Buttermilk Pecan Pie!

This takes two great southern pies and combines them into one.  The texture is more like the traditional Kentucky Buttermilk Pie,  but the addition of pecans really enhances the overall flavor.  This is also a really easy pie to make!   It's a dessert you can whip up without a lot of extra planning, because you usually have these ingredients on hand.  Here is what you will need:
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbs. all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, melted 1 stick
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 (10 inch) unbaked pie shell
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Whisk the eggs lightly.  Add the sugar, flour, and pinch of salt.  Add the melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla.  Beat well.
Place the unbaked pie shell on a cookie sheet.  This prevent spills and the pie just bakes more evenly.  Sprinkle the chopped pecans in the bottom of the shell. 
Pour the filling over the pecans.  Place the pie on the center rack and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until just brown.  If it starts to crack on top, it's done!
Serve with ice cream or whipped cream!


Sloppy Joes!

You might wonder why you need a recipe for something like a "Sloppy Joe", because they do make that canned Sloppy Joe sauce and it's actually pretty good, but every time I use it, I end up doctoring it some, because it just needs a little something!   Also, there are times you want Sloppy Joes and you don't have that can of stuff to use!   Once you use this recipe, you might not want the canned Sloppy Joe sauce anymore, because  this just tastes so much better!    Here is what you will need for these yummy sandwiches:
2 lbs. of ground chuck
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 cup ketchup
1 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
dash of hot sauce (optional)
Brown the ground chuck along with the onion and bell pepper.  Drain any excess grease.  Add all of the other ingredients and bring to a boil.  As soon as it bubbles, turn it down and cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.   Be sure to stir it a couple of times while it cooks.  It will be sort of thick.  If it's too watery, it won't stay on the bun well.   It it's still a little loose or has too much liquid, remove the lid and simmer it uncovered for about 10 minutes and then serve!
Serve on buns! 

Cheeseburger Pie!

This is a quiche-like pie that even the non-quiche eaters will love!  If you have those people in your family that have already decided that anything called "quiche" is not edible, we decided to call this a "Cheeseburger Pie"!  Who could hate that?    This is so easy to make and it's also very economical.  Here is what you need:
1/2  lb. ground beef
1/3 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup half and half cream (could use milk)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. hot sauce (optional)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1  1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1  9" deep dish pie shell, unbaked
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
In a skillet, brown the ground beef and onion together.  Drain any excess grease. 
In a mixing bowl, stir together the milk, mayonnaise, eggs and seasonings, including the hot sauce if you are using it.  Stir in the Parmesan cheese. 
Sprinkle the ground beef and onion in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.
Sprinkle 1 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese over the beef.
Pour the egg and milk mixture evenly overall.  Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet or pizza pan to bake.  This catches any spillovers and it also helps the quiche cook more evenly.
Place in the preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese over the top and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes. 
 A sharp knife inserted in the center should come out clean.  Remove from oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with a salad or fresh sliced tomatoes and dinner is served!

Cheesy Grits Casserole!

This "Cheesy Grits Casserole" is so good for breakfast, brunch or dinner!   I like this for holiday meals, because you can prep it ahead of time right up to the point of baking and then just bake it right before serving.  
Grits are a very southern sort of thing, but I will admit that grits are not served all that much in Kentucky or I should say 'not as much' as they are in the deep south or in some of the coastal southern states.   Although I do think that maybe they have gained in popularity over the last 20 years or so.   We have always eaten grits in our family, because my father says he learned to eat grits when he visited his sister, my Aunt Tootsie, who married and moved to the deep south, southern Mississippi to be exact.    Down there you do not cook a proper breakfast without grits.   It's just not done.  That might have changed some over the years, but that was just how it was then. 
If you order grits here or really most places in Kentucky, they are not going to be cooked right.  That is just my experience and I can tell you why they are not good.  First of all, you have to salt the water or liquid you are cooking them in immediately.  You cannot salt grits after they are cooked or even after they are cooking.   Do it right from the start.  Also, once cooked, grits should have some body to them. They should not be runny and thin.  They also should not be a stiff blob.  There is a happy place, just like mashed potatoes, in the middle.    When cooked properly, they won't still be gritty either.  If they are, they are not done and didn't cook long enough.   DO NOT use instant grits!  They are so nasty!   It is fine to use quick cooking grits, which are not instant!  Or use the regular grits, which just take a little longer to cook.   
I am sure this grits advice will bring on some debate, because grits can be like cornbread, very subjective and everybody has their own ideas about them.  That's ok though,  because that  is what the world of food is all about.  You can never learn it all and everybody can teach us things we never knew or thought of! 
Here is what you will need for this "Cheesy Grits Casserole":
4 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup butter
1 cup quick cooking grits
dash of hot sauce (I use Tabasco)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the milk with the salt, garlic powder, and black pepper in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and add the butter and grits.   Reduce heat to simmer and whisk constantly until the grits are done,  about 5 to 7 minutes. 
Remove from the heat.   Stir in all of the cheeses and the eggs.  If you do not have the smoked Gouda cheese, you can use all cheddar instead of one cup of each.  However, the Gouda cheese gives this a really nice, creamy texture.   
Pour the mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish you have sprayed with nonstick spray.  Place in the preheated 350 degree oven.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or just until it starts to brown on top and puffs just little.
Even non-grit eaters will love this casserole!  

