Slow Cooker Smothered Chicken and Gravy!

This "Slow Cooker Smothered Chicken & Gravy" is one of my easy peasy recipes and when I say easy peasy, I am not kidding!  This is so easy anyone can make it and it will turn out fork tender and so full of flavor every time!  This recipe does for chicken what the Mississippi Roast recipe does for a beef roast!  This makes a wonderful gravy that is so good served over mashed potatoes or rice!  Here is what you will need:
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
black pepper
1 (10 1/2 oz.) can of cream of chicken soup
1 (10 1/2 oz.) can of cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope of dry onion soup mix
16 oz. sour cream (do not use light)
7-8 strips of bacon fried crisp and crumbled
4-5 green onions sliced thin including some of the green blades (optional for garnish)
Spray a large slow cooker with nonstick spray.  Lay the chicken breasts in the bottom.  Sprinkle them with black pepper to taste.  You really don't need to salt them, because of the sodium in the soups.  If you are using frozen chicken breasts, you don't even need to thaw them.  They will cook just fine. 
In a separate bowl, mix the two cans of soup and the dry onion soup mix until blended.  If your family doesn't care for mushrooms, you can use two cans of cream of chicken soup instead.   Spread the soup mixture over the chicken breasts.  Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. 
During the last hour of cooking, add the sour cream.  I like to temper the sour cream before I add it by adding some of the hot liquid to it gradually until the sour cream is no longer cold.  When it's warm, it won't break when you add it and will incorporate smoothly with gravy! 
When it's time to serve, sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the top and the green onion if you are using it.  I think it gives the dish some nice color.
This is wonderful served with mashed potatoes or rice and there is plenty of gravy to spoon over them.

Hungarian Goulash!

 Growing up, my mother made two very different dishes she called goulash.  One was the classic Southern Goulash which is made with ground beef, tomatoes, and macaroni and the other was this Hungarian Goulash, which has tender chunks of stew meat, green peppers, onion and carrots and is served over egg noodles!   We had the first one the most, probably because it was less time consuming to make, but when Mama said we were having goulash, I hoped she meant the Hungarian version.  It was always one of my favorite meals.  

I am sure this recipe is not authentically Hungarian, because I don't remember even knowing anyone Hungarian growing up.  However, I do know this is delicious.  This is just sort of a southern spin on Hungarian Goulash.  Here is what you will need:

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. stew meat or to round steak, cubed
1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/3 cup oil
1 Tbs. bacon drippings
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced large
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz.) can beef broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can stewed tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. black paper
1 Tbs. paprika
1 bag baby carrots
1 cup sour cream

If you are using precut stew meat, trim all of the fat off of it.  If you are using top round, just cut it in good size cubes.  In a shallow dish, a pie plate works well, combine the flour, 1 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and 1 tsp. paprika.  Coat the beef cubes on all sides in the seasoned flour. 

Heat the oil and bacon drippings in a heavy Dutch Oven on the stove top. If you don't have bacon drippings, you can leave them out, but they add so much flavor to this. 
 In batches place the floured beef cubes and brown on all sides well.   Don't place them all in at once or they won't brown.  Once they are all browned, add the onion and the green pepper and saute them just a little.  Add the minced garlic after the onion and green pepper starts to get tender and cook it just  minute or so.  Garlic burns easily so don't over cook it.  Use can of beef broth to deglaze the pan.  Scrape all of the browned bits up from the bottom.  Those browned bits are full of flavor and if you don't deglaze this will tend to stick which you do not want.

Add the tomato sauce and the stewed tomatoes.  Break the stewed tomatoes up some if they are not already.  Add 1 tsp. seasoned salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and 1 Tbs. of paprika.  I use a sweet paprika, but if you are using a hot paprika, you might want to cut this amount back come.
Bring everything up to a boil, then turn the heat back to medium low, cover and cook for 1 hour.  Check about half way through and stir to be sure it's not sticking. After one hour add the baby carrots and cover and cook for 1 more hour.  Again check half way through and stir so that this doesn't stick.

