Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chocolate Christmas Mice

• 1 lb cherries, with stems
• 1 lb Hershey's chocolate kiss
• semi-sweet chocolate chips, for melting
• sliced almonds
• icing (optional) or red-hot candies (optional)

1. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler and dip a cherriy into the chocolate, holding by the stem ("tail").

2. Set cherry on its side on waxed paper. This is the mouse's body and tail.

3. While chocolate it still gooey, "glue" on a hershey's kiss to the mouse's body, with the bottom of the kiss touching the cherry and the pointy part pointing out, the opposite direction that the tail is pointing.

4. Add sliced almonds in the seam for ears.

5. Decorate with icing or red hots for eyes and nose.

6. Repeat with the rest of the cherries, etc.

Yield: 2 pounds of mice

Chocolate Mice

• 4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
• 1/3 cup sour cream
• 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs

• 1/3 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
• 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
• 24 silver dragees decorating candy
• 1/4 cup sliced almonds
• 12 (2 inch) pieces long red vine licorice
• Melt the chocolate, and combine with sour cream. Stir in 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs. Cover and refrigerate until firm.

• Roll by level tablespoonfuls into balls. Mold to a slight point at one end (the nose).

• Roll dough in confectioners sugar (for white mice), and in chocolate cookie crumbs (for dark mice). On each mouse, place dragees in appropriate spot for eyes, almond slices for ears, and a licorice string for the tail.

• Refrigerate for at least two hours, until firm.

Buttered Rosemary Rolls

Frozen, unbaked dinner rolls
Melted butter (regular, salted)
Fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
Coarse sea salt

Spray a small iron skillet with cooking spray (or coat with olive oil). Place frozen rolls in the skillet, leaving plenty of room for rising. Cover and allow to rise for several hours.

After rising, brush rolls with melted butter.
Sprinkle on chopped rosemary.
Brush with additional butter.
Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake according to roll package directions (usually 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes), until rolls are a deep golden brown on top.

Serve skillet on the table.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Big Daddy Biscuits

"This recipe will produce the biggest biscuits in the history of the world! Serve these gems with butter, preserves, honey, gravy or they can also be used as dinner get the picture. The dough can also be prepared several hours, and up to a day ahead of time. If so, turn dough out onto aluminum foil that has been either floured, lightly buttered or lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Roll up foil until it is sealed, and refrigerate. Don't be surprised if your biscuits rise even higher because the baking powder has had more time to act in the dough.

• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon white sugar
• 1/3 cup shortening
• 1 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.

3. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.

4. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.

I substitute butter or margarine for the shortning, better flavor.

For those who didn't get the desired results -- Try these tips:

1.  Don't overmix the dough once you add the milk and only pat together (no real "kneading" or they will be tough).
2.  Only add the amount of milk you need, some days I use it all and then others I have a little left in the cup.
3.  Make sure the shortning or butter is cold
4.  Brush with melted butter before and/or after baking for added softness and flavor

Sausage Gravy

• 1 (12 ounce) package maple flavored sausage
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 3 cups whole milk
• salt and pepper to taste

1. Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon, leaving the drippings in the pan. Stir in the butter until melted. Add flour, and stir until smooth. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until light brown. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in cooked sausage. Reduce heat, and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes. If gravy becomes too thick, stir in a little more milk.

Smoked Beer Can Chicken ~ Faux BQ Chicken

1 can beer
Springs of fresh rosemary

Spice Rub:
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 cup kosher salt
½ cup chili powder
½ cup granulated garlic
1 T Thyme
1 T Rosemary
1 T smoked paprika

Pour ½ beer in baking pan, poke a couple of the rosemary springs down into the can of beer, and add 1T of the spice rub . Set chicken onto the can of beer and place on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake 350 until chicken is done.

Tarragon Chicken Salad

½ cup mayo
¼ cup yogurt
1 t poppy seeds
2 - 7 oz cans chicken
2 stalks celery
1 t. tarragon
Red seedless grapes
Handful of walnuts
Handful of pecans

Mix together, and serveas sandwich, on tomato as a salad, or with crackers.