Tomato and Feta Salad!

This "Tomato and Feta Salad" is a simple salad with just a few ingredients, but it's full of fresh flavor!   It's so good in the summer when tomatoes, cucumbers and basil are fresh.  I have basil growing out of every pot it seems right now and I look for different ways to use it, because I love the flavor!  
This is good with anything really, but I think it's especially complimentary to Italian, Greek and pasta dishes!   Here is what you need for this:
5-6 fresh tomatoes, diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced  (I used Vidalia)
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. white vinegar or rice vinegar
2 tsps. sugar
1 tsp. Greek seasoning
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup Feta cheese crumbles (I used a sundried tomato Feta cheese)
Place the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and basil in a salad bowl.   In a separate bowl, whisk the vinegar into the olive oil along with the seasonings, sugar and minced garlic. 
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss lightly.  Sprinkle the top with the Feta cheese.  Serve immediately.  This is best served right away! 

Buttermilk Lemon Cobbler!

When I posted the recipe for Chocolate Cobbler,   I had a reader write and ask me if I had a recipe for "Lemon Cobbler".   She said a local restaurant where she lived served it and it was to die for!   I didn't have a recipe, but it sounded like something wonderful, since I love lemon desserts.  This is what I came up with and it is downright yummy!   It's also easy as can be!  This definitely qualifies as an 'easy peasy' recipe!    Here is what you will need:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. lemon flavoring or 1 tsp. lemon zest
1  (21 oz.) can or jar of lemon pie filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Place the stick of butter in an 11"x 7" baking dish or a 2 quart casserole dish works also!   Place in the oven just to melt the butter. 
In a bowl, mix the self rising flour, sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon flavoring. 
If you do not have self rising flour, you can substitute all purpose flour, plus 1 tsp. baking powder,  and 1/2 tsp. salt. 
Pour the batter evenly over the butter in the baking dish.  DO NOT STIR!
Pour the lemon pie filling evenly over the batter.  DO NOT STIR!
Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes to an hour!   It will be slightly brown on top!
This is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!   

No Bake Chocolate Eclair Cake!

When you want a great dessert, but you don't want to turn that oven on when it's in the 90's outside, this is the one to make!  This has been around for years and many of you have probably seen it or made it or at least, eaten it here or there.  It shows up at church potlucks and family reunions in the South a lot.  However, I have kicked up the usual recipe just a bit and if I do say so myself, it made it even better!   Now, there is nothing wrong with the original recipe and it is popular with so many, but you know I always have to add a little somethin' somethin' to everything!  It's just how I roll!   I didn't change it drastically, but my changes gave it some richness it lacked.   This is still a super easy recipe!
Here is what you will need:
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 (3.5 oz.) pkg. instant French vanilla pudding or just vanilla works also (can use sugar free)
3 cups milk
8 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (16 oz.) pkg. graham crackers
1 (16 oz.) container of milk chocolate frosting
Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and confectioner's sugar.  Beat until incorporated.
Add in the dry pudding mixes and milk.  Beat until it starts to thicken.  Fold in the whipped topping. 
Line a 9"x13" baking dish with a single layer of graham crackers.  Spread 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the crackers. 

Place a second layer of graham crackers over the pudding mixture and then spread the rest of the pudding over those.
Uncover the frosting and microwave it for about 20 to 30 seconds.  Just long enough to make it easy to pour over the last graham cracker layer.  Make sure you get all of that foil off of the top of the container before putting it in the microwave.  I know this from experience...lol!   The fireworks can be interesting!    Pour the frosting over the top and spread very lightly to cover.  Cover the cake and refrigerate for at least 10 to 12 hours...overnight works best! 
Cut in squares and...
Serve!  This has the texture of a light and yummy ├ęclair!

Creamy Cucumber Salad!

This is a really simple, but light and fresh tasting salad!  This is really good when cucumbers are fresh from the garden, but with the availability of cucumbers pretty much year round in the supermarkets, you can serve this anytime.   It has just a hint of fresh dill, which is optional, but I think is key to the flavor.   Here is what you will need for this:
3/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
4 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 medium sweet onion, cut in thin slices and separated into rings
1 Tbs. minced fresh dill (optional)
In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, white vinegar, and salt and pepper.   Add the cucumber slices, onion rings and the dill.  Toss to coat all of the vegetables.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving!
This is really good with grilled foods or other fresh garden vegetables!  

Slow Cooker Peachy Chipotle Country Style Ribs!

