Grilled Parmesan Corn!

 

 
 
This takes corn on the cobb and kicks it up about 3 levels.  It is absolutely amazing and it's easy as can be!   Use a nice sweet corn for this, something like Peaches and Cream Sweet Corn or Silver Queen is really good or whatever you have available in your area.   Here is what you will need:
 
6 ears of fresh sweet corn, husked and silked
1/4 cup mayonnaise (can substitute butter)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
Cajun seasoning or seasoned salt
black pepper
 

Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on the surface of the corn all over.  This might sound weird, but it turns out so good.  If you just don't do mayonnaise, use softened butter.  Lay the corn on a sheet of foil big enough to wrap around it twice to keep it from burning.   Sprinkle liberally with grated Parmesan cheese all over.   You know, the kind in the green can!   Then sprinkle all around  with the Cajun seasoning, I used Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning, or if you don't like the spiciness, use seasoned salt! 
Roll those babies up and fold the ends so none of the goodness leaks out.  Place directly on a medium high grill and grill for about 10 minutes, turning several times so they don't burn. 
 
 Carefully remove from the grill with tongs.  Allow to set for about 3-5 minutes and then carefully open them up.  It's easiest to do this with your kitchen shears. 
 
This is so good with grilled steaks, chicken or even burgers!
 
 


Breakfast Pizza!

 
 
 
This is a really good recipe for breakfast, but you could serve it any meal.  It's so easy and turns out absolutely delicious.   I like that it can be prepared the night before and then baked the next morning.  You can also add ingredients you like...bacon, other cheese, even mushrooms or bell pepper would be good.   I kept this one basic, because we all were eating it and you know I have picky people...lol.  
 
Here is what you need for this recipe:
 
1 lb. breakfast sausage, crumbled and browned (could use bacon or diced ham)
1 (8 oz.) can crescent rolls
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
dash hot sauce (optional)
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
 
Brown and drain the sausage in a skillet.  Spray a 9"x13" baking dish with the nonstick spray.  Unroll the crescent rolls and lay them in the dish, pressing the seams together.   It's best to do this in a baking dish and not on a pizza pan, because the egg mixture will run right off and tend to be a mess. 
If you have a pizza pan with a wide rim on it, that might be ok.
 
Sprinkle the crescent rolls with the sausage and the cheddar cheese.  Then sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.   Whisk together the eggs, milk, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, and black pepper.   Pour evenly over the top. 
 
Place in a 425 degree oven and bake for 15 - 20 minutes, just until bubbly and slightly browning.  Remove from oven and let stand about 5 minutes then slice and serve!

 
 


Asparagus Rollups!

 
 
These "Asparagus Rollups" are absolutely delicious!  They make a perfect party appetizer!  They would be great for Spring showers, wedding receptions or graduation parties!  They also make a tasty side dish!  My son calls them Asparagus Twinkies...lol!  They do look a bit like a Twinkie!   They easy to prepare and you can prepare them the night before, refrigerate and cook right before your event!
 
 This is what you will need:
 
24 slices of white sandwich bread, crusts removed
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded Swiss or Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup softened butter
24 spears of fresh asparagus
 
Roll each slice of bread, with the crusts removed, flat with a rolling pin.  Mix the cream cheese, softened butter, and cheese.  Spread on each bread slice.  Place one asparagus spear on the bread and roll it up.   Dip in the melted butter.   Place on a baking sheet.   Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes! 
 
Serve hot right out of the oven!  These won't last long!  
 
 



Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas!

 
 
I love Mexican food.  After Italian, it's my favorite ethnic food.   Fortunately, we have some really good Mexican restaurants in our area.   Unfortunately, my husband is not a fan and never wants to go to one!  When I worked in corporate America, I would go at lunchtime with my friends a lot, but now I work from home and don't do that so much.   Therefore, I cook my own favorites a lot more and I can adjust them so that picky pants (aka husband)  will eat them also! 
 
Quesadillas are one of my favorite things and so easy and the whole family will eat these!  I like to serve these when I have Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili or Taco Soup.  They are also a good party appetizer or after school snack!  Here is what you will need:
 
2 cups diced or shredded cook chicken breast (about 2 large breasts)
1 pkg. Fajita seasoning mix
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs. butter
4 large (burrito size) flour tortillas
8 slices pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (include some of the green blade)
1/2 cup  pickled jalapeno pepper rings, diced fine (optional)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
 
Place the chicken in a skillet with the fajita mix and 1/4 cup water.  Bring it to a low boil, then turn it down and just simmer it so some of the water evaporates and the seasoning blends well.  This is a good way to use leftover chicken or you could use a rotisserie chicken.
 

