Thursday, January 29, 2015

Honey Roasted Peanuts

My husband loves honey roasted peanuts, so I set out to make this one for him. Store-bought honey roasted peanuts are not cheap, and full of so many other additives, I just knew I could probably make them at home better and less expensively. Additionally I control what's in them and there are no other ingredients except peanuts, honey, sugar and salt.

That's not to say this was not without challenges wouldn't be true, however once it all comes together, you just really need to work quickly to insure you don't have one, big, stuck together blob of peanuts. Once that's mastered, these are easy and delicious.

1 lb. organic peanuts
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 300. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine sugar and the salt in a large metal bowl.

Heat honey in a large skillet over high heat until boiling. Continue cooking for two minutes. Remove from heat and add the peanuts to the saucepan, stirring quickly to ensure that all of the peanuts get coated with honey.

Quickly transfer the honey coated peanuts to the bowl containing the sugar and salt and using a strong spoon, quickly mix until the peanuts are well coated and practically all of the sugar and salt is on the peanuts.

Place the peanuts on the two baking sheets. Break apart as much as possible with a wooden spoon. It is alright if some clusters remain, but try to separate them as much as possible.

Place the baking sheets in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring every five to ten minutes. Each time you stir, try to redistribute the peanuts to a single layer. Remove from the oven and stir again. These will cool down very quickly, so here's where you need to work quickly.

Transfer peanuts to parchment paper laid out on your kitchen counter top. Let cool some and break apart into individual pieces.

Store in an airtight container (I used a quart mason jar) at room temperature for up to two weeks.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Loose Meat Sandwiches on Sourdough Onion Bread Mini's

I saw this recipe a short time ago from Christy Jordan's Southern Plate for loose meat sandwiches, and I knew right then and there I was going to try it. She serves hers on soft Hawaiian sweet rolls, but I chose to serve mine on Sourdough Onion Bread Mini-Loaves I'd made, and it totally worked. You could also use the Sourdough Onion Rolls if preferred.

Sourdough Onion Bread Mini-Loaf

Sourdough Onion Rolls
The onion bread totally complimented the loose meat mixture and it was the perfect size for lunch. This is one of those recipes you'll make over and over again ... it's tasty, easy, serves a lot, is budget-friendly and absolutely delicious!

1 lb. ground beef (I used grass-fed beef)
1 tbls. cider vinegar
1 tbls. brown sugar
1 tbls. Worcestershire
1 tbls. soy sauce
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tsp.garlic powder
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube (or granules)
1 chicken bouillon cube (or granules)

Put beef and onion in large skillet along with water. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, break up beef well while bringing it to a low boil over medium high heat. Cook, stirring often, until no longer pink.

Add all other ingredients and continue lightly boiling, stirring often, until water is cooked down and mixture gets thick (I let it cook until the water was almost gone).

Strain beef out and place small mounds of beef onto slices of the sourdough onion bread mini-loaves.

Top with your choice of condiments (I added sliced cheese to mine).



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Monday, January 26, 2015

Easy Fried Rice

**Updated 12/12/18**

I love fried rice! It's quick, easy and so versatile. You can add any veggie you like but you start with the basics: cooked rice, sauteed onions, celery, and chopped cooked bacon.

It's also amazingly easy to make and comes together very quickly. I like to start with cooking the chopped bacon, removing it to a paper towel lined plate, and removing all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease. I then saute the onions and celery in the remaining bacon grease to give it a nice flavor.

Next you add whatever chopped fresh veggies you're going to use. Carrots, cabbage, broccoli, green peas, chopped asparagus, fresh corn, chopped green beans; almost anything goes.

This is possibly the easiest Fried Rice you'll ever make, only uses a few ingredients, and comes together quickly. Even better the next day.

2 cups cooked rice
4 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 tbls. bacon grease
2 stalks celery, diced small
1 small onion, diced small
2 eggs, whisked
2 tbls water
2 cups chopped veggies (any mixture such as green beans, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, green peas, corn)
2 tbls. soy sauce (or to taste)

In a large fry pan, cook bacon until crispy. Remove from pan and set bacon aside on a paper towel reserving one tablespoon bacon grease in pan. Add celery and onion and saute' until the vegetables are slightly softened.

Add 2 cups veggies of your choice, and 2 tbls water. Cover and cook 2 minutes, or until veggies are just beginning to soften. Stir veggies, then mix in eggs and cook until eggs are set.

