Friday, July 31, 2015

Honey Bourbon Steak Tips!

 
 
These "Honey Bourbon Steak Tips" are a great way to prepare steak!  They are so full of flavor and are tender and delicious.  It's best to use a good cut of beef for these so they are not tough or chewy.  I used beef tenderloin, but you can use top sirloin or rib eye steak also.  The marinade for this is the key.  The bourbon gives these a great flavor.   Here is what you will need:
 
2 lbs. top sirloin, tenderloin, or ribeye steak, cut in 1-2 inch cubes
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup good Kentucky bourbon
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1/4 cup oil
3 Tbs. butter, divided
salt
black pepper
8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered
 
Combine the honey, brown sugar, bourbon, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Place the steak tips in a large Ziploc plastic bag or a contain with a tight fitting lid and pour half of the marinade over the steak.  Seal and turn to coat all of the meat.  Marinade for at least an hour, two hours is better. 
 
Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet that has a lid until the butter is sizzling.  You need high heat for this, but don't burn the butter.  Place the steak tips in the pan and brown on all sides.  Don't crowd the pan or you won't get them browned.  You might have to do two batches.  When they are all browned cover with the lid to steam the meat a little.  This makes it tender.  Just for about 3 -4 minutes.   Reduce heat to medium for this. 
 
While the steak tips cook, place the rest of the marinade in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and stir and allow to reduce for 3-4 minutes. Leave it uncovered.  Watch this carefully, because it will boil over very easily.  When it starts to thicken a bit turn it off.  
 
 

Pour the sauce over the steak tips in the pan and toss to coat them.  Cook just a minute or two!  Remove the steak tips to a platter.
 
Add the other tablespoon of butter to the pan. There will be some of the marinade left in the pan. Saute the mushrooms!   
 
Add the mushrooms to the steak tips and serve!  If you are not a mushroom fan, just leave them out!
 
 
 



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sausage Potato Frittata!

 
 
 
This "Sausage Potato Frittata" is a great meal when you are short on time and it's good for breakfast, lunch or dinner!   If you haven't ever made a frittata, it's similar to a quiche, but cooks in much less time.  This recipe is pretty basic and very hearty, but you can add anything extra you like.  Green or red peppers, mushroom or some diced zucchini would be great also.  Here is what you need:
  
1 lb. ground breakfast sausage
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
3 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
8 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup shredded Gouda cheese (can substitute Swiss or Monterrey Jack)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4-5 green onions, sliced thin
 
In a large oven proof skillet brown the sausage. Remove the sausage to another dish.  I just used my large iron skillet.  Leave the drippings in the skillet and add 1/4 cup oil.  If the sausage rendered a lot of grease, you might not need as much oil, but usually sausage nowadays doesn't rendered much grease.   Add the diced potatoes to the skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Fry the potatoes just like you would ordinary fried potatoes.  Toss the potatoes to coat with oil.  Cover with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat. 
 
Remove lid and turn to brown on the other side.  You don't need to brown these as much as you would for fried potatoes, because this will be cooked more from this point.  Add the browned sausage back to the pan.
 
In a bowl whisk together the eggs, sour cream, half and half, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Add the cup of Gouda cheese or Swiss if that is what you are using.  Pour evenly over the potatoes and sausage.  Move the skillet around to cover it all.  Cook uncovered over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or when the eggs are set.  The top will still look shiny and wet.  When you move the skillet around the eggs don't move around the edges.  Sprinkle the cup of cheddar cheese on top.  Place in a 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes or just until the top is just starting to brown.  Don't over brown this, because then it will be over cooked. 
 
See how it's just lightly browned.  The cheese on top is what browns. If you don't think it's done enough run it under the broiler for just a minute, but watch it closely.   Sprinkle with the green onions.
 
Slice and serve!  If you use a nonstick skillet you can slide it onto a platter or cutting board, but since I used a cast iron skillet I just served from the pan. 
 



