April 27, 2007

Stuffed Taters

I think everyone has their own version of stuffed potatoes, but here is my own take on this classic recipe.

I also like to sometimes add chopped up cooked shrimp in my stuffed potatoes, but you can add whatever mixture you want to the potato mixture. These also make great appetizers...just cut potatoes in half and serve smaller portions.

My Stuffed Potatoes
4 large baking potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup finely chopped green onion, with tops
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon or ham
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400°.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Wash potatoes and dry well. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat, add green onion and bell pepper and cook until tender.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out potato and place potato into a medium bowl. In bowl add cooked vegetables, cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, ham, 3/4 cup cheese and seasonings and mix well.

Spoon mixture evenly into reserved potato shells. Place on baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and sprinkle tops with paprika lightly. Bake for another 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

April 25, 2007

New Cooking Website for Your Viewing

I came across a new food website that I’ve been reading for the past couple weeks. 101 Cookbooks is a beautiful site full of great natural recipes and lovely photos of the food.

The author started the site after she realized she was like many of us…having a large cookbook collection and still continuing to cook the same recipe over and over:

About 101 Cookbooks
The premise this site was built on is best summed up in two sentences: When you own over 100 cookbooks, it is time to stop buying, and start cooking. This site chronicles a cookbook collection, one recipe at a time.

101 Cookbooks started in early 2003 when I looked up at my huge cookbook collection one afternoon and realized that instead of exploring the different books in my collection - I was cooking the same recipes over and over. I seemed to buy a new cookbook every time I stepped out the front door - always with good intentions. I would regularly go through my collection of books and magazines and carefully tag each recipe that piqued my interest. I ended up with shelves full of books brimming with Post-it notes and drawers full of recipes clipped from my favorite magazines.

Read More Here…

I would highly suggest you take some time to read through the recipes and find something new to cook this week for your loved ones.

April 20, 2007

Something for Friday

My friend Sarah and her husband Matt will celebrate their 1 year wedding anniversary this Sunday. I want to say “Congrats” and “Best Wishes to Your Future.”

Here is some marriage advice that I have:

Top 10 Most Important Things in a Marriage
10. Patience
9. Kindness
8. Patience
7. Communication
6. Patience
5. Caring
4. Patience
3. Patience
2. Love
1. Patience

Marriage is not mind reading, so ask your spouse what he/she wants and believe what he/she says.

You are two imperfect people making an imperfect union, and that’s wonderful.

Remember to laugh together and love always. I have found that during some disagreements it’s better to just crack a joke and try to make each other laugh then to keep going at it back and forth. Jokes break-up the arguments and you both usually realize how stupid you are for arguing about nothing.

The following so called marriage sayings are SO WRONG!
Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”Oh, please! In marriage, love sometimes means having to say you’re sorry even if you don’t know what you did or you didn’t mean to do it.”

Always keep the peace.”No, no, no. If you don’t face a hot issue head-on, you’ll stockpile negative feelings. And before you know it, 20 years go by and you’re still fighting over the same thing because you never resolved it in the first place.”

Anyways back to a recipe...Sarah had a great recipe the other day for Cashew Chicken on her site that I had to share because it seems so simple, but so good.

Enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend! Spring has finally sprung!

In Sarah's words...

Here’s my strategy for preparing this meal..... I usually get the chicken into the first round of flour before heating the oil. I get the rice measured out and into the microwave, and then begin frying the first round. Once the second round of chicken is in the pan, I work on the sauce.

By the time it’s ready to be removed from the heat, the chicken is ready to be turned and almost done. If you follow these steps for preparation and do clean-up as you go along, the timing is usually about perfect! By the way, this recipe re-heats very well….and I don’t usually care for re-heated meals.

Cashew Chicken
By Debbie

Chicken2-4 chicken breasts, thawed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup flour
½ c milk
1 egg
Oil for frying

Coat chicken in the flour and let sit for 10 minutes. Heat oil in a large skillet (Med High to High). Mix the milk and egg together in a small bowl. Dip the pieces of chicken in the milk mixture and then back into the flour. Place chicken in one layer in the skillet and fry until browned. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and lightly salt. Continue until all the chicken is fried.

2 cups of water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt (I omit usually)
2 tbsp cornstarch mixed in 1 c of cold water

Bring the water, bouillon, soy sauce, sugar and salt to a light boil. Add cornstarch mixture and stir constantly until thickened. Remove from heat.

