Just In Time For Summer~Fresh Broccoli Salad

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As much as I would like to take credit for this recipe, I have to give all the props to my dear friend Lorie.

This broccoli salad is a fresh addition to any meal but make sure you make a bunch because it will get gobbled up quickly!

Broccoli Salad

2 bunches fresh broccoli, chopped (or 1 lb pack fresh florets)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 c sugar
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 c raisins
1 c mayonnaise
10 strips crisp fried bacon (or 1 small pack bacon pieces)
8 oz pack almond slices

Mix together sugar, vinegar, and mayo in small bowl until well blended. In separate bowl add broccoli, onion, raisins, bacon, and almonds. Pour in dressing mixture and stir until well coated. Allow salad to sit for several hours or overnight for the flavors to blend. Serve cold.

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Pizza Buns

Do you ever have those super easy snacks or meals that make their way off rotation? I’m sure some folks have made these before so it’s not a new “invention” but it’s something worth being reminded of if they’ve made their way off your meal list.  This is also great if you have left over pizza sauce. 

Hamburger bun pizza
A quick alternative to pizza!

Pizza Buns

2 Hamburger buns, open faced

Pizza sauce

Italian blend shredded cheese

Pepperoni

*Feel free to use your favorite toppings. Have fun creating your personal pizza!

Butter each bun then add sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings. Bake at 425° until cheese is melted and bottom of bun is browned.

Told you it was easy! Enjoy!

Mama S’s Squash Patties

One of the first times I went to my husband’s parents house for dinner he had asked his mom to fix him some squash patties. I didn’t know what in the world they were but I knew if it had squash in the recipe it had to be good. OH MY!  This is all things Southern! It’s yella (that’s yellow to y’all city folks) squash, onions, salt and pepper, and it’s FRIED! Oh yeah! You know we love our fried foods in the South! This is too good not to share!

Squash Patties Prep

Mama S’s Squash Patties

4-6 grated yellow squash

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)

1/4 tsp pepper (or more to taste)

6 T flour

1 egg, beaten

Combine all in bowl. Heat cooking oil in frying pan then add squash mixture by the spoonful to oil, flattening out mixture to form patty. Fry until golden brown. Place on paper towels to soak up extra grease then sprinkle with additional salt to taste.

Fried Squash Patties

Crock Pot Pork Carnitas

I wish I could take credit for inventing this recipe but I can’t. I can definitely take credit for it being on my menu list on an almost weekly basis though. My dear friend from high school contributed this recipe to my daughter’s cheerleading team’s cookbook (which has turned into my recipe Bible at this point). I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do. Seriously! It’s awesome!

Crock Pot Pork Carnitas

1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 boneless pork shoulder roast
3 bay leaves
1 can beef broth

Mix together salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, coriander, and cinnamon in a bowl. Coat pork with spice mixture. Place the bay leaves in the bottom of crock pot and place pork on top. Pour broth around sides of pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture. Cover and cook on low until pork shreds easily with fork, approximately 6 hours. Turn meat over after 4 hours. When pork is tender, remove from crock pot and shred with two forks. Disgard bay leaves. Use cooking liquid as needed to moisten the meat. Can be served in tortillas with shredded lettuce, diced tomato, sour cream, and hot sauce. A side of black beans and/or rice can complete your meal.

Enjoy!

Holy Guacamole Recipe

Another food I’ve acquired the taste of since living in Texas is guacamole. I simply was NOT a fan of it in Florida. I don’t know if it was the way it was made, my mentality that it looked gross or what but either way, I didn’t like it. I’ve tried several different versions and here’s my take on it and I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe!! Some might find it too complicated and just go back to the tried and true avocado mushed up way but others might say they’ve finally found a guacamole recipe they can love as much as I do. This recipe is chunkier with veggies and adds a little more excitement to the basic recipes.

Fresh veggies ready to be turned into guacamole 

Here ya go!

2 avocados

1/3 c tomato, chopped

1/3 c onion, chopped

1/4 c cilantro, chopped

1/2 jalapeño, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

juice of 1/4 orange

juice of 1/2 lime

1-2 tsp salt/pepper mix

Half , pit, and scoop avocados then chop and add to mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix well.  Mixing all ingredients continuously for 3-5 minutes will break down the avocados to the consistency most are accustomed to when eating guacamole.  Use potato masher if needed to get a creamier result. 

Homemade guacamole and margarita. Doesn’t get much better than that!

Reinventing the pot pie!

Anyone who has family member with food allergies knows what a challenge it can be to reinvent new recipes. We have a chicken allergy in our home so I’m always looking for a new twist in all the traditional recipes that have chicken as the main component. With a ton of pork left from my crock pot carnitas I certainly didn’t want to waste it so I went on the hunt to “recycle” it into another recipe.  I also didn’t want to go out for ingredients and so began my quest to make a pot pie completely from scratch! It turned out amazing and I’m happy to share this recipe with you.

