Friday, April 30, 2010

Pray For Us Friday


Today we are praying for...




Allison and Baxter got married this past December. Baxter will finish law school (in Fayetteville) next week and after he passes the bar this summer, he will begin a job in Little Rock. Allison has been living in central Arkansas without Baxter since February so she is anxious for him to finish school! Allison wants us to pray for Baxter as he finishes up law school and as he takes his last few finals. (As the wife of a law student myself, I know this is a very stressful time for their family!) Please also pray for Allison and Baxter as he studies for and takes (and passes!) the Bar Exam.

Allison shared, with us, her recipe for Red Beans and Rice... Baxter's favorite!
AND she's a rockstar because she even sent a picture!!

Red Beans and Rice


Ingredients:
2 T. Butter
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup onion chopped
1/4 cup green pepper chopped
16 oz. canned kidney beans
10-1/2 oz can beef broth
1 lb. smoked sausage
1/4 cup water
1t. garlic
1 t. oregano
1/4 t. red pepper
1/4 t. white pepper
1/4 t. black pepper
1-1/2 cups Minute Rice
1/2 to 1 lb. ground sausage

Directions:
Saute celery, onion and green pepper in butter in a 3 quart pot. Add beans, smoked sausage (cut into 1/2" slices), broth and spices. Stir and bring to a boil. Brown ground sausage in another pan. Add rice to pot, cover and remove from heat. After 10 minutes, add ground sausage. Mix all ingredients together and serve.

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Sounds delicious!! Thanks, Allison for sharing your heart and your recipe with us!! We will definitely be praying for you and Baxter during this busy and stressful but also exciting time in your life together! :)

For Brittany


Fried Corn

This is how I make fried corn... because every good southern girl should know how to take the nutritional value out of a vegetable every once in a while! :)

I throw a family size bag of frozen corn in a skillet with about half a stick of butter, add salt and pepper to taste and saute/fry it until it's a pretty golden brown color! SO easy and delicious!

And, of course, you can always enhance this by adding chopped onions, herbs, or even a little cream.

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And unfortunately, I still don't have any recipe/prayer requests for "Pray For Us Friday" so unless I get an email in the next few hours, we'll have to postpone that until next week. :(

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Took a Risk...

And it paid off!!!

Here's the story... when Evan and I first started dating, I was obsessed with food and he was extremely picky. Like the pickiest person that I had EVER met in my life. I was always wanting to cook for him and try something new but I was always afraid that he wouldn't like it. But he was a great sport! He would always say that your taste buds are supposed to change as you get older so he was willing to try anything. Apparently that's true, because over the years he has gone from SUPER picky to an adventurous foodie! However, there was one thing that I cooked when we first started dating that he just HATED. Like wouldn't eat. I think we ended up going out to eat... and I haven't made it since. What is this dish that Evan couldn't even pretend to like?

Chicken and Dumplings

So... after 3+ years of avoiding chicken and dumplings at all cost... he suggested that we try it again. Last night, I made chicken and dumplings (the EXACT same way that I made them 3 or so years ago) and he LOVED them!! I was shocked... I was so nervous while I was making them. I just kept thinking that this was so pointless because we were going to end up going out to eat anyway but we didn't! I was SO excited!

So here's a super easy recipe that I will finally be able to add back into my repertoire:

Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients
48 oz chicken broth or stock
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2-4 cups of chopped, cooked chicken
4 cans biscuits (the most basic biscuit you can find)
salt and pepper or greek seasoning to taste

Directions:
whisk together the chicken broth and cream of chicken soup and bring to a boil. Add the cooked chicken (I like to use about 2 cups of chicken because I like there to be more dumplings than chicken but it is entirely up to you!). Then pinch the raw biscuit dough into bite size pieces and drop into the boiling soup mixture. ***Serve the chicken and dumplings as soon as you drop in your last piece of biscuit because if you simmer this dish for too long, the dumplings will disintegrate!

********

I served them with green beans and fried corn. It was a very comforting meal!
Here's a picture:


I still can't believe that Evan enjoyed Chicken and Dumplings last night...
Is there a food that you hated but now love??