Hush Puppies

4 green onions (sliced)
½ jalapeno (chopped)
½ onion (chopped)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
 ¾ cup Self Rising Flour
½ t. cayenne
1 t. salt
½ t. sugar

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup cheddar

Mix all ingredients, and drop by spoonfuls into hot grease. Turn to brown evenly.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stuffing Balls

Turkey giblets
8 tablespoon butter
4 ea celery tops
20 sl bread
16 oz pepperidge farm stuffing
2 cup chicken stock

2 each onions, chopped
2 cup chicken stock

Boil giblets, butter, and celery tops until done. Toast breads, then break toast into small pieces. Add Pepperidge Farm stuffing to toast.

Cook chopped onions in stock. When tender, add to bread mix. If dressing is too dry, add chicken stock for additional moisture.

Preheat oven to 350. Form into serving-size balls and place in buttered baking dish. Spoon additional broth over balls. Bake 1 hour or until brown.

This dressing is moist and is very easy to serve. If I have too much for Thanksgiving I freeze uncooked balls and use them at Christmas which helps speed up dinner that busy day.

Grandma's Cornbread Dressing and Giblet Gravy

This old-fashioned cornbread dressing is flavorful, tender and moist. Not fancy, its ingredients are simple. Grandma didn't hold with the notion that the more stuff you put in cornbread dressing, the better it is. The heart of the dressing is the cornbread, and the following recipe produces a coarse-crumbed, flavorful base for the dressing.

The Cornbread:

• 3 tablespoons bacon drippings
• 2 large eggs
• 1-1/2 cups corn meal
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1-1/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Put the bacon drippings in a 9x13-inch baking dish and put it in the oven while it is preheating. The drippings will melt while youre mixing up the batter.

Beat the eggs in a medium bowl until frothy. Add the corn meal, salt, baking soda and baking powder, and stir to combine. Add the buttermilk and stir well. Remove the hot dish from the oven. Swirl the dish to coat it with melted bacon drippings, pour the bacon drippings into the batter and stir to combine.

Pour the batter into the pan, and bake 20 to 25 minutes. The cornbread will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Make the cornbread a day before you intend to make your dressing. Leave it out, uncovered, overnight.

The Dressing:

• 1 9x13-inch pan of cornbread, crumbled
• 10 white or whole wheat bread heels (left out overnight)
• poultry seasoning (see below)
• rubbed sage (see below)
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 3 large stalks celery, chopped
• 1 large onion, chopped (2-1/2 to 3 cups)
• 1 large green pepper, chopped
• 3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
• 4 cups chicken stock
• 1 cup turkey pan drippings (from cooked turkey -- you are cooking a turkey, aren't you?)
• 3 large eggs, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Crumble the cornbread and white bread into a very large baking dish or pan (This is the pan you will cook your dressing in, and you need room to stir it while it's cooking).

In a large skillet, sauté the celery, onion and green pepper in butter over medium heat until onion is transparent. Combine the sautéed vegetables with the bread crumbs and mix well. Note: The dressing up to this point can be prepared an hour or so in advance.

When you are ready to bake the dressing, add the beaten eggs, chicken stock and turkey pan drippings, and stir. (You may need a little more chicken stock -- better if it's too moist than too dry; the uncooked dressing should be a little on the slushy side.) Add 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage, black pepper, and mix thoroughly.

After baking for 15 minutes or so, stir dressing down from the sides of the pan so that it cooks uniformly (my mother's term was "rake through it"). Check the seasonings; that is, taste it. If you don't taste enough sage for your liking, add 1/4 teaspoon or so with a little chicken stock, stir it in, and taste again. Careful, a little sage goes a long way.

Total cooking time should be about 30 minutes.

Giblet Gravy:

• 3 tablespoons butter
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 cup drippings from roasting pan that have been skimmed of fat
• 1 cup chicken broth
• salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 1 tablespoon dry Sherry (not cooking sherry)
• 1 to 1-1/2 cups turkey giblets (chopped pieces of cooked liver and neck)

The Giblets: I use just the liver and pieces off the neck (I give the gizzard to the cat, and my husband eats the heart.) I always cook the neck with the turkey -- tuck it down in a corner of the pan. You can cook the liver the same way: submerge it in the broth in the roasting pan about 30 minutes before you expect the turkey to be done, or you can put it in a small saucepan, cover with a cup or so of lightly salted water and simmer it for 30 minutes. Since burner space is at a premium when preparing a holiday meal, I usually opt for the cook-it-with-the-turkey method.