Add cooked rice and soy sauce, stirring until blended. Mix in cooked and crumbled bacon and serve.

Serve with Asian Sticky Wings for an easy dinner.


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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Boston Brown Bread

Did you know?

“Brown bread is as old as our country,” James Beard wrote in “American Cookery” (1972). “Everyone seems to treasure an ‘original’ recipe, handed down from the founding families.”

At the time of the American Revolution, wheat flour was a luxury. Cornmeal and rye flour were more common. So the three grains were combined in what were called “thirded” breads. A bread born of necessity 300 years ago easily could have been invented this morning by a nutritionist. It’s high in fiber and low in calories — like a giant bran muffin without all the sugar. Some recipes use brown sugar, but the more traditional ones rely on molasses for sweetening.

Boston brown bread ingredients include whole wheat flour, cornmeal, rye flour, buttermilk and molasses. Since few early American homes had ovens, bakers poured the bread dough — leavened with baking soda – into a cylindrical fireproof container and steamed it over an open fire. They’d been taught by Native Americans, who also showed them how to use corn as a grain for bread. Cornmeal often was called “indian.”

In her directions for making brown bread in “American Frugal Housewife” (1828), Lydia Maria Child wrote: “Put the Indian in your bread pan, sprinkle a little salt among it, and wet it thoroughly with scalding water. … Be sure and have hot water enough; for Indian absorbs a great deal of water.”

Brown bread, known outside New England as Boston brown bread, was traditionally served with Boston baked beans. It’s also pretty good with cream cheese and jam for breakfast or afternoon tea. (source: American Food Roots)

I grew up having Boston Brown Bread with Boston Baked Beans and hot dogs on Saturday nights. Oh yes, that was living! It was always so good, and so simple. Sometimes simple foods are the best.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup Cornmeal
¾ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup dark molasses
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup dark seedless raisins (optional)
Option -  substitute 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup rye flour in place of the 2 cups whole wheat flour

This recipe has not changed much from the days of the Pilgrims.  Once you prepare this dish you will never again buy brown bread in a can at the grocery store.

Place all the dry ingredients in your electric mixing bowl and mix well with your machine. Add the liquid ingredients and blend well.

Grease three 16-ounce wide-mouth canning jars and place ⅓ of the batter in each. Cover each with wax paper and then aluminum foil. Tie each with a bit of string so that the foil is sealed.

Place a cake rack in the bottom of a large stock pot and place the cans on the rack. Add enough boiling water to come ⅓ up the side of the cans.

Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer the cans for about 2-½ hours. Check the water level now and then as you may need to add more water.

Remove the jars from the stock pot and allow to cool 10 minutes on a cooling rack. Remove the aluminum foil cover, run a butter knife all around the inside of the jars, invert and shake out gently onto the cooling rack.

Slice with a knife and serve hot topped with butter. Add a side of Boston Baked Beans and Hot Dogs for a complete meal.

Recipe adapted from Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American

Cook's note - the wide-mouth canning jars are simply used to bake the bread in. They can't be used to store the bread in, and are not to be considered shelf-stable; the bread must be removed from the jars and  stored in your refrigerator, or wrapped and frozen.


Turkey Noodle Soup

Taking the time to make your own turkey bone broth or stock is well worth it, and I really like the convenience of having some on my pantry shelves. And just think, when you want to make soup, it's just a matter of minutes to put it all together. Even better? You know what's in it!

What are the benefits of Turkey Bone Broth? Bone broths are extraordinarily rich in nutrients – particularly minerals and amino acids. Bone broths are a good source of amino acids – particularly arginine, glycine and proline. Glycine supports the bodies detoxification process and is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin, bile salts and other naturally-occurring chemicals within the body. Glycine also supports digestion and the secretion of gastric acids. Proline, especially when paired with vitamin C, supports good skin health. Bone broths are also rich in gelatin which improves collagen status, thus supporting skin health. (source: Nourished Kitchen)

See here to make Turkey Bone Broth 

So now to make Turkey Noodle Soup

4 cups (1 quart) Turkey Bone Broth
1 cup cooked turkey meat, cut into pieces
1 small onion, diced small
1 stalk celery, diced small
1/2 cup cut carrots
1/2 cup green beans
1/2 cup green peas or corn
(or you can use any of your favorite vegetables)
1 - 1 1/2 cups small egg noodles, uncooked
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a large pot on your stove top; cover and bring to a boil.

