Attention Family! I've been saying it for years, now I am preparing you for when it happens, I am retiring from cooking in less than 5 years. The only thing I will make is my morning coffee, and that is only because I am too lazy to get dressed and go out for it!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Southwestern Skillet

We had this for supper last night, and for some reason, it really hit the spot for me. This feeds six quite easily, even when three of them are teenagers. It is easy to omit or substitute ingredients to suit your taste, pinto beans instead of black beans, guacamole instead of avocado, no olives no problem.

Southwestern Skillet

1 pound hamburger meat
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 bell pepper
1 can Rotel tomatoes and chilies
1 and 1/2 cups rice
2 and 1/4 cups water
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained or i cup frozen corn
1 package taco seasoning mix, low salt
1 small can sliced black olives, drained

sour cream
shredded cheese
tortilla chips

Pop some good salsa music in the CD player. Brown the hamburger in a large skillet, drain. While hamburger is cooking, chop the onion, garlic and bell pepper. Add the veggies to the skillet along with the meat and cook five minutes more. Add the tomatoes, rice, water, beans, corn, taco seasoning, and olives. Stir well, cover, and cook over low heat 25 minutes or so until the rice is done. While rice is cooking, shred the lettuce, put out the shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, and chips. Set the table, make ice tea, put a trivet on the table as a landing space for the skillet. Check the rice, when it is done, turn off the heat and cut the avocado. Bring the skillet to the table and serve! Add your favorite toppings and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Pasta

This pasta dish has such seasonal colors that my children decided to call it Christmas Pasta. It makes a good amount, so enough leftovers for lunches.

1 pound package of ziti noodles
1 pound italian sausage
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 package frozen, chopped spinach
28 ounces diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 cups (or more) shredded italian cheese

Cook pasta according to directions on package. While water is boiling, start browning the italian sausage in a large skillet. Peel and dice the onion and garlic. Put the frozen spinach in the microwave for 5 minutes (our microwave is fairly lame, so you might only need 4 minutes). Add the pasta to the pot when the water boils. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drain the fat off the sausage, add the onions and garlic, let it cook for 5 minutes or so. Drain the spinach and add to skillet, along with the tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings. When the pasta is done, add to skillet. Stir well, and carefully! Spray a large casserole with cooking spray, and add half the pasta. Sprinkle with some of the cheese, add the rest of the pasta, and then the remainder of the cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly. While the pasta is in the oven, wash the pots, set the table, make ice tea, and put a large trivet on the table in anticipation of a great, festive supper!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Colleen came for supper last night. I hadn't realized that she loves cornbread! When Conni was here, he really liked it too. Show your family and friends some love, and make cornbread for them!


Turn the oven on to 375 degrees. If you are going to bake this in a cast iron frying pan, put 1 tablespoon butter in the pan, put the pan in the oven for the butter to melt and for the pan to get hot.

1 cup cornmeal (don't use a cornmeal mix, Dad and A could have an allergic reaction!)
1 and 1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (not too much, cornbread is not supposed to be sweet!)

Stir these together in a bowl, then add the wet ingredients...
2 eggs
1/4 cup veggie oil (if you have corn oil, use that)
1 cup buttermilk

Mix well, but do not over stir. If you are using the cast iron skillet, carefully remove it from the oven, swirl the butter around the pan to coat the bottom and sides, then add the batter. If you do not have a cast iron skillet, get one. But until then, use a greased cake pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until top is a nice golden color. Serve with butter. If you baked it in a cake pan, you can flip it out onto a plate for serving. If you used a cast iron skillet, put a hot pad on the table and serve it straight out of the pan.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Penne Pasta with Sausage and Tomato in Cream Sauce

This is another recipe from the paper - proof that I love my kids, and proof that I love quick and easy-to-prepare recipes!

Penne Pasta with Sausage and Tomato in Cream Sauce

1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds Italian sausage
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium to large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 can Rotel tomatoes
2 cups whipping cream
1 pound penne pasta

First thing, start a pot of water to boil for the pasta(add a little salt to the water). Brown sausage in a large skillet. If your sausage in in casings, remove the casings first. While sausage is browning, chop onion and garlic, add to pan. Is the water boiling? Add the pasta to the water and stir. When sausage is brown, and onions are tender, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and flour. Stir to combine. Add tomatoes and cream, simmer till mixture thickens slightly. Drain the pasta, serve sauce over penne and put the sprinkle cheese on the table. This is nice served with a salad or peas. Now, don't tell me you don't have time for this!
You can add two cans of tomatoes, but if you do I would only use one can of Rotel. You can use mild or spicy sausage, but I don't recommend it with sweet Italian sausage. You can cut back a little on the cream, and put it in your coffee in the morning!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Root Beer Sloppy Joes

This recipe was printed in the AJC, adapted from 'The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook'. You'll be surprised to know that I make it as published! It is quick recipe, serve with slaw and french fries for an easy dinner.

1 pound ground beef
1 medium finely chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup root beer or other dark soda

Brown hamburger meat in large skillet until no longer pink. Drain fat off of meat. Stir in onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in seasonings, ketchup, and root beer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve on sandwich buns with pickles, hot sauce, and shredded cheese.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Easy Beef Stroganoff

We had this for supper tonight, and I can't believe that I haven't posted this recipe yet! The most difficult part of this recipe is waiting for it to cook, because when the aroma penetrates the house, your stomach starts to grumble!

