Saturday, March 31, 2012

Incredible Turkey Meatloaf

Recipes have been sketchy this week this week because I have been serving dinner out of the freezer this week.  Meaning.....repeats!!!!  I am serious about cleaning it out for the summer so I can start fresh this coming fall.  Plus, you'd be lucky to get a piece of paper in there!  Poor Jim....every time he opens the door, you just shakes his head!  And it is a mess.  SO.....I am hell-bent on cleaning it out.

And in a simple stroke of luck, I hit the jackpot.  I've never been disappointed in my meatloaf.  Never the same, but always satisfying.  But this combo of leftovers was just incredible.  Incredibly tasty, succulent, and an unusually smooth texture.  The only thing different I would do is double the sauce recipe (the recipe below is doubled for next time).  I just made enough to coat the top, but some extra would be nice next time for dipping.

Again, this was just a stroke of luck using three different types of turkey.  Who knows when I'll have these ingredients together again to make this recipe.  But it will definitely be on the menu next fall.


8 oz ground turkey
3 oz Italian turkey sausage (1 link)
4 oz ground turkey sausage crumbles (cooked turkey, a Jimmy Dean product, in the frig section with the breakfast sausages)
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup rolled oats (I used quick oats)
1/4 chopped onion
1/4 cup milk
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

Sauce: (I halved this amount this time, but will definitely use this amount next time)

1 cup prepared spaghetti sauce
2-3 dashes hot sauce (we prefer Louisana brand hot sauce)
1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire
1/4 tsp liquid smoke

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, turkey Italian sausage, and turkey sausage humbles, along with the egg, oats, onion, and milk.  Season with 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt. Mix well and form into a loaf.  I used a disposable 8"x3 3/4"x2 3/8" aluminum pan, sprayed with with cooking spray, and form the loaf in the pan.

In a separate small bowl, mix together the spaghetti sauce, hot sauce, and 1/2 Tbsp Worcestshire sauce and liquid smoke.  Smooth over the  entire meatloaf (save half of the sauce for dipping).

Bake in preheated oven for about 50-60 minutes (I took a nap, overslept, and it cooked for 1 1/4 hours and it still turned out wonderfully).  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coconut Coconut Shrimp

Marlene Koch is one of my new favorite cookbook authors.  She takes popular home and restaurant dishes and "healths-them-up!"  Her new book "Eat More of What You Love" arrived recently and I immediately went to this recipe.  I love coconut shrimp, but only order it, oh, maybe once every 5 years because of the fat and calories.  After all, it often calls for full-fat coconut milk and loads of coconut and then, of course, deep fried.

The coating for the shrimp is a mixture of lo- or fat-free buttermilk, light mayo, and coconut extract.  Use Panko breadcrumbs, and a tip Marlene gives:  freeze the coated shrimp for about 15 minutes before baking to help the coconut mixture adhere.  You can serve these as appetizers or entrees.  This recipe includes the ingredients for a dipping sauce.  A tip from me:  make the sauce ahead of time (up to days ahead, if you'd like) and keep will be much thicker this way.  As comparison, Red Loster's serving of coconut shrimp has 784 calories, while this recipe has only 165....33 per shrimp!  I'm listing the recipe as Marlene lists it, but I did use 13/15 shrimp for entrees.

COCONUT COCONUT SHRIMP (makes 8 appetizer servings)

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup reduced- or fat-free buttermilk
2 Tbsp light mayo
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 pound large or XL shrimp (about 24 per pound), peeled and deveined (you can leave the tail on, if you like the appearance, or remove for quicker eating!)
1 Tbsp natural rice vinegar
3/4 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
6 Tbsp no-added sugar orange marmalade
3 Tbsp pineapple juice
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425.  Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray (I lined mine with parchment paper first for easier clean-up).

In a wide, shallow bowl, mix together the coconut, panko, and dry breadcrumbs

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, light mayo, and coconut extract.  Dip each shrimp into the milk mixture and then into the crumb mixture to coat.  Place coated shrimp onto prepared baking sheet.  Spray shrimp well with cooking spray (Pop the shrimp into the freezer for 15 minutes.  This will help hold crumbs in place.)

Bake for 15 minutes and then broil for 1 minute to lightly brown (watch carefully).