Uncover, turn heat down to medium, and continue cooking until the noodles are tender.

Serve hot with dinner rolls, biscuits, or bread.

Yield:  4 servings



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Friday, January 23, 2015

Anadama Bread

Updated January 2020

Anadama Bread ... this has very New England roots and how it got it's name is very interesting! I grew up having this bread from time to time when my dad would make it. It brings back lots of memories for me and this is exactly the story my dad told me all those years ago ...

"This is the true story of a local fisherman whose lazy wife always gave him steamed corn meal mush and molasses for dinner. One day when he came in from fishing, he found the same corn meal mush and molasses for dinner and being very tired of it, he decided to mix it with bread flour and yeast and baked it saying, "Anna Damn Her." The bread was so delicious that his neighbors baked it calling it Anadama Bread."

It is not readily agreed exactly when or where the bread originated, except it existed before 1850 in Rockport, Massachusetts. It is thought to have come from the local fishing community, but it may have come through the Finnish community of local stone cutters.

Near the turn of the 20th century, it was baked by a man named Baker Knowlton on King Street in Rockport, Massachusetts and delivered in a horse-drawn cart to households by men in blue smocks.

A short time later I was talking to my daughter on the phone and reminded her of this bread. She replied "oh yes, I remember Granddad making this bread." 

It's very much corn meal mush and molasses meets yeast and flour, which in turn makes this amazing bread.

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tbls. butter
1/2 cup molasses
1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/2 tsp)
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt

Place 1/2 cup water and cornmeal in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until mixture thickens; about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and molasses. Let cool to lukewarm.

In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit until creamy; about 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled cornmeal mixture with the yeast mixture; stir until well blended. Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt; mix well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, let it do most of the work).

Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour (this can take up to 2 hours).

*Bread rising tip - turn your oven on to 400 for one (1) minute and immediately turn off (do not preheat). Place the bowl with the dough inside the warm oven to rise.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a loaf. Place the loaf in a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack 10 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan and continue to let it cool.


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Potato Egg and Cheese Waffle

I love playing around with different waffle ideas. The good old waffle iron is such a versatile tool and it takes "every day" ingredients and makes it something new and fun.

1/2 cup frozen cubed potatoes
2 farm fresh eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Place potatoes around the bottom of a well greased waffle iron. Close lid and cook several minutes, or until potatoes are almost cooked through.

Pour beaten eggs with salt and pepper over top of potatoes. Sprinkle on shredded cheddar cheese, close lid and continue cooking until eggs are set.

Serve immediately with a side of fresh salsa if desired.

Yield:  1 large waffle


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Succulent Fried Shrimp

We love seafood of all kinds, and especially like wild-caught South Carolina shrimp when I can get them.

We like shrimp prepared in all kinds of dishes, from steamed to fried, or cooked in a Low Country Boil. 

1 lb. extra large wild-caught shrimp, peeled
1 cup self-rising flour
1 tbls. Fein Tasting Foods Chesapeake Bay Rub (or Old Bay Seasoning)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. hot sauce
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
Oil for frying

Turn on fryer to 375 degrees or heat 2-3" oil to 375 in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

In 3 separate bowls add:
1st bowl - flour and spice rub; stir to combine
2nd bowl - eggs and hot sauce; whisked to combine
3rd bowl - Panko bread crumbs

Dredge peeled shrimp in flour, dip in egg mixture and coat with panko crumbs. Place on a cooling rack to let sit approx. 15 minutes.

Deep fry shrimp 5 minutes or until shrimp are browned and cooked through.  Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Banana Nut Coconut Cake

My husband brought home some over-ripe banana's the other day that were leftover from an event and no one wanted them, so I set out to make some "banana" yumminess.

Since  it's just the 2 of us at home, I chose to make this cake as a sheet cake, which is easier to transport when he brings some to his office to share with his staff.

There are banana's in the cake and the frosting, making it so delicious ... a tender, moist cake, full of banana flavor.

1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded coconut

*Banana Nut Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or one 9 x 13-inch pan.

In a medium bowl, cream together white sugar and 1/2 cup butter. Mix in eggs and 3 mashed bananas.

Sift together flour and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, mixing well after each addition.

