4/23/2017

Sunday Dinner

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Shrimp Cocktail

Steak Salad with Creamy Horseradish Dressing
Cheesy Garlic Bread

Fluffer-Nutter Treats


With quite a bit of steak leftover from dinner last night, I am composing it into a simple salad for dinner tonight.   Not only do I have leftover steaks, but I also have half a pan of these yummy treats.  Cue the easy Sunday dinner for me!

These treats are the love child of a traditional Rice Krispies treat and the classic New England sandwich made with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff.  There's the obvious sticky, gooey, crunchy texture of the traditional recipe, but then there is the salty and nutty flavor from the trio of peanut butter chips, peanut butter, and chopped peanuts.  

The recipe calls for an 8-inch square pan, but you can easily double the recipe and press the mixture into a 9-x13-inch rectangular pan, as I did last night.

4/22/2017

Goo Goo Cluster Cupcakes

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If you've been following me through my posts or on Facebook the last few weeks, you'll remember that my husband I recently took a road trip to Nashville, TN.  And...I have found my new home!  It was my first time there and I immediately fell in love.  Even my Midwestern-born and raised husband said, "I could get use to this."  

After a 7 1/2 hour car ride down I-65 (ugh-I really don't like that stretch of road through Indiana), we were famished.  So, we headed straight to the The Southern for a few good eats and beverages.  The fried shrimp BLT and the oysters did not disappoint. Then, we walked across the Cumberland Pedestrian Bridge and back which was quite the accomplishment for someone who is deathly-- and I mean deathly, afraid of heights🙋🏼.  

Next up was a walk down 2nd Ave.  There was a painted brick wall to my left that said-- go get a Goo Goo. I looked to my husband and asked, "What's a Goo Goo?".  He then preceded to tell me about the political "Goo-Goos" or government guys in Chicago.  I politely listened (as I usually do) and then turned the corner to investigate The Nashville Goo Goo.  

Goo Goos are historical Nashville confections.  They consist of a marshmallow nougat candy, topped with caramel, salted peanuts and chocolate.  Jaws are cracking. When you have all those flavors and textures in one treat, what is not more to love? Well, a recipe combining said flavors with a simple warm baked good and a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Can't get to Nashville for a Goo Goo?  They are sold at your local Bed Bath and Beyond, as well as Cracker Barrel (I looked it up).  If you are ever in Nashville for a Goo Goo or a night out on the town, head to the Grand Ole Opry.  We had a great time!


4/19/2017

Hawaiian Fried Rice

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You've read my ramblings about how my Southern heritage and my husband's Midwest background has brought a lot of love into my kitchen.  But one thing that I don't write much about is my love for the foods of the Pacific Islands (Oahu to be specific) where I spent a few years when I was little.  I can still remember our visits to the Dole Plantation. There was an employee there that would make origami cranes out of Dole packaging paper.  I thought it was the coolest thing ever.
But the best part of the Dole visit was walking through the pineapple farms.  It was like walking through a row-field of giant tropical thistles. The sweet pineapple tasting at the end of the tours was a highlight, as well.  Needless to say, that is where my love of pineapples came from.  

Another Hawaiian favorite is Spam...cue the screeching sound of culinary brakes.  Seriously, I'm not going there.  Encased meats--yes!  Canned meats--no!  How is it that something that is manufactured in Minnesota, is a staple in the Pacific grocery isle🤔? I'll save that one for later. But when hearing the word Spam, I can't help think of ham.  And I think it is safe to say that at this time of the year, the majority of us all have a little bit of leftover ham in the refrigerator.  

Ok, time to get to the "Hawaiian" recipe.  
Pineapple✓ 
Ham✓
Veggies✓
Rice✓
Leftovers✓
Sweet & Savory✓
One skillet✓
Weeknight✓
Easy for entertaining✓
SOO DELICIOUS✓✓

Many recipes for Hawaiian Fried Rice like to simply add the fresh cut pineapple to the fried rice, but like my Hawaiian Pizza, I like to take it one step further and caramelize the pineapple.  It really brings out a deep, almost smokey flavor to the pineapple, as well as reducing the moisture to the rice dish, which would make a gummy mess if you have any leftovers.  *Note--there will not be any leftovers, so make two batches😉.  

The real beauty of this one-skillet dish is the versatility.  Allergic to eggs? Leave them out. Don't have red bell pepper? Use shredded carrots and peas.  Cutting back carbs? Try cauliflower "rice" and tell me how it works out!! I love cauliflower.  Don't like onion? What's wrong with you?? I can't promise that it'll taste the same as the one pictured and devoured, but...


Make it for you, make it your own!