In a large skillet, place 1/2 Tbs. butter on medium heat.  When it's melted and bubbly lay 1 tortilla in the skillet.  It needs to be medium high heat, but not too hot or you will burn the tortilla.  On one side of the tortilla lay down 2 slices of the pepper jack cheese, 1/4 of the chicken, 1/4 of the cheddar cheese, 1/4 of the jalapeno peppers, 1/4 of the green onions.  Lift the side that you left uncovered to see if it has browned a little.  Fold that side over the covered side, like you would an omlette,  and gently mash it down a little.  It's best to use a wide spatula for this. 
 
Let it cook until it's browned and crispy.  It won't take long.  If it needs more browning on the other side, flip it over and cook a little more.  The filling should be melted and yummy!  I find this method much easier than stacking two tortillas with the filling in between.  These are much easier to maneuver without the filling falling out.   Just repeat the whole procedure with the rest of the tortillas. If you are doing these for a crowd and want them all to come off a the same time, you can use a griddle and it works great!
 
Remove to a cutting board and cut each on in three triangles.  These are nice and hearty for quesadillas and they are very filling! 
 
Serve with sour cream, salsa, or pico de gallo!  These are so yummy!
 
 
 



Greek Pasta Salad!

 
 
I had a jar of sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, a can of artichoke hearts, and shelf full of Barilla pasta and I wanted to make something with these ingredients.  As I have told you before, I love Barilla pasta. 
Guess what those sweet people at the Barilla pasta company did?   Someone there saw my post on the
BLT Pasta Salad where I mention I only use Barilla pasta and think it's just the best and they sent me a box full of various Barilla pastas.  That was so nice!
 
I love a good pasta salad and I also love Greek inspired food, so I decided to incorporate the two and the results were fantastic.  I think what makes this pasta salad is the dressing.  The dressing is so good I am going to make another batch to keep in the fridge for tossed salad.   Here is what you will need for this:
 
8 oz. bow tie pasta
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1/2 large red or green bell pepper, diced
1 (14 oz.) can of artichoke hearts, drained
1 (7oz.) jar of sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil
2 cups small black olives or 2 cups medium black olives halved
8 oz. Feta cheese crumbled
 
Dressing
Zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Greek seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
2 tsp. sugar
4 Tbs. of the oil from the sundried tomatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. Parsley
 
Cook the pasta as directed on the box in salted water, just until al dente, about a minute less than directed.   Drain in a colander and just let it hang out while you chop the vegetables.  I do not rinse with cold water like so many recipes say, because I think if the pasta is slightly warm it dresses better.
 
Chop the sun dried tomatoes in bite size pieces. Save the oil for the dressing.  Drain the artichoke hearts and quarter them.   Diced the onion and bell pepper.   In a large bowl combine the pasta with the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, onion, bell pepper, black olives and feta cheese. 
 
In another bowl, make the dressing.   Zest the lemon and then squeeze it for juice.  Add in all of the other ingredients except the olive oil.  Whisk it all well to be sure the sugar dissolves.  At the end slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking all the time.  This will make it emulsify and thicken.  This dressing was so good I wanted to lick the bowl!
 
Pour the dressing over the pasta and gently toss so you don't mash the pasta!  Place in pretty salad bowl and sprinkle with the parsley.  Enjoy! 
 
 
 
 



Cheesy Country Ham Cornbread!

 
 
In Kentucky we take our cornbread and our country ham very seriously!   They are both a big part of our cuisine, so I thought, why not combine them and I did!   The result was amazing, if I do say so myself.  As I have discussed before, country ham, is a very regional product.  You don't find it above the Mason Dixon line much, if at all, or west of the Mason Dixon line, and surprisingly, not even in the deep South...Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama.   You can order country ham on the internet now though.   However, if you don't have county ham, this is good with regular ham or just a good smoked ham. 
 
Here is what you will need for this yummy cornbread:
 
3 Tbs. shortening
1 cup self rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self rising flour
1 Tbs. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup cream style corn or a small can
1 cup finely diced country ham
1 Tbs. butter
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3-4 green onions, sliced thin, including some of the green blades
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Place the shortening in an 8 or 9 inch iron skillet and place it in the oven while you prepare the cornbread.   This works best in an iron skillet, but if you don't have one, use a 9"x9"  baking dish.  
 
In a mixing bowl, place the cornmeal, the flour and the sugar.  If you cannot get self rising in your area, add a 2 tsp. baking powder and 1 tsp. salt to plain.  For some reason self rising flour makes better cornbread and biscuits than plain, so if you can get it, try to get some for that.
 
Add the eggs and mix.   Add the sour cream, milk, oil and the creamed corn and stir until no lumps.
 
Put 1 Tbs.  butter  in a skillet and saute the country ham until brown or done.  Contrary to what some think, country ham has not been cooked and needs some cooking before you eat it.  It is a smoked and cured ham, but still need a little heat on it. 
 
