Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a wonderful and joyous Thanksgiving.  Is everyone feeling human again and wearing elastic waited pants? Until Wednesday at about 2:00 PM, I freaking out because I didn't know what I wanted to make for sides for Thanskgiving. I had been paniking for days. The homegirlz picked out the menu.   I finally decided on the stuffing when I picked up a loaf of Asiago cheese bread at a bakery.  So here's 2 days worth of mess.

Here's what we made:
Herb Roasted Turkey
Rice and Turkey Gravy Spiked with Brandy
Asiago, Sausage and Apple Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Baked M-N-Cheese
Pecan Pie
White Chocolate Creme Bruelee

Dateline 11/25/09 3:30 PM EST washing and drying the bird and making pecan pie.

Sauteing veggies for Asiago, sausage and apple stuffing.

Working on the stuffing.

11/26/09 Turkey Day, 9:20 AM. 

The rice is cooking.  How wanted mashed potatoes and gravy but these Louisiana people only believe in rice and gravy. 

The green been casserole and the mac-n-cheese are ready for the oven.

The dough for the rolls is rising and the turkey necks and giblets have been roasted for drippings for gravy.

The turkey is coming along.

the stuffing is ready for the oven, just wish that turkey would hurry up!


Gorgeous day!  Just wish Detroit was winning...

Teh dough has risen and I'm ready to start rolling.

The rolls are resting and we'll eat in about 45 minutes.

Gravy is ready!

Kaitlin is putting the finishing touches on the White chocolate Creme Brulee. 

The real deal - Pecan Pie!

Remember - all leftovers need to be eaten by Sunday night!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Corn Bundles

Sorry there are no pictures - YET!!!  Last Thanksgiving was the first Thanksgiving I had my blog and we celebrated in New Orleans.  This year we are unable to go because my husband has to work.  I found these in my tried and true file and haven't made them in ages, but they are perfect to Thanksgiving.  I will post pictures...this is just so worth posting even without the pictures!

This year the homegirlz will be happier than Pilgrims when they are tearing into their oven-crispy corn bundles. Easy to make and even easier to serve, this side dish will satisfy even the most finicky child at the table. In fact, you’ll probably have to make a second batch the day after Thanksgiving once they tell their friends just how good they really are.

2 cans whole kernel corn (15-1/4 ounce size)
1/3 cup finely chopped green onion tops
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup pre-cooked cocktail shrimp (200-300 count size)
24 wonton wrappers

First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and generously spray two large muffin tins with Pam.

Then in a medium mixing bowl stir together the corn, green onions, mayonnaise, crumbled bacon, salt, shredded mozzarella, and the tiny shrimp.

Using a pair of kitchen scissors and trim off individual corners of the wonton wrappers. When they’ve all been trimmed, push the wrappers down into the wells of the tins, thereby forming serving cups

Spoon about a tablespoon of the mixture into each wonton cup. Then fold over the edges of the wrappers and pinch them together, creating a loose bundle (or small sack).

Lightly brush the finished bundles with melted butter to achieve a golden brown and crunchy wrapper.

All that’s left is to bake the wrappers—uncovered—in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the bundles become puffed and browned. They are absolutely at their best when they’re served hot.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

How Long Has It Been Since You Went Old School?

Thank all of you for you kind comments about the kitchen.  I will do my best to post pictures Thursday afternoon or Friday morning of the real stuff that happens in there.

Quite a few of you mentioned you would like to turn this into an event.  So....for anyone interested, post as many pictures as you like of your kitchen as you are preparing the feats of all feasts, feel free to include your dining area, your guests, the whole enchilada!

Post by Friday and let me know in the comment section if you would like to patrticipate so I can be sure to visit your blog.

How many of you have had a Carrot and Rasin Salad recently?  This is an old school salad that still rocks!  I was yenning for this big time last week.