To prepare the sauce, place all of the ingredients (vinegar through red pepper flakes) in a small measuring cup and stir.  Microwave on high for 30-60 seconds until warm (or in a saucepan on your stove).  Stir again.  Serve with shrimp.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tilapia Scaloppine

I feel so badly neglecting this little blog of mine of late.  Our Spot Girl is still recovering....her biopsy came back benign, but she's having a tough time getting her appetite back.  We are cautiously optimistic that she'll get back to her old self soon. 

I've missed posting some wonderful recipes for you but hope to get back on track soon.  Tonight I decided I was in the mood for fish and fell back on my FAVORITE, "Swai."  I had some mushrooms on hand so I did a search on and put in a search for the ingredients "tilapia" and "mushrooms" and came up with this winner.  Since you can't find many recipes using "Swai," tilapia is the closest substitute I can find.  I can still smell the garlic in my house, which is music to my nose!  A wonderfully delicious, quick, and easy entree to make.  I served it with steamed brown rice and edamame in the shell.  


2 Tbsp EVOO
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 pound tilapia (or swai) fillets
S&P to taste
1/2 cup sliced fresh button mushrooms
2 Tbsp drained capers
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, juiced

Heat olive oil with butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Stir in the garlic.  Place fish fillets in the skillet; sprinkle the fish w/S&P and cook for 90 seconds.  Turn the fish; season w/S&P.  Cook an additional 90 seconds.

Add the mushrooms, caper, and wine.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the fish flakes easily with a fork and the wine is reduced by half, 6-7 minutes.  Remove the cover, pour in the lemon juice, and cook for one more minute.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

First, let me apologize for the spotty postings.  We are undergoing a dog-crisis here.   Our Spot-girl is experiencing a severe liver crisis.  She was diagnosed with chronic hepatitis many years ago and just a few weeks ago after being groomed, I found a large mass on her leg.  While in surgery for removal of the mass, the vet found a large lump in her belly.  Turns out she had a HUGE mass (almost football-sized) on her liver.  They removed it, along with a part of her liver.  She's been a bit lethargic and is moving pretty slowly, running a temp.  We were at the vet's office Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday morning.  The biopsy revealed "BENIGN!!!!!"   We are cautiously optimistic....her temp was down half a degree this morning and her appetite seems to be returning.  If she can survive this major surgery, she may be able to go back to the dog park. cooking has been a bit limited this last week.  But I ran across this recipe for an Olive Garden-knock off.  I have not had this dish there, but I'm awfully  glad I tried it, 'cause it is YUMMMMMM-Y!  I served it with a Caesar salad.


3/4 cup AP flour
1/2 Tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 Tbsp EVOO, divided
1 Tbsp finely minced garlic (4-5 tsp)
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips or diced
1/2 cup chicken broth
6 oz fresh spinach
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tsp cornstarch
1 cup lowfat milk
1 cup grated Parm
1 pound fettuccine

Preheat oven to 350.

In a shallow pan combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano.  Dip each chicken piecwe in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated.

In a large 12" nonstick skillet, heat 3 Tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering.  Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden and browned but not cooked all the way through (they'll finish up in the oven).  Don't scoot the chicken around once you lay it in the hot oil.  Sear the crust on the chicken.  Gently remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.

While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until ad dente.  Also, wipe out the skillet with a couple paper towels and return it to medium heat, adding the remaining 2 Tbsp EVOO.  When the oil is heot, add teh garlic and bell pepper, sauteing for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in one tbsp flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minutes. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes.  In a small liquid measure, whisk together the cornstarch and cream.  Add the spinach, milk, and cream mixture to the skillet.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach is wi9lted and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes.  Stir in the parm.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and turn it to the pot.  Toss the pasta with half of the cheese sauce.  Place some of the cooked pasta on each plate.  Top with a breaded chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and pasta.  Serve immediately.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Smoked Salmon Chowder

Oh Yum!!!  Yumsville!!!  This chowder exceeded my expectations.  I think the only way it could have been better would have been with the addition of some diced, cooked red potatoes (aren't potatoes a basic addition to chowder, anyway?) and maybe serve it in a bread bowl, if those are available to you.  The potato addition is an easy fix.  I had some packaged (3 oz) smoked salmon, and I had some leftover home-smoked (in my new fancy-schamcy smoker, thank you My Love) salmon, so I just threw both of them in. 