Over medium-low heat, melt the butter in a large saucepan until it is bubbly, sprinkle in the flour and stir quickly for a minute or so to cook the flour. Slowly stir in the turkey drippings and chicken stock, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the gravy is smooth and thickened. (Note about lumps: Lumps are nothing to be embarrassed about. They happen. If you've got some lumps and want to get rid of them, strain the gravy now, because you won't be able to after you add the giblets.)

Reduce heat to low, and check the seasonings. Add salt and pepper only if you think it is necessary. Some people (me) like to add a tablespoon or two of sherry at this point. It makes a wonderful difference. Add the giblets and simmer for about 10 minutes.

You can make your gravy early, keep it warm, and heat it back up a bit just before serving, if you like.


Note: With dressing of any kind, seasoning and consistency are crucial to the success of the dish. Tastes vary widely, and that is why approximations are given for the poultry seasoning and sage. Start with the amounts given (I don't like my dressing too sagey), and if that's not enough to suit you, add more during the cooking process when you taste it.

As for the consistency, you can always add more stock to moisten it (I like mine nice and moist -- just about the same consistency as mashed potatoes), but I've seen dressing that had to be sliced like a loaf of bread -- too dry for my liking. But you'll probably want to make it the way your mother or Aunt Sally or whoever made it.

Mac & Cheese

• ¾ pound Cellantani Pasta
• 1 item Heavy cream
• 4 tablespoon Butter
• 1 teaspoon Salt
• 1 teaspoon Pepper
• 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
• 1½ tablespoon All purpose flour
• 1 cup of each, shredded provolone, white cheddar, sharp cheddar, and Monterey jack cheeses
• 1/2 cup All cheeses combined for topping


Cook pasta in shockingly salty boiling water until tender. Drain and reserve to the side. In a sauce pan melt butter over medium high heat. Once melted stir in flour and cook through for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in heavy cream so no lumps form. Bring to a boil and immediately turn off. Add cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Add pasta and pour mixture into a greased baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and b

Top with remaining cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Brined, Herb Roasted Turkey

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2007
(Food Network)



• 1 cup salt
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 2 oranges, quartered
• 2 lemons, quartered
• 6 sprigs thyme
• 4 sprigs rosemary
• 1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey
• 1 large orange, cut into 1/8ths
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
• Salt and pepper
• 1 large yellow onion, cut into 1/8ths
• 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 bay leaves
• 2 sprigs thyme
• 2 sprigs rosemary
• 1/2 bunch sage
• 3 or 4 sprigs parsley
• 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting

Turkey Broth:

• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• Reserved turkey neck and giblets
• 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
• 1 onion, coarsely chopped
• 1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped
• 1 small bay leaf
• 3 cups turkey stock, chicken stock, or canned low-salt chicken broth
• 3 cups water


• 4 cups turkey broth
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Brine:


To make the brining solution, dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a nonreactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, food grade plastic storage bag). Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary. Note: if you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.

Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for the gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water.

Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels both inside and out. Place turkey, breast side up, in a large, heavy roasting pan. Rub breast side with orange segments and rub on all sides with the butter, stuffing some underneath the skin. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, remaining orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string. Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour.

Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock.

Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

For the turkey broth:

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard to the pan and saute until just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf to the pan and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Pour the stock and 3 cups of water into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to 4 cups, about 1 hour, adding the chopped liver to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Strain the stock into a clean pot or large measuring cup. Pull the meat off the neck, chop the neck meat and giblets, and set aside.

For the pan gravy:

Pour the reserved turkey pan juices into a glass-measuring cup and skim off the fat.

Place the roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat add the pan juice and 1 cup turkey broth and the white wine to the pan, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 3 cup of broth and bring to a simmer, then transfer to a measuring cup. In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux. Add the hot stock, whisking constantly, then simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Add the reserved neck meat and giblets to the pan and adjust seasoning, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve.

Slice and serve guests with desired sides.

Southern Cornbread Stuffing


• Cornbread, recipe follows
• 7 slices oven-dried white bread
• 1 sleeve saltine crackers
• 8 tablespoons butter
• 2 cups celery, chopped
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 7 cups chicken stock
• 1 teaspoon salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon sage (optional)
• 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (optional)
• 5 eggs, beaten


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dried white bread slices, and saltines; set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the vegetable mixture over cornbread mixture. Add the stock, mix well, taste, and add salt, pepper to taste, sage, and poultry seasoning. Add beaten eggs and mix well. Reserve 2 heaping tablespoons of this mixture for the giblet gravy. Pour mixture into a greased pan and bake until dressing is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Serve with turkey as a side dish.