Peel 4 carrots and slice in the food processor or grater.  Add in 1/2 cup of raisins.  Stir in 1-1/2 tablespoons of mayonnaise.  That's all there is to it!  This keeps in the fridge for about 2 days.  Yes, you can keep coming back for more!

Some recipes call for lemon juice.  I don't normally add lemon juice but I did this time and won't ever do it again.  It made the salad too tart and it didn't have that nutty, comforting feeling that I was anticipating.

Other tweaks you can add are chopped pecans or chunks of pineapple.

This is a Fall salad that I truly enjoy...hope you try it soon!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

C'mon in and Visit the Cafe'!

Welcome to the Cafe'!  C'mon on in and visit. 

My blogging friend Penny from Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen, invited her blogging friends to show where the magic happens or as some may feel, heartbeat of the home.

This is where I play, work, ok it's Command Central.  It's small, but very cozy and I really like the way it is set up.  There is ample counter space and everything is nearby, even for my short arms.

C'mon, I'll show you.

This is what you see when you come in through the back door.  The turkey plate was my grandmother's.  As fragile as it is, I am still amazed it it survived how many times it was moved (4 times)  from when our homes was destroyed by Katrina until we arrived in Tennessee to our new home.


Walking around the bar and entering la cucina, you can see the dining room or as we call it in Tennessee, the Fancy Eatin' Room.

I really like the placement of the sink.  I can watch TV, I can holler for people in the Family Room and to the left is the sorority wing of the house.  The girls have to pass by to get anywhere else in the house; good way to keep track of them.


To the right of the sink is the beverage station and my tunes.  Coffee pot, wine and soft drinks.  What would you like to drink?

Moving to the right, this where most of the pictures are taken and where I chop and drop.

I'm still campaigning for a gas stove.  If you're having a stove giveaway, please drop me a line!  The house came with this stove...don't buy a glass top on purpose.  When you stir, the pots slide all over the place.  You spend way too much time making sure your pots and pans are sitting properly on the burner.

This looks into the eating area and the back door.  The bay window is one of my favorite features because we get so much light.  This window faces Northwest.  Between the light from these windows and the light from the dining room window, you don't need to turn on lights during the day.  I also like the downlights near the windows, can you see them?  They are on a dimmer.  I don't like bright lights at dinner, dimmer lights make it more relaxing.

Maybe I'll take some pictures next Thrusday when all hell is breaking loose in here and I'm up to my elbows in giblets!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Panko Chicken Tenders

Hands down, anytime the homegirlz are asked what they want for supper, the answer is going to be, "Can't we have chicken bites or some kind of chicken nugget?  You NEVER fix that anymore!".  Or if they are eating out, they order chicken strips or nuggets.  I always thought my children would mature and acquire a more sophisticated pallette.  A girl can dream can't she?

The surprising thing about this crispy, crunchy chicken dish is - I was craving chicken nuggets.  Snicker all you want, but damn, these were good!

2 packs of chicken strips were used.  The strips were cut into "nugget" size pieces - just a little bit bigger than bite size.  In a large bowl, whisk together 2 large eggs and 1 cup of buttermilk.  Season with salt and cayenne to taste.  Add the chicken nuggets to the buttermilk mixture and let them hang out while you're getting everything else ready.

In another bowl, add two cups of Panko Crumbs.  Season generously with season salt and paprika.  Season with about 1 teaspoon of cayenne.

Heat Canola or vegetable oil to 375 degrees.  Shake off as much excess milk/egg mixture as you can and dredge the nuggets through the Panko crumbs.  Carefully the nuggets into the heated oil and fry until golden brown.  They will fry up pretty quick!

You have to have a dipping sauce!  I made homemade Ranch Dressing and then tweaked it a bit by adding about 1 teaspoon of chopped capers (The spoon?  It's a baby feeding spoon from days gone by.  It was the smallest one I could find to fit inside the caper jar instead of dummping them out and them trying to get them back in.),

cayenne and a little hotsauce!

