Friday, November 17, 2017

Brussels Sprouts With Country Ham and Honey


























I love my Brussels Sprouts.  A holiday meal just wouldn't be complete without them.  Even though you can buy fresh sprouts all year round, they are best at their peak season from October through February. That's when you can find the best to choose from.  You want to always make sure they are bright green and the smaller the better.  The bigger the sprout, the more bitter they are, so look for the smallest you can find for a sweeter taste.


Brussels Sprouts With Country Ham and Honey

3 lbs. Brussels sprouts, washed and cleaned
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups country-ham, torn or shredded
1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion
1/2 cup honey
salt and pepper to taste 

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Do not cover pot. Once water is boiling, add a half teaspoon of salt per quart of water.  Add Brussels Sprouts and cook for 5-10 minutes until knife inserted in stem or center comes out easily.  Drain and set aside.



















In a large skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter and the olive oil.  Saut√© the onion and garlic until just tender.  Add the Brussels sprouts and ham, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the honey and cook until the sprouts are coated. Add salt and pepper to taste if needed.























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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Sweet Potato Casserole
























I can't remember a Thanksgiving or Christmas that this dish was not front and center on our table.  My Mom used to say it was a "southern thing!" Everyone loves it and it goes fast. Creamy, sweet, and smooth sweet potatoes with a crunchy pecan crusted topping. This is my kind of holiday casserole!

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (3 pounds of yams)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees.   Line a baking sheet with foil and bake the potatoes for about an hour or until soft and tender.  Let cool before peeling.  Turn oven down to 350 degrees.
























In a large bowl, add sweet potatoes sugar, eggs, vanilla and milk. With an electric mixer, beat until smooth.  Add in butter and beat again until well blended. Pour in a buttered 9 x 13 casserole dish and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.  Set aside.

























Pecan Topping

2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans



Mix together brown sugar and flour.  Add melted butter and pecans and mix with until crumbly.   Sprinkle topping all over the top of the sweet potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until browned and hot and bubbly around the sides. 
 

























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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes





















I love these little moist pumpkin cakes with a creamy cheesecake filling. I made them over the weekend and packed them up to freeze for Thanksgiving...not without having a few first!  You'll love these!

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Filling
1 (8 oz. package) cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese, egg, flour and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Set aside.

Cake

1 cup Libby's Pumpkin Puree
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil























To make the cakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line small muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda and blend well. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated. Fill each muffin tin about 2/3 full (about a tablespoon or so) with batter and then add about a teaspoon or so of cheesecake filling on top.

For the topping


1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Sprinkle each cake with with topping and bake at 350 degrees for about 12-14 minutes. Very addicting!


















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Thursday, November 09, 2017

Chicken Soup with Penne Pasta and Kale



 


 
















I made this great chicken soup recipe yesterday to pack up and store in the freezer just in case I need it this winter if I get sick.... didn't make it to the freezer my friends. I am having it now and it is so good! It's just perfect ...for the sniffles on a cold and rainy winter day.

Chicken Soup with Pasta and Kale

1 chicken, about 3 1/2 lb., quartered
1 lb. Ditalini Pasta (or any tubular pasta)
2 yellow onions, quartered
4 celery stalks, quartered
4 carrots, quartered
6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Soup

1/2 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup celery chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook Pasta as directed on package. Drain and set aside for later.


 














 




Put the chicken in a large stockpot or Dutch oven and add water to cover by 1 1/2 inches. Cook over medium-high heat and skim any foam from the surface. Add the onions, celery, carrots, parsley, thyme, pepper and salt. Return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let cool slightly. Remove the meat from the bones and set aside to chop or tear into bite sized pieces to equal about 2 cups. You can freeze or refrigerate any left over chicken.

Once meat has been removed, return the skin and bones to the pot and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. Next, pour the contents of the pot through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl, pressing down on the vegetables and other solids to extract the flavor. Then discard what is left in the strainer. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 6 cups of the stock you just made with the kale and cook for 10 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, celery, carrots, and pasta and heat through, about 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve immediately. 














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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Fried Potatoes and Onions

























We had a lot of  fried potatoes when I was growing up.  I like to think it was a Southern thing and no one made them like my Mom.  Oh sure, we loved  her creamy mashed potatoes .... but fried potatoes and onions?  Now that was a whole different story.  Sometimes she would add some fresh green beans from her garden that she had cooked all day with ham hocks.  Now that was a supper!  And she always made fried potatoes with with soup beans and corn bread. When you think about it, you never see skillet fried potatoes on the menu of a restaurant. You might see home fries or hash browns but its hard to find good old country fried potatoes and onions. Looks like you'll have to make them yourself!  Go ahead.  This is what memories are made of.  

Skillet Fried Potatoes and Onions 

6 medium white potatoes 
1  sweet onion 
2 tablespoons bacon grease (the secret is the bacon fat!) 
2 tablespoons butter 
salt and pepper to taste 

Slice the potatoes and onions.  Melt the butter and the bacon fat over medium high heat in a large skillet (I use a 12 inch cast iron skillet). Fry onions until just tender and then add potatoes, spreading them in a single layer on the bottom of the skillet. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. 

























Allow potatoes and onions to cook until golden brown on the first side and then flip and fry on the other side.  Onions will start to caramelize so you want to scrap up the bits as you turn them. 

Turn down heat to medium and cover.  Continue to fry, flipping  a few more times until all the potatoes and onions are golden brown. Serve as a side dish with anything. 

 

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♥ Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and Potatoes






















 



Kielbasa with Sauerkraut and Potatoes

5 small potatoes, peeled and diced into chunks
1 (16 ounce) bag sauerkraut, (not canned)
1 lb kielbasa, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup honey (or 3 tablespoons of brown sugar)
parsley

Cook potatoes in microwave until fork tender. Cool slightly and peel off skin. Set aside.

Add a little olive oil to large skillet and brown Kielbasa slices over medium high heat until nicely caramelized.
Pour in Sauerkraut with juices (do not drain). Add 1/2 cup of honey and cook for about 10 minutes watching closely and stirring occasionally as juices cook down.

Add potatoes, then cover and cook for another 30 minutes. Sprinkle top with parsley and serve.

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Southern Green Beans and Ham

























Since we're talking about my southern roots today and about good old country cooking...here's another great recipe I grew up on. My Mom used to come in from her garden and say, I'm fixin' to make a "mess o' beans and cornbread for supper."... And oh what a supper it was! Those beans would cook all day on the stove and smell so good. I make mine in the crockpot and they are perfect at the end of the day....

Southern Green Beans and Ham

2 ham hocks or 1-2 lb. Ham diced
4 slices bacon (raw)
2 onions, coarsely sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 -3 lbs fresh green beans
2 lbs new potatoes, quartered, peeled

If using ham hocks, place them along with the bacon in large Dutch oven pot or soup pot; cover with water. Bring to a rapid boil. Turn burner to medium to medium-high and let it come to a medium boil. Add the sliced onion. Let this cook while you wash and snap your beans (about an hour or more). If using a cooked ham, just add the bacon and onion at this stage and the ham will go in later.

Wash beans, cut off ends and break in half. Add beans, salt, sugar, and garlic to the ham hocks. Let it come to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes. If you want to continue cooking them on the top of the stove, turn down the heat to medium and continue to slow boil for about an hour or more or less, depending on how well you like your beans cooked. About 15-20 minutes before done, add your potatoes. If you are using a cooked ham instead of ham hocks, you can add it with the potatoes. Continue slow cooking until tender. Remove ham hocks from pot and dice or shred and mix in.

If you want to slow cook your beans, move everything over to a crockpot, and cook on low for 6 hours.
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