• 1 cup self-rising cornmeal
• 1/2 cup self-rising flour
• 3/4 cup buttermilk
• 2 eggs
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a greased shallow baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

To serve, cut into desired squares and serve with butter.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Chocolate Chip Pie

Recipe courtesy Deen Brothers (Food Network)



• 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 cup (2-sticks) unsalted butter, softened
• 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
• 2 cups chopped walnuts, optional

Whipped cream:

• 2 pints (4-cups) heavy cream
• 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
• 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) pie plates; set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, and mix until fully combined. Fold in the 3 cups chocolate chips and, if desired, the walnuts. Divide the dough between the prepared pie plates and smooth the tops with a spatula.

Bake about 30 minutes or until pies are golden and slightly firm to the touch but still soft. If the pies begin to darken too much before they are baked through, cover with foil and continue baking. Let pies cool completely on a wire rack.

While the pies cool, whip the cream and confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form (tips curl). Fold in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate whipped cream until ready to use. Spread the whipped cream over the pies and serve.

Loaded Mashed Potatoes

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen (Food Network)


• 2 heads garlic
• 6 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and quartered
• Salt
• 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1 (12-ounce) carton sour cream
• 1 (8-ounce) block sharp white Cheddar, grated
• 1 1/2 pounds cooked bacon, julienned


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut tops off 2 garlic heads. Wrap in foil and roast for 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle remove the flesh from the garlic heads and set aside.

In a large stockpot, cook potatoes in enough salted water to cover for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender.

Drain and return to stockpot. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth; adding salt, to taste, pepper, butter, garlic and sour cream. With a spatula stir in cheese and bacon. Add more salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately.

Green Bean Casserole

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen (Food Network)


• 1/3 stick butter
• 1/2 cup diced onions
• 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
• 2 cups sliced green beans
• 3 cups chicken broth
• 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
• 1 (2.8-ounce) can French-fried onion rings
• Pinch House Seasoning, recipe follows
• 1 cup grated Cheddar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Saute the onions and mushrooms in the butter. Boil green beans in chicken broth for 10 minutes and drain. Add the green beans, mushroom soup, onion rings, and House Seasoning, to taste, to the onion mixture. Stir well. Pour into a greased 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, then top the casserole with the Cheddar and bake for 10 minutes longer, or until the casserole is hot and cheese is melted.

House Seasoning:

1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Deep-Fried Turkey

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen (Food Network)

• 5 gallons peanut oil*
• 10 to 15-pound unstuffed turkey
• 1 stick butter
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 tablespoons House Seasoning, recipe follows


*Cooks Note: To measure the amount of oil needed to fry the turkey, place turkey in fryer, add water to top of turkey, remove the turkey and the water line will indicate how much oil will be needed to fry your turkey. Having too much oil can cause a fire. The pot should not be more than 3/4 full or the oil could overflow when the turkey is added.

Pour peanut oil into a 10-gallon pot. Put pot on propane cooker and heat oil to 400 degrees F.

Have turkey completely thawed and dry turkey thoroughly. Tie 2 cotton strings around carcass so bird can be easily lifted out of oil. Carefully submerge turkey in oil.

Deep-fry for 3 to 4 minutes per pound and cook until turkey floats to the top. Remove bird from oil and place on a platter or cutting board.

In a small pan, melt the butter. Add the garlic powder, cayenne and House Seasoning. Brush turkey with butter mixture. Pour any remaining butter mixture inside the turkey. Allow to cool 20 to 30 minutes before carving.

Please be extremely careful when deep-frying the turkey. Do it outdoors on a level and non-flammable surface.

