Mama's Old Fashioned Chicken Salad!

"Mama's Old Fashioned Chicken Salad" is the chicken salad I grew up with and I loved it then and I still do!    While I do love Mama's Pecan Chicken Salad also, sometimes I just want this old fashioned kind of chicken salad.  You just can't buy chicken salad that tastes this good!  Here is what you need for this:
4 cups cooked chicken breast, diced fine
3 hard cooked eggs, diced fine
1 cup celery, diced fine
1/2 cup sweet pickle relish or finely diced sweet pickles
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tbs. lemon juice
3/4 cup mayonnaise
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl until blended.  I like everything diced fairly fine for this, but a food processor over does it for me, so I just use my little Pampered Chef food chopper so I can control how much I dice it all.  Cover and chill. 

My favorite way to serve is on a grilled sandwich, but it's also great on crackers or stuffed into a fresh tomato! 

Fully Loaded Corn Fritters!

The kind folks at Fleischmann's sent me some of their new Simply Homemade Cornbread Baking Mix and a bunch of other goodies!  I love it when that happens!  They had one request, that I come up with a recipe using their cornbread mix, but the key was it had to done on the outside grill and go with grilled foods.  Ok, I had to think about that one for a minute, but these "Fully Loaded Corn Fritters" is what I came up with and boy were they tasty!   I actually cooked the whole meal on the grill and never even had to turn the oven on.  It was great!  
Here is what you will need:
1 (15 oz. box) Simply Homemade Cornbread Baking Mix
1/4 cup self rising flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbs. butter, melted
1 cup corn kernels (fresh, canned or thawed frozen works)
1/4 cup real bacon bits or crisp cooked bacon crumbled
1/4 cup sliced green onions, including some of the green blades
1/4 cup Monterrey Jack Cheddar cheese blend
oil for frying
This is what the cornbread mix looks like in case you go looking for it!

Combine the first 5 ingredients until smooth.  Add in the corn, bacon, green onions and cheese and just stir in until incorporated. 
Heat the oil in your skillet until a little of the batter sizzles.  Drop about two heaping tablespoons of batter for each fritter. Cook on one side until brown and then carefully turn them over and brown on the other side.  Make sure you put enough oil in the pan or they can stick.  I used the burner on my gas grill, but of course,  you can do this on the stovetop also.
Take them and place them on a paper towel lined plate!
Serve immediately...yummy!!!

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Vidalia Onions!

These "Grilled Bacon Wrapped Vidalia Onions" are so tasty and fun to serve!  I like to grill anything I can outside during the summer to keep the oven off.  However, if you don't want to grill, these can be placed in a baking dish and baked in the oven.  Also, if Vidalia onions are not available, use any medium size sweet onion.  I don't like the really huge onions for this, because they don't cook as fast, so I use the medium size ones.   Serve these with a grilled steak or pork chops and they are amazing!  Here is what you will need:
6 medium size sweet onions
3 Tbs. butter
Montreal steak seasoning or seasoned salt
black pepper
6 slices Swiss or Provolone cheese (cut just big enough to cover the top so the onion)
6 slices bacon
1/2 cup of your favorite barbeque sauce
Cut top and bottom off of each onion so it sits flat and peel them.   With a melon baller or a sharp knife scoop just a little bit of the very inside of the onion out to form a little bit of a bowl.  Pack 1/2 Tbs. of butter into that little scoop out.   Sprinkle the top of each onion with Montreal steak seasoning and black pepper.   Wrap a slice of bacon around each onion and secure with a tooth pick.  Place each onion on a square of heavy duty foil.
Cover each onion with a cheese slice.
Brush the tops and sides with the barbeque sauce.  Cover the bacon with it.  Pull the foil up and around each onion and twist the top to seal.  Place on a medium hot grill and grill with the top down for about 40 minutes.  Carefully remove from the grill and open them at the top so the steam escapes. I think it's easiest to cut the top open with kitchen shears. 
Place on a serving plate to serve!  You can cut each one into wedges for serving also, especially if your onions are larger!  If you want to do these in the oven, place in a baking dish and cover with foil.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for about 10 more minutes! 