To serve: Serve over a bed of rice and top the chicken with the sauce, some diced green onions or chives and cashews.

April 19, 2007

Cooking Up Okra

If there is one thing a southern girl knows it’s good fried okra.

As a kid my brothers and I could be found most summers in my parent’s huge garden picking produce, mulching and helping gather peas, okra, corn and whatever else my parents needed help with.

I laugh when I look back of photos my mother shot of me in the garden. Usually I could be found barefoot, wearing this little blue summer dress my Grandmother Baldwin had given me and my mother’s straw gardening hat. I loved feeling the dirt between my toes and running through the sprinklers that were set up all throughout the garden.

I was reminder of these wonderful garden memories the other day when I was watching an episode of Paula’s Home Cooking where Paula was frying up a batch of Cajun fried okra (one of my favorite comfort foods).

Her recipe reminder me of when I was a little girl helping my mother fry up a batch of freshly picked okra for the boys in our family. My mother always used buttermilk and Cajun seasonings for her own fried okra and it was delicious every time. But, she always served fried okra with a homemade ranch dipping sauce. Paula, however, serves her okra with a Creamy Chili Sauce.

Thanks Paula for another wonderful southern fried recipe.

(Photo from Food Network)

Cajun Fried Okra
By Paula Deen

6 cups oil, for frying
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons House Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Cajun spice
2 pounds fresh okra, sliced, 1/2-inch thick
1/2 cup buttermilk Creamy Chili Sauce, recipe follows

Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven to 350 degrees F. (You may not need to use this much oil; do not fill the pan more than halfway up the sides with oil.)

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, House Seasoning, and Cajun spice. Dip okra in buttermilk and then dredge in cornmeal-flour mixture to coat well. Carefully add okra to the hot oil and cook until golden brown. (It may be necessary to fry the okra in batches.) Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and then serve immediately.

Creamy Chili Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon garlic chili pepper sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring well. Cover and chill.

April 18, 2007

The Worst Cook in American Search

I came across this today and had to share...from AgWired.com.

If you feel like a misfit when it comes to cooking, you are not alone. According to a new survey from the American Egg Board, nearly half of America’s home cooks (44 percent) experience an all-out disaster in the kitchen — whether it’s burning or improperly cooking meals or creating a mess of ingredients and utensils — at least several times a year, and even more (47 percent) know someone who is in desperate need of basic cooking skills.

To help home cooks — whether whizzes or wannabes — learn the basics of egg cooking and prove that even a kitchen klutz can become an eggs-pert, the American Egg Board is launching “The Search for America’s Worst Cook” contest. Entering is easy — just visit http://www.americasworstcook.com/ and tell us in an essay of 200 words or less why you or someone you know is in desperate need of basic cooking skills. In addition, video and/or photographs can be submitted but are not necessary for entry. The winner of the contest will receive a free trip for two to New York City, where he or she will take cooking courses at the Institute of Culinary Education and take in the tastes and sights of one of the hottest culinary destinations in the world. The contest ends on June 30, 2007.

Crab Cakes Anyone?

A friend of mine was looking for a great crab cake recipe that wasn’t very difficult to put together. I saw Paula makes these and just had to try them.

These are wonderful with the lemon-dill sauce! I’m going to serve them for an upcoming wedding shower I’m throwing for one of my girlfriends.

(Photo from Food Network)

Crab Cakes with Lemon-Dill Sauce
By Paula Deen

Lemon Dill Sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

Crab Cakes:

3 tablespoons butter

1 green onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

Cayenne pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 pound white or claw crabmeat, picked free of any bits of shell

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Refrigerate until chilled. The sauce will thicken as it chills.

To prepare the crab cakes, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic until the pepper is limp, approximately 3 minutes. Add the cream, mustard, 1 egg, parsley, cayenne pepper and 1/2 cup bread crumbs, to taste, and mix well. Gently fold in the crabmeat.

Form the mixture into 8 patties, about 1/2-inch thick. In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs with the Parmesan. Pat this topping onto both sides of the patties. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

Using a skillet, combine the oil and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Saute the crab cakes in the hot oil-butter mixture for approximately 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. These crab cakes can also be baked for 7 to 10 minutes in a 400 degree F oven.

To serve, spoon a dollop of the lemon dill sauce along side each crab cake.

April 16, 2007

Better Eat Your Fruits & Veggies

Better Eat Your Fruits & Veggies....that's what new research says in a Forbes.com article. Thanks for passing along this link Julie!