House Seasoning:

• 1 cup salt
• 1/4 cup black pepper
• 1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Good Eats Roast Turkey

Recipe courtesy of Food Network (Alton Brown)


• 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the Brine:

• 1 cup kosher salt
• 1/2 cup light brown sugar
• 1 gallon vegetable stock
• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
• 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
• 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
• 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the Aromatics:

• 1 red apple, sliced
• 1/2 onion, sliced
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 cup water
• 4 sprigs rosemary
• 6 leaves sage
• Canola oil


2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 2 tablespoons lard
• 1 1/2 cups water

• Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. Mix in the lard with your fingers until the flour resembles cornmeal. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together; place on a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

• Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Use a well-floured rolling pin to roll a dough ball into a thin, round tortilla. Place into the hot skillet, and cook until bubbly and golden; flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side. Place the cooked tortilla in a tortilla warmer; continue rolling and cooking the remaining dough.

Fabulous Burritos

• 1 pound ground beef
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 1 (4.5 ounce) can diced green chile peppers
• 1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
• 1 (15 ounce) can chili without beans
• 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
• 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
• 6 (12 inch) flour tortillas, warmed
• 2 cups shredded lettuce
• 1 cup chopped tomatoes
• 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
• 1/2 cup chopped green onions

1. Crumble ground beef into a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until evenly browned. Add onion, and cook until translucent. Drain grease, and season with garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in the green chilies and refried beans until well blended. Turn off heat, but keep warm.

2. In a saucepan, combine the chili without beans, tomato soup and enchilada sauce. Mix well, and cook over medium heat until heated through. Turn off heat and keep warm.

3. Place a warmed tortilla on a plate, and spoon a generous 1/2 cup of the ground beef mixture onto the center. Top with lettuce and tomato to your liking. Roll up tortilla over the filling. Spoon a generous amount of the sauce over the top, and sprinkle with cheese and green onions. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, or until cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Baked Herbed Red Potatoes


4 large red potatoes
½ cup olive oil
1 oz butter
Salt and pepper to taste


With red new potatoes, leaving scrubbed skin intact, cut potatoes into cubes of less than one inch. Into a shallow, open cooking vessel place cubed potatoes and equal portions of light olive oil and butter sufficient to liberally cover all surfaces of the potatoes. Generously sprinkle whole thyme over the potatoes. Turning the potatoes every five minutes, bake at 400 degrees until desired crispness and browning

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

• 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
• 2 cups white sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 5 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt

• In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

• Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

To Die For Toffee

• 1 cup(s) slivered almonds, toasted
• 1 cup(s) (2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 1 cup(s) sugar
• 1/3 cup(s) water
• 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla
• 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
• 1 package(s) (12-oz. ) milk chocolate chips
• 1 cup(s) finely ground pecans

• Place almonds in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Combine next five ingredients in a heavy saucepan over high heat; bring to rolling boil.

• Cook mixture for 15 to 18 minutes, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 310ºF and mixture turns golden brown. Immediately pour over almonds (do not scrape the pan). Promptly sprinkle with chocolate chips. When melted, spread the chocolate evenly to 1/2 inch from sides. Sprinkle with ground pecans. Cool completely; break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Corn Dip

• 3 (11 ounce) cans Mexican-style corn, drained
• 1 cup mayonnaise
• 2 cups sour cream
• 1 bunch green onions, chopped
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 1 pound Cheddar cheese, shredded
• 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
• 1 pinch salt

• In a large serving bowl, stir together the corn, mayonnaise, sour cream, green onions, cilantro, Cheddar cheese and lime juice. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt. Stir to blend in seasonings, then refrigerate until chilled before serving.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup peanut butter
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2/3 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 15 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

• In a medium bowl, cream the butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter together. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the creamed mixture.

• Drop by tablespoonfuls into the cups of a muffin tin. Cups should be about 1/4 full. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately press a peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie. Allow the cookies to cool completely before removing from their pan.

**I used 2 tsp. vanilla, 3/4 tsp. baking soda and no salt.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

White Chocolate Grapes

These are amazingly addictive and easy to make. Grapes are dipped in white chocolate then peanuts (or chopped nuts of your choice) and the result makes a beautiful presentation that is great for appetizers or desserts."

• 2 cups white chocolate chips
• 2 teaspoons shortening
• 1 pound seedless grapes
• 1 cup finely chopped salted peanuts

• Combine the white chocolate chips and shortening in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth. Spread the chopped peanuts out on a piece of waxed paper or a dinner plate.

• Dip clean, dry grapes into the chocolate, then roll in the peanuts. Set on waxed paper until dry. Warm chocolate as needed in the microwave to keep it liquid.