Of course I served a salad with this and some steamed veggies and then got busy on the Wii Fit ;-)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Buttery Oven Fries

These scrumptious, crispy potatoes are a great side for almost any meal. Your meat and potato eaters will definitely scarf them up!

Peel 3 potatoes and cut in to hearty strips.

Pour 1/2 stick of melted butter over the potatoes.

At this point you can season the potatoes any way you like. We used Lawry's Season Salt, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a tablespoon of chopped parsley. I think rosemary would really rock these too.

Toss the potatoes in the butter ans seasonings with your hands to evenly coat each spear.

Line the potato spears on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Until potatoes are golden brown.

Well seasoned, crunchy potatoes make a statement all their own.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Raspberry Chipolte Sauce

Ann from Fisher & Weiser was kind enough to send me some of their fantastic sauces (including pasta sauces) and marinade to try and blog about. You really need to visit their impressive site; Fisher & Weiser carries a wide array of grilling sauces plus they showcase several recipes using their sauces.

When I arrived home from work last Wednesday, I knew I was going to grill a flat iron steak and had been thinking all afternoon about what kind of seasoning or sauce to use. Well I got to rest my thinker when I spotted the Fisher & Weiser box sitting on the front porch!

It was a no brainer on which sauce to try first, Roasted Raspberry Chipolte! This sauce made my life so much easier and so very tasty! This is a perfect blend of raspberries and smoky chipotles. The roasted raspberry very hangs out on the back your palette while the chipolte flavor gives off a definite pop without being overpoweringly spicy.

Coat the steak evenly with extra virgin olive oil and very generously season with grill seasoning. Massage the seasoning into the meat on both side and allow the steak to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

While the steak is resting, pour about 1/3 cup of Roasted Raspberry Chipolte Sauce into a sauce pan and slowly warm over very low heat.

I was temporarily out of fire wood to start a fire outside, which made it too cold for me to gou outside and fire up the gill, so I wound up using my grill pan.

Place the steak on a pre-heated grill (medium-high heat).

Sear/cook for about 7 minutes per side for medium rare.

Remove steak from grill, cover with a foil tent to allow the juices to re-distribute for about 10 minutes.

Slice your steak and ladle on some warm Roasted Raspberry and Chipolte sauce and my goodness, what a taste sensation you will have going on in your mouth!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You for My Freedom

This is from my heart.

Today as we remember those who have fallen as well as those who have served, here's one story.

I love living in the United States, I love being an American. I value my freedom and have the utmost respect and admiration for every single individual who so unselfishly and honorably serve the United States of America in the armed forces.

My Dad joined the Navy upon his high school graduation in the Spring of 1942 at the tender age of 17 and was honorably discharged in April, 1945. He never spoke much about it, but I know he served in the South Pacific detached to the United States Marines as a Corpsman. I was told second hand from a gentleman my Dad kept in touch with over the years that things were so crazy where my Dad was stationed, that he was performing surgery in the field and saved numerous lives. Can you imagine this young man at 18 or 19 years old, just doing what ever it took?

(I just think he's adorable!)

My Dad went on to college and then on to medical school and was called back during the Korean War or as we so delicately call it now, the Korean Conflict. He stayed states side (thank goodness) and worked in the infirmary at Camp LeJeune. He never complained about being called back. I know in his mind, he was doing his part....right John?

He then went on to marry my Mom, have three kids, support a family and never spoke about his service unless he was telling a story about a celebrity he saw at a USO show or humorous story.

Actually, as a kid and up until I saw the beginning of Private Ryan, I didn't think about the reality of what our military personnel actually do or experience.

Both of my brothers honorably served our country too. My oldest brother, John, served in the United States Army Reserves during peace time and my younger brother, served in the United States Marines (his wife also was a United States Marine). Matt served in the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm.

I am so proud of my Dad and my brothers and my country. Thank you Dad, thank you John, thank you Matt and thank you to all past and present military personnel, you are my heroes!

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
Ronald Reagan
40th president of US (1911 - 2004)