Friday, July 24, 2015

Chopped Steak with Brown Gravy!

 
 
"Chopped Steak with Brown Gravy" is good ole southern comfort food.  This is so good served with mashed potatoes or even with rice or egg noodles.  The gravy in this recipe is to die for.  Even if you usually have problems making gravy, this one turns out great every time.  Here is what you will need:
 
1  1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, divided
1/2 cup flour
3 Tbs. butter
1 (10 oz.) can French Onion Soup
1 pkg. au jus mix
3 cups water
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
 
In a mixing bowl, mix the ground chuck with the egg, salt, black pepper, garlic powder and tsp. Worcestershire sauce.  Don't over mix the meat.  Leave the mixture a little loose, but enough to pat it out.  Shape into 5-6 oval patties.  Make them sort of thin, because as they cook they get thicker. 
 
Place the flour in a shallow dish.  Dredge each patty in the flour coating all sides. Reserve the flour you have left over.  We will use it to thicken the gravy.  Melt the butter in a large skillet.  When the butter is sizzling, place the patties in the butter and fry on each side 4-5 minutes.  Remove to a plate.
 
Sprinkle 3 Tbs. of the flour you reserved in the pan drippings. Scrap the brown bits from the pan and cook the flour for a minute or until it is smooth and bubbly. Add the can of French Onion soup to the pan and stir.  Dissolve the Au Jus mix in 3 cups of cold water.  Slowly add it to the pan.  If you don't dissolve it in the water before adding to the pan, it will clump on you. Add the other teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce to the gravy.  Bring the mixture up to a boil and when it starts to thicken, turn it back down to simmer. 
 
If you aren't familiar with the au jus mix, this is what you need.  This Kroger brand is every bit as good as the more expensive name brands.
 
Place the chopped steaks back in the gravy and cover.  Simmer for 30-40 more minutes. The gravy will thicken and get so flavorful as it simmers. 
 
This is a real family pleaser!
 
 
 
 
 
 




Thursday, July 23, 2015

Potato Cakes!


 
 In the South, we don't believe in wasting anything.  Many of us were brought up with this way of thinking deeply ingrained in us by parents who were brought up with this as a matter of survival and necessity.  If you have leftovers, you save them and eat them or figure out a way to reorganize them and make them interesting the second time around.   I am sure that is how the potato cake came to be.  I know that is when my own mother would make them, when we had leftover mashed potatoes.  I am not sure how my grandmother ever had enough leftover mashed potatoes to make them when she had to mash potatoes for 13 people, but I guess sometime she did.  My mother-in-law only had 4 children and she used to tell me that in order to have enough leftover mashed potatoes for potato cakes, she would cook extra potatoes and put some aside for the next day.  We do love our potatoes in this part of the country. 

These are really very simple to make and just like salmon patties, everyone does it just a bit different to suit their own tastes and their families tastes.  They are also called several different names by different folks....potato cakes, potato patties, potato pancakes...all the same thing.

 This is the way my mother always made them and what we like.  Her potato cakes are a little puffier and light than some and you will see why if you make them.  Here is what you will need:

2 cups cold mashed potatoes
1 egg
1/2 cup self rising flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbs. finely minced onion (optional, we don't use onion)
oil for frying

Mix the potatoes, egg, flour and baking powder.   Add onion if using it.   Heat about 2-3 Tbs. oil in a skillet until hot.  Make sure your oil is not enough or the potato cake will just spread out and not stay together.  

Scoop with an ice cream scoop and drop in the hot oil.  Flatten slightly, but don't mash down too much.  Cook until nice and brown on one side and then turn them over and cook until nice and brown on the other side.   Remove to a paper towel lined plate. 

Serve with a little sour cream and chives or green onion or just plain.  These are good with any meat or with beans and cornbread!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake!