Baked Parmesan Herb Tomatoes!

In the summer, when garden tomatoes are so plentiful, I try to find or create new recipes for using them.  They are so delicious.  I can eat them every day in the summertime.  This is such a simple recipe, but the results were amazing.  This is a good side for most anything.  I especially like them with grilled foods.  I had some fresh corn on the cobb, grill with mine.  Here is what you will need:
3 large tomatoes, each sliced in 3 thick slices
black pepper
garlic powder
9 slices of mozzarella or provolone cheese, cut just the size to cover the top of each tomato slice
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 Tbs. minced fresh basil
1 Tbs. minced fresh oregano
3 Tbs. olive oil or 3 Tbs. melted butter
Place the tomato slices on a foil lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle each slice lightly with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Place a slice of the mozzarella or provolone cheese on each tomato slice.
In a bowl, combine the panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, basil, and oregano.  If you don't have fresh herbs, use about 1/2 tsp. each of dried. 
Pour the olive oil or butter over the crumbs and mix.  This makes them stick together so you can place them on the tomato slices and they will stick.  It also makes them brown up good.
Evenly divide the herb panko mixture and place on top of the tomato slices.  Sort of pack it on top with a spoon, so it stays on top when you serve.  Place in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes or just until browned on top. 
With a wide spatula, remove to a serving plate!
Serve immediately!

Banana Streusel Coffee Cake!

This is a super moist and yummy coffee cake that is perfect for breakfast or brunch or for a snack with a good cup of coffee.   I like cakes like this at times because they are not overly sweet or heavy.   Here is what you need:
1/2 cup chopped pecans (could use walnuts)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. vanilla instant pudding mix (could substitute banana flavored for more banana flavor)
4 large eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups confectioner's sugar
5 Tbs. milk or half and half
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Spray a 10 inch Bundt pan or a tube pan with nonstick baking spray.

In a bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the streusel.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, dry pudding mix, eggs bananas, oil, water, and vanilla.  Beat for 2 minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed.   Pour half of batter in pan.  Sprinkle evenly with the streusel.   Pour the rest of the batter over all.   With a knife swirl the batter in a figure eight all around the pan, just to lightly mix the streusel into the batter. 

Place in preheated oven and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or when a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 30 minutes.  Invert onto cake plate. 

When the cake is cooled, prepare the glaze by combining the confectioner's sugar, milk or half and half and vanilla until smooth.  Drizzle over the top of the cake and allow to run down the sides.

Slice and serve!  Yummy! 


Garden Pasta Salad!

This "Garden Pasta Salad" is a really good recipe for summer, because you can use you fresh garden produce in it.  It works during the cooler months also, but you will just have to get your veggies from the grocery.   I love this served by itself for a light lunch, but it's the perfect side dish for your next cookout or to take to a potluck.  Here is what you will need:

2 cups pasta of your choice, uncooked (we used mini bow ties)
2 cups diced ham
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked green peas
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/3 cup minced sweet onion
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
3/4 cup prepared Ranch dressing
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water.  Place the cooled pasta in a large salad bowl.   Add the ham, cheese, green peas and vegetables.  Pour the Ranch dressing over all.  Sprinkle with the salt and pepper.  Gently stir to mix it all and so the dressing coats the pasta.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

You can serve this as soon as you prepare it, but I think it's better after it chills and the flavors have time to blend! 

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Salad!

This "Sweet & Sour Cucumber Salad" is something my mother always made every summer and kept in the fridge.  It's great with fresh summer vegetables or just for a light snack!  This is something many of us in the South grew up with and still make, but there are several variations on it.  This is the one I really like and it couldn't be simpler.
Here is what you will need:
2 large cucumbers, peeled and cut in thin slices
1 large sweet onion, sliced thin and separated in rings
1/2 cup vinegar (white or cider)
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil (could use canola)
Place the cucumbers and onions in a glass bowl.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, celery seeds, salt and garlic powder until the sugar is dissolved.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil until it is emulsified.   Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.  This hold up well in the fridge for several days!
This is so light and fresh tasting!