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fruit Tart

Evan and I had community group last night. Each time our group meets, a different couple brings dessert and last night, it was our turn. I made two fruit tarts because I wanted something fresh, light and springy (even though it was cold outside yesterday!). This is a very easy recipe, it looks way more impressive than it is and (in my opinion) it also makes a great breakfast!

Fruit Tart

Ingredients:
1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (they come two in a package)
1 T. sugar
1 (2.9 oz) cook and serve (not instant) lemon pudding and pie filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 egg yolks
2 cups water
fruit of choice (I used strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges and kiwi)

Ingredients for glaze:
3 T. red current jelly
1 t. orange juice

Directions:
Prepare pie crust in a tart pan with a removable bottom. Note: do not stretch the pie crust to fit the tart pan because it will tear during baking. Instead, cut the second (unused) pie crust left in the box to fit in the spaces that the first pie crust doesn't reach. Sprinkle the pie crust with 1 T. sugar and poke several holes with a fork. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 9-11 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely.

In a medium sauce pan, combine pudding mix, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, egg yolks and blend well. Stir in 2 cups of water and cook over medium high heat until the mixture boils- stirring constantly. Cool 5 minutes- stirring twice. Pour into the shell. Refrigerate until set. Once the filling is set, arrange the sliced fruit on top. Then melt together the jelly and orange juice in a small sauce pan and pour over the fruit. Refrigerate until you serve.

**********

I arranged the fruit differently on each tart.
Here's how they turned out:



**********
Also, I still don't have any recipes/prayer requests for this Friday's "Pray For Us Friday" and Friday is quickly approaching!! I know you have some great recipes and even if you don't have a specific prayer request, every family could use a little prayer!! :)

Email me at racheleabell@gmail.com

Can't wait to hear from you!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Engagement Chicken

Evan and I got engaged two years ago today on April 25, 2008!! I can't believe it has already been two years since that fun and memorable night...

It was a Friday night and we were supposed to go to dinner in Little Rock (at the time we were in school at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR). Earlier in the day, I had suspected that there might be more to the evening, but Evan was acting SO nonchalant about everything that I decided I was wrong.

So, we're almost to Little Rock and Evan's mom calls and asks what we are doing. Evan told her that we were going to eat dinner at a restaurant in the River Market in Little Rock. She said, "Oh, great! Would you mind doing me a favor? I heard that the Capitol Hotel (which is in the River Market) has a great room for events and it would be great if y'all could go look at it and see if you like it for the rehearsal dinner!" Now, that may sound strange to you but we had been talking openly for several months about getting married and she had been talking a lot about planning our rehearsal dinner so it didn't sound weird to me!

So, we walk in to the Capitol Hotel and I start to walk to the front desk to ask where this room is and Evan is walking straight back toward the grand staircase... like he knows where he is going! I said, "Evan, do we not need to ask where the room is first?" He says nothing and keeps walking... haha so I followed him. When we get to the staircase I notice that there is a guy from our college playing the violin and I said, "Look, Evan! We know him!" haha AGAIN, Evan says nothing (probably because he was thinking, of course we know him! I paid him to be here!). And right before Evan gets down on one knee to ask me to marry him, I see my sister peek around the corner! Now I know something is up... but when I turn back to Evan, he is on one knee!!

Long story short: he asks, I say, "YES!!!", we eat dinner with both of our families (who were there the whole time), then go back to my parents' house for a little engagement party! It was such a wonderful night!!

Here are a few pictures:











And now you're thinking, "Great, Rachel... but isn't this post called Engagement Chicken???"

It sure is! And this is the reason...
Yesterday, I was in my friend, Katie Bailey's wedding and one of the other bridesmaids was talking about how she had made "Engagement Chicken" for her boyfriend and it didn't work! I asked her what engagement chicken was and she said that it's a recipe for chicken that is supposed to make your boyfriend propose within six months of making it for him! haha I thought this was so funny, so I googled it today and sure enough... I found several recipes for "Engagement Chicken" and cute little stories to go with them! So, if you've got a boyfriend that just won't pop the question... here's the recipe for you! :) I am just going to post a link to Ina Garten's version of this recipe because this post is already ENTIRELY too long!!



Enjoy!! And let me know if it works for you!! :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pray For Us Friday

Today we're praying for...


Corina would like for us to pray that God will bless her family as well as the college ministry that her and her husband, Joe Ray, lead.