 
 
I love a good, moist pound cake and anything lemon so this "Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake" was one I really enjoyed!   It's light and just sweet enough with that little lemon zing!  Here is what you will need to make this yummy cake:
 
1 (16.5 oz.)  pkg. lemon cake mix
1(5.1 oz.) pkg. instant lemon pudding mix
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbs. poppy seeds
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
 
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix and the dry pudding mix.  Add the water, oil, eggs, and the extracts.  Beat on low until combined then beat 2 minutes on medium speed.  Stir in the poppy seeds. 
 
Spray a 12 cup bundt pan liberally with nonstick baking spray.  I like Bakers Joy!  Pour the batter in the pan and place in the preheated 350 degree oven.   Bake 50 - 60 minutes or until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting on a cake plate. 
 
Combine the confectioners sugar and lemon juice until smooth.  Drizzle over the cake! 
 
This is so moist and yummy!
 



Monday, July 20, 2015

Yellow Squash Fritters!

 
 
I love all of the fresh homegrown vegetables we get from the garden in the summertime.  My parents have had a garden as long as I can remember. They still have a small one and Daddy is in his eighties, but that doesn't stop him.  He takes care of his own yard and he and Mama plant their garden each Spring.   I plant a few things at my house also, mostly herbs, tomatoes and several types of peppers, but also a few yellow squash and zucchini plants and some lettuce and greens.  
 
The yellow squash usually does really well every year and eventually it's coming out ears, so we look for a variety of ways to use it all.  These "Yellow Squash Fritters" are something my mother has made since I was a girl and I just love them.  They are easy, but so tasty. Here is what you will need:
 
2 cups grated yellow squash
1/3 cup grated or minced fine sweet onion (I used Vidalia)
1 egg
1/3 cup self rising flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup oil for frying
2 Tbs. butter
 
In a mixing bowl, combine the grated squash and grated onion.   I just used a box grater for this.  The food processor tends to over do it and you end with baby food.  Mix in the egg, self rising flour, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.  If you do not have self rising flour, add about 1/2 tsp. baking powder to all purpose flour.  It makes them puff a little.  Depending on how much water is in your squash, you might need just a pinch more flour.  It's loose batter, but it has to be tight enough to drop with out running every place. 
 
Heat the oil in a large skillet and melt the butter in it for flavor.  I drop they by heaping tablespoon to make sort of small.  They are easier to work with and turn.  You can make them as large as you like though.   Cook on one side for about 3-4 minutes.  Lift up and if they are brown, carefully turn them with a wide spatula.   This is a delicate batter so turning  them only once is a good idea.  Cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes or until brown and remove to a paper towel lined plate.
 
 
I like to garnish mine with a dollop of sour cream and some chives or a little green onion! 
 
These can be served as an appetizer or for a delicious side! 

 



Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cranberry Cashew Coleslaw!

 
 
I love coleslaw and I like to try variations and different recipes for it.   This "Cranberry Cashew Coleslaw" is a wonderful blend of several things I happen to really like so for me it was a big winner!  It's also easy as can be.  Here is what you will need:
 
1 (16 oz.) bag of coleslaw mix
1 bunch of green onions, sliced thin, including the green blades
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup cashew pieces (could substitute chopped pecans or walnuts)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs. cider or white vinegar
2 Tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. celery seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
 
Place the coleslaw mix, green onions, dried cranberries and cashew pieces in a mixing bowl. 
In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt, pepper and celery seeds.  Pour over the coleslaw and toss to coat all of the ingredients.  This will seem almost a little dry, but as it sits the water in the cabbage makes it moister.  Cover and sit in the fridge for about an hour and toss again and it will be perfect!
 
This is so good with chicken and turkey or even barbeque and pork!  This is a good summer recipe, but would be great for the holidays also!  
 
 



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cheesy Breakfast Enchiladas!


