Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

General Tso's Shrimp with Broccolini (or Broccoli)

We were in the mood for some shrimp tonight and this recipe from Food Network Magazine May 2015 fit the bill perfectly.  The perfect mixture of sweet and spicy with just enough heat.  The recipe called for broccolini, but I used broccoli florets and they worked perfectly.

1 large egg white
3 T. Shaoxing rice wine, mirin or dry sherry
3 T. soy sauce
2 T. cornstarch, plus more for coating (about 3/4 cup)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails intact)
1/3 cup Thai-style sweet chili sauce
3 T. vegetable or peanut oil, plus more for deep-frying
2 bunches broccolini, trimmed
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 t. red pepper flakes
4 cups cooked white rice, for serving

Whisk the egg white with 1 tablespoon each rice wine, soy sauce and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss; refrigerate until ready to fry. Whisk the chili sauce, the remaining 2 tablespoons each rice wine and soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 cup water in a bowl; set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the broccolini; stir-fry until charred in spots, 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium; add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the scallions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir-fry until tender, 2 minutes. Add the chili sauce mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 1 minute. Cover and set aside.

Heat 1 inch of oil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 365 degrees F. Working in batches, toss the shrimp in cornstarch to coat, then fry until crisp and golden, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Return the wok to medium heat and reheat the sauce if needed. Add the broccolini and shrimp and cook, tossing, until warmed through, 2 minutes. (Add up to 1/2 cup water if the sauce is too thick.) Serve with the rice.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mexican Lasagna

I was thumbing through one of my many monthly food magazines and came across this recipe.  It caught my attention and I realized that it was definitely one I wanted to try.  It wasn't a featured recipe in the magazine.  It was actually a sidebar recipe for an ad for Cancer Centers of America!  So thank you to them for giving me a good jumping off point. I made a few changes and the result was a delicious dinner!

2 onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
2 T. olive oil
1 15 oz can. black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can chili style beans
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
2 15 oz. cans fire-roasted tomatoes
2 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground chipotle powder
8 flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Mexican style cheese

chopped black olives
sour cream
chopped cilantro

In a large frying pan, saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes in the olive oil.  Add the beans, chilies, tomatoes and seasonings.  Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spread a thin layer of the bean mixture in a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish.  Top with 4 tortillas and 1 cup of the cheese.  Repeat the layers and and end with cheese layer.

Cover with foil and bake about 35 minutes.

Let rest 5 minutes before serving.  Top with your choice of garnishes.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Sheet Pan Suppers: Charred Romaine with Home Made Blue Cheese Dressing

Another great recipe from Molly Gilbert's cookbook Sheet Pan Suppers.  Think outside the cold salad box and while the chicken drumsticks are resting (see the other Sheet Pan Supper recipe), char the Romaine.  Such a difference and a fun way to serve your salad.  And while the chicken is baking, please, please, take that time to make your own blue cheese dressing.  Have you looked at the ingredient list on your favorite bottle of dressing?  If it has a lot of ingredients you can't pronounce...well.  Think about it!

2 large Romaine lettuce hearts, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup blue cheese dressing
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese for topping
salt and black pepper

Set the oven to broil and place rack 4 inches from the heat.

Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Mist the foil with cooking spray.  Line the romaine, cut side up, on the prepared pan.  Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Broil the romaine until the leaves are charred at the edges but still crunchy, 1 - 2 minutes.

Drizzle the blue cheese dressing on the romaine and sprinkle with the crumbled blue cheese.

Blue Cheese Dressing:
1 cup blue cheese crumbles
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4  cup buttermilk
1/4 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. honey
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. salt
a few tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Combine all the above ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sheet Pan Suppers: Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks

We're going to have a series of Sheet Pan Suppers thanks to a wonderful cookbook of the same name authored by Molly Gilbert. I highly recommend this cookbook!

