroni and cheese side dish could have been a meal by itself.  Instead of the regular elbow macaroni, these were plump shells to hold all the cheeesy goodness. A very light breadcrumb topping was almost too faint to notice but added a night little crunch with each bite.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

400 Degrees Hot Chicken in Nashville !

This past weekend we took a road trip to Nashville and the surrounding area. My main mission? My first ever taste of Nashville's famous "Hot Chicken." After reading several reviews and doing my homework, my restaurant of choice was 400 Degrees Hot Chicken. I chose wisely!

Due to two baseball teams getting there before me, unfortunately they were out of breast quarters. I opted for the chicken strips instead and they were a great substitute. The fries were dusted with paprika/cayenne.

Without a doubt, these were the MOST PERFECT BAKED BEANS I've ever had in my life. True story people.  You can trust me on this one.

Now, before we go any further your next question may be, "What is Hot Chicken?" Here's a quick lesson:

Although the components of the dish largely remain the same, the preparation of the dish can differ greatly.A pressure fryer or deep fryer can be used, although most restaurants serve a pan fried product. Nearly all hot chicken is marinated in buttermilk to impart flavor and to retain the meat's juices upon frying. Some preparations of hot chicken are breaded and fried after application of the spice paste; the more traditional method has the paste applied immediately after the chicken is removed from the fryer.

A typical Nashville-style hot chicken spice paste has two key ingredients: lard and cayenne pepper. The two are mixed together, three parts pepper to one part lard, and heated until they form a thick sauce. Some restaurants vary the composition of the paste, adding sugar, garlic, or additional hot sauce. The paste is applied to the fried chicken by the server using a spoon and latex gloves; it is lightly squeezed into the finished chicken by hand. The heat level of the chicken can be varied by the preparer by reducing or increasing the amount of paste applied.  

At 400 Degrees, as the name suggests, you can choose from 0 degrees, 100 degrees for mild, 200 degrees for medium and 400 degrees....well. Let's just say that 200 degree version was plenty hot for me.  

Harold chose the leg quarter and cole slaw. Each entree has white bread under the chicken and is served with pickle slices. The cole slaw was crisp and crunchy.

And here's a picture of one of my chicken strips. These are not little wimpy chicken strips either. They were large and perfectly fried.

As with all things great....patience is a virtue. We were told when ordering that it would take about 45 minutes to fry the chicken. True to their word, at 43 minutes, our order was ready.  

The location is convenient (within easy walking distance) of The District in Nashville and the owner, Aqui Simpson, was attentive to every customer, making sure that everything was satisfactory with every order.

She graciously agreed to a photo op with me. I've made a new friend in Nashville! Hopefully, I'll be back to see her soon.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sesame Steak Stir Fry

This recipe is great for many reasons:  It's tasty, it incorporates vegetables into your meal time AND it's low calorie!  What's not to love?  And added bonus is that you control the sodium and MSG content.  

2 T. packed light brown sugar
2 T. low sodium soy sauce
2 t. cornstarch
2 T. toasted sesame oil (divided)
8 oz. top round steak, thinly sliced against the grain
2 bunches scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 English cucumber, quartered and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 head napa cabbage, cut into 1 inch thick strips
1 cup shredded carrots
1 T. minced peeled ginger
2 red or green jalapeno pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
3 cups cooked white rice for serving
sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Whisk the brown sugar, soy sauce, cornstarch, 2 T. water and 2 t. sesame oil in a bowl.  Add the steak and toss.

Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat.  Add 2 t. sesame oil.  Add the scallions, cucumber and cabbage; stir-fry until the vegetables start softening, about 2 minutes.

Add the carrots and 1/4 cup water; cook, stirring, until the water evaporates and the vegetables are tender, 2 - 3 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl; wipe out the skillet.

Heat the remaining 2 t. sesame oil in the skillet over medium high heat.  Add the ginger and jalapenos; stir fry for 30 seconds.  Transfer the steak to the skillet using tongs or a slotted spoon; stir fry until browned, 2 - 3 minutes.

Whisk 3/4 cup water into the steak marinade; add to the skillet and cook, stirring, until thick, about 2 minutes.  Return the vegetables to the skillet and heat through. Serve over rice.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you'd like.