I love enchiladas and I also love breakfast casseroles you can prep the night before, so this recipe for
"Breakfast Enchiladas" was right up my alley!  This is so delicious and even the "Picky One" loved it (my husband).  It's a really good breakfast or brunch dish, but you can serve it for supper also!  Here is what you will need:

1 lb. breakfast sausage, browned and drained
3 cups cheddar cheese
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas
6 large eggs
1/2 cup half and half cream
1 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
dash of hot sauce (optional)
fresh parsley and fresh cilantro for garnish


Brown the sausage in a skillet and drain excess grease.  Add 1 1/2 cups of the cheese to the sausage and mix.   Fill each tortilla with 1/6 of the mixture and roll up, leaving the ends open. 

As you roll, lay them in a 9"x13" baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick spray!

In a bowl, whisk the eggs, half and half and seasonings together.  I added a dash of Tabasco sauce to mine for a little zing, but it's totally optional!  Pour the egg mixture over the rolled tortillas.

Sprinkle the top with the other 1 1/2 cups of the cheese.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  This is best if prepped the night before, but you could bake it immediately also, if you didn't plan ahead.

Leave the foil on and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes to sort of brown the top a little.

Sprinkle the top with a little fresh parsley and cilantro!

Serve the plain or with a little sour cream or I topped mine with some of the "Fresh Pico de Gallo"
that I posted yesterday!  It made them so good!  I also served them with "Fried Potatoes" which was yummy!  I found that cutting each one in half and serving the halves side by side on the plate worked best also!  I have to say this is going to be a regular at our house!





Okra and Tomatoes!

 
 
Okra is a funny little vegetable that grows plentiful in the South.  It likes to grow in the really hot sun that  southern summers are famous for.  It seems like a lot of cooks don't really know what to do with this vegetable, unless you were raised in the South and even then it's sort of an unknown to many.   There are several ways I use okra in my cooking.  I love it in things like vegetable soups and in some gumbo concoctions.  It is sort of a natural thickener in such things.  I also love it breaded and fried, of course.  This recipe takes okra and adds other great ingredients from the garden or pantry, in winter months, and just makes it delicious.  
 
One key to good okra is not to let it get too big before picking and cooking.  It tends to get a little tough and woody if it's too large.    Here is what you will need for this dish:
 
1/2 lb. bacon, chopped and cooked crisp
3/4 lb. fresh okra or 2 cups, sliced in about 1/2 inch pieces (can substitute an equal amount of frozen okra)
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 cup fresh corn kernels (can use frozen niblets)
3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and diced or 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning like Tony Chachere's (optional)
 
Cut the bacon in about 1 inch pieces.  I like to use my kitchen shears to do this quick.  Fry in a skillet until crisp.  Remove from skillet to a plate. 
 
Saute the okra and onion in the bacon drippings for about 2-3 minutes over medium heat.  Then add the corn and sauté it for a minute or two.  Last, add the tomatoes and seasonings last. Stir together.  Let simmer until the okra is done about 15 -20 minutes. 
 


 Sprinkle the top with the chopped bacon and serve!  I like to add a dash of hot sauce to mine!




Monday, July 13, 2015

Fresh Pico de Gallo!

 
 
 
I love this "Fresh Pico de Gallo" with any type of Mexican food!  I also use it for a dip with tortilla chips!  This is so easy to make and so much better than anything you can buy!  It adds some pretty color to any dish and it's even low fat, which doesn't always happen on my site! Top your tacos with it, add it to your fajitas, top a taco salad, or serve with your enchiladas!    Here is what you will need:
 
3 ripe tomatoes, diced and seeded
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced (I used Vidalia)
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced fine
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
 
Dice and chop all of the ingredients in a fairly small dice.  This needs to be chunkier than salsa, but finer than vegetables for a salad.  Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.  Squeeze the lime juice over all and lightly toss.  Cover and chill in the fridge for about an hour.  Toss again before serving.  It's good to give this about an hour to sit so the flavor blend and marry. 
 
Serve with tortilla chips or as a garnish for all of your favorite Mexican dishes!  It's so delicious and fresh tasting, I can eat it by itself!