Instead of trying to nibble on little bitty chicken wings, we went with drumsticks.  The best thing is these are baked in the oven on, of course, a sheet pan! Use your favorite wing sauce. Mine is Moore's. There will be another recipe for the charred romaine salad as the side.

Olive Oil Cooking Spray
2 1/2 - 3 lbs. chicken drumsticks (I removed the skin)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 T. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup wing sauce

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the center position. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil, and place a wire rack on top of the foil. Mist the wire rack with cooking spray.

Rinse the drumsticks and pat them dry with paper towels. Season them all over with salt and pepper, and place them, spaced evenly apart, on the prepared rack.

Bake the drumsticks until the skin has crisped and they are cooked through about 30-35 minutes. An instant read thermometer inserted into a drumstick, not touching bone, should register 165 degrees).

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the butter, wing sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

After the drumsticks have reached 165 degrees, brush them with the sauce and return them to the oven to bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and baste the drumsticks again with sauce. Set them aside to rest for about 5 minutes. Serve any remaining wing sauce on the side. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cheesy Chipotle Bread

I made this bread the other night to go alongside the Chicken Spaghetti. I used Hoagie rolls sliced lengthwise.  I spread with softened butter and then sprinkled on shredded Mexican blend cheese.

Tone's Southwest Chipotle Seasoning is a great addition to your seasoning selection. Sprinkle on as much as you like over the cheese and then pop under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve immediately.

A Springtime Table Setting

I love this pretty pink and sky blue floral table runner.  Two different types of candle holders from Hobby Lobby with dark pink candles are a perfect accent to the table runner.

I purchased this John Haddock and Sons Royal Vitreous China tureen at an estate sale years ago.  Doesn't it make the perfect centerpiece?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Olive Garden $100 GiftCard

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Food. Such a simple word, but the memories it can hold. Today's memory: Family Reunions.

As always, food is on my mind.  When is it not?  But this time, I've been thinking of all the ways food is an integral part of my life and how it has been so since childhood.

The dictionary defines the word "food" as follows:
  • any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.;
  • more or less solid nourishment, as distinguished from liquids;
  • a particular kind of solid nourishment;
  • whatever supplies nourishment to organisms, i.e., plant food;
  • anything served for consumption or use
But it's so much more isn't it? 

Food is a way to show hospitality, love, and compassion.

The maternal side of my family held their Family Reunion on the first Sunday in August each year. We would travel about 2 hours to near the Tennessee line to my Great Aunt Edith (my Grandfather Otis' sister) and Uncle Delmar's home. They had a large pine thicket (and if you don't know what that is, please Google!) that had been cleared of underbrush.  It was so shady that you almost didn't notice the August heat.  There were rows upon rows of sawhorses topped with sheets of plywood and covered with tablecloths.

Topping those mismatched tablecloths (because every female member brought her own favorite), was every kind of Southern vegetable imaginable. Green beans cooked with ham hocks, field peas cooked with bacon, fried corn, butter beans, fried okra, creamed potatoes, stewed tomatoes, platters of sliced, vine ripened tomatoes, fried squash, cucumbers in vinegar, potato salad and plates piled high with thick sliced onions.  There was definitely macaroni and cheese and deviled eggs.  And yes, we considered those a vegetable.  I still do!

Then there were all the meats!  Platters and platters of crunchy, golden fried chicken, breaded pork chops, ketchup glazed meat loaves, baked country ham with pineapple slices and brown sugar glaze, and tender roast beef with brown gravy.  Inevitably, a few ladies would bring buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken as their contribution.  On the trip home, I remember conversations between my parents and those "someone's" having a Bless Her Heart added to the discussion of KFC buckets.

There were dozens of #10 wash tubs filled with ice.  Once again, if you don't know what a #10 wash tub is, please Google.  Gallons and gallons of sweet tea (back then, NO ONE even KNEW anyone who drank unsweetened tea), lemonade and soft drinks of all kinds were packed into the ice to cool. There may have been some of the men who slipped off to enjoy some adult refreshments, but I have no memory of that whatsoever.  No alcohol would have been consumed in front of the women and children!