From Food Network Magazine May 2014

Turkey and Cheddar Cheese Pinwheels

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup diced green bell peppers
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
1/8 cup finely minced onion
1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t. granulated garlic
1/2 t. salt
1/2 lb. shaved roasted turkey (from the deli)
1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
5 - 6 large 10 inch flour tortillas

Mix together all ingredients except the turkey, cheese and tortillas. Lay one tortilla on a piece of plastic wrap and spread some of the filling mixture thinly over the entire tortilla all the way to the edges.

Sprinkle with the ham and cheese.

Roll up tightly and wrap the roll with the plastic wrap. Continue with the remaining tortillas until all the filling is used.

Put the rolled and wrapped tortillas in the refrigerator for at least two hours until they are well chilled. When you're ready to serve, slice the rolls into 1 inch slices and place on serving platter.

Antipasto Platter

A traditional way to begin an Italian dinner is to offer an assortment of marinated vegetables, cheeses and meats for an antipasto platter.  

This was my version and included bread sticks, mozzarella pearls, roasted red peppers, pastrami, provolone cheese, artichoke hearts, marinated mushrooms, pepperoncini peppers and an assortment of mixed olives.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Broccoli and Potato Soup

Most broccoli soups finish their title as Broccoli AND CHEESE soup. And yes, most broccoli soups are full of either cream, butter and/or cheese. Not this one. You can enjoy this soup without the guilt of fat and calories.

1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/4 t. salt
2 T. minced garlic
1 1/2 lbs. fresh broccoli, ends trimmed, stalks and florets chopped 
  (save a few florets for garnishing if you'd like)
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
4 - 6 cups chicken stock
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/8 t. ground cayenne
1/4 cup diced pimento (save a spoonful or so for garnishing)
Black Pepper to taste
Greek Yogurt

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and saute onion for a few minutes until it begins to become translucent. Add salt and garlic and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add broccoli, potatoes, chicken stock, thyme and cayenne. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Let the soup cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for 15 - 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.

With a hand mixer or an immersion blender, puree' until soup is smooth. Return to low heat. Add pimento and stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with Greek yogurt, broccoli florets and diced pimento.

Jamaican Jerk Grilled Chicken

When you're ready to start grilling for the summer season, please consider trying this recipe for Jamaican Jerk grilled chicken. Jerk seasoning is very spicy and this is not for the faint of taste. But is it delicious? Oh yes, it is. Thank you Simply Recipes for this great keeper!

½ cup malt vinegar (or white vinegar)
2 T. dark rum
2 Scotch bonnet peppers (or habaneros), with seeds, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
4 green onion tops, chopped
1 T. dried thyme or 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 T. olive oil
2 t. salt
2 t. freshly ground black pepper
4 t. ground allspice
4 t. ground cinnamon
4 t. ground nutmeg
4 t. ground ginger
2 t. molasses

1 (5 or 6 pound) roasting chicken, cut in half, lengthwise (NOTE:  I used 6 leg quarters)

1/2 cup lime juice
Salt and pepper

Put vinegar, rum, hot peppers, onion, green onion tops, thyme, olive oil, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and molasses into a blender. Pulse until mostly smooth.

Place chicken in a large freezer bag, or in a large roasting pan or baking dish.  Pour lime juice over the chicken and coat well. Add the jerk paste to the chicken pieces and coat well. Seal the bag or cover the chicken in the pan with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove chicken from the marinade bag or pan. Put the remaining marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to use as a basting sauce for the chicken. If you want you can reserve a little of the marinade (once boiled for 10 minutes since it has been in contact with raw chicken) to serve with the chicken or to mix with some ketchup and a dash of soy sauce for a serving sauce.

Preheat grill to medium high. Sprinkle chicken halves with salt and pepper. Place chicken halves, skin side down on the grill grates. Cover. Cook for approximately one hour, keeping the internal grill temperature between 350°F and 400°F, turning the chickens occasionally and basting with marinade, until the chicken halves are cooked through.  