Friday, July 10, 2015

French Onion Pork Chop & Potato Skillet!

 
 
This is one of those one skillet meals I love when I don't want to be cooking and cleaning up all night.  I really like the flavor of French Onion Soup, so I decided to put that flavor in this pork chop dish.   The new potatoes are so full of flavor and the pork chops turn out fork tender.  Here is what you will need:
 
5-6 boneless pork loin chops
3 Tbs. butter
seasoned salt
black pepper
2 lbs. small new red potatoes or new Yukon gold potatoes (I used some of both)
2 (10  3/4 oz.) cans French Onion Soup
1 soup can water
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
1 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped
 
Melt the butter in a large skillet with a tight fitting lid.  Lightly sprinkle seasoned salt and pepper on each side of the pork chops.   Brown on both sides in the skillet.  Leave the potatoes unpeeled and cut in half or if they are a little larger, cut in fourths.   Lay the potatoes around the edges of the skillet and on the pork chops.  I also sprinkle a little seasoned salt and black pepper on the potatoes.   Pour the French Onion Soup and the soup can of water over all.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and the soy sauce.  Cover with the lid and cook on medium low heat for about 40 - 45 minutes.  
 
Place 2 Tbs. cornstarch in 1/2 cup cold water and mix until smooth.  This is a slurry and it will thicken the sauce.  Pour it around the pan and mix it in.  Bring it up to a boil until the gravy thickens.  Once you can tell it's thicker turn back to simmer and cover for about 10 minutes. 
 
Sprinkle the top with the fresh parsley and rosemary!  It just brightens it up and adds fresh flavor.  If you don't have fresh, use a teaspoon of dried herbs!
 
Add a green or yellow vegetable or a salad and dinner is served!  This is so good y'all! My husband gives it two thumbs up!   



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

German Potato Salad!

 
 
 
I have been making this recipe for "German Potato Salad" for years.  I just love it!  If you have never had it, it's a completely different dish than regular American potato salad.   You serve it warm and it's seasoned with a tangy bacon flavored dressing, then topped with chopped bacon.  How could that not be good?   This also goes with just about anything.  I have taken a big dish of this to potlucks and I never bring a bite of it back.  Here is what you will need:
 
6 medium size potatoes, skins left on and sliced in slices
10 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
1 Tbs. minced garlic
2 Tbs. flour
1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider or white both are fine)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. celery seeds
2 Tbs. fresh parsley chopped (could substitute 1 tsp. dried parsley)
 
Scrub the potatoes and then slice in thin slices (not paper thin, just thin)  and place in a pot of salted water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook just until for tender...about 20-25 minutes.   When they are done drain in a colander.  If you over cook them or cut them paper thin, they fall apart too much when you dress them.  Leaving the skin on also helps to keep the slices fairly whole.   You can use most types of potato for this.  A Yukon Gold is nice, because of the  nice skin it has on it or a red potato is good.  I just used some russets I had on hand and they are good also.
 
While potatoes are cooking, fry your bacon up nice and crisp.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the drippings in the pan.
 
Add the diced onions to the bacon drippings and cook just until starting to get soft.  Now add the minced garlic and flour.  Cook for about one minute, moving it all around to make a sort of roux.  Don't cook too long or the garlic might burn, just until the flour and bacon drippings are mix well. 
 
Add the water, vinegar, seasoned salt, black pepper, sugar and celery seeds.  Bring up to a boil, stirring constantly until it thickens. 
 
Place the well drained potatoes in a serving bowl and pour the hot dressing over top.  Gently toss to get the dressing distributed.  Sometimes I place half the potatoes in the dish and dress with half the dressing and then repeat so I don't have to toss it too much.  That keeps the potatoes from breaking up too much.  Crumble the bacon and place on top.  Then sprinkle with the fresh parsley.  This smells so good.
 
Serve immediately!  This is so good to take to cookouts in the Summer, but it's also a good Fall and Winter dish!