Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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!



Monday, November 23, 2015

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! 
 
 


Thursday, November 19, 2015

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!
 
 



Friday, November 13, 2015

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 turkey...lol.  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! 



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

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! 







Friday, November 6, 2015

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:
 
 Crust
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!
 
 



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

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!




Monday, November 2, 2015

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!