Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Easy Stuffed Peppers Ole!


This dish happened by accident. What accident was that? The same one I make frequently. I haven't been grocery shopping, it's dinner time and I need something quick, easy and delicious. So I start creating a recipe from what I have on hand. On this particular day, I had peppers and a block of pepper jack cheese, some left over rice and a pound of hamburger meat in the freezer. Stuffed peppers! But the pepper jack cheese put me in a Mexican state of mind, so I take a peek in the pantry. Ah-ha! Fajita seasoning! Perfect...
These are so simple. You can assemble them ahead and bake later, and the left overs, if you have any, freeze extremely well. So make plenty while you're at it!

6 red or green medium bell peppers, tops and seeds removed
1 pound hamburger meat
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 packet fajita seasoning mix
1 cup cooked rice
1- 15 ounce can tomato puree   
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated

About the peppers...the reason I had some on hand in the freezer is because I'm a thrifter. I buy them from the little produce stand that's next to Clover Cottage, but I don't buy the best ones. I get the peppers that are on sale, maybe they have a spot or two that can be trimmed off. This way, I have ready to use peppers throughout the year. Just wash and dry them, trim off the tops, remove the seeds, place them in gallon freezer and into the freezer. You'll appreciate having them so handy!
If you use frozen peppers, thaw them slightly before stuffing them. For fresh peppers, wash and dry them, trim the tops, remove the seeds, place them into a microwave safe dish, cover loosely with plastic wrap and cook on medium heat until they're only slightly softened.                                                                                                    

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Brown the hamburger meat on medium heat, and add the salt and pepper. Drain the fat. 

Add the onion and cook until they're translucent. 

Remove the burger onion mixture to a large bowl. Add the fajita seasoning mix, all except 1/2 cup of the tomato puree, all except 1/2 cup of the cheese and the rice. Mix well. 
Spray an 8x8 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and place the peppers into the dish. 

Fill the peppers with the burger mixture, and don't worry about overstuffing there such a thing?

Sprinkle the remaining half cup of tomato puree around the bottom of the peppers and on top of them. Add the remaining cheese to the top and bake uncovered for 35 minutes. 

If you're in a hurry, just whip up my Easy, creamy Parmesan salad dressing, served over romaine lettuce and some crusty garlic bread on the side...I love simple!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Simple Southern Supper

I was originally going to name this recipe "Simple Sunday Supper", which would've worked as well. But since it's Monday, I'll just go with Southern instead. Yesterday was extremely warm here at the cottage, and I was kind of tired, had left over salad in the fridge and a perfect cantaloupe chilling. Thankfully, I had some sausage that I had crumbled and browned in the freezer, a tube of crescent rolls, and a block of cream cheese. Therefore I had dinner! And you what? JD loved it and raved about it for the rest of the evening. Simple. Southern. Supper. Delicious...

Sausage pinwheels
Tossed salad with blue cheese dressing
Cantaloupe slices

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
1 pound of breakfast sausage
1- 8 ounce package cream cheese
2- 8 ounce packages of crescent rolls

Crumble and brown one pound of breakfast sausage. Drain the fat.

Soften one eight ounce block of cream cheese. Mix the cream cheese and sausage well, in a medium bowl.

Roll the crescent dough out, keeping the dough in one piece, by pinching the edges together. 

Spread the sausage/cream cheese mixture onto the dough, and place it in the freezer for about five minutes. This will make it much easier to roll it up!

Now, roll the dough up from the long end, so you'll have more pinwheels :)

Keep rolling, being careful not to tear the dough.

Almost there....

If it's warm in your kitchen, as it was in mine, go ahead and place the roll back into the freezer for a couple of minutes, so it will be easy to slice.

Slice the roll into one inch pieces.

At this point my mouth was watering!

I baked mine for about twenty five minutes, until the pinwheels were golden brown. Check them after the first fifteen minutes and every few minutes after that.

Perfect supper on a warm evening! I can't begin to tell you just how well the sausage in the pinwheels, the cantaloupe and the blue cheese in the salad dressing all complimented one another! Tasty!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Crispy Fried Okra!