Pork Pot Pie

Crust 

2 1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 c vegetable oil
1/3 c + 2 T milk
2 tsp rosemary

In medium bowl mix flour, salt, and rosemary. In separate bowl mix oil and milk. Slowly pour milk/oil mixture into flour mixture and stir. Most people will use their blender with the pastry attachment but I don’t have one so I just mixed with spoon and then finally with hands, kneading the dough until ball is formed. Place in ziploc bag and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. When ready to bake pot pie, remove dough from refrigerator, cut in half and roll 1/2 half flat until it lays flat in pie dish. Roll out second have to place on top of pot pie filling.
**Note-I did have to work the dough out a little by hand before rolling with rolling pin.

Pot Pie Filling

1/4 c butter, melted
1/2 c flour
14 oz beef broth
3/4 c milk
2 c pork
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 c mixed veggies (fresh frozen bags works great)
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Pre-heat oven to  400°.  Melt butter in large cooking pot then slowly add flour and stir. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly to remove lumps from flour. Once all broth has been added, stir in milk and simmer until thick. Add pork, veggies, cheese, salt, and pepper and cook until heated throughly and veggies are done. Pour into prepared pie crust and top with top crust. Bake for 20-23 minutes. Let the pie “rest” for approximately 10 minutes before cutting.

“I NEED this recipe!!”

Ah yes, the words every cook loves to hear….I need this recipe! I hosted a Mom’s Night In event last night at my home and true to all things Southern and hospitable I had tons of food and drinks. Every item on the table got rave reviews by the wonderful ladies that attended so I thought it would be easier to just put all the recipes into one blog post for them and for everyone else that would like to try them. I do have to be completely honest, not a one of these recipes are my own. I found a couple on Pinterest and a couple belong to my friends. 

Yummy goodness from front to back!

From left to right, front to back here’s the list!

BLT Bites

BLT bites courtesy of Pinterest. Here’s the link! Also, a little hint…I don’t know about you but as much as I LOVE bacon, I hate that my house smells of bacon for days. I cooked up my bacon the day before the party and stored in the fridge until I was ready to construct my little sandwiches.

http://www.lanascooking.com/2010/04/26/blt-bites/

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip is on the front right corner. This is one of my oldest, dearest friend’s recipe that I have YET to master! Maybe I just like hers better because she’s usually making it for me! Here’s the recipe.

2 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c mayo
1 clove garlic, minced
10 oz pack frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
14 oz can artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
1/2 c Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix together softened cream cheese and mayo until well blended. Add garlic, spinach, artichokes, and cheese and mix well. Pour into pie plate and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top. Serve with favorite crackers.

Right smack in the middle of the table is the most delicious dip I’ve ever tried/made! I found that recipe on Pinterest as well and it’s called Mississippi Sin. Here’s the link for that little slice of heaven!
 http://www.plainchicken.com/2010/11/mississippi-sin.html

In the bowl you’ll see some sausage balls. These things got two thumbs up and a trip or two back in the house for more “taste testing” by my husband. Another super easy recipe courtesy of Pinterest. 
 http://www.plainchicken.com/2011/09/cream-cheese-sausage-balls-football.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FwJJTP+%28Plain+Chicken%29

The fruit cake was brought by a friend and I do not have any information on that. Don’t think I’m just skipping over it. 🙂

Strawberry cheesecake bites

In the far back left corner is strawberry cheesecakes. How simple is this?! All you need is the Jello no bake cheesecake mix and strawberries! Mix up the cheesecake mix per package instructions, slice the strawberries in half and scoop out the middles, then pipe in the cheesecake mix. Garnish with the graham cracker crumbs that came in the cheesecake box.  One of my friends took this to a Kentucky Derby party and I loved the idea and the simplicity of it.

Margarita cupcakes

The infamous margarita cupcakes are in the middle backside of the table. I used two different resources for this treat.  I didn’t care for the icing listed in the first link so I found another site for icing that is delish!

For the cupcakes this recipe is the BEST!  http://www.recipegirl.com/2007/05/01/margarita-cupcakes/

For the icing I really liked this one. http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2011/05/05/margarita-cupcakes-with-tequila-lime-buttercream-frosting/

In the far back right is my final Pinterest inspired recipe, Stuffed Baguettes. This one, although yummy, was time consuming. 
 http://www.bakingobsession.com/2009/10/04/stuffed-baguette/

Pink Punk Cosmo with some Velata caramel chocolate dipping sauce for the strawberries, marshmallows, and pretzels.