After two hours, the meat should be tender and the gravy should be nice and thick.  If at any point, it seems too thick, add some water.  Temper the sour cream by adding a little of the hot gravy to it and stirring it in to slowly warm it.  Once the sour cream is warm, add it all to the pan and stir until it is incorporated.  If you don't temper the sour cream and just add it cold all at once, it will break and won't incorporate into the sauce smoothly.  Just heat through, don't allow this to boil once the sour cream is added.

Spoon over wide eggs noodles and serve!  You can garnish with a dollop of additional sour cream and a little green onion or chives!  This is one of my favorite meals and smelling it cooking brings back good childhood memories for me! 

Cornbread Salad!

Only in the south would we take something like cornbread and turn it into a salad and since my blog name is Sweet Tea and Cornbread, I thought this was a very appropriate recipe.  And in addition to all of that, it is delicious.  When I first heard of this salad, I thought it sounded sort of weird, but I gave it try anyway and it was huge hit.   It's also very pretty and it's  perfect for a cookout or summer party. 
Here is what you will need:

1 pan of your favorite cornbread or you can use a box of Jiffy cornbread mix prepared, 1/2 cup vidalia or sweet onion, 1/2 cup green pepper, 1 can ranch or chili beans (drained) or kidney beans will also work, 1 can niblets corn (drained),  5-6 slices crisp bacon, 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese,  1 pkg ranch dressing mix blended with 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup sour cream to make the dressing.  Be sure you blend these together well. 
Take 1/2 cornbread and cut in cubes.  Place in the bottom of a tall trifle dish or a big glass salad bowl.  A clear bowl just looks prettier because the layers show.  Drain the beans well and put over the cornbread layer.  Next put half the onion and half the green pepper. Pour half the dressing over this layer.  Cut the rest of the cornbread in cubes and do another layer of cornbread.  Drain corn well and put it over this layer.  Sprinkle the rest of the onion and green pepper over this. Finish the top with the rest of the ranch dressing mix, the grated cheese and the bacon crumbled.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.  This is best made early in the day and refrigerated for several hours to blend the flavors.  I wouldn't make it the day before though because it could get soggy.   This will be  big hit! 

1 recipe cornbread
1 can niblets corn
1 can ranch beans, chili beans or kidney beans
1/2 cup sweet onion diced
1/2 cup green pepper diced
2 cups cheddar cheese grated
5-6 slices bacon fried crisp
1 pkg ranch dressing mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise

Microwave Peanut Brittle!

I love good peanut brittle, but really good peanut brittle can be hard to find.   This "Microwave Peanut Brittle"  is so easy you won't believe it and it tastes amazing.  It's so much better than anything you can buy.  This would be perfect for gift giving and it is also not nearly as expensive to make as some of the other homemade candies can be.  Here is what you will need:
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1  1/2 cups unsalted peanuts
1 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
Place the sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a glass bowl and mix.  Microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Stir in the peanuts and the butter.  Put this back in the microwave for 4-5 minutes.  My microwave does this fine in 4 minutes.  If you have a lower wattage microwave, you might need to go 5 minutes.  The mixture should be bubbling and turning a caramel color.   Add the baking soda and the vanilla.  Stir until the foam is gone.  If the children are helping make this, be very careful at this stage, this is so hot it will burn you really bad if it gets on you! 
Immediately spread on a cookie sheet you have lined with either parchment paper sprayed with nonstick spray or nonstick foil.  I used nonstick Reynolds Wrap.   If you have read many of my recipe posts, you know I love the   It's great for so many uses.   You have to spread this fast because it starts to set up.  Use a spatula, you have also sprayed with nonstick spray to spread this thin.   Let it sit out to dry and firm up for about 30 minutes. 
Break it into pieces and it's ready to dive into.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature and it keeps for several weeks, but it won't last that long!  You could place this in decorative tins for perfect little gifts! 