By noon, everyone would have arrived after traveling from several states. After admiring each others' children, kissing and holding new babies and meeting the various new spouses that had been added since the last August reunion, my Uncle Delmar would bless the food and everyone would begin to form lines at the tables. This was before children were the center of the universe.  We always let our grandparents, aunts/uncles and parents get in line first.  We didn't think anything about that. It's just the way it was.

After we had eaten all we could hold and, among protests that we couldn't eat ANOTHER bite, everyone would head to the dessert tables. Here is where the ladies had their "opportunity to shine." Caramel cakes, yellow cakes piled high with chocolate icing, peach cobblers, butter cakes, pound cakes, every type of cream pie imaginable, jello molds (that somehow didn't melt in the August heat or not that I can remember anyway), and hand cranked ice cream.  I remember taking turns with my many cousins to turn the crank to help freeze some of the most delicious ice cream I've ever tasted.

After eating ourselves into a stupor, the younger ones would rest for a little while on quilts our mamas had brought for us and spread out under the trees.  Then the afternoon was ours to run and play and explore in the neighboring woods.  I can never recall any of my cousins experiencing broken bones, bee stings, snake bites or anything worse than an occasional scraped knee.

Late afternoon, the ladies would begin gathering any of their food that was left to get ready to return home. Then there was a huge rush to make sure you took home some of Aunt So and So's cake and was there any of Cousin Mary's chicken left?  "There's just a little bit left of this....take this home!"

And no, we never came down with any horrible stomach bug from food left out in the heat all day. Maybe we were just tougher then?

As dusk fell, everyone would start to load up the cars and gather their families for the trip home. Almost all of those family members are passed now.  I can still remember the safety I felt in my Great Uncle Vernon's rock hard arms when he hugged me and tossed me up in the air.  I never doubted he would catch me! Great Aunt Nannie Lee was stern and I was always a little wary of her.  Great Aunt Margaret always wore bright red lipstick that I thought was SO glamorous.  There were too many second and third cousins to count and many names I have forgotten.  That's sad.  I miss them all and am thankful that they are part of my family tree.

I still smile the first Sunday in August and take a few minutes to remember how innocent and special those family reunions were to me.

I'll be sharing more memories in the days ahead.  I hope you'll continue reading my mental wanderings and enjoy the journey with me.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Chicken Spaghetti with Bloody Mary Sauce

This recipe is a mash up of cuisines. Pasta, but chicken seasoned with Mexican spices and instead of a traditional red sauce, let's up the flavor by using Bloody Mary Mix. The splash of tequila is entirely optional!

This was just a fun dish to make and to eat. Use your favorite Bloody Mary mix.  I used the mix that I canned last summer. Here's the recipe for my Home Canned Bloody Mary Mix.

8 cups Blood Mary Mix
2 T. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 medium jalapenos, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 t. chili powder
1/2 t. ground chipotle powder
1 T. tequila (optional)
2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 lb. vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
Mexican blend cheese for topping
Cilantro, for garnishing, if desired

In a large Dutch oven, gently heat the Bloody Mary mix over low heat.

In a medium skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil, onions, peppers and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add taco seasoning packet and other seasonings. Stir to combine. Add tequila, if using, and deglaze pan. Add vegetables to the Blood Mary mix.

Increase heat to medium high to bring to a gentle boil. Add chicken and kidney beans. Taste and adjusting seasonings if necessary.

Stirring occasionally, let sauce simmer while pasta cooks.

Drain pasta and plate. Ladle sauce over pasta, top with cheese and cilantro if desired.