These "Peachy Chipotle Country Style Ribs" are done in the slow cooker, which makes them completely fuss free and easy and there are only a few ingredients involved also!   These turn out fork tender with just the right balance of spice and sweetness! 
If you are not familiar with country style ribs, they are meatier, boneless ribs cut closer to the shoulder of the hog.   They will be labeled as 'country style' in meat department or ask the butcher for them.  A good tip when buying most pork,  I learned from my mother,  who knows her pork, is to try to find the 'whitest' looking cuts of pork.   If you don't know what I mean by that, some pork is really red or pink looking and some it almost colorless.  The whiter cuts will be better when cooked, although it all tastes good and the pink cuts are not bad or anything.  If you cannot find country style ribs, this also works with thick cut pork chops! 
Here is what you will need for this:
2-3 pounds of country style ribs
1 cup Coca Cola (diet or regular works)
1 tsp. seasoned salt or Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp. black pepper or less to your taste
1 (18 oz.) jar of peach preserves (I used Smucker's)
1 (18 oz.) bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Chipotle Barbeque sauce
Place the ribs in the slow cooker, sprinkling the seasonings over them evenly and patting them in so they stay on the surface of the meat.   If you like a little more spice, use the Cajun seasoning, if not, use the seasoned salt or you could use a dry rib seasoning also!  
Pour the Coke around the edges of the meat.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. 
About an hour before serving, drain off the cooking liquid around the meat.  Mix the barbeque sauce and the peach preserves together.  It will blend better if you microwave the preserves for about one minute.   Pour the barbeque sauce mixture evenly over all of the ribs to glaze them.  Cover and turn the slow cooker to high for 1 hour. 
Remove from the slow cooker with a large spatula and place on a platter.  If you use a fork they will break apart.   Use a ladle to spoon any extra sauce in the slow cooker over the top! 
Serve and eat!  Could this be any easier?  

Black Bean and Corn Salad!


This is one of those salads that is just so fresh and light you feel good about eating it!  It's perfect anytime of the year, but especially in summer when the tomatoes are so good!  It's also a salad you can prepare ahead of time so it's not so hard to get everything out at the same time for dinner.   If you dice this in a fairly small dice, this can also be served as a chunky salsa with tortilla chips!   Here is what you will need for this yummy recipe:

1 (21.5 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained ( the Busch Sweet Mesquite Grillin Beans are best)
1 (10 oz.) bag of frozen corn, thawed
1 medium sweet onion, diced ( I used Vidalia)
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 fresh tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup jalapeno pepper, diced (fresh or pickled works)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cumin
dash of black pepper (fresh ground is good)
dash of cayenne (optional, according to how spicy you like things)

Place all of the vegetables and cilantro in a salad bowl.  

Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and seasonings until the seasoning are blended and it is emulsified.

Pour dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to coat.  Cover and let this hang out in the fridge for about 2 hours at least.  This gives the flavors time to blend well. 

Toss lightly right before serving!  This is good with not only various Mexican dishes, but with grilled meats or even fish and chicken! 

Fresh Fruit Salad!


This is a light and fresh tasting fruit salad that is made up of totally fresh fruit!  This makes it one healthy recipe and it's also dressed with nothing more than lemon juice and a little confectioner's sugar.  Here is what you will need for this:

2 ripe pears, peeled and diced
2 peaches, pitted peeled and diced
2 oranges, peeled, seeded and diced
2 cups fresh pineapple, diced
1 cup flaked coconut (optional)
4 Tbs. confectioners sugar
the juice of 1 fresh lemons

Place all of the diced fruit in a fruit bowl.  Whisk together the confectioners sugar and the juice of the two lemons. 

Pour over the fruit and toss lightly!
This is great served for brunch, lunch or dinner! 

Italian Garden Casserole!

This "Italian Garden Casserole" is a wonderful blend of the fresh garden vegetables and herbs that are so plentiful and in season right now.  It's also quick and easy very healthy!  Wow, you can't get better than that!   Here is what you will need for this:
1 large zucchini or 2 medium, sliced in thin circles (about 2 cups)
1 large yellow squash or 2 medium, sliced in thin circles, (about 2 cups)
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped  (can substitute 1 tsp. dried basil)
2 fresh tomatoes, sliced
1 tsp. Greek seasoning (can substitute seasoned salt)
black pepper to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups Panko bread crumbs ( I used Italian seasoned)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tbs. butter, cut in pats
Layer the zucchini slices, yellow squash slices, chopped basil and diced onion in a 2 quart oven proof casserole dish or a 9"x9" baking dish.   Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for about 2 - 3 minutes.  Just long enough to release some of the water in the veggies.  Drain any excess water.  This just keeps the casserole from being too moist, since zucchini and yellow squash have so much water content. Sprinkle the Greek seasoning evenly over the vegetables. 
 Lay the tomato slices evenly over the top. 
Sprinkle with the Mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Uncover and the cheese will nice and melted.
Combine the Panko bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle evenly over the top.  Dot with butter. 
 Return to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top is just browning!
This is a great side dish with just about any main dish or it's also a good vegetarian main dish!