Roasted Rosemary Parmesan Chicken and Veggies!

I love what I call 'one dish' meals, because they are so easy on the cleanup when you have a lot going on.  This "Roasted Rosemary Parmesan Chicken and Veggies" is a one sheet pan meal. This all cooks on one large sheet pan and it tastes amazing!  Everything turns out so juicy and full of flavor.   You will love the ease of it.   I am going to start trying to create one of these 'one sheet pan meals' once a week or at least every other week. This recipe is not only delicious and easy, it's also fairly healthy.   Here is all you need:
3/4 cup olive oil
1 envelope of dried Italian dressing mix
2 Tbs. snipped fresh rosemary (you could use 1 Tbs. dried)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
seasoned salt
3 cups mini potatoes, cut in half or you can use something like Yukon Golds quarted
2 cups baby carrots
1 bunch of asparagus
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a bowl whisk together the olive oil and the next five ingredients.  Whisk in the juice of 1/2 lemon until the mixture is emulsified or blended.  
Cover a large sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.  I like to use the nonstick Reynolds wrap.    Place the chicken breasts on one half of the sheet and drizzle both sides with the seasoned oil mixture. Sprinkle lightly with the seasoned salt.  It just gives them good color. 
 Place the rest of the mixture in a gallon zip lock bag.   Put the potatoes and carrots in the bag.  Seal and toss them around to coat with the oil and herbs.   Using a large spoon, take the out and place on the other half of the sheet pan.  You need to use a spoon for this, because you will need to do the same process with the asparagus and if you just dump it you won't have enough left in the bag for that.
Leave some room at the bottom of your pan for your asparagus, which will be added later. Place the chicken, potatoes, and carrots in the oven.  Roast for 25 minutes.  At this point add the asparagus to the pan.  Asparagus cooks really fast, so if you add it with the rest, it will be over cooked. Once the asparagus is added.  Sprinkle chicken and all of the veggies with the parmesan cheese.  Place back in the oven for 15 minutes.
That's it, dinner is served and you have one sheet pan to cleanup!  Could it get any easier and it's delicious and healthy!

Cheesy Breakfast Scramble!

This "Cheesy Breakfast Scramble" is one of the easiest complete breakfasts you can make, because it cooks all in one skillet.   I even took a shortcut and used refrigerated hash browns.  You can add some buttered toast or even better biscuits and gravy and have a great and filling meal.  I call this a 'breakfast scramble', but it would be good any meal of the day.   Here is what you will need:
1 lb. breakfast sausage
1 medium sweet onion or about 1/2 cup, diced
1/2 green or red bell pepper, diced
1 (20 oz.) bag of refrigerated hash browns (could use frozen ones that are thawed)
6 large eggs
1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning ( I used Zatarains)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
dash of hot sauce (optional)
2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
Crumble and brown the breakfast sausage in a deep skillet, with a lid.  Add the onion and bell pepper and cook with the sausage.   When the sausage is just browning, add the potatoes.  Toss to get the potatoes coated with the drippings.  Cover and cook for about 10 - 15 minutes. 
I used these that have a little steakhouse seasoning on them.  You can used the cubed or the shredded, which cook  a little faster.
Uncover and turn the potatoes!  Cook until they start to get a little brown.  Whisk the eggs together in a bowl and pour over all.  Turn the heat down to medium low and lightly toss. Sprinkle in the Creole seasoning, black pepper and dash of hot sauce!  Toss just until the eggs are set.  Don't over cook them.  Add 1 cup of the cheese and toss again.  Sprinkle the top with the other cup of cheese. Cover just for a few minutes to melt the cheese.  You can cut the heat off at this point so the eggs aren't over cooked. 
Plate each serving!  I garnished with a little cilantro!
I also added some diced tomato!  Some sour cream and salsa would also be good! 