It's here folks, that's right, it's summertime! Well, it is in South Carolina anyway, the calender may not say so, but the heat index does not lie! Beautiful okra has been coming in from Homestead, Florida for a few weeks now, which is wonderful since it's going to be a little while before the local okra crops will be ready, and I can hardly wait for that! Nothing beats a great bowl of crispy, fried okra served with sliced tomatoes and biscuits on a warm evening. Who needs meat? Well okay, maybe some country ham would be nice...


1 pound okra, rinsed, dried and sliced into 3/4 inch pieces.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups canola or peanut oil

To begin, rinse the okra in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Trim and discard just the tips of both ends of the okra. You'll need three bowls for this recipe, one for all purpose flour, one for buttermilk and one for cornmeal, as pictured below. Add the salt and pepper to the cornmeal and stir to mix.

First, add the okra to the flour, making sure you cover all of the surfaces well.

Now it's time for it to take a swim in the buttermilk, this will help the cornmeal to stick to it, resulting in the crispy crust!

 At this point, it's a good idea to go ahead and get your oil heated. Place the oil in a medium pot and heat on medium heat to 350 degrees. Add the okra a little at a time to the cornmeal, and coat it well.

If you don't have a thermometer, place the end of a wooden spoon into the oil, if it bubbles up around the spoon, you're ready to fry!

Add the okra to the pot, but don't crowd it, give it some space to get golden and crispy...

Remove the okra and drain on paper towels before serving. If you're making this ahead, just drain it, place it in an oven safe dish and reheat on 300 degrees in the oven. 

You know what's also delicious with this? My Nanny's creamed corn. I'll go next door to the produce stand and get some fresh corn soon and post that recipe soon. Oh. My. Goodness! I love summer food!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Classic Hollandaise Sauce

I apologize, I meant to get this yummy recipe for homemade hollandaise sauce posted last night, but I'm me and that's how I roll, (slacker)!
Anyway, here it is, it's simple, inexpensive and absolutely delicious! It's also not my's from my Betty Crocker Cookbook, era dinosaur age...

This is the microwave method, which I love, not so much tending to the pot, if you know what I mean!

I'll add my comments in parenthesis. Sorry, but a girl's gotta talk!

1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

Microwave 1/2 cup butter uncovered in 1-pint glass measuring cup until melted, 45 to 60 seconds. (set the microwave to power level 3. You know butter and microwaving on high...not too good...)
Add lemon juice. Beat in egg yolks gradually with fork (or whisk.) Microwave uncovered (now on power level 5 to 7) stirring every 15 second, until thickened, about 1 minute total. Do not overcook or sauce will curdle. Let stand 4 minutes before serving.
Y'all this is good stuff, and you have to admit, this is pretty simple, you can do this while the chops are on the grill, the onions are finishing up in the oven, and the broccoli is steaming! (If you're superwoman, that is...)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Favorite Flavors...

I have flavors that I love. I also have flavors that I love together. I'm guessing that we all do, but since I'm a food freak, I think about these things alot. Too much. For years, one of my favorite flavor groups has been the following menu:

Pork chops or chicken, marinated in Italian Dressing and grilled, served with steamed broccoli and hollandaise sauce and a baked potato with lots of sour cream and chives. That was until this past Saturday when I decided to make the grilled onions that Trisha Yearwood and her Uncle Wilson made on her show the other week. You can pretty much take out the potato from this menu now. I can't begin to describe the flavor of that tender onion surrounded by crispy bacon, the tangyness of the grilled chop and then the hollandaise sauce. All of it together at once was like the fourth of July fireworks going off in my mouth! And yes, the broccoli is just an excuse for hollandaise...

For the chops, just marinate them in your favorite Italian dressing for three of four hours,  throw them on the grill on medium heat and cook until they're done. Steamed broccoli is easy enough. If you buy the frozen kind, just put it in a microwave safe dish and cook until it's warm and just tender. If it's fresh, it's best cooked in a steam basket with a little water in the bottom of the pot, cover and cook until it's tender.
Sometimes I buy package hollandaise, and sometimes I make it myself. I have a recipe that's pretty easy from an old cookbook that I'll post soon.
The onion recipe can be found below this post on the blog.
Cook these up and get you some fireworks going on in your mouth tonight!

