Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summertime cookin'

Cornbread Salad & Tomato Pie

Cornbread Salad

 I layered 4 cups chopped romaine, divided...2 tomatoes, peeled & diced, can of black beans, rinsed & drained, 1 can southwestern corn, drained, 6 green onions, chopped, 6 slices bacon, cooked chopped, 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese, 6 cornbread muffins & 1 bottle chipotle hidden valley ranch. Layer 1/2 lettuce, tomatoes, 2 muffins cornbread crumbled, beans, corn, onions & 1/2 of dressinG. Repeat layers, top with cheese, bacon, & remaining 2 muffins crumbled. Cover with plastic & refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

Tomato Pie

I didn't use a recipe, blind baked the crust. Sliced 6 heirloom tomatoes red, pink, yellow, salted them and let sit in colander for about 30 minutes. Pressed more of the liquid out and layered in crust, added fresh ground pepper to layers. Combination of fresh rosemary, basil, thyme & flat leaf parsley...about 1/3 cup. Sprinkled over tomatoes, reserving 1 Tbsp. Combined 2 cups sharp cheddar, 1 cup shredded mozzarella & one cup mayo. Spread over top & bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved herbs. Let it stand about 5 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Creamy Chicken Basil Fettuccine

Creamy Chicken Basil Fettuccine
From Blue Apron

My Notes: I used Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage that I removed casings & chopped. In lieu of the Basil Futtuccine, I used dry linguini.

On the Cutting Board
  • 8 Ounces Ground Chicken
  • 8 Ounces Fresh Basil Fettuccine Pasta
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Red Onion
  • ¾ Pound Plum Tomatoes 
  • 1 Bunch Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • ¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Mascarpone Cheese 

    2Cook the chicken:
    In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the ground chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a bowl, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan.

    3Cook the aromatics:
    Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan of reserved fond and heat on medium until hot. Add the garlic and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until dark red and fragrant.

    4Add the tomatoes & chicken:
    Add the tomatoes, cooked chicken and 1 cup of water to the pan of aromatics; season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened.

    5Cook the pasta:
    Once the tomatoes and chicken have simmered for about 10 minutes, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water, gently stirring to separate. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.

    6Finish & plate your dish:
    To the pan of tomatoes and chicken, add the cooked pasta, mascarpone cheese, all but a pinch of the Parmesan cheeseand half the reserved pasta cooking water. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently to thoroughly coat the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Stir in all but a pinch of the basil (tearing the leaves just before adding); season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan cheese and basil (tearing the leaves just before adding). Enjoy!

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Pralines, Bacon Stuffed Eggs, Bang Bang Shrimp & More

July 2015 Newsletter


Reflecting Independence
by Paula George
June 26, 2006

As Independence Day approaches, many thoughts and memories travel through my
mind and heart.

Thoughts of the freedoms, others have sacrificed home and lives for bringing us
to this point in time.

Families divided, others brought closer as they faced enemies seeking to destroy
these freedoms.

Goodbyes said as loved ones shipped to foreign lands, never to return, yet;
giving their lives to protect their homeland.

Unfortunate the divisions in our own homeland, families divided, others
reunited...infiltrated within by...

Outsiders...taking advantage of our freedoms and government, unwilling to accept
our land according to the laws it was founded upon.

Only taking of the opportunities...unwilling to become an intricate part of the
Independence we have because of lives sacrificed.

Reflections still remain that I have the opportunity to live in "freedom" and I
am a "citizen" of the "Land of Independence".

Reflections of those who serve in our military forces...those near and
far...those past and present...those willing to sacrifice home and family to
protect our freedom and homeland..."Reflecting Independence".
Cadelle Richardson's Pecan Pralines

Cadelle was my step-grandmother...lived in Algiers, LA. 
She taught me to make these in the early 70's.

In a heavy saucepan, combine:
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 small can evaporated milk (2/3 cup)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
dash of salt
Bring to a soft boil over medium heat and boil for 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and a dd:
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 cups chopped pecans
Stir until pecans are coated and drop by spoonfuls onto cookie
sheets lined with waxed paper. Let stand until firm.

Bacon Stuffed Eggs

6 large eggs
  1/2 of an (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
2 -3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Place eggs in a large sauce pan or Dutch oven. Add enough water to measure at least 1 inch above eggs. Cover and quickly bring to a boil. Remove from heat.Let stand covered in hot water 15 minutes. ( This is always how I boil my eggs, it helps to keep eggs from cracking, and gives a more even cooking.) Drain. Immediately run cold water over eggs or place them in ice water until cooled completely.
To remove shell ,gently tap each egg all over, and roll between hands to loosen shell; then hold egg under cold running water as you peel shell.
Slice eggs in half lengthwise, and carefully scoop out yolk; mash yolks with a fork. Add cream cheese and next 4 ingredients to yolks, stirring until smooth.Stir bacon, and spoon into egg whites. 
Another Cannoli Dip


10 servings
 2 cups ricotta cheese
 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Beat ricotta cheese and cream cheese together in a bowl until smooth; add sugar and vanilla. Continue to stir mixture until sugar is completely incorporated. Fold chocolate chips through the cheese mixture.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 10 minutes.

Serve with waffle cones broken into chip size pieces.
Bang Bang Shrimp
Aka Paula's Mo' Betta Shrimp
Dipping sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. Thai chili sauce 
1 Tbsp. honey
Dash of Kosher salt
Few grinds of coarse black pepper
1 Tablespoon water

Whisk together ingredients for dipping sauce.

Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail-on
Bibb lettuce leaves, for serving
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
Make the sauce: Mix the mayonnaise, chili sauce, honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt, black pepper, Old Bay and 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl; set aside.

Prepare the shrimp: Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees. Meanwhile, pour buttermilk in a shallow bowl. Whisk the flour, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, Old Bay in another shallow bowl.

Working in batches, dredge the shrimp in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, dip in the buttermilk then return to the flour mixture, turning to coat each side. Fry the shrimp in the hot oil until lightly golden, 2-3 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the oil temperature. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon.

Arrange the lettuce in a shallow serving bowl or on individual plates. Top with the shrimp and garnish with scallions. Serve the dipping sauce on the side.
Ham & Cheese Sliders


Original recipe makes 24 servings
 3/4 cup melted butter
 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
 24 mini sandwich rolls
 1 pound thinly sliced cooked deli ham
 1 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese

15 mins
20 mins
35 mins 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
In a bowl, mix together butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and dried onion. Separate the tops from bottoms of the rolls, and place the bottom pieces into the prepared baking dish. Layer about half the ham onto the rolls. Arrange the Swiss cheese over the ham, and top with remaining ham slices in a layer. Place the tops of the rolls onto the sandwiches. Pour the mustard mixture evenly over the rolls.
Bake in the preheated oven until the rolls are lightly browned and the cheese has melted, about 20 minutes. Slice into individual rolls through the ham and cheese layers to serve.

2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
2 medium jalapeno, sliced real thin
DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Place a sheet of parchment paper on 2 metal cookie sheet.  DO NOT use a silicone/silpat sheet, waxed paper or foil (unless it’s the special non-stick foil) to bake these or they will not cook properly.  Using a tablespoon, scoop up 1 T. of cheese and make a small pile on the parchment.  Press it slightly flat.  Repeat 30 more times. Place a slice of jalapeno on top of each pile.  Pop into 350º oven for about 12-15 minutes until golden. These are somewhat pliable if under browned. Allow them to completely cool and fully firm up before removing from the pan for best results. :)

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