Blend in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Fold in 1 cup of pecans and 1 cup coconut. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

To Make Frosting: Cream together butter and cream cheese. Add confectioners' sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Mix in 1 medium mashed banana, 1 cup pecans, 1 cup coconut and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

*Divide frosting recipe in 1/2 for sheet cake


Flour Bakery Banana Bread

This recipe was developed by Chef Joann Chang, owner of Flour Bakery. In 2000, she opened Flour, a bakery and café, in Boston's South End. Flour features breakfast pastries, breads, cakes, cookies, and tarts as well as sandwiches, soups, and salads. In 2007 she opened a second branch of Flour in the Fort Point Channel area, in 2010 a third branch in Cambridge near MIT and Central Square, and in 2013 a fourth branch in the Back Bay.

Flour has been featured in Gourmet, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Lucky Magazine, Inc. Magazine, and Boston Magazine and has received numerous Best of Boston awards. Flour was also featured on Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network in which Joanne's sticky buns won over Chef Flay's.

This is the most moist, tender and delicious Banana Bread I have ever baked! It has become my "go to" favorite.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe, mashed
2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped

Set oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Beat sugar and eggs with a whisk until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Drizzle in oil.

Add mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and nuts.

Pour into a lined loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Bake mini-loaves 35-40 minutes.

Cook's note - Makes 1 large or 4 small loaf pans.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Oatmeal and Pecan Bars

These Oatmeal and Pecan Bars are easy to make and a great treat anytime. Take to the office, pack in a school lunch, or bring on a picnic or hike ... they are the perfect "on the go" snack.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 tbls. maple syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
2 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Melt butter and syrup over low heat on stove-top or in microwave.

In a large bowl, combine butter mixture, baking soda, and allspice; mix well and let cool.

Add rolled oats, flour, sugar, and chopped  pecans; mix well. Press dough into prepared baking dish.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool 10 minutes then immediately cut into bars; let cool completely then cut through again.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cheesy Egg, Asparagus and Bacon Strata

Strata or stratta is a family of layered casserole dishes in American cuisine. The most common modern variant is a brunch dish, similar to a quiche or frittata, made from a mixture which mainly consists of bread, eggs and cheese. (wikipedia)

3 large farm fresh eggs, slightly beaten
5-6 stalks fresh asparagus, blanched
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2-3 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Spay or lightly oil a small oven-safe casserole dish. Lay blanched asparagus in a row on the bottom. Pour beaten egg over top; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. 

Sprinkle cheese over top of egg, and lastly sprinkle on crumbled bacon.

Bake 20-30 minutes or until eggs are set.

Remove, slice and serve immediately.

Yield:  2 servings

Cooks note - recipe is easily doubled


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Old-Fashioned Beef Pot Roast

Probably one of my all-time family favorites is Pot Roast. It's easy, it cooks slowly in the slow cooker, and it's a fabulous "one pot" meal = easy clean-up and I love "fix it and forget it" dinners.

What made this even better tonight was the BEEF! Grass-fed Angus Beef from Hill Creek Farms - Hartsville, a local to me farm, I personally visited in 2014, and have visited since. At that time, a friend of mine and I purchased a side of beef we shared, and it has been worth every penny we paid.

For the price per lb., we got roasts, steaks, tenderloins, stew beef, ground beef and everything in-between. It's all been wonderful, and something I would do again and again and again. Why? The taste is far superior to store-bought and I know how they were raised, with no antibiotics or added growth hormones. You can read all about my trip to Hill Creek Farms - Hartsville here.

1 beef chuck roast
1/4 cup Copycat Lipton Onion Soup Mix from my friend, Ann, at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen
1 small can tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups beef bone broth (or beef broth)
2 tbls. minced garlic
2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste
6 medium-sized Red or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
6 - 8 carrots, peeled and cut in half

Spray or lightly oil a large slow cooker. Place onion soup mix, tomato paste, red wine and beef bone broth in slow cooker and whisk lightly to blend. Add chuck roast and ladle some of the mix over top. Cover and cook on low 6 hours.

Add whole peeled potatoes and peeled carrots and continue cooking on low approx. 2 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Remove roast and vegetables from slow cooker to a large serving platter. Ladle some of the "gravy" or cooking liquid over top, or serve the gravy with the roast at the table.


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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Super Nachos

Super Nachos are a fun food to serve anytime. You can make them your own by adding any topping you like; sliced black olives, jalapeno peppers, beans, cheese, sour cream ... the possibilities are endless.