4/05/2017

Shrimp Salad Cups

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Thank you to the few of you who took part in the "What should I post next?"--Shrimp Salad Cups vs. Goo Goo Cakes election on TGG Facebook page!  Five votes were casted and counted, as well as a recipe request.  It was a 3 v. 3 draw.  Both candidates were excellent choices, but due to the neighbor/family electoral college the savory candidate came out victorious.  If you were wanting the recipe for the Goo Goo Cakes, next time get out and vote because every vote counts😉.

Culinary politics aside, these are some tasty little bites.  They remind me of something that would have been served at one of my grandmother's large Southern buffet spreads or something served at one of her Garden Club luncheons.  The "cups" are actually rounds of white bread that are pressed into mini-muffin tins and toasted until golden and crisp.  I recommend using a fresh bakery-style white bread or homemade white bread.  They serve as the perfect vehicle for a simple shrimp salad that is packed with flavor.  


The real beauty of this recipe is that the toast cups can be made up to a week in advance and the shrimp salad can be made a few hours before serving.  So, these hand held appetizers/snacks are perfect for holiday parties, buffets, or any get together when you need a little work done before your guests arrive.  Serve these accompanied with a glass of sweet tea or a cocktail and I assure you that there won't be one left.

4/02/2017

Sunday Dinner

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Shrimp Salad Cups

Habanero-Honey Glazed Chickens
Pimento Cheese Potato Gratin
Southern Style Green Beans

Mini Goo Goo Cakes
Vanilla Ice Cream



Oh, how my stomach is loving this menu tonight!  Long time followers might recall that my roots run deep below the Mason-Dixon Line.  So, after a road trip to Nashville this past week and a few introductions to some new Southern culinary treats, this menu was born.  What is not new to many of my Southern Sunday dinner menus are green beans, a.k.a snap beans or pole beans.  I still love sitting in the back yard (or the kitchen counter when it's freezing outside) snapping beans with my children just like I did countless times as a child on my grandparent's back patio. There's just something therapeutic about it.

Southern style green beans accompany everything from fried chicken, roast pork, smothered pork chops, baked ham to Thanksgiving turkey and many more.  I've been known to have just a plate of beans with a side of buttered cornbread for dinner--guilty pleasure.  Heck, I even eat them cold for breakfast--weird, I know.  They are slowly simmered in a bath of chicken broth, that is infused with bacon (cuz bacon makes everything better) and onion, until they have reached their desired tenderness.  And by tender, I mean blah-green tender.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good green bean sauté or salad that is crisp and bright green.  But when it comes to Southern style beans, low and slow is the way to go.

This recipe is very, and I mean very, flexible.  In my younger years, I watched my Mom-mom and my mother prepare them and it was a little different each time.  Don't have bacon?  You can use salt pork or fat back or just omit it.  Don't have an onion? You can use a shallot or leave that out too.  Sometimes I simply simmer the beans in chicken broth and season to taste. Vegetarian?  Use vegetable broth (but I can't promise it'll taste the same).  I haven't said this in a while, but "make it for you, make it your own." As far as what to do with the bacon and onion when ready to serve the beans...sometimes I chop up the onion and mix it in with the beans and the bacon...well, there is always a two or four legged warm body around to snack on the bacon.

3/26/2017

Sunday Dinner

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 Antipasto Mushrooms


Cannoli Tart


I'm not that thrilled about heading down south on I-65 again tomorrow morning (it's such a blah stretch of road). But, I am super excited to get my boots to Nashville for a couple of days! Scotty McCreery at the Grand Ole Opry-- here I come🤠!!

Since I am busy packing (not to mention taking pictures and blogging today), I needed a Sunday dinner menu that could be mostly made in advance.  I've already shared the recipes for Spuma di Tonno, Sunday Sugo, and the Country Bread (links are above).  Like the glazed carrots, I have lost count how many times I have had marinated Antipasto Mushrooms on an "Italian" menu.  So, it's time they, too, have their own little page in my recipe caché (and I've never made the tart before).

It might seem odd that the mushrooms are boiled for a few minutes, but this ensures that they are  cooked to retain their moisture before marinating in a bath of savory flavors like, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, shallot, thyme and oregano.  Kick up the flavor with a dash of crushed red pepper and...💥flavor explosion!  But don't relegate these mushrooms to the usual antipasto platter.  You can use them in salads, sliced in a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich, topped on a juicy burger, or just a little something extra on the side-- which is how we are enjoying them tonight.  Happy Sunday!