Asparagus and Mushroom Stir Fry!


This "Asparagus and Mushroom Stir Fry" is a really easy side dish with just a few ingredients.  This compliments almost any main course or could be served as a vegetarian main course.  I love fresh asparagus and I am always looking for new ways to use it.  I think it is very under used in southern cooking. Here is what you will need:
2 Tbs. oil (vegetable, canola, or olive oil works)
2 Tbs. butter
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh asparagus
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms ( I used white mushrooms)
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce (I used Kikkoman)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 Tbs. sesame seeds
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
juice of half of a lemon
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. cornstarch
Place the oil and butter in a deep rounded skillet or wok and heat to medium high.  Add the diced onion and cook until just softening.  Add the garlic and saute for just a minute or two.  Garlic can burn so don't cook too long. 
Break the woody ends off of the asparagus.  If you just bend the ends, it will natural break the tough woody part off.    Cut the asparagus on the diagonal in 1 inch to 2 inch pieces.   Place in the skillet and saute for about 4-5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and saute with the other ingredients for about 2-3 minutes more or until just starting to soften.   Add the teriyaki sauce, salt and pepper to taste, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.  Squeeze the lemon juice over all and toss.   In a separate bowl, mix the water and 2 tsp. cornstarch until smooth.  Pour over all and heat until the sauce thickens a little.
This is so good with beef, chicken or pork or can be a vegetarian main course! 


Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake!


If you have ever had the classic chocolate "Texas Sheet Cake",  you know it's moist and so scrumptious.  This takes that basic recipe and just spins it in a peanut butter form, which for the peanut butter lovers is also really delicious.  This is an idea my mother came up with and the results were wonderful.  It's also pretty easy.  Here is what you will need:

2  1/2 cups self rising flour (White Lily, preferably) ***
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (do not use margarine)
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla
***If you are unable to get self rising flour in your area, use all purpose and add 1 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt to it.
6 Tbs. half and half cream
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup peanuts, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In mixing bowl sift the flour and sugar together. 
In a heavy saucepan, bring the 1/2 cup butter, oil, buttermilk, peanut butter and water to a boil.   Once it boils, pour over the dry mixture in the mixing bowl, eggs,  baking soda, and vanilla.  Stir to combine it all.  Don't over mix this.  Just use a large spoon or whisk.  Pour into a 9"x13" baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick baking spray.  I prefer Baker's Joy for this, but whatever you have works.   Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.  A pick inserted in the center should come out clean when it's done.
 During the last 10 minutes that the cake is baking, make the icing, because as soon as the cake comes out, you ice it.   Place the half and half cream, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Melt this all together and stir until smooth.   Turn the heat to low.  Stir in the confectioners sugar and the vanilla.  Stir until smooth.    Immediately pour over the cake just out of the oven.  Spread evenly over the top.  Sprinkle with the finely chopped peanuts and press them into the warm icing with the back of a spoon.  A food processor is great for chopping the peanuts.

Slice and serve!  This is so good while the icing is still warm!

Creamed Peas with New Potatoes!