Southwestern Broccoli, Potato & Ham Chowder

Another great recipe that evolved from refrigerator and pantry items.  Instead of dicing up all the potatoes, I grated two of them and diced one.  That gave the chowder a really different texture.  And seriously, how can you go wrong with cream and cheese added at the end?  The subtle Southwestern spices were just enough to taste, but were not overwhelming.

2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium jalapeno, diced (remove membranes and seeds if you want a milder flavor)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and grated
1 medium potato, chopped
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups cooked, chopped ham
3 cups broccoli florets (you can use frozen, just thaw first)
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup half and half
2 cups Mexican blend cheese
chopped cilantro for garnishing if desired

In a large Dutch oven, over medium low heat, add butter and olive oil.  Add next six ingredients and, stirring frequently, allow vegetables to soften about 8 - 10 minutes.

Gradually add broth and allow to come to a gentle simmer.  Add ham and broccoli and seasonings. Reduce heat to low and let simmer 25 - 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, milk and cream.  Slowly stir into the chowder mixture and cook over medium heat.  Stir constantly for 5 minutes and allow mixture to thicken.  Add cheese 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until melted and blended.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Lolly's Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich

This is not the typical Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich made with the orange day-glow cheese.  I used Provolone and added it directly on the steak and veggies after the hoagie roll was loaded full.  The addition of  Worcestershire sauce added a great depth of flavor to the steak.  You can use either sirloin, ribeye or flank steak just remember to slice very thinly AGAINST the grain.  A few minutes in the freezer while you prep the vegetables will make slicing easier.

1 T. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced lengthwise and then thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. steak, thinly sliced
1 t. granulated garlic
1 - 2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
Sliced Provolone Cheese 
Hoagie rolls, lightly toasted

I used a cast iron skillet and put it over high heat and added the oil.  When the oil shimmered, I added the onions and peppers.

Sprinkle in some salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently until vegetables begin to soften.

While the vegetables are cooking, prepare your steak.  Move all the onions and peppers to one side of the skillet and add in the steak.  Sprinkle with the granulated garlic.

Stir the steak occasionally and cook until done.  Then stir to mix in the onions and peppers and add the Worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat and allow the Worcestershire sauce to coat all the ingredients.  Let mixture simmer while you toast the hoagie rolls.

Load up the rolls, top with the sliced Provolone and dig in!

Ham, Egg & Cheese Scramble

This is one of those dishes that's not pretty.  It's a scramble, after all.  And it's also one of those dishes that I can't give you exact amounts.  But that's part of the fun, isn't it?

Here's the amounts I used today.  Your mileage may vary!

1 cup diced ham
1 T. butter
3 eggs lightly beaten and 1 t. water added
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese

In a medium skillet, over medium heat, add the butter and ham.  Stirring frequently, let the ham cook until it is well browned, about 5 - 6 minutes.

Turn the heat OFF.  One of the biggest mistakes of scrambling eggs is to cook them over high heat and to cook them too quickly.  This makes the eggs tough and rubbery.

Pour in the eggs and lightly salt and pepper.

Let the residual heat from the skillet begin to cook the eggs....then gently stir the eggs to blend in with the ham.  Sprinkle on the cheese....

And continue gently stirring until the cheese is melted.  Your eggs will be perfectly cooked.  Serve immediately.

Cast Iron Griddle Hash Browns

This morning I was in the mood for hash browns.  Who am I kidding?  I am always in the mood for hash browns.  No non-stick skillet today.  I brought out my cherished Lodge cast iron griddle.  The cast iron will help the potatoes develop a lovely "crunchy" exterior.

3 medium potatoes, peeled and grated on the large hole on a box grater
1 - 2 T. corn oil
salt/pepper to taste

Using a large cast iron skillet or griddle, add oil and heat over high heat until the oil shimmers.

Divide the potatoes into serving size portions and place on the griddle (or in the skillet).  Lower heat to medium high and let potatoes cook until the bottom is browned and crunchy.  Carefully turn the hash browns over and cook until the other side is browned and crunchy.  