For our drinks I made Pink Punk Cosmos…which I was introduced to at TGIFridays. 
 http://thepartyloft.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/cotton-candy/

As for the non-alcoholic drinks, I made a refreshing peach basil iced tea. Another friend had submitted this recipe for our cookbook fundraiser and thought that I would try it out finally!

Peach Basil Iced Tea 

3 Orange pekoe tea bags
1 c loosely packed fresh basil leaves
4 c water
5 cans peach nectar, 5.5 oz size, chilled
1 1/3 c sugar
1 1/4 c water
Peach slices and basil sprigs for garnish

Boil tea bags and basil in 4 cups of water. Let steep 5 minutes and strain through a sieve into pitcher. Cool tea and chill for approximately 1 hour. Stir in nectar and sugar and additional water. Serve over ice and garnish with peach slices and basil sprigs.

Serve all this stuff at your next party and you and I can share the title of “The Hostess With The Mostest”! Enjoy! 

 

Shrimp Sauce Recipe

Back home in Florida one of my favorite restaurants has the most glorious white sauce that is served over their grouper. I often crave that dish and the closest I’ve come to making something similar is buying the Philly cream cheese cooking cremes.

Last night while baking tilapia I decided that I needed some white sauce to add a little extra “love” to the dish. Since I was cooking creme-less, it was time to improvise! I must say, the cook outdid herself with this one and my husband was scraping the pan to get every last drop of it (sauce hog!!) I thought I’d share my recipe with you but keep in mind I didn’t really measure any of the seasonings so when I say a pinch, feel free to add less or more, depending on your preference.

Baked tilapia with shrimp sauce

Shrimp Sauce

2 T butter

1 T flour

1 c milk

1/4 c Parmesan cheese

1 T feta cheese

1 T sauteed onions

Pinch of the following: oregano, garlic powder, basil, parsley, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper

6-8 cooked shrimp, chopped

Melt butter on medium heat and add flour. Mix thoroughly. Add milk and stir until flour is well mixed. Add seasonings and cheeses and continue to stir over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally so that milk does not burn. Add shrimp and continue to stir. Serve over fish or pasta.

 

Inexpensive and Quick Shrimp Stir Fry

Quick AND inexpensive?! Say it ain’t so! Don’t get me wrong, I love love love to cook and more often than not, I can spend hours planning, prepping, and cooking a good, wholesome Southern meal. But then there are the OTHER days. You know, those days where nothing seems to go right, your to-do list keeps getting bigger and bigger, and your pocket book is shrinking more and more. Then in walks through the door a bright idea! BAM! 

So here’s my quick and inexpensive, feed everyone in a quickness (and it’s pretty healthy too) recipe for shrimp, or beef, or chicken, whichever you prefer, stir fry. Here’s a little side note on the photo below. I took this photo after I had already served 3 plates full of stir fry so the size of the meal is much bigger than what you see.

Shrimp Stir Fry

1 bag frozen stir fry veggies

2 bags pre-cooked and peeled shrimp, thawed and tails removed

1/3-1/2 bottle Lawry’s Sesame Ginger marinade

2 T low sodium soy sauce

Pour frozen veggies in skillet with marinade and stir until coated. Place heat on low-medium and cover. While veggies are thawing/cooking, remove tails from shrimp. After veggies are thawed thoroughly, add shrimp and soy sauce and stir together. Cook for approximately 5-8 minutes to allow marinade to soak into shrimp for added flavor.  Can be served over rice. 

For a breakdown in cost, the veggies cost approximately $2.00 a bag, the shrimp is $5.00 per bag at Walmart, marinade is around $3.00 (and keep in mind you get at least 2 meals out of it), and soy sauce is super cheap as well. The boil in bag rice is inexpensive and quick as well. For less that $20.00 you can feed a family of four.
 

Mexican Wontons Appetizer

Here’s a really quick and yummy appetizer that I made today for a Fiesta San Antonio party!

Mexican wontons

1 (8 oz) bag pre-cooked beef fajita meat*, chopped

1/2 c diced tomatoes

2 T taco seasoning

Velveeta Mexican Blend cheese, cut into 1″ squares

Approximately 20 wonton wrappers (found in the produce section of your local grocery store)

1/3 c shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375°. Place chopped beef fajita meat in skillet on medium heat. Add tomatoes and taco seasoning. Heat thoroughly. Place wonton wrappers into mini cupcake pan, add a piece of Velveeta cheese, spoonful of meat, and tomato mixture. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Fold in corners of wontons.**  Bake for 7-8 minutes.

Serve with sour cream and/or salsa for dipping. 

*Can be substituted with chopped chicken fajita meat

**The photo in this recipe shows the wontons unfolded. I found that folding the corners in made for an easier, less crunchy bite size portion.