These "Creamed Peas and New Potatoes" is a familiar dish with many of us who grew up in the South.  Maybe they eat the in the North also, I don't really know, but I do know that so many of you Southerners have mentioned them.  Any time I post the salmon patties, I always get comments about creamed peas.   It seems that every southern mama decided creamed peas just go with salmon patties and they do go well together.  I think most children don't really love the green peas, but I was odd I guess, because I always did.  My mother almost always dressed them up with a cream sauce or even took them to another level when she added just a little cheese to the sauce.  I will discuss that further in the recipe. 
We were lucky enough to have fresh green peas for this dish, but you can use frozen peas or canned peas also.  Here is what you will need:
1 lb. small new potatoes, peeled and quartered or halved if very small
1/2 tsp. salt
4 cups fresh shelled green peas (or 2 10 oz. bags frozen peas or 2 (15 oz.) cans green peas, drained)
3 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
2 cups half and half cream (could use whole milk)
fresh dill for garnish
***1 cup diced Velveeta cheese (optional ingredient)
Place the potatoes in a sauce pan with enough water to just cover.  Add salt to water.  Bring to a boil and the simmer for about 5 minutes.  Add the peas and simmer for an additional 15 -20 minutes.   The fresh peas won't take long.   If you are using frozen or canned peas, just cook about 5 minutes.  Just make sure your potatoes are tender.  Drain most of the water when they are done.
In a microwave proof bowl melt the butter.  Add the flour, salt and pepper and whisk until smooth.  Microwave for just about 30 seconds.   Whisk in the half and half cream and microwave for about 3 minutes.   These times will vary according to the wattage of your own microwave.  Whisk well until the sauce is thick and smooth.   You can also do this on the stovetop, just be sure to stir constantly to keep it from sticking.
If you want to make the Cheesy Peas, add the cubed Velveeta to the white sauce and microwave for another minute.  Whisk until melted and smooth. 
Pour the sauce over the peas and potatoes and toss to coat. 
You can garnish with a  little fresh dill!  These are really good with Salmon Patties! 

Hot Crab Dip!

This "Hot Crab Dip" is cheesy and delicious!  Spread it on crackers, dip tortilla chips in it or spread it on sliced baquettes!  This is a great party appetizer or game day treat!  It's also really easy.  Make it up the night before and just bake the next day right before your gathering.   Here is what you will need:
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
3-4 green onions, sliced thin and including the green tops
1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1/2 parmesan cheese, divided
1 tsp. hot sauce (I used Tabasco)
pinch of cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
8 oz. crab meat (whatever is available in your area)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
I a mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese, mayonnaise and sour cream until smooth. Stir in 3/4 of the green onion.   Stir in half of the mozzarella and 1/2 of the parmesan cheese.  Add in the hot sauce, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce.  Add the crab meat last.  If you use canned crab meat, drain it really well.  If you are using fresh lump crab meat, break it up just a bit.   Pour this into a 2 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.  Top with the other half of the parmesan cheese and the other half of the mozzarella cheese.
  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is just browning and bubbly.  Wait about 5 -10 minutes before serving.  This allows it to set up a little.  Sprinkle the top with the rest of the green onions.  I like it served on buttery crackers.  I will warn, this is a bit addictive!

Fresh Cranberry Chutney!

I am one of those people who just have to have a little cranberry sauce with my turkey and dressing.  That tart yet sweet flavor just goes so well with the richness of the turkey and dressing with gravy, of course.  I am not ashamed to say that I even like the canned jellied kind.  I also love any type of chutney, so wanted to come up with a "Fresh Cranberry Chutney" and this is it.  I must say, it is wonderful.  I could eat this anytime of the year and I think it will be really good with pork and chicken also. 
This is really easy and it tastes so much fresher and better than anything you buy at the store.  Here is what you need: 
1 large orange, halved
10-12 dried cloves
orange zest
1 (12 oz.) bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1  1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
dash of salt
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 apples, peeled and diced a little bigger than the cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
In a large saucepan, squeeze the juice of half of the orange.  Zest this half and place the zest in the pan. Be careful to only zest the outer orange part of the skin and none of the white or pith. It tends to be bitter. 
Stud the other orange half with the dried cloves in the cut side and place it cut side up in the pan.  This makes it easy to remove the cloves when this is finished. Add the cranberries, water, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and ground cinnamon. Bring up to a boil and boil for a couple of minutes.  Cover and cook on medium for about 10 minutes or until the cranberries pop.  Add in the diced apples, cover and cook on medium low for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the apples are soft. Discard the orange half and cloves at this point.  Stir in the chopped walnuts.  Allow to cool.  It will thicken as it cools.  Jar it up and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve or you can serve it immediately when it has cooled some.
This is so delicious and just really accents turkey, chicken or pork! 