**These were so good, I could have eaten them all before the guests arrived. I melted the chips and then put all of the grapes in the bowl and tossed to coat then spread them onto wax paper and sprinkled finely chopped peanuts over the top. These were a hit!

**These are fantastic! I only dipped about a quarter of the end of the grape in the white chocolate, giving the finished treat the appearance of an acorn. I also used toffee covered peanuts. Although they are good at room temperature, they are even better chilled. I will definitely make this recipe again

** Try different kinds of nuts

Smokey Almonds

• 1 egg white
• 2 teaspoons garlic powder
• 2 teaspoons celery salt
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
• 3 cups whole unblanched almonds, toasted and cooled

• In a bowl, whisk egg white until foamy. Add garlic powder, celery salt, salt and liquid smoke; stir until blended. Add almonds and stir until well coated. Evenly spread almonds in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 300 degrees F for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool. Store in an airtight container.

40 Clove Garlic Chicken

There is no such thing as too much garlic! If you share this sentiment then try this recipe for baked chicken seasoned with 40 cloves of garlic, basil, parsley and white wine.

2 whole chickens
40 cloves of garlic
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 lemon
salt and lemon pepper to taste

Instructions: Begin by cutting the 2 whole chickens into quarters. Place the chicken in a shallow baking dish with the skin up and then tuck the garlic cloves all around it. Add 2 cups of chopped celery.

Now combine 1 cup of dry white wine, 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of poultry seasoning and stir. To this add the fresh parsley and basil. Now mix all these ingredients together and drizzle it over the chicken with a spoon.

As a final touch, squeeze the juice of a lemon over the chicken, sprinkle some salt and lemon pepper on it and cover it with foil.

Bake it in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour at 375 degrees F.

Mexican Corn on the Cob

From Capi Peck is a chef and owner of one of my favorite restaurants, Trio's. She was asked to come out to the Garden Home Retreat to be a guest chef on the half hour show, P. Allen Smith Gardens. Her instructions were to prepare a dish using locally grown produce and to make it simple. She delighted us with this Mexican corn-on-the-cob, it's a popular treat in Mexico that is purchased from street vendors.

The Cotija cheese is essential to the recipe, Capi advises not to substitute. It is available at most grocery stores and you will definitely find it at a Mexican market. She also said to prepare two ears per person, because that's just how tasty it is!

Servings: 6 - 8

10-12 fresh ears of corn on the cob, preferably bi-color sweet corn
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
cayenne pepper to taste
2 cups grated Cotija cheese
2 to 3 limes, cut into wedges

Shuck corn and boil or steam until crisp tender; about 5 to 7 minutes. You can also grill or roast the corn; leave the husk on if you prepare it this way.

Sprinkle grated Cotija cheese on a large plate.

Spread mayonnaise on each ear of corn. Roll the corn cobs in the cheese, sprinkle with cayenne and squeeze a lime wedge over.

Old Capitol Inn's Artichoke and Shrimp Cheese Dip

Chef Merrill Bruce Cain at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson, Mississippi shared this delectable appetizer recipe that combines fresh vegetables and herbs with artichoke hearts, shrimp and a creamy cheese sauce.

1/2 cup butter
1 cup shrimp
1 cup artichoke hearts, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, minced
1 cup white onion, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red bell pepper, minced
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, minced

Instructions: Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink. Don't cook them too much or they will be tough by the time the dip is complete.

Add the artichoke hearts, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes.

Mix in the cream and cheese. Simmer on low until everything is well blended, smooth and bubbly.

Toss in the parsley and green onions to give the dip extra color and flavor.

Season to taste with black pepper and serve hot with crostini or flat bread.

Popcorn Balls

Talk about taking me back to my childhood and even my kids back to their childhood!!  My Aunt (Great Aunt) Eunice lived next door to my all of my child life, and most of my adult life.  She made popcorn balls every Halloween.  Kids (and adults too) came from miles to get her popcorn balls on Halloween night!  She always had tons of trick or treaters searching for those yummy balls.  She passed away and we no longer have that blessing in our life.  I love them so much, now that I am a Nanna, I will have to start this tradition for my grandkids!!

Today Americans consume over 17.3 billion quarts of popped popcorn. That's an average of 68 quarts for each of us. There's no telling how many ears of corn that takes! Popcorn Balls are one of those simple gifts from the kitchen that can't be improved upon!  What memories she created for each of us. They are a treat for all ages.