The chicken is done when the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170°F for the breast and 180-185°F for the thigh. Transfer chicken to platter. Tent loosely with foil to keep warm and let stand 15 minutes.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Crab Stuffed Catfish Fillets with Cajun Remoulade Sauce

I adapted this recipe from Southern Living May 2014. The recipe as written had the catfish fillets butterflied and then stuffed and then the top of the fish placed over the stuffing. I butterflied the fillets and simply piled the delicious crab meat stuffing on top to bake. And no, this was not one serving as pictured above. We cut it in half and shared! The remoulade rocked, too.

1/2 cup butter
3 celery ribs, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 t. Cajun seasoning
1/8 t. hot sauce (I used 1/4 t.)
1/2 lb. fresh lump crabmeat, drained
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
6 (7 oz.) fresh catfish fillets
1 T. olive oil
1 t. paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Add celery and next 3 ingredients, and sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in lemon juice and next 2 ingredients, and cook 1 minute. Gently stir in crabmeat, breadcrumbs, and, if desired, additional Cajun seasoning and hot sauce. Remove from heat; cool completely (about 15 minutes).

Preheat oven to 425°. Butterfly catfish fillets by making a lengthwise cut in 1 side, carefully cutting to but not through the opposite side; unfold fillets.

Spoon crab mixture down center of 1 side of each butterflied fillet; fold opposite side over filling. Brush fillets with olive oil; sprinkle with paprika and desired amount of salt and pepper. Place fillets on a wire rack coated with cooking spray in a jelly-roll pan.

Bake at 425° for 20 to 25 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork. Serve with Cajun Rémoulade.

Remoulade Sauce 

1/2 cup dill pickle relish, drained
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons Creole mustard
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 dashes of hot sauce
Table salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Process first 13 ingredients and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor 30 to 40 seconds or until finely chopped. Serve immediately or chilled. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Shirazi Salad (Cucumber and Tomato Salad)

I served this refreshing cool salad with a Mediterranean meal of chicken cooked in a tagine and couscous.  

2 T. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
¼ t. sea salt
¼ t. freshly ground black pepper
To make dressing, whisk ingredients together in mixing bowl, set aside.

¼ cup finely chopped parsley
5 small cucumbers, preferably Persian, unpeeled and diced or 5 small cucumbers, peeled and diced
¼ red onion, diced
1 large tomato, diced
To make salad, combine all ingredients in salad bowl, toss with dressing and serve.

Adapted from http://www.vegetariantimes.com

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Jim n Nick's BBQ

I enjoyed my Mother's Day lunch on Saturday at Jim n Nicks.com.  Of course, this icon meets all the (Lolly) criteria for an authentic BBQ restaurant:  1) the aroma of smoking meat as soon as you get in the area; 2) stacks of hickory wood and 3) lovely smoke wafting through the air.

Jim n Nicks are well known for their cheddar muffins which are brought out as a complimentary starter.  They also sell the mix at the restaurant so you can enjoy these delicious muffins at home.

I was craving their queso dip with pico and Serrano peppers.  As always, it hit the spot.  $4

Pulled pork sandwich and mac and cheese for me!  Lunch special $8.

Sweet Harold chose the pulled pork plate with collards and mac and cheese.  $10

I can honestly say we've never had a less than perfect meal here.  The menu includes smoked chicken, brisket, turkey, fried catfish, deviled eggs, crispy onion rings and an amazing stuffed baked potato overflowing with choice of smoked meat. 

Hot & Spicy Sausage Balls

I made these for my Mother's Day Breakfast this morning. Because I'm a "live on the edge" kinda gal, I used HOT breakfast sausage and Pepper Jack Cheese. And yes, I'm glad I did. These were great.

Once again, four ingredients and 30 minutes later, you have little bites of delicious goodness to start your day, snack on during the day or enjoy as a midnight munch fest. Or all three. It's up to you!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 pound hot breakfast sausage
2 cups shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
2 cups Bisquick
1/8 cup water

I used my Kitchen Aide stand mixer for ease of mixing. Put all ingredients in mixing bowl and either run mixer on low until everything is combined or give your biceps a workout and mix with a heavy duty spatula or spoon.

Roll mix into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes depending on the size of the sausage balls.