Strawberry Buttermilk Salad!

This "Strawberry Buttermilk Salad" is so simple, but so yummy!  It's not overly sweet like some salads like this can be and it has a nice little tanginess to which makes it good as a side with your meal or as a dessert.  If you don't think you care for buttermilk, don't worry, it won't be evident in the taste.  This is a great congealed salad for the holidays.   Here is what you will need:
1 (20 oz.) can of crushed pineapple
1 (6 oz.) box of strawberry jello
2 cups of buttermilk
1 (8 oz.) container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Place the crush pineapple in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil.  Do not drain the pineapple.  Add the jello and stir until dissolved.  Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and add the buttermilk.  Allow to cool on the counter for about 15 to 20 minutes. 
Stir in the whipped topping and the chopped nuts until blended.  Pour into a pretty salad bowl or casserole dish.  Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight until it is set up.
You can decorate the top with some fresh strawberries before serving and it makes it pretty!
You can also change the flavor of the jello to suit your taste or the occasion!

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with The Perfect Turkey Gravy!

We love turkey in our family, especially my son, so we like to have it more than just for holidays.  If you have watched the movie "The Christmas Story" where the father is so in love with turkey, that is how my son feels about  This is a good cooking method for a turkey breast, especially in the summer when you don't want the oven on for hours, because of the heat.  This is also a good method if you want to free up your oven for your other side dishes and such. 
This produces a really moist turkey breast.   It also produces a really rich turkey stock for your dressing and gravy.  I like to be sure I get a lot of broth, because I use a whole lot in the dressing and I make quite a bit of gravy.  If we ran out of gravy, my bunch would be grumpy.   Here is what you will need.
3 stalks of celery, cut in fourths
1 sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped in large pieces
7-8 lb. turkey breast
oil (olive, vegetable, or canola)
Nature's Seasoning Blend (you can just use salt, but I like this blend)
Lawry's rotisserie chicken seasoning (or whatever chicken seasoning you prefer)
black pepper
1 stick of butter
4 cups water
Place all of the vegetables in the bottom of a large slow cooker that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.   Rinse the turkey breast and pat it dry with paper towel.  Brush it all over with the oil.  This just helps the seasoning to stick.   Sprinkle inside the cavity and all over the outside surfaces with the Nature's Seasoning blend , rotisserie chicken seasoning, and black pepper.   Place the turkey breast with the breast side down on the vegetables in the slow cooker. Place the stick of butter, whole in the cavity of the bird.  The butter will melt down into the meat as it cooks and will enrich the broth also. 
Cook on high for 1 hour, turn down to low for 7 hours.  All slow cookers cook at different rates so if you know yours cooks very low, you might let it go 8 hours on low.   Mine cooks pretty hot, so 7 was good for mine.  Carefully remove the breast to a cutting board and allow it to rest for a bit before carving. 
Strain the stock to remove the vegetables so you can use it for dressing and for your turkey gravy.  Gravy seems to intimidate some cooks, especially if you only make gravy for holiday meals.   I can't imagine that, because in our family, we'll put gravy on just about anything, so we make it often.  Gravy making is really not all that difficult, if you just know a few basic things and follow them. This recipe makes a good amount of gravy, because my family puts it on everything...turkey, mashed potatoes, even the dressing and they want some for their leftovers also.  Here is my recipe for the "Perfect Turkey Gravy"!
Turkey Gravy
5 Tbs. butter
5 Tbs. flour
5 cups of turkey stock
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
pinch of garlic powder
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 cup of half and half or heavy cream
In a large saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the flour and whisk and cook it until it bubbles.  Cook for about a minute, whisking constantly.  A good whisk is a must have when making gravy to keep it smooth.  Add the turkey stock, slowly and whisking continuously until the flour is all smooth and incorporated.  Bring this up to a boil and boil until the gravy starts to tighten up or get thicker.  When it coats a spoon, turn the heat down and add the seasonings.  This is not a really thick gravy, but it should have some body to it.   Taste for salt and pepper, because the turkey stock will be salty from the seasonings on the turkey.  It may not need salt.  I do like to add black pepper to taste.  At the very end and when it is no longer boiling, whisk in the cream.  Half and half or heavy cream can be used. 