Prepping all the ingredients beforehand, this chowder comes together in a snap (I will add a couple of large, cooked, diced red tomatoes to the chowder next time).  I served it with a Caesar salad and a whole-grain roll. 

SMOKED SALMON CHOWDER (6-8 servings, depending on cup/bowl size)

2 Tbsp butter
4 strips smoked bacon, diced
1 large sweet onion, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced (or about 8 baby carrots)
1 celery rib, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced (about 2 tsp)
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp AP flour
5 cups 1% or higher-fat milk
12 oz frozen sweet corn kernels
1 cup diced smoked salmon (about 6 oz)
1/2 Tbsp salt
1/4 tsp hot sauce (we prefer Louisiana Hot Sauce, plus I also added some Nunu's Cajun Seasoning)
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the bacon and cook until it renders its fat and starts to crisp, about 5 minutes.  Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the carrot, celery, garlic, and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring 1-2 minutes.  Gradually whisk in the milk.  Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid scorching.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally (Initially, I thought I was going to have to add some instant mashed potatoes to thicken the chowder, but it did eventually thicken).

Stir in the corn kernels and salmon.  Heat through for about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and hot sauce, pepper, lemon juice, and dill.  Taste a bit of the soup and add more salt and fresh dill as needed. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Shrimp and Dill Salad w/Israeli Couscous Salad

Summer is inching its way closer and closer to Chattanooga.  We're in the 80's here already (and for the rest of the week) and it will be in the mid-80's all week.  Yuck!!!!  We didn't even have winter.

But this leads me to this once-posted recipe.  I know it's a repeat, but it is a summer favorite of mine that I lean on it for months.  We eat a lot of salads around here in the summer and this burst of warm weather just made me crave it.  And if leftovers can be any better, it is definitely with this recipe.


1 lb uncooked shrimp, shelled, and deveined
Olive oil
Coarsely ground pepper
1/4 cup minced celery
2 Tbsp minced red onion
2 Tbsp mayol
1/2 tsp orange zest (you could absolutely use lemon or lime....I just prefer the rarer-used orange flavor)
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh dill

This seret to this salad is roasting the shrimp.  Oh my!  It makes such a difference.

Turn your broiler on high.  Drizzle shrimp with olive oil and black pepper.  Broil for 6-8 minutes, depending on size (I generally do about 31/35s for about 6-7 minutes.  Don't overcook or shrimp will be tough instead of supple).  Let cool to room temperature, or chill until ready to dress.

Mix the mayo, juice, zest, and dill.  In a separate bowl, mix the cooked shrimp, celery, and red onion.  Add dressing and mix.  Refrigerate until chilled.  Serve on a bed of lettuce.


1 cup Israel couscous, cooked according to package directions (1 cup uncooked couscous added to 2 cups of boiled water, turn down and simmer for about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed), cooled
6 oz frozen edamame in the shell, beans cooked according to directions and removed from shells, or about 3/4 cup of shelled edamame
1 small carrot, cut into small matchsticks
1 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1/4 cup sliced black olives (or about 12 chopped Kalamata or oil-cured olives)
1/2 cup Feta cheese (about 2-3 oz)
Basic vegetable oil vinaigrette (I use EarthFare's Garlic Expressions vinaigrette)

Mix everything together.  I wait until serving time to add the dressing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Greek Chicken Patties

This is a recipe from the 17-Day Diet and oh my!  is it ever good!!!!  Quick and easy, serve it with some steamed broccoli and some rice or potatoes and you're set!  You will need to use a skillet you can scrape since some of the cheese will bleed onto the pan and set, needing a good scraping.  But oh so worth it!

GREEK CHICKEN PATTIES (makes about 4 servings)

1 pound ground chicken
9 oz fresh spinach
1/2 medium onion, small dice
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 egg
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup reduced-fat Feta cheese
coarsely ground black pepper
olive oil, or cooking spray

In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients (except olive oil/cooking spray).  Divide mixture into patties the size of your choosing.  Heat pan then spray with cooking spray or olive oil then drop the patties into the hot pan until brown.  Turn until brown on the other side.  Enjoy!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Andes Mint Cupcakes

Looking for a St. Pat's dessert?  Look no further!!!!  Yum.  Did I say it?  Y-U-M!!!!  Chocolatey and yummy and minty!!!!  OK, so it's a bit of a process and PLEASE!!!! don't do a super-kitchen clean'll definitely need it afterwards if you bake anything like I do!  And let me say, I'm not a fancy-schmancy decorator, but if you are, you could definitely do a bang-up job on this one.  