• 3 quarts of popcorn
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup corn syrup
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup butter
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

First, pop about 3 quarts of popcorn. Then start making the syrup, which will give the popcorn balls great flavor and holds all the corn together.

In a large saucepan combine the sugar with the corn syrup, and add water, butter and salt over medium high heat. Now, cook this stirring constantly until all of the sugar has dissolved. Next, stop stirring and let it continue to cook until it reaches a temperature of 270 degrees or until the syrup forms a ball when dropped into cold water. Then add the vanilla for a little added flavor.

Just pour this syrup over the 3 quarts of salted popped corn and mix it together. Grease your hands with butter and shape them into balls. Once you pour the syrup in you need to work fast because it will harden.

Now the balls will last up to 2 weeks in air tight bags but around my house, they evaporate long before that.

Vanilla Sugar

This idea is so simple, but really makes the ordinary extraordinary. Sprinkle some over fresh strawberries, add to your coffee, use it for cinnamon toast or oatmeal. Once you make a batch of this vanilla sugar you will want to use it in everything.


Vanilla beans (If your grocery store doesn't have vanilla beans check with a natural food store.)
Regular granulated sugar
Sterilized pint sized jars with lids

Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.
Place one vanilla bean in a jar.
Fill the jar with 1 cup sugar.
Screw the lid on the jar tightly.

Leave for 1 or 2 weeks to allow the vanilla to infuse in the sugar.

Notes: When you start to run low, just add more sugar to the jar. In a couple of weeks you will have more vanilla sugar!

Spicy Tomatillo Avocado Dip

Tomatillos are small fruits that look like a green tomato in a papery husk. They are mild and tangy and often used in salsas. You can find tomatillos in the produce section of your grocery store.   

This recipe combines tomatillos, cilantro, garlic and jalapenos with avocados and sour cream to create a flavorful dip that is great with chips as an appetizer or when used as topping for sandwiches, tacos or burritos.

5 fresh, ripe tomatillos (or one 26 ounce can of tomatillo puree)
3 garlic cloves
2 jalapenos, seeds removed and chopped (Add a few more if you like extra spicy foods.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium avocados, cut in half with pits removed
2 tablespoons lime juice
lime zest to taste
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

If using fresh tomatillos, they need to be boiled first. Remove the husks and stems and place in a saucepan. Add enough water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes or until soft. Allow the tomatillos to cool before proceeding with the recipe.

Blend the tomatillos, jalapeno, garlic and salt in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Scoop the flesh out of the avocados and add to the food processor along with the cilantro, sour cream, lime juice and lime zest. Blend until smooth.

Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes: You can also roast the tomatillos. Remove husks and stems. Place the tomatillos on a cookie sheet. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft.

Roasted Garlic

Roasted garlic is delicious simply spread on a slice of toasted bread, but it can also be used to spice up some of your favorite dishes. Try blending it with cream cheese and fresh herbs for a tasty appetizer or make a great tasting meal by tossing roasted garlic with pasta, olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

4 heads of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth

  • Remove the excess papery exterior wrapping from the garlic heads without splitting up the cloves.
  • Slice the top 1/4 inch off the garlic head, exposing the garlic inside.
  • Arrange the garlic in a baking dish.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the tops of the garlic and sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Pour the chicken broth into the baking dish.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour, basting occasionally. Remove the foil during the last 15 minutes or so.

When done the cloves will be buttery soft and piping hot so allow them to cool slightly before serving.

Chicken Pot Pie

When it comes to comfort food it's hard to beat a chicken pot pie. I like to make the filling for the pie in my crock pot so I can spend the day doing other the end of the day the filling is ready to pour into a casserole dish, top with a crust and bake into to a golden pie. Servings: 4
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup peeled, diced potatoes
1/4 cup peas
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk

Sauce Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper

Crust Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk


To make the sauce, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add 3 tablespoons of flour and brown. Add 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup chicken broth, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Whisk to incorporate and pour into a crock pot.

Into the crock pot, add the chicken, potatoes, onion, carrots, spices and 2 tablespoons of milk. Give everything a good stir, cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. To make the crust, sift the flour and salt together in a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and oil. Add this to the flour until well blended. Form the dough into a ball and place it between 2 pieces of wax paper. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes and then, using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 9-inch circle. You may have some crust left over. This can be frozen and used later.