Carefully take the skillet out of the oven.  It will be screaming hot so use a good oven mitt.  Pour half
of the batter in the hot skillet. That hot shortening will come up over it and that's a good thing.
 
Sprinkle green onions,  then country ham, then 1 cup of the cheddar cheese over the batter.
 
Carefully place the skillet in the oven.  You might put it on a cookie sheet for easier moving in and out of the oven and to prevent spills.  This is a dense cornbread so it needs to bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  About 10 minutes before time to take it out, sprinkle the top with the rest of the cheddar cheese, just so it melts and gets bubbly. 
 
Cut in wedges and serve!  This is so good I could eat it just by itself.  It's really good with pinto or white beans and collard greens also! 
 
 
 
 



Peachy Caramel French Toast Casserole!


 
I love to do breakfast casseroles that can be prepared the night before for the weekends or during the holidays.  It just makes having breakfast much more enjoyable if all you have to do is make the coffee, put a casserole in the oven and maybe fry some bacon or sausage.   This French toast bake, is so good.  It sort of makes it's own sauce as it bakes. Here is what you will need for this one:
 
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1  1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs. water
2  (15 oz.) cans sliced peaches, drained  (can substitute an equivalent amount of fresh peaches)
6 slices thick white bread (I used Texas Toast, Italian is good also)
6 eggs
1  1/4 cups half and half cream (can substitute whole milk)
pinch of salt
1 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1 Tbs. vanilla
1 Tbs. maple syrup
1/2 cups chopped pecans
4 Tbs. butter
 
Place the 1/2 cup butter and granulated sugar in the microwave for 1 minute, stir.  Add the brown sugar and microwave for another minute. 
 
Add the water and microwave for about 2 minutes or until the mixture bubbles and foams.  Stir.

Spray a 9"x13" baking dish with nonstick spray.  Pour the caramel sauce in the bottom.  Allow the caramel sauce to cool a bit, about 5 minutes or so.
 
Layer the  drained peaches over the caramel sauce and then the bread slices on top of the peaches.
 
Whisk the eggs, cream, salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, vanilla, and maple syrup.  Pour evenly over the bread.  Sprinkle with pecans and dot with the other 4 Tbs. of butter.  Sprinkle with the other 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
 
Place in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes.  If this starts to brown too much just cover loosely with foil.  I have never had that happen, but all ovens cook differently.
 
This makes it's own syrup in the bottom of the dish or you can add additional maple syrup.  If you feel really decadent add a dollop of whipped cream!
 

Curried Chicken Cheese Ball!


Did you know that today is National Cheese Ball Day?  Don't feel bad I didn't either.  Which is sort of ironic, because I planned on posting this cheese ball recipe today before I found out it was National Cheese Ball Day.  I just happened to get an email from Food Network and it said something about "In Honor of National Cheese Ball Day" ...very strange.

This is sort of a different cheese ball than most people make and if you like the flavor of curry you will love it.  I always make this cheese ball when my sister and nieces are coming to visit because they love it.  I must admit it is rather addicting.  It's one of those things you just can't quit eating, like potato chips or M&M's. 

Here are the ingredients you will need:

Canned chicken breast (canned works best for this because it mixes better), 2 blocks cream cheese, Parmesan Cheese, cheddar cheese, green onions sliced thin, Tabasco sauce, garlic powder, curry powder, soy sauce and walnuts or pecans to roll it in.

Leave the cream cheese out of the refrigerator until it is soft.  Slice the green onions as thin as possible and include some of the green blades for the color.   Mix the cream cheese, green onions, curry, shredded cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, soy sauce, and Tabasco sauce.  Mix in the chicken that has been chopped in small pieces.   Place it back in the refrigerator to chill before you try to roll it in a ball (about an hour will do).  Chop walnuts or pecans fairly fine and place them on wax paper or foil.  Shape cheese mixture into a ball and roll all sides it the nuts. 
This is really good served with seedless grapes, strawberries or sliced apples and Nabisco Chicken in a Biskit crackers.
It makes a huge cheese ball so I usually divide in half and make two out of it.
Ingredients:
 
1 cup chicken chopped
2 8 oz. cream cheese (you can use light cream cheese if you prefer)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 Tbs. curry powder ( I use mild curry powder so if you are using hot curry powder, use less)
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Sweet Pepper Relish!