If you want to reduce your risk of several common types of cancer, help may be no farther away than your kitchen.

A trio of new studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research on Sunday found that vegetables and fruits help lower your chances of getting head and neck, breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers.

One of the studies even found that just one additional serving of vegetables or fruits could help lower the risk of head and neck cancer. Still, the more fruits and vegetables you can consume, the better.

"Those who ate six servings of fruit and vegetables per 1,000 calories had a 29 percent decreased risk relative to those who had 1.5 servings," said Neal Freedman, a Cancer Prevention Fellow in the division of Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute and author of one of the studies.

April 13, 2007

Hush Puppies for Your Fish Fry

After my post about Cooking Your Catch I was asked about a good hush puppie recipe so here it is.

This is my grandmother’s recipe that I was raised on in my home. There is no other recipe that even touches these hush puppies. I have made one change to the original recipe however. I like to add about 1/3 cup of corn to the batter, gives a little extra bite to this wonderful side dish.

With summer on its way….it’s time for crappie fishing and I can’t wait.

[PHOTO of Hush Puppies]

Grandma's Hush Puppies
by Lane

½ c. ap flour
1 ½ c. corn meal (1/3 yellow, 2/3 white)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 egg
¾ c. milk
1/3 cup corn
3 scallions with green tops

Mix ingredients together in order and fry in bacon or fish grease.

April 11, 2007

Shrimp and Lemon Spaghetti

Two of my favorite foods: Pasta and seafood.

One day while exercising I was watching the Food Network (yes I watch the Food Network while I work out…silly I know) and Rachel Ray was on. Now, I’m not a huge RR fan, but she was making lemon spaghetti….”Hum, very interesting” I thought. I just had to try it.

One thing that goes great with any type of seafood is lemon. So, I thought I would try making the dish and topping it with shrimp scampi.

My recipe is different in some ways to RR, mainly in the way it is cooked. This spaghetti is like an Alfredo sauce, infused with lemon. It’s very fresh and tasty. I started adding some bell peppers to the dish also, mainly for some more color.

This is one of my absolute favorite meals I make for my husband and I.

Shrimp Scampi & Lemon Spaghetti
by Lane

1 pound spaghetti
4 T. butter
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or just use garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 lemons, juiced and zested or 4 T. lemon juice
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Parsley and basil flakes, ½ tsp of each

Bring your pasta to a boil and be sure to salt it. Cook according to directions.
In another pot melt butter, garlic and red pepper flakes. After the pasta has boil for about 8 minutes add a cup of the water from the pasta water to the butter mixture. Add cream and lemon juice and season with all seasonings (to suit your own taste). Remove from heat and add cheese and toss mixture with the drained pasta. Let the pasta and sauce sit, tossing occasionally.

While sauce is setting….cook your shrimp.

Shrimp Scampi

1 pound raw shrimp, shells and tails removed.
1 T. parsley
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 T. butter
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

Heat large skillet and belt the butter. Add shrimp, peppers and season with seasonings. Cook and toss shrimp around to coat with butter. Cook until shrimp are pink. DO NOT OVERCOOK SHRIMP.

Remove and drain excess butter from shrimp.

Give pasta one more last toss and plate some and top it with some shrimp.

Serve with crusty French bread and salad. Makes great leftovers!

April 9, 2007

Cooking Your Catch

I’m a fisherman’s wife. I don’t know if I’ve ever said that before on my site, but it is true. And in most cases this means being a “fisherman’s widow”, but this is just not true.

Yes, my fisherman is incoherent when any type of fishing show is on ESPN, many weekends are spent traveling pre-fishing and at tournaments, when he needs a break for the hustle and bustle of work he retreats to lake (like most) and then there is always the hope that he’ll come home from a tournament with a check or a good showing.

There is however the benefits of being a fisherman’s wife : The quality time spent with one another on the lake enjoying each other’s time. (You can view some photos from a recent fishing trip together on the Brownfield Blog.)

Whether you enjoy bass fishing as much as your spouse making the effort to go fishing together is worth it’s weight in gold. Fishing can be a relaxation and a break from the real world for the both of you. Besides, there is nothing I enjoy more than standing beside my husband "chunking and reeling" trying to catch more fish than him.