ANDES MINT CUPCAKES (makes 26-30 cupcakes)

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups AP flour
3/4 cup powdered cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
2 eggs 
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Mint Ganache:
1/2 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp peppermint extract
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Mint Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
32 oz powdered sugar (about 7 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
Green food coloring

26-30 Andes Mints for garnish

For the cupcakes:  Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin cups with paper baking cups.  In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; using a handheld mixer or an electric stand mixer, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in boiling water.  The batter will be on the thinner side.  Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs.  This recipe makes about 30 cupcakes so you may need to bake the cupcakes in installments if you only have 1 or 2 muffin tins.  Let the cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack, after removing them from the muffin tin.

For the chocolate ganache:  While the cupcakes are baking, place the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute 1t 50% power.  Stir.  Repeat the process until the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the peppermint extract and powdered sugar, whisking until smooth.  Let the mixture cool to room temperature (but don't let it get too stiff) and pour it into a squeeze bottle (like a plastic bottle made like a ketchup bottle) (directions say you can also use a ziplock bag, but I don't see how you could then squeeze the ganache into the cupcake, maybe you're  more creative than I am)....also, it helps to place the bottle (or bag) tip down in a tall glass while filling.  When the cupcakes have cooled, insert the tip of the bottle (don't know how you would do this with a ziplock bag????!!!!) into the cupcake and press gently into the cupcake.  I had enough chocolate to poke three holes into each cupcake and fill each the ganache.  If I had enough sense.....I would have saved a bit of it to garnish the top of each cupcake with a dot or two of chocolate.

For the frosting:  In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  Add the heavy cream and pepper and vanilla extracts.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add green food coloring until the color you like is achieved.

Frost the cool, filled cupcakes with frosting (using a large star tip....I used #119 Wilton's star tip) or simply spread the frosting in a large dollap with a butter knife or flat spatula.  Garnish with an unwrapped Andes mint and a drizzle of leftover ganache (make sure the ganache is cool or it will melt the frosting when you drizzle it on top of the cupcakes).  Refrigerate until serving. 


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Peanut Ginger Chicken w/Mango Salsa and Coconut Rice

It's been a while since I've gotten a "that was really good" comment from Jim.  I guess I'm stuck in the recipe rotation as the winter ends.  But I ran across this one and it was definitely a hit!  I served it with a simple green salad mixed with cole slaw mix, some sliced green onions, chow mein noodles, sliced almonds, and an asian salad dressing mix.  A wonderful, simple meal.  You do need do prepare this the day ahead.


1 1/2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 Tbsp finely diced fresh ginger

In a medium bowl, gradually whisk water into peanut butter.  Stir in chili sauce, soy sauce, olive oil, vinegar, and ginger.  Add chicken; stir to coat it with marinade.  Chill in refrigerator for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.

Mango Salsa:
1 cup chopped fresh mango
1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber (I only use mini pickling cucumber and never seed them)
3 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4-1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a medium mixing bowl, combine mango, cilantro, cucumber, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, and lime juice.  Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Coconut Rice:

2 cups coconut milk (I used light....but needed to scrape the can out with a rubber spatula)  
1 1/2 cups white rice
1 cup water
3 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Combine the coconut milk, rice, water, sugar, and salt for the rice in the saucepan.   Bring to a boil over high heat, stir once, then cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until rice is tender and water is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork, cover, and keep warm until serving.


At dinner time, grill the chicken.  Or, in my case, I layered the chicken in a broiler-safe pan lined with aluminum foil (I spooned the excess marinade over the chicken) and put it 10-12" under the broiler for 5-7 minutes on both sides.  The chicken should have slightly blackened edges.  Serve chicken with the mango salsa over the hot coconut rice.      

P.S.  Do you like my new dinner plates?!!! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Who hasn't made a carrot cake?  I imagine most recipes are pretty much the same, some may add nuts or pineapple, but outside of that, not too much difference.  I got a new cake pan that has twelve 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares.  I was told that you can use any recipe that calls for a 13 x 9 pan and substitute this for individual cakes.  These are great for individual gifts or for the office.  You could also freeze each cake and then frost them as they thaw (the frosting will keep a long) time.