3/16/2017

B-52 Cake

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I'm posting again!  But be warned because I'm headed to Cincinnati tomorrow for a weekend soccer tournament. So Sunday Dinner this week...will be a no show.  These days, if I'm not working, I'm visiting colleges or on the soccer fields somewhere in the Midwest.  And I thought blogging was going to be easier when my children were older.  Not!

I knew what a B-52 bomber was and I even knew of the band.  But a cake??  Had to do a little homework on that one.  Turns out there was a bartender that created a cocktail with these flavors after his favorite band (that iconic band whose name comes from the beehive hairdo that resembled the nose of said aircraft).  I don't know his reasoning behind layering Kahlúa, Irish Cream, and Grand Marnier, but let's just say he hit it on the nose!  And the cake??  It's the BOMB!  Ok, I'll stop with the puns and let you enjoy the recipe.  

*Note- the alcohol in the recipe is cooked out.  If you don't keep these liqueurs around, just pick up a few mini bottles at the store.

3/12/2017

Sunday Dinner

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Glazed Carrots

B-52 Cake


I've been absent for quite sometime, but the last three Sundays I have felt like a Phoenix rising from the ashes--cue the dramatic visual of regeneration! Since then, I have shared recipes for a savory salad, briny pickles, and now...a bowl or carrots??  I know, I know. I promise that the sugar is coming soon. But glazed carrots have made an appearance on countless Sunday menus and it is high time time for them to make their debut.  

These carrots are simple to prepare and can be made a couple of hours in advance and held at room temperature before reheating and serving.  Feel free to change up the herbs or seasoning according to your taste.  I love to use fresh thyme, but a fresh sprig of rosemary is an excellent essence when the carrots are served with roast pork or beef.  They are a sweet and tender companion to just about main dish.


3/11/2017

Good Eats with an Irish Flare

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"Doing anything for the weekend? Well now you have a little reading material and some inspiration to cook up a grand feast for the upcoming week."-  (said in my best Irish accent)
Sláinte! 
























































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3/05/2017

Sunday Dinner

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Smoked Pimento Cheese with Bacon

Nashville-Style Hot Fried Chicken
Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

Lemonade Pound Cake


I have had fried chicken on the brain for quite sometime now.  And with a road trip to "the home of country music" right around the corner for a little culture, good eats and maybe a college tour of Vanderbilt University (I can't believe I'm getting ready to send my first born off to college this fall and my middle child to college next year 😩), I thought it would be fun to put a Tennessee twist on my go-to southern fried chicken recipe.  If there is something you need to know about that spicy, Nashville-style chicken, you serve it on a thick slice of white bread with...pickles.  

This recipe for pickles could not be any easier. You can make it well in advance (like a month in advance) and you don't have to mess with any canning or preserving.  They are briny, crunchy, and have just the right amount of sweetness.  Our favorite way to enjoy them is with a slice of aged white cheddar on top of a buttery cracker, but tonight...they are hanging out with the cluck and I couldn't be more excited!

*Note--Make sure you use the right variety of cucumber to achieve the best results.  This recipe calls for Kirby or pickling cucumbers.  They are smaller in size with fewer seeds than a traditional cucumber or English hothouse cucumber.


Homemade Refrigerator Pickles
makes about 1 quart

2 cups white distilled vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried dill 
5-6 kirby cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and dill in a large jar or container.  Place a lid tightly on the jar and shake vigorously until the sugar and salt have dissolved.  Add the sliced cucumber, pressing them tightly into the jar.  Place the lid on the jar, shake it well, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  The pickles will keep in the refrigerator for at least 1 month.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Fresh Everyday, by Sara Foster



2/26/2017

Sunday Dinner

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Hot Cajun Crab Dip

Creole Tomato Salad




Greetings and salutations from the absent GG!!  It's Sunday and I'm busy in the kitchen, so I'll keep the long overdue rhetoric to a minimum.  I've been recently updating my FB page with some Sunday dinner menus because I am trying to take baby steps back into the blogosphere and it was high time to do so here on my little space in the world.  Sooo, I'm just gonna cut to the chase and talk about the menu.  

Mardi Gras is just two days away and I have been sporting my Creole/Cajun pants the last couple of days 🎭.  This pre-Fat Tuesday feast combines my love for both said cuisines.   

Long time readers might recall one of my favorite creole salads/slaws.  This is a simple spin on that recipe where I use plump Campari tomatoes (they are pretty decent all year round and I had a craving for some sweet tomatoes) in lieu of the cabbage.  The tomatoes are sweet, the herbs and onions have a nice bite, and the dressing is bold in flavor without being over powering to the palate.  This salad provides a nice balance of flavor and texture to the meal.  Happy Sunday and "I'm glad for you ta be seein' me"- (said in my best Justin Wilson voice)!  

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