I grew up eating the fish my father brought home from his daily catch, usually bass, crappie or walleye. Some of my favorites. But since marrying a bass fisherman, we don’t eat much bass anymore. (Why? Bass Fisherman believe in turning bass loose to catch them another day, I call it being a conservationist.)

But there are many (like my father and brothers) that enjoy eating bass. And there aren’t many recipes out there for cooking bass fish. So, I’ve complied some from my family’s home.

Let most of your bass go, but keep a few to eat. They make great meals!

In my opinion, there are very few meals that beat fried fish. When filleting bass you end up with a skinless, boneless piece of meat. I wash them off and put them into plastic ziploc bags, dividing them into meal size packages. After the fish go into the bag I put about a tablespoon of salt in the bag and fill it with water, squeezing out any air and sealing them. Sitting in the refrigerator for a day or so in the salt water seems to improve the flavor.

When I am ready to cook the fish, I rinse the salt off and prepare them in different ways.
For frying, I pat them dry, roll the fillets in corn meal and drop them into a "Frydaddy" deep fat cooker. They brown in about five minutes and are ready to eat. Fillets from a two pound bass are big enough that my husband and I eat about two each, along with french fries or some of grandma’s hush puppies.

Here are some other ways to cook bass:
If you like baked fish place in a baking dish, put dots of butter on it, covered it with a sliced onion and some garlic power and cooked it in the microwave for a few minutes (or in the oven.
Place fillet in a small baking dish, covered them with Picante sauce and nuke them for five minutes. Good and tasty with a baked potato and a salad.

If you ever cook panfry some deer burgers, keep the grease, get it hot and put a fillet into the grease - with nothing on it. When the fillets began to turn white around the edges, I turned them and poured a little Italian salad dressing on them. By the time they had cooked through, the dressing had flavored them and they were a nice brown on both sides. This kind of tastes like swordfish, seriously it does.

For a very good baked fish, take some dry stuffing mix, crush it into a powder and coat the fillets with it. I put them into a baking dish, put a pat of butter on top of each and cook them in the microwave (or oven) for about five minutes. They have a completely different taste than any other way I cook them, the stuffing mix gives them a very good flavor.

Another way to fry fillets is to make a batter of half-and-half flour and corn meal moistened with milk. Make a thick coating on the fillets and drop them into hot oil in deep fat fryer. The fillet inside the crust is moist and will put any fast food fish to shame.

April 4, 2007

Herb Roasted Chicken and Stuffing

Do I have a great recipe today… Herb Roasted Chicken.

Beautiful meal and oh so tasty. If you arent’ a big fan of ham for your Easter holiday meal, try serving up this lovely presentation. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Herb Roast Chicken
By Lane

1 roasting chicken (about 4 pounds)
1 (12 ounce) package herbed bread stuffing
1 cup water
3 T. butter
1 large onion, chopped
¾ cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 ounces prosciutto or baked ham, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried sage
½ tsp. dried rosemary
2 T. each heavy cream and lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place roasting pan in large roasting pan. Rinse chicken and pat dry.

In a large bowl, toss stuffing with 1 cup water. In large skillet melt butter over heat and add onion, spinach, prosciutto, garlic, sage and rosemary. Sauté until tender, about 6 minutes.

Add spinach mixture to stuffing. Stir in heavy cream and lemon juice, mix well.

Spoon stuffing loosely into chicken cavity, filling about ¾ full. Fold skin over openings and close with metal skewers. Tuck wings under chicken. Place on roasting rack.

Roast chicken until thermometer registers 180 degrees and chicken is golden. This takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Let chicken rest for about 15 minutes before carving.

April 3, 2007

Peach Pie from the Country

Here’s a recipe from my mother’s kitchen. This was my favorite pie as a kid. I always loved going to the fruit stands and helping my mother pick out the prettiest peaches for this pie.

Peach Pie from the Country
6 C. fresh sliced peaches
2 T. orange juice
1 T. peach schnapps
2/3 C. sugar
1/3 C. flour
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 T. peach gelatin
2 T. butter

Toss peaches with orange juice and schnapps. Stir flour, sugar and cinnamon with gelatin into the peaches. Pour into crust with butter. Bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees or 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

2 C. flour
¾ C. shortening
½ tsp. salt
5 T. ice cold water

Blend flour, salt and shortening until piece are pea-sized. Slowly add water and toss until blender. Divide dough in half. Roll out half to fit into bottom of pie plate. Add the filling. Roll out the other half of the dough and cut strips for a lattice crust and place on top of pie. Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.