Remove from griddle and drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Pyrex Mixing Bowls

All things old become new again.  It seems, if my Facebook news feed is to be believed, that Pyrex bowls in any shape form or fashion are the IN thing right now.

I found these lovely bowls in a junk store in South Louisiana a few months ago.  I am thoroughly enjoying them sitting on my kitchen work table.  

As you can tell these beauties have been USED.  I can only imagine what great meals have been put on the table that got their start in these very bowls.  

Do you collect Pyrex bowls?  What types do you have?  What kinds are you looking for?  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Ham, Rice & Vegetable Casserole

I had leftover ham in the refrigerator with some of my favorite spring vegetables on hand:  broccoli, asparagus, carrots and green peas.  Add a few other ingredients and within an hour, you have a delicious and beautiful casserole on the table.  This would be perfect for a quick weeknight meal, a potluck dinner or when you need some comfort food.

I used the quick cooking rice in a bag. While the vegetables sauteed, the rice cooked and was ready to be mixed in right before popping in the oven.

2 T. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and chopped
2 cups chopped ham
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
2 cups asparagus (tops and some of the tender stem)
2 cups cooked rice
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t. dried thyme
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese (divided)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large skillet, add olive oil. Over medium heat, add onion and carrots and let cook until carrots begin to soften. Add ham, broccoli, peas and asparagus. Let cook for 5 - 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add cooked rice, a few grinds of black pepper, thyme, the soup and 1 cup of the cheese. 

Spray a 9 x 13 (or equivalent) casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Pour the mixture into the dish and cover with foil. Let bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and add the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Return to oven for 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

"Feel Better Soon" Lasagna

I've been out of commission for a few days this week and a dear friend made a great pan of lasagna for us to enjoy.  One of the best ways to show love and concern is to show up at a friend's home with a delicious meal that is ready to eat. 

Here is his recipe:

Box of lasagna noodles
1 lb.  ground round
1lb. Italian sausage
1/2 yellow Spanish onion, chopped
1 T. garlic, chopped
2 jars Classico Tomato and Basil sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. dried Italian seasoning
15 oz. Ricotta cheese
1 lb, Mozzarella, shredded
8 oz. Parmesan, shredded

In a larges skillet, over medium high heat, brown the Ground Round and Italian sausage.  Drain any fat that cooks out of the meat.

Add the onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add the sauce and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add salt and pepper and Italian seasoning. Cover and let simmer for at least an hour.  

Cook the noodles 6 minutes in boiling water and drain.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Add a thin layer of sauce to bottom of dish, then a layer of noodles. Add a layer of Parmesan and Ricotta (save back 1/3 of the Parmesan for topping later)
Repeat layering and end with the Mozzarella and the remaining 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook 10 more minutes.

Turn on broiler and brown cheese topping. (Watch it carefully, it will burn easily)


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Steamed Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

Asparagus is my favorite Springtime Vegetable.  And you all know my love of Hollandaise sauce.  Combine those two and it equals a happy, happy Lolly.

This is a super simple, very easy side dish.  But doesn't it look impressive?  The asparagus serving dish is from Bed Bath and Beyond.

One bunch asparagus
1 egg yolk
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. salt
4 T. butter, melted

Trim the tough ends of the asparagus and discard.  Place a steamer basket in a medium saucepan and add water JUST to the bottom of the steamer basket.  Bring water to a boil over high heat.  Add asparagus and cover and lower heat to medium low.  Let steam until tender about 5 - 7 minutes.  Check the asparagus at 5 minutes.  You don't want it to get mushy.

Thanks to Ina Garten for her blender Hollandaise sauce.  It makes 4 (1/3 cup) servings.  It doubles beautifully, by the way.

Put the egg yolk, lemon juice, and cayenne in a blender.  Pulse a couple times to combine.