Saturday Evening and Uncle Wilson's Grilled Onions!

I'm going to tell you something that I'm not necessarily proud of. While reviewing this recipe this morning, I just noticed that the directions read "cut into quarters to serve." Do you see mine cut into quarters? No sirree, I ate the entire thing! It was just that good! This recipe is from Trisha Yearwood's new show on Food  Network. Love her, love the show and I love her Uncle Wilson and his grilled onions! Here's the link to her recipe:
and here are my photos making her recipe, using her instructions and adding my notes in parenthesis. I served mine with marinated, grilled pork chops, steamed broccoli and hollandaise sauce. Amazing....

Ingredients for four servings:
2 medium Vidalia onions
2 teaspoons butter (I used 4 teaspoons for 2 onions. Uncle Wilson said I could on Trisha's show...)
4 slices bacon (I used thick cut :)
salt and pepper to taste

You can grill these, like Uncle Wilson did or cook them in the oven. I chose the oven method so I wouldn't be in JD's way while he was grilling the chops. That keeps him from getting cranky and cutting those black eyes in my directions. I wish I had black eyes to cut in order to get a message across. Just sayin'...

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (After cooking for thirty minutes on 350 I checked the onions. They were getting tender, but the bacon was limp. So I cranked it up to 425 and pulled the foil from around the bacon for the last thirty minutes and it all turned out well. My oven doesn't behave sometimes!)

Peel and wash the onions.

Trim off the root end.

With the point of a small knife, cut a 1- inch core from the top of each onion and make shallow slits in a circle around the top.

Wrap 2 slices of bacon horizontally around each onion, and secure them with toothpicks. (Push them into the onions until only about 1/2 inch of the toothpick is visible. This prevents them from making a hole in the foil when you wrap them.) Then put 1 teaspoon (I used 2) of butter in each core. Season with salt and pepper. 

Place each onion on a square of aluminum foil and bring the edges together at the top, leaving a small opening for steam to escape. Put the foil-wrapped onions on the grill and cook for one hour, or until the onions are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. You can also bake in the oven for 1 hour on 350 degrees. Cool the onions for a few minutes then unwrap and cut into quarters to serve. Don't be like me and eat the whole thing. If you can help yourself that is....

Key Lime Cake!

JD's mother made this cake a couple of months ago for our women's gathering at church and IT WAS WONDERFUL! I wish I had taken a pic or two because it will probably be awhile before I make it. Since it's only JD and myself, I don't make many desserts. We like a 'piece' of something sweet and then we're pretty much done with it, so I don't even bother unless we're having JD's girls over. Still, I wanted to share the recipe with you. It's easy, inexpensive and most of all, delicious!

For the cake:

1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 ((3 ounce package) lime flavored gelatin
3/4 cup orange juice

For the frosting:

1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (softened)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 cups confectioners' sugar


Combine cake mix, gelatin, oil, eggs and orange juice. Pour into three greased and floured 8 inch cake pans or a 13x9 inch pan. Bake according to instructions on cake mix box. Allow to cool completely and then frost.

To make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add lime juice and confectioners' sugar. Mix well. Keep finished cake in a cool place.
Note: JD's mom said she use fresh key lime juice for the frosting and I would try to do the same. The taste was unbelievable!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Uncle Wilson's Grilled Onions on the Food Network

Uncle Wilson's Grilled Onions on the Food Network
On tonight's dinner menu at the cottage!

Spring Slaw!

One of my mother's dearest friends made this slaw for Sunday dinner years ago, and being the 'slaw freak' that I am, I fell for it hook, line and sinker! I've experimented with the recipe through the years sometimes adding some crumbled blue cheese and garlic powder to it. I like it either way though and I think you will too! This makes a wonderful side kick to the Tater Tot Casserole, or pinto beans, or burgers, or just about anything!