You can make this cake in two 9" round pans.  If you do, double the frosting recipe to accommodate the extra layers.


2 1/2 cups AP flour (12 1/2 oz)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1# carrots, peeled
1 1/2 c sugar (10 1/2 oz)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 oz)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I use 3/4 cup applesauce & 3/4 cup oil to lighten it up a bit)
1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, optional
chopped walnuts for garnish, optional

8 oz cream cheese (I use light), softened to room temperature
5 Tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
1 Tbsp sour cream, light or regular
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (4 1/2 oz)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Adjust oven rack to middle position.  Grease and flour a 9x13" baking pan or 2 9" round pans.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a large bowl, set aside.  In a food processor filled with large or fine shredding disk, shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside.  You can also shred by hand on a box grater if you don't have a food processor.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in a large bowl and using a hand-held mixer), beat granulated and brown sugars and eggs on medium-high until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds.  Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, add oil in a slow, steady stream, being careful to pour oil against inside of bowl to avoid splattering.  Add applesauce, if using, and mix in.  Increase speed to high and mix until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer.  Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients by hand until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.

Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 32 minutes for 9" rounds or 40 minutes for 9x13 pan.  Let cakes cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then invert them onto a cooling rack to cool completely (the 9x13" cake can be cooled completely in the pan if you don't plan to invert and ice all the sides).  At this point, once the cakes are cooled, they can be wrapped in plastic wrap and put in a ziplock bag and placed in the freezer for up to 2 months.  Thaw room temp prior to frosting.

When cake is cool, mix cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium-high speed in clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment (or in a large bowl using hand-held mixer) until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed.  Add confectioners' sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1 minute.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"Old-Fashioned Foods" Ham Salad

Passing the deli case the other day, I spotted this salad which I hadn't made/eaten in years.  For me, it's one of those foods that just reach out to me every once in a while.  I imagine it's been around for, well, just about forever.  But it was never anything my mother ever made.  While working at a restaurant in MN, it was a big seller.  Every once in a while, I'd have a few bites.  Maybe you remember this from a church social or something your grandmother might have around.  It's a bit of comfort, every once in a while.

"OLD-FASHIONED FOODS" HAM SALAD (makes about 6 side servings)

1/2 pound uncooked pasta (I used the small penne pasta, small shells would be good, also), cooked
8 oz diced ham
8 oz diced cheddar cheese
8 oz finely chopped celery
1 Tbsp finely chopped onion

8 oz Miracle Whip
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp white pepper (I used 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp yellow mustard

Whisk the ingredients together for the dressing.  Mix the salad ingredients together and then toss with dressing.  Chill.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Farmer's Seafood Boil

I loves me a good seafood boil!  And I just happened to have everything on hand to throw this together for a quick, easy, and wonderfully complete dinner.  Now, the last time I made this, I had used Zatarain's Shrimp & Crab boil, but it was so loaded with cayenne pepper, we just couldn't eat it.  So this time I looked up a recipe for a shrimp boil seasoning mix and it came out just right (I did omit the crushed red pepper and I didn't have any of the pickling spices, although I will try those next time....I just didn't feel like running up to the store in the midst of all of the storms we're having today).  The prepared seasoning mixes are handy, but if you decide to try your own mix you might want to use one of those little cheesecloth bags used for loose tea, although I do like the snap of the mustard seeds!


2 pounds shell-on, headless shrimp, at least 26-30 count
5-6 oz crab and shrimp boil
2 Tbsp salt
12 whole new potatoes or 3 russet potatoes, unpared and quartered
4 onions, quartered
1 link pork or Italian sausage, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
3 ears corn, cut into thirds

In a large boiling pot, bring a gallon of water, crab, and shrimp boil and salt to a boil.  Add potatoes and boil for 10 minutes.  Add onions and sausage and boil for 5 minutes.  Add shrimp and corn.  Boil for 5 minutes more.  Drain and serve with crusty bread and a cold beverage.


1/4 cup pickling spices
1/4 cup sea salt
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
2 Tbsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp celery seeds
1 Tbsp minced dried chives
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp dried oregano
5 bay leaves