Add the corn and peas to the chicken filling and transfer from the crock pot into an 8-inch round baking dish (I used a small skillet) and then cover the filling with the pie crust. Tuck the excess edges of the crust down between the filling and the sides of the baking dish. Make air vents by slicing the top in a few places.

Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the filling bubbles and the crust is golden.

If fresh peas, carrots and corn aren't available or you want to save time, frozen vegetables will work equally well.

You can use also use a can of cream of chicken soup in place of the home made sauce.

White Bean Chicken Chili

• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 pound diced, cooked chicken meat
• 1 onion, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
• 1 (18.75 ounce) can tomatillos, drained and chopped
• 1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
• 1 (7 ounce) can diced green chiles
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 (15 ounce) can white beans
• 2 ears fresh corn
• salt to taste
• ground black pepper to tast3
• can substitute a can/bottle/jar of salsa verde


1. Heat oil, and cook onion and garlic until soft.

2. Stir in broth, tomatillos, tomatoes, chilies, and spices. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.

3. Add corn, chicken, and beans; simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve with these toppings for people to choose from: limes, cilantro, cheese, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

Slow Cooker Swiss Steak

• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 1/2 pounds round steak, cut into small pieces
• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 3 stalks celery, chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 carrots, shredded
• 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
• 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

• In a shallow bowl, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Lightly coat the round steak pieces in the flour mixture.

• Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and saute the celery, onion, and carrots about 5 minutes, until tender. Remove from heat, and set aside. Mix in the round steak pieces, and cook until lightly browned.

• Place the vegetables and steak in a slow cooker. Mix in the tomatoes with juice, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar.

• Cover, and cook 8 to 10 hours on Low, until the round steak is very tender.

**I added some Worchestershire sauce and a pkg of onion soup mix in with the tomatoes

Red Garlic Mashed Potatoes

• 8 medium red potatoes, cubed
• 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
• 1/2 cup butter or margarine
• 1/4 cup half-and-half cream
• 1/4 teaspoon steak seasoning
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

• Place the potatoes into a large pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Add 1 teaspoon of the crushed garlic to the water for flavor. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork.

• Drain the potatoes, and add the butter. Mash until the butter is melted. Mix in the half-and-half, sugar, steak seasoning, garlic powder and remaining garlic. Mix potatoes with an electric mixer until smooth.

Creamy Hot Cocoa

• 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 pinch salt
• 1/3 cup boiling water
• 3 1/2 cups milk
• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup half-and-half cream

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature

Friday, October 16, 2009

S'more Popsicles

To mimic the shape of a marshmallow, I made the pops in small juice glasses, although any pop mold or dixie cup would work. While these popsicles are not gooey and warm like the original s'more, they have the same great flavor. The first bite of roasted marshmallow ice cream, crisp chocolate, and crunchy graham crackers will cool down anyone who is basking in the last fiery days of Summer. These popsicles are irresistible to kids and adults, so if you want chilly s'mores, keep reading.


10 jumbo marshmallows
1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 full graham crackers, crumbled


1. Place the marshmallows on a skewer and roast over a stove top (at medium heat) or barbecue until toasted and golden. Be careful, the marshmallows should not catch on fire.

1. In a blender, combine the ice cream and marshmallows until smooth. The warmth from the marshmallows will melt the ice cream a little.

1. Fill popsicle molds with the blended marshmallow ice cream mixture and place in the freezer. Wait at least 6 hours or overnight, until the ice cream is completely hardened.
1. Prepare the chocolate coating. Choose a vessel that allows for easy dipping of the popsicles. I found a small coffee mug works best. Place the chocolate chips in the bowl or mug and melt in the microwave about one minute. Once the chocolate has melted, add the oil. Place in the refrigerator to cool. Cool until the chocolate is at room temperature, but do not chill until hardened. The chocolate should be in a liquid state for the dipping


1. Set up a station with both the cooled chocolate coating and crushed graham crackers. Dip the popsicles in the chocolate coating and roll around in the graham crackers. The chocolate coating will harden. If you have extra chocolate, it's possible to do a double layer of the coating and graham crackers.
1. Serve immediately or cover with saran wrap and place in freezer until you are ready to serve.

Makes 4-6 popsicles, depending on the size of your mold.