Spuds in a Blanket


1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
12 slices bacon
48 extra-crispy tater tots

1. Preheat over to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with pam. Place a cooling rack on top of baking sheet. Or you can omit this part.
2. In a small bowl, combine ketchup, barbecue sauce, and brown sugar and mix well. Brush both sides of bacon with ketchup mixture. Cut each slice in half crosswise and then in half length wise. Wrap each prepared piece of bacon around a tater tot, and place seam side down on rack. Brush tops of prepared tater tots with remaining ketchup mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until bacon is crisp.


Toasted Walnut Fudge


3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
2 cups chopped toasted walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with non stick aluminum foil.  Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a dutch oven, heat sugar, butter and milk over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in marshmallow cream and chocolate morsels; stir just until melted and smooth. Stir in walnuts, vanilla and salt. Spoon mixture evenly into prepared pan. Let stand for 1 hour or until set. Cut into 2 inch pieces.

Chocolate Pecan Pie



1/2 (14.1 ounce) package refrigerated pie crust or you can use a deep dish pie crust-in freezer section
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 (12-ounce) bag mini semisweet chocolate morsels

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry to a 12-inch circle. Fit pie crust into a 9 inch deep dish pie plate. (or use a ready made one) trim excess pastry 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold edges under, and crimp. Cover bottom of pastry with pie weights. Bake for 8 minutes, removing pie weight, and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and corn syrups. Whisk in melted butter and eggs until well combined. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Stir in pecans and chocolate morsels. Spoon pecan mixture into prepared crust. Bake for 35 minutes or until center is set.


Cheeseburger Soup






Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled*
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • ¾ cup shredded carrots
  • ¾ cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cups milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup sour cream
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground beef in 3 quart saucepan. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the same saucepan add 1 T butter and add onion, shredded carrots, parsley flakes, basil and celery. Saute until tender.
  3. Add the broth, potatoes and beef and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. In small skillet melt remaining butter (3 T) and add the flour. Cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to the soup and bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Stir in the cheese, milk, heavy cream salt and pepper. Cook and stir until cheese melts. Stir in the cooked and crumbled bacon.Remove from heat and blend in sour cream.

Mexican Black Bean Chili



1 cup frozen chopped onion, thawed (or fresh chopped)
1 cup frozen bell pepper strips, thawed and chopped
1 pound ground sirloin
1 1/2 cup fat free, lower sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 (14.5 ounces) cans no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
2 (15 ounces) cans non salt added black beans, drained
6 tablespoon light sour cream


Place a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add first 3 ingredients; cook until browned, stirring to crumble meat. Drain; well; return meat mixture to pan. Add broth and next 8 ingredients (through black beans); bring to a boil.
Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Ladle chili into soup bowls; top with sour cream.




Macerated Berries


2 cups sliced strawberries
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoon Grand Mariner (orange-flavored liqueur)
Mint sprigs (optional)

Combine all ingredients except mint sprigs in a medium bowl, stirring gently. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight, stirring occasionally. Garnish with mint and serve.

Grilled Chicken with Mustard-Tarragon Sauce



This tangy sauce enlivens simple grilled chicken breasts, a hint of sugar balances the flavors.

4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
3 tablespoon minced shallots
3 tables Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry tarragon
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 cups gourmet salad green (optional)

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat or skillet. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salad and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Coat pan with cooking spray. Place chicken in pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.

Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, shallots, and next 6 ingredients (through sugar) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Pour on top of warm chicken; Serve chicken over green or any other side dish.

Rosemary Pork Chops



1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh or dry rosemary
2 teaspoon bottle minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (4 ounce) boneless center cut lion port chops (about 1/2 inch thick)

Preheat broiler

Combine first 4 ingredients. Rub mixture over both sides of pork chops. Place pork chops on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.


Enlightened Greek Salad



You can find almost all of these fresh ingredients on a well stocked salad bar at your supermarket. They might even have the artichoke hearts.

8 cups torn romaine lettuce
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup (1/8 inch thick) red onion slices, separated into rings
1/2 cup sliced pitted rip black olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 drained canned artichoke hearts, rinsed and halved
1 English cucumbers, quartered lengthwise and sliced
Enlightened Greek Dressing (recipe below)

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle lettuce mixture with Enlightened Greek Dressing.

ENLIGHTENED GREEK DRESSING

1 can anchovy fillet
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, pressed.

Mash anchovy fillet in a small bowl with a fork. Add lemon juice and remaining ingredients stirring with a whisk until blended. Store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 1 week.




Buttermilk Biscuits

This versatile biscuit recipe takes only three ingredients to make.


1/2 cup cold butter
2 1/4 cups self-rising soft wheat flour
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
Self rising soft wheat flour (for rolling on surface)
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut 1/2 cup cold butter with a sharp knife or pastry blender into 1/4 inch thick slices. Sprinkle butter slices over 2 1/4 cups flour in a large bowl.  Toss butter with flour. Cut butter into flour with pastry blender until crumbly and mixture resembles small peas. Cover and chill 10 minutes. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 to 4 times, gradually adding additional flour as needed. With floured hands, press or pat dough into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches). Sprinkle top of dough with additional flour. Fold dough over onto itself in 3 sections, starting with a 1 short end (fold dough rectangle as if folding a letter size piece of paper. repeat entire process 2 more times, beginning with pressing dough into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches).