1 to 2 pounds boneless inexpensive but not fatty hunk of beef
1 envelope dried onion soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup (Healthy Request-it has less sodium, and there is plenty of sodium in the soup)
1/2 of a 16 ounce carton of sour cream

Mix the soups and sour cream in a good size casserole dish. Cut the beef into small bite-size pieces and add to soup mix. Stir together, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve over rice. Aslo serve some green beans, and cooked carrots for some real comfort food, or a salad if you have other things to do while dinner is cooking. You know, other things like make ice tea, set the table, clean up the kitchen, and read blogs.....You can also use leftover beef to make this, tonight I actually used leftover London Broil. If you are of age, you can add a splash of red wine, but not too much because it doesn't really have a chance to evaporate any, and it can taste too strong.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Zucchini/Squash Bread

My DD#1 found this recipe in an old cookbook that belonged to my mother, but we are not sure of the name of the book. We have made this many times this summer using fresh squash/zucchini, or frozen squash/zuchinni. Give it a try, it is really tasty.

Zucchini/Squash Bread
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
½ cups nuts (optional)

Beat eggs. Add sugars, oil, cinnamon, mixing well. Stir in sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add vanilla. Stir in zucchini and nuts. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour or until done
If you use frozen squash, thaw it, and drain it before adding to recipe. I consider this to be one of DD#3's specialties because she has made many loaves and muffins of this!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Orzo Greek Salad

½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (1-pound) box orzo pasta, cooked and drained
1 seedless cucumber, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 (6-ounce) can whole pitted black olives, drained
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, chive, salt, pepper, whisk to combine and set aside. In a large bowl, combine pasta, cucumber, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, black olives, feta cheese. Pour lemon juice mixture over pasta mixture, stirring to combine well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
I like to cut the artichoke smaller, add more feta cheese, and use sliced olives. This is a great pasta salad (right Colleen?), and tastes good the next day with grilled chicken diced and thrown in for good measure.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dirty Rice

This rice dish is quick and easy, oh that sounds familiar! Serve it with slices of lime, or sliced cucumbers in vinegar. If you are comfortable in the kitchen, this only takes about 30 minutes to get it on the table.

Dirty Rice

2 cups raw rice
1/2 to 1 pound of ground pork
1 bell pepper
1 onion
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons Chef Wayne's seasoning or Bayou Blast
1 tablespoon oregano
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Put the rice on to cook in 4 cups of water. Then, in a large frying pan, brown the pork. While the pork is browning, wash, peel, scrape and chop the veggies. Drain the pork, return it to the pan, and add all the veggies; onion, pepper, celery, carrot, and garlic. Add the seasonings. Cook over medium heat, letting it brown up a bit. Add some of the broth if it sticks. When the rice is done (it will take about 20 minutes), add it to the pork and veggies, along with the broth. Stir it all together until well-mixed and hot. Pass the hot sauce to your brother.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Chicken Chili

This recipe is a favorite for my family and for friends. I have problems following the exact recipe, every time I make it, it turns out a little different.

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion, chopped
3 cans white kidney beans
1 can evaporated milk
1 4.5 ounce chopped green chilies
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cumin
1 14.5 ponce can of chicken stock
2 cups shredded mexican cheese
1 cup sour cream

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, cook over medium heat with onion in a non-stick frying pan. Add to large crockpot. Open beans and drain, add to pot. Add milk, chicken stock, chopped chilies, and seasonings. Set crockpot on low and cook for 4 hours. Taste for seasonings, add more chili powder, green chilies, hot sauce, or black pepper if needed. Stir in sour cream and shredded cheese. Stir and heat on high (in the crock pot) for 20 minutes. Ring the dinner bell and don't expect leftovers. (Shop at Trader Joes for beans, good price and no additives that you can't pronounce.)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Not Your Grandma's French Onion Soup

B. loves French Onion Soup, and has been asking me to make it all winter. When your Grandmother made it, it took all day. When I make it, it takes up a lot less time, and we never have any leftover! Make this when onions are cheap, and spend the savings on a really good cheese to melt on top.

French Onion Soup

5 good size onions
3 tablespoons butter
1 32-ounce carton of low-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
thyme, black pepper
1 loaf bread (french, italian, leftover..., but not sandwich bread)
Shredded cheese, splurge is Gruyere, everyday is Fontina, tight budget is Swiss.

Peel and thinly slice the onions. I like to use a mix of sweet onions and yellow onions. (Don't use red onions here!) Saute the onions in a large pot with the butter on low heat - I repeat, LOW HEAT, this will take a while, but good things come to those who wait! You want the onions to be soft and golden, bur not brown, so plan on at least a half hour of cooking. Stir it occasionally to prevent any sticking. Add beef broth and bay leaf, cover and simmer another half-hour. Add a sprinkle of thyme and pepper. Ladle into oven-proof soup bowls (or coffee cups). Top with sliced bread and sprinkle with shredded cheese (don't skimp on the cheese). Put the bowls in the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and gooey. Carefully remove from oven and serve. Make sure you have a plate or hot pad under each bowl. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

When the forecast includes snow, you should be sure that you have some staples in the house for a few different meals. If you have a freezer and a pantry, this one is a no-brainer.

Chicken Pot Pie

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 2-pound package of frozen mixed vegetables
1 can cream of something soup (mushroom, chicken, celery)
1 cup water
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 and 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk

Spray a large casserole with cooking spray. Spread the frozen mixed veggies over the bottom of the pan. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the pan. Sprinkle with seasonings (pepper, thyme, sage, parsley are suggestions). Be careful adding salt, because the other ingredients already include it, and you don't want it too salty. Mix the soup and the water together until combined, pour over chicken and veggies. Put this into a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Melt the butter in the microwave (or pot), mix in the flour and the buttermilk. Carefully pull the casserole out of the oven and dollop the biscuit mixture over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for another 45 minutes. The chicken/veggie mix should be bubbling around the sides of the casserole, and the biscuit mixture should be golden brown. Serve as is, or over rice. Everybody's favorite part is the biscuit! Enjoy the snow...