 
 
I love a good relish or chow chow.  It is so good with beans and fresh vegetables or on a hot dog or good smoked sausage.  However, it's hard to find a really tasty recipe for sweet pepper relish.   This is probably one of the best.  It's one of those really old recipes that has been around for a while and it came from the lady that ran our elementary cafeteria years ago.   My mother was fortunate enough to get several of her recipes.  She was a wonderful southern cook.   I am sure this recipe was in her own family for years.  You will be surprised by how uncomplicated making something like this actually is, if you have a good recipe.  Here is what you will need:
 
 
4 cups ground onions
1 medium head of cabbage, ground (4 cups)
10 green tomatoes, ground  (4 cups)
12 green bell peppers, ground
6 red bell peppers, ground
1/2 cup salt
6 cups sugar
1 Tbs. celery seed
2 Tbs. turmeric
4 cups cider vinegar
2 cups water
 
Grind the vegetables using the coarse blade of the grinder.  This recipe was before the invention of the food processor, but you can use your food processor.  If you do use a food processor, be careful not to over process this.  It should be left coarse.  We are making relish, not juice and it's easy to over do it with those powerful food processors nowadays.  Do I sound like I have experience with this...lol?   I have had a few batches of salsa that was more like spicy tomato juice, before I got used to a new food processor.
 
Sprinkle the vegetables with the 1/2 cup of salt.  Cover and let sit in the fridge over night. 
 
The next day, rinse and drain.  Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over the vegetables in a large pan.  Place on the stove and heat to boiling.   Turn the heat down and simmer for about 3 minutes. 
 
Seal in hot, sterilized jars.  My mother always turns the jars, after filling and sealing, upside down on a kitchen towel to aid in the sealing process.  This makes 8 pints of relish. 
 
Isn't it pretty?  This would be great for an inexpensive, but thoughtful, Christmas gift.  Tie a little burlap or gingham bow around the jar and it would be darling!


Parmesan Crusted Ranch Potato Wedges!


 
We love our potatoes in Kentucky.  They play a major roll in a lot of our meal planning. However, after cooking them for years and usually at least 3-4 times a week, it can get a little challenging to come up with something different that keeps them interesting.  This is a really easy recipe that puts a different spin on potatoes.   These potato wedges are great with grilled foods, like steak, pork chops, or chicken.  They could even be served with grilled hamburgers.  They are really good with just about anything.   Here is all you need for these:
 
5-6 medium to large potatoes
1 stick butter
2 cups Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix
1 tsp.salt
1/2 tsp. pepper



Melt the stick of butter in a shallow dish.  Peel the potatoes and cut in thick wedges by cutting each potato in half and then cutting that half into about 3-4 wedges.  Dip each potato wedge in the butter covering the whole wedge.

Mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, ranch dressing mix, salt and pepper in a shallow dish or in a Ziploc bag. 





Dip each wedge in the bread crumb mixture and cover it well. If you shake them in a Ziploc bag, do just about 4 or 5 at a time to be sure they get well coated.  
Spray a cookie sheet or some other large pan with nonstick cooking spray.  I used a big pizza pan. Place the wedges on the pan with plenty of space between them so they brown. Take the leftover melted butter and drizzle it over the potatoes.  Place in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 30-35 minutes or until fork tender.
 
They will be browned and crispy with a little spicy tang from the ranch dressing.










Pretzel Crusted Honey Mustard Pork Chops!

 
 
As you probably have noticed, we love pork chops around here, so I am always looking for different ways to prepare them.  I have been thinking for a while about using crushed pretzels for a crust.  I just needed something else to jazz that up a bit.  So here is what I came up with.  I hope you enjoy them!
 
Here is what you will need:
 
5-6 boneless pork loin chops cut about 1/2 inch (don't use really thin chops)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup Honey Mustard Salad Dressing, divided (I like O'Charley's brand)
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup crushed pretzel crumbs
 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
 
Place the flour in a shallow dish and mix in the salt, seasoned salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.  I use a pie plate and mix the seasonings in well with a fork. 
 
Wet your chops and then dredge them in the seasoned flour to coat all sides.
 
Pour half of the Honey Mustard dressing in another shallow dish. Save the other half for dipping after they have cooked.  Dip the chops in the Honey Mustard Dressing to coat both sides well. Let the excess drip off.
 
Mix the Panko bread crumbs and the crush pretzels in another shallow dish.  It's best to crush your pretzels in a food processor.   Don't over process them or you will have dust, but some should be fine and still have some texture to it for crunch.   Dip the pork chops in the Panko/pretzel mixture.  Press it into both sides.
 
It's best to cover a baking sheet with foil that you spray with nonstick spray.  I used the nonstick Reynolds Wrap foil and still spray it with nonstick spray.  It is the best thing ever for cooking meat in the oven.  It puts a nice crispy finish on it. Place in the 375 degree oven and cook for 40 -45 minutes.  Don't turn them.  They will brown on both sides with the foil.  
 

These will be crunchy on the outside and nice a juicy on the inside.
 





 Serve with the rest of the Honey Mustard Dressing for dipping. For those who don't care for Honey Mustard, you don't taste it obviously on just the chops themselves!  It just makes them juicy and flavorful!