Press or pat dough into 1/2 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut into 2 x 2 inch squares with a pastry cutter, or cut with a 2 inch round cutter, and place, side by side, on a parchment paper lined or lightly greased jelly roll pan. (dough squares or rounds should touch).

Bake at 450 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; brush with 2 Tbsp. melted butter.

Okra-and-Corn Maque Choux








1/4 lb spicy smoked sausage, diced
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup sliced fresh okra
1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes (1/2 lb.)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Saute sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat about 3 minutes or until browned. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic, saute 5 minutes or until tender.  Add corn, okra, and tomatoes; cook stirring often, 10 minute, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Hot Pepper Sauce





Here in the South this is a staple on just about every table and it's so easy to make. A little bit of this spicy sauce goes a long way. Use it in place of your favorite hot sauce on dishes such as sauteed greens.

REMEMBER: WEAR RUBBER GLOVES WHEN FILLING THE JARS WITH PEPPERS TO PREVENT JUICES IN GETTING ON SKIN

1 cup red and green Thai Chile peppers stemmed
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar

Fill 1 (14 oz) glass jar with red and green Thai Chile Peppers, filling to about 1 inch from top of jar. Bring vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved (about 2 to 3 minutes). Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Pour hot mixture over peppers in jar. Cover and chill 3 weeks. Store in the refrigerator up to 6 months.

Kitchen note: Chilling for 3 weeks allows the peppers to fire up the vinegar mixture. The longer it sits, the spicer it becomes.


Mexican Grilled Shrimp



If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them at least 30 minutes before grilling to prevent from catching on fire.

2 lb. unpeeled, large raw shrimp (or you can buy peeled shrimp with tails on)
20 (12-inch skewers)
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
6 garlic cloves, pressed
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, minced
2 Tbsp. rum
1 Tbsp. adobe sauce
1 Tbsp. tamarind paste
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil


Peel Shrimp, leaving tails on; devein, if desired. Thread shrimp onto skewers. Set aside.

Cook brown sugar in a small heavy saucepan over low heat until melted, Add garlic, 2 Tbsp. water, and the next 5 ingredients. Cook 5 minutes or until tamarind paste melts. Remove from heat.

Brush shrimp with olive oil. Grill, uncovered, over medium high heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until shrimp turns pink, turning once,  basting with the tamarind glaze.







Sizzling Flounder




While flounder is a favorite, use any firm fleshed fish such as tilapia, grouper, or catfish. Adjust the cooking time according to the thickness of the fish.

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. paprika
4 (6 oz.) flounder fillets
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Place 1 oven rack 5 inches from heat; place a second rack in the middle of oven. Combine Parmesan cheese and paprika.  Season fish with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat butter in a broiler-safe 13 x 9 inch baking dish in oven 8 minutes or until butter is melted and beginning to brown. Place fish in hot butter, skin side up.

Bake at 450 on middle oven rack 10 minutes. Carefully flip fish; baste with pan juices. Sprinkle with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese mixture. Bake 5 more minutes or just until fish flakes with a fork. Remove from oven, increase oven temperature to broil.

Broil fish on oven rack 5 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Make-Your-Own-Taco bar




Chipotle Turkey Filling

1 teaspoon EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast, the average weight of 1 package
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chipotles in adobe sauce, chopped
1 round tablespoon chili powder
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
salt (to taste)

Pork & Bell Pepper Filling

1 tablespoon EVOO
1 1/3 pounds ground pork
1/2 red  bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
several drops of cayenne pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon allspice
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
10 jumbo taco shells, warmed to package direction

Toppings

1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar or smoked Cheddar, about 1 pound
1 1/3 cups shredded Monterey pepper Jack, about 1 pound
Shredded romaine lettuce, 2 hearts
6 scallions, chopped
Diced red plum tomatoes
Yellow Pico De Gallo (recipe below)
Taco Sauce of any kind

Yellow Pico De Gallo

3 yellow wine ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Coarse salt to taste

To make Chipotle Turkey filling:

In a medium skillet preheat over medium high heat, add the oil and turkey meat. Brown the meat for 2 to 3 minutes, breaking up any lumps, then add the onions and garlic. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, Stir in the chipotles in adobo chili powder, and tomato sauce. Add water and season the filing with salt to taste. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until ready to serve.

To make the Pork and Bell Pepper Filling:

In a medium skillet preheat over medium high heat add the oil and pork. Brown the meat for 2 to 3 minutes, breaking up any lumps. Strain off any excess oil. Add the peppers, cumin, cayenne sauce to taste, allspice, and salt and pepper to taste and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add water and reduce the heat to medium low and keep the filling warm.

To assemble the bar, arrange the taco shells next to the stove top. Serve the fillings from the skillets that they are cooked in. Place toppings in small dishes on the opposite side of the stove top. Serve with a side of Red beans and rice or store bought refried beans.