Put the butter in a small microwave safe bowl and melt in a microwave until just melted.  With the blender running, gradually add the melted butter into the egg to make a smooth frothy sauce.  If the sauce is very thick, blend in a teaspoon of lukewarm water loosen it up.

Season with the salt and serve immediately or keep warm in a small heat-proof bowl set over hot (but not simmering) water until ready to serve.

Remove asparagus from steamer basket and place on serving plate.  Drizzle with Hollandaise sauce and serve immediately.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pineapple Upside-Down Carrot Cake

I had never made a pineapple upside down cake until yesterday.  I love that this version has the addition of carrots which is a great addition for this Easter Season cake.  An added bonus is that this cake was baked in a cast iron skillet.

1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
7 pineapple slices in juice, drained
7 maraschino cherries (without stems)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. table salt
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a lightly greased (with shortening) 10 inch cast iron skillet over low heat.  You can use a 9 inch cake pan with sides that are at least 2 inches high.  Remove from heat.

Sprinkle with brown sugar.  Arrange 7 pineapple slices in a single layer over brown sugar.  Place 1 cherry in center of each pineapple slice.

Beat granulated sugar, oil and eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended.  Combine flour and next four ingredients; gradually add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed just until blended.  Stir in carrots and pecans.  Spoon batter over pineapple slices.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in skillet on a wire rack 10 minutes.  Carefully run a knife around edge of cake to loosen.

Invert cake onto a serving plate, spooning any topping in skillet over cake.

From The Southern Cake Cook.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Home Cooking in a Hurry: Tostada Night!

Another great Home Cooking a Hurry recipe.  Using some fresh ingredients and some prepared ingredients these combine to have dinner on the table in  no time.  Place all your toppings in separate bowls and let your family make their own combinations at the dinner table.  

1 lb. ground chuck
1 package Taco seasoning mix
2/3 cup water
Tostada shells
1 can refried beans
shredded lettuce
black olives
shredded Mexican blend cheese
sour cream
diced onions
diced jalapenos
salsa or picante sauce

In a large skillet, brown ground chuck over medium high heat and drain fat.  Add taco seasoning mix and water.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for 5 minutes or so.

Heat the tostada shells according to the package directions and place beans in a small saucepan over low heat and gently warm through.

Place the shell on a plate and layer on the goodies in whatever order you choose
Time start to finish this delicious meal?  18 minutes.  You can't beat that!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Diced Onion Burger

We have all pondered the dozens, if not hundreds, of burger toppings.  And yes, sometimes we put thinly sliced yellow onions, or red onions, or even fried onion rings ON the burger.  But this time, I thought why not put the onion IN the burger.  And there ya go.  

2 lbs. ground chuck
1 medium yellow onion, diced
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

That's it.  No granulated garlic, no Worcestershire sauce, no fancy smaancy seasonings.  Meat, onion, salt, pepper.

Place ground chuck in a large bowl.  Gently break apart with hands.

Wash hands.

Now, dice the onion.  I have a handy, dandy chopper that I placed thin slices of the onions and let it dice it for me.

Of course, you can dice by hand by your trusty kitchen knife.  Just make sure you get the pieces as close to the same as possible so they will cook evenly.

Next mix the onions into the meat.

Salt and pepper and shape into patties.

If had not been raining, these would have been cooked on the grill.  But a cast iron grill pan made a great substitute.

See how great those pieces of diced onion look in those burgers?  Yum.

Cook to your preferred degree of done-ness.  I dressed mine simply with mustard, mayo and ketchup.  I didn't want to take anything away from the taste of the onions in the meat.  Of course, doctor yours up however you'd like.  

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Kids' Table - Easter 2015

I used purple as the main accent color on the dining room table.  I carried it over to the kids' table with a purple tablecloth from Kohl's.

The plates and cups are from World Market.  A series of four, egg shaped plates with the corresponding pictures on the cups.

A big bowl of plastic Easter Eggs in an Easter Egg bowl works great as the centerpiece.