1 lb ground beef
Tortilla chips (or chips of your choice)
2 tbls. DIY Taco Seasoning Mix (see below)
1/3 cup water
3-4 tbls. salsa
sliced black olives
sliced jalapeno peppers
shredded cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef, drain grease.  Return to heat and sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the Taco Seasoning Mix over beef (adjust this amount to suit your taste). Add 1/3 water and simmer until liquid is absorbed.

Place Tortilla chips on the bottom of a small casserole dish. Top with ground beef mixture, then add salsa, sliced olives and sliced jalapeno peppers.  Top with shredded cheddar cheese and microwave about 45-60 seconds or until cheese is melting.

Serve immediately.

DIY Taco Seasoning Mix
1 tbls. chili powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder (or dried minced onion)
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. paprika
1½ tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. course-ground black pepper

Mix together all ingredients. Store in an airtight container until ready to use (I store mine in small 4 oz. mason jars). Recipe is easily doubled.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Roasted Broccoli with Onions and Bacon

Here in our house we love broccoli and have it many times; raw with dip, steamed, grilled and now roasted.

The addition of some onions, bacon crumbles and toasted pecans really brings this dish to another level, so tasty and easy for a quick weeknight side dish.

Did you know? This verdant vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrients. It's reputed to benefit digestion, the cardiovascular system and the immune system, and to have anti-inflammatory and even cancer-preventing properties. Plus, broccoli is low in sodium and calories, at about 31 calories per serving. It's also a fat-free vegetable.

Broccoli has an impressive nutritional profile. It is "high in fiber, very high in vitamin C and has potassium, B6 and vitamin A," raved Victoria Jarzabkowski, a nutritionist with the Fitness Institute of Texas at the University of Texas at Austin. "For a nonstarchy vegetable, it has a good amount of protein."

Broccoli is also packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants. Phytochemicals are chemicals in plants that are responsible for color, smell and flavor. Research shows that they have numerous healthful benefits, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Phytochemicals in broccoli are good for the immune system. They include glucobrassicin; carotenoids, such as zeaxanthin and beta-carotene; and kaempferol, a flavonoid. (source: Live Science)

1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
1 large onion, sliced
2 tbls. olive oil
3 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large bowl, add broccoli and onion. Toss with olive oil and place in medium-sized baking dish. Sprinkle bacon crumbles over mixture and add salt and pepper to taste.

Bake approx. 20 minutes or until onions are translucent and beginning to brown. Toss in toasted pecans and cook 5 minutes more.

Serve immediately.

Yield:  3-4 servings


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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Smoked Sausage and Cheese Tortellini Soup

Brrrrrr!  It was so cold here in South Carolina I decided to make this soup I was sure would add some soothing warmth to our bodies.  So good, served with a bit of Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. I just love comfort food and this one is now at the top of my list.

1 package Smoked Sausage
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbls. olive oil
1 small can (4.5 oz) tomato paste
4 cups beef bone broth (or beef stock)
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon basil
3 teaspoons parsley
1 bay leaf
1 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
8 to 9 ounces cheese tortellini
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Saute onions, garlic and carrots in olive oil until onions are soft and carrots are beginning to soften (they will continue to cook as the soup simmers.).

Add in diced sausage and saute for a few minutes. Add in tomato paste, beef bone broth or beef stock and water. Add in spices and wine (if using). Simmer for 30 minutes.

Ten minutes before it is done add in cheese tortellini and cook until tender.

Pour into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese.

Yield:  4 servings


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Monday, January 5, 2015

Deep Fried Pork Chops

Sometimes there's just nothing better than a deep fried pork chop, especially if that pork comes from a local farm where is it pasture raised without antibiotics or added growth hormones.

As the saying goes, this pork is NOT the other white meat, but instead is a deep rosy red color, and so darn tender and delicious.

2-4 center cut pork chops
1 egg beaten with 1 tbls. cold water
self-rising flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
Oil for frying (your choice)

Whisk egg and water in a bowl.  In another bowl mix flour, garlic powder, pepper and salt.

Dip pork chops in egg wash and coat in flour mixture.  Place pork chops on a cooling rack and let sit 20-30 minutes before frying (this will help the coating stick to the pork).

Pour oil into large skillet (I use an electric fry pan so I can control the heat) and heat to 350-400 degrees.

Place pork chops in pan and fry for 5 minutes per side or until cooked through and the internal temperature is 145.

Remove from heat and let drain on paper towels. Serve while hot.