Here is the finished product!  It's rich and wonderful and just puts the finishing touch on your holiday meal! 

Cheese Stuffed Italian Meatloaf!

This "Cheese Stuffed Italian Meatloaf" puts a little different spin on the meatloaf and it is scrumptious!  It's meatloaf, three different cheeses seasoned with Italian seasonings!  What could be bad about that?  The kids tend to love this one, even those who turn their noses up at regular meatloaf.  Here is what you need for this meatloaf:
1  1/2 lbs. ground chuck
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 (.06 oz.) packet of dry Italian dressing  (Good Seasons make a good one)
2 Tbs. grated raw onion
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1 (24 oz.) jar of spaghetti sauce, divided ( I used Classico Tomato and Basil)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
6 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, mix the ground chuck, eggs, Italian bread crumbs, the dry Italian dressing mix, grated onion, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, black pepper,  and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese.  I have just a word of advice on the meat you use for this.  The ground chuck  works best, because it has an 80/20 lean to fat ratio which is perfect.  Ground beef will too fatty and greasy and something like ground round will be too dry and tasteless.

Pour the spaghetti sauce in a bowl and mix in the brown sugar, garlic powder, basil and oregano.

Add 1 cup of the spaghetti sauce mixture to the meatloaf mixture.  Mix well, but don't over mix it.  That makes the meat loaf dry and too tight.   On a piece of parchment paper, shape the meat into a rectangle.  Pat it out to about one half inch thickness.

Lay the cheese slices evenly over the top of the meat.  Using the parchment paper, roll the meat loaf into a roll.  Roll this as tight as you can without it breaking.  

Place into a 9"x13" baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with nonstick foil.  Tuck the ends of the roll in and under so they are sealed.  If you leave them open your cheese might run out while baking.  As long as you fold and seal it stays in nicely.  

Pour the rest of the spaghetti sauce over the top of the meatloaf, be sure all surfaces are covered in sauce.  Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan cheese over the top.  Place in the preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 50 minutes.  After 50 minutes remove from the oven and sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over the top.   Turn the oven up to 425 degrees and place back in the oven for about 10 minutes.

When the cheese is browned and bubbly it's ready to take out of the oven!  Allow to stand for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing so the cheese has time to tighten back up and it will slice nicer.

This slices really nicely!  See all of that cheesy wonderfulness!  It's ridiculously good!

The whole family will love this one y'all! 

Butterscotch Delight!

This "Butterscotch Delight" is such a scrumptious dessert!  It's a layered dessert and each layer has it's own distinct yumminess.   The one thing that makes this recipe so extra good is that the butterscotch layer  is made from scratch instead of a pudding mix.  However, if you want to take a shortcut I will give you instructions for using the instant pudding.   This is a wonderful dessert for the holidays and it can be made a day or two ahead of time.  Here is what you will need:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 cups self rising flour
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (pecans or walnuts)
Cream Cheese Layer
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Butterscotch Layer*
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
2 cups milk
4 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 stick of butter
1 tsp. vanilla
12 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed
maraschino cherries for garnishing or additional chopped nuts
*You can substitute 2 (3oz.) pkgs. instant butterscotch pudding and 3 cups milk for the butterscotch layer, but the scratch recipe is so much better! 
Melt the butter in a 9"x 13" baking dish.  Add the flour and the nuts to the butter and mix.  Press in the bottom of the dish to make a crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until just lightly browned.  Cool completely.

Beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla flavoring.  Fold in 1/2 cup of the whipped topping. Spread evenly over the crust. 
Mix cornstarch, sugars, and salt.  Beat egg yolks with milk and add to dry ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Stir constantly and cook until it thickens. You can also do this in the microwave.  Cook for about 2 minutes on high, remove and whisk well, return to microwave and cook on high for another 4 minutes or until it is thickened. Once thickened,  add butter and vanilla and beat well until blended.   Set aside to cool completely.  You can put plastic wrap right down on the pudding mixture and refrigerate it a little bit to cool quicker.   The plastic wrap keeps it from forming a tough skin on top. 
Once this is cool, spread over the cream cheese mixture.  It if is too thick to spread, once cool,  add a few tablespoons of milk and beat with the mixer again.
If you are using the pudding mix, mix it with the milk until thick and then spread over the cream cheese layer. 
Spread the whipped topping over the top of the dessert and garnish with maraschino cherries or some additional chopped nuts or go all out and do both!!!   Refrigerate until ready to serve!
This is one delicious, rich and yummy dessert!

Mississippi Comeback Sauce!

 "Mississippi Comeback Sauce" is a zesty dipping sauce that is great with fried foods, with seafood, on sandwiches or even as a salad dressing.  I paired it here with Fried Green Tomatoes!   It would also be great with Fried SquashFried Okra, or even for dipping your Fried Dill Pickles in!  It's also great for dipping your chicken fingers or shrimp in or think of it as your own 'special sauce' for your burgers or sandwiches!
This sauce originated at a Greek restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi called The Rotisserie.  I think it was their house dressing.  It became so popular other restaurants in the city started making their own version of it.  It's easy to whip up and you can keep it refrigerated for using for several days.  Here is what you will need:
2 Tbs. grated onion
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chili sauce (I actually used a sriracha ketchup made by the Red Gold company)
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of cayenne or to your taste
dash of hot sauce to taste (I used Tabasco sauce)
1 Tbs. lemon juice
Grate the onion as fine as possible or process it in a food processor.  I grate it with my finest grater and it is just onion juice when I am finished so you don't hunks of it in the sauce.   Place the onion and all of the other ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk it until it's smooth.   Taste it for your own taste preference.  You can spice it up or down to your liking.  You know I like spicy so I used both a little cayenne and some hot sauce, but you could make it milder. 

Pour it up in a mason jar and chill in the fridge until you are ready to use it!
This sauce is so good and really enhances whatever you use it on!  It's really similar to a remoulade sauce, but this is smoother and has a little more spice!

Chicken and Herb Stuffing Bake!

Sometimes I get a craving for Thanksgiving dinner, when it is not Thanksgiving or even near Thanksgiving.  I do bake turkey and make dressing year round, but sometimes I just want the flavors in a much easier form.  This little casserole fits the bill.  It is easy as can be and bakes in just an hour. The chicken  is fork tender and it even makes it's own gravy you can put on some fluffy mashed potatoes.   Here is what you will need:
9 boneless, skinless chicken breast tender fillets or 3 large chicken breasts, cut in 3 pieces each
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 (10.25 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10.25 oz.) can cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup half and half cream or whole milk
1 (6 oz.) box of Stove Top Stuffing mix for chicken or turkey
4 Tbs. of butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the chicken in a 9"x13" baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray.  Sprinkle the chicken with the seasoned salt, black pepper and poultry seasoning.
In a bowl mix the soups, sour cream and milk.  Spread evenly over the chicken.
Sprinkle the stuffing and herb mixture evenly over the soup mixture. Dot the top with pats of butter.  Cover tightly with foil and place in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.  Uncover and just brown the top for about 5 minutes.
This forms a nice gravy that is so good over mashed potatoes!  The chicken is so flavorful and tender!
Add some green beans and dinner is served!  It's so yummy and couldn't be any easier!