Four Servings

1/2 medium head cabbage, grated
1/2 cup Duke's mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small tomato, diced
3 small spring onions, thinly sliced

Add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl and mix well. Chill to let the flavors meld. If you want to add blue cheese, a couple of ounces is usually the amount I use, along with a sprinkle of garlic powder. Yum!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cheesy Burger Tater Tot Casserole!

I digress. I was tired and rushed and I did not take one single photo of the casserole I made last night. Did I mention I was hungry too? Sorry, I'll try to do better. This one is so easy, you don't really need photos to go along with it. I just wish I had made at least one of the finished casserole! Here is a pic of a covered casserole, let your imagination do some work...Enough of that and to what matters! Men and children absolutely devour this one! Burger, Tater Tots, cheese, what's not to love?

Non-stick cooking spray
1 pound hamburger meat, browned and drained
1 can cream of mushroom soup or 1 can golden mushroom soup. I like to use the cream of mushroom when I make this in warm weather and the golden mushroom, for a deeper flavor when it's cold. That's just me...
1 bag Tater Tots
8 ounces grated, sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven according to directions on Tater Tots

Spray an 8x8 casserole dish with the cooking spray and add the browned and drained burger to the dish. Spread the soup over the burger and arrange the Tater Tots on top until you've covered all of the burger. You won't use all of them, or I never do. Bake uncovered, until the Tots are done and golden brown on top. Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the cheese on top. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese has melted. See, you don't really need a picture, now do you?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mexi-lina Corn Casserole!

This one is so easy that it almost makes me ashamed to post it. Almost! It's so delicious that I feel like I'm cheating you if I don't! Last year JD and I took a little trip to a place near Lake Lure, NC. On the way we stopped at a taco truck, of all places and grabbed a bite of lunch. I have no idea what the name of the truck was, but they served a corn dish like this to us and we fell in love! The man graciously told us some of the ingredients he used and not being able to help myself, I came home and toyed and tweaked until I had it just right. I hope you enjoy it as much we do. Thanks taco truck man, whoever you are!

Ingredients for four small servings:
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

You can easily double or triple the recipe for larger crowds.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all of the ingredients into a small bowl and mix well. Spray a small casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Pour the corn mixture into the dish.

Top with the cheese.

Bake for twenty to twenty five minutes, until it's hot and the cheese has melted.

I usually serve it with fajitas, tacos or anything Mexican. Oh. My. Goodness!

Fajitas With Homemade Marinade!

                            Fajitas made easy with simple ingredients...what more could you ask for?

I love fajitas and not just good ones, but great ones! Fajitas that you're still thinking about the day after you made them the night before. That's how I always judge how really delicious something is. If we're talking about it the day after we ate it, it was beyond amazing. And these were just that! 
I used some of the turkey breast from JD's hunting expedition a couple of weeks ago, but chicken, pork or beef also works wonderfully with this marinade.

For the meat:
1 1/2 pounds turkey, chicken, pork or beef
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of four limes 
1 clove garlic, minced finely
2 teaspoons whole cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup canola oil, for sauteing the meat and vegetables

This is complicated so get ready! Just kidding, it's very simple. Place the meat into a quart or gallon freezer bag. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ingredients except for the canola oil. Add this mixture to the bag containing the meat and make sure the mixture is distributed throughout the bag. Refrigerate and let it marinate for a couple of hours.

For the vegetables: 
2 small bell peppers, red, green or yellow
3 spring onions

Slice the peppers into thin strips.

Cut the onions into rings.

Add the canola oil to the skillet and heat on medium.  Add the meat and marinade to the oil when it has heated.

Cook thoroughly until the juices are clear. Now cut the meat into small strips, about 1 inch slices. Remove the meat to a plate and set aside.

Saute the vegetables in the same pan for about five minutes, then add the meat back to the pan to heat. That's it! I served mine with chopped lettuce and tomatoes and plenty of sour cream. I personally like to add jalapenos to mine, I like spicy! This is JD's plate and he isn't fond of spicy. Bless him!

These fajitas are wonderful served with Mexi-lina corn casserole. What is Mexi-lina?
Well, it's a blend of Mexican and the Carolinas of course!