And here is the delicious recipe that she shared with us:

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Ingredients:
2 cans crescent rolls
3- 8oz pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2t. vanilla
2 t. cinnamon
1 stick oleo, melted

Directions:
Place one can of crescent rolls in 13x9 casserole dish. Mix cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups of sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread cheese mixture over crust and place remaining crescent rolls on top. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar and cinnamon. Drizzle melted oleo over top; sprinkle with cinnamon/ sugar mixture. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Can be served warm or cold.

********
Corina also shared this verse with us:

"God is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine."
Ephesians 3:20

Please join me today in praying for the Ramirez family and trying out this tasty little dessert!

********
Please email me (racheleabell@gmail.com) if you would like to share a prayer request and a recipe for next week's "Pray For Us Friday".


Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's a takeout night...

Tonight is most definitely a takeout night at our house. Aside from both of us being exhausted from work and school, I just got home from getting a spray tan for my friend's wedding weekend... which means that I can't wash my hands... which makes cooking a bit difficult! haha We are also dog sitting tonight and Evan's mom is coming in a little later to spend the night with us before she flies to New York in the morning! I don't know if that sounds like a lot but it sure does feel like a lot. So, we just placed an order at Chi's Chinese Express.

However, we did cook last night so I still have a recipe to post about!

Last night we made Pesto, Prosciutto and Pine Nut Pizza. It was SO easy to make.
Here's the recipe:

Pesto, Prosciutto, Pine Nut Pizza

Ingredients:
1 pkg. thinly sliced prosciutto
1 pre-baked pizza crust or 1 can Pilsbury refrigerated pizza dough
1 jar pesto
1 jar pine nuts
1 pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Note: all of the above ingredients are listed in "jars" or "packages" but you definitely won't need the whole package. It's completely up to you how much you use of each ingredient! First, crisp up the prosciutto in a skillet (much like frying bacon- but faster). Then spread a thin layer of pesto on your pizza crust or dough and top with pine nuts, cheese and crispy prosciutto. If you are using a pre-baked pizza crust, put your pizza in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is hot and bubbly. If you are using the refrigerated pizza dough, follow the directions on the package for baking.

SO easy and fast. Basically your oven does all of the work! :)

Here's what ours looked like:
This pizza is also great with cooked, chopped chicken instead of prosciutto.

******
Don't forget to come back tomorrow for our second "Pray For Us Friday!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mexican Chicken and Guacamole

This past weekend, on our retreat, I took entirely too many bags of tortilla chips so I needed to make a dinner that would use a lot of chips! This is what I came up with...

Mexican Chicken and Guacamole


Almost everyone I know seems to have a recipe for Mexican Chicken and every recipe seems to be a little different! So, here's my version!

Mexican Chicken

Ingredients:
1 bag tortilla chips
2 lbs. cooked, diced chicken
1 can Rotel
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Crush the tortilla chips and place them in a greased 13x9 inch dish. Layer the diced chicken on top of the crushed chips. Mix together the Rotel, chicken soup, mushroom soup and the cheese (I usually save a little bit of cheese out to sprinkle on the top). Pour the mixture over the chips and chicken. Sprinkle with remaining cheese- if desired. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Here's what mine looked like:


And we made guacamole to go with our Mexican Chicken... because we needed something to eat with our excessive amount of chips! :) We used Rachael Ray's recipe for "Garlicky Holy Guacamole." We discovered this recipe a few months after we got married and it quickly became a family favorite!! We love it so much that we usually double the recipe so we can eat it again the next day!

Garlicky Holy Guacamole

Ingredients:
2 ripe small Haas avocados
1 lemon, juiced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 small plum tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 small yellow skinned onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon course salt

Directions:
Mash and mix all ingredients (minus tomatoes) in a bowl, with a fork. Stir in tomatoes. Enjoy!

Here's what ours looked like:


And the good news? We now only have 1 bag of chips left!! :)

My Boys

Good Morning!!!

This is what my silly boys were doing (over and over again) while I was blogging last night. So, I put down the computer for a few minutes and caught them in action!

video

I just love those two!!

Have a great Wednesday!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quiche

How do you make a quiche?

5 eggs and 1 cup of milk

It really is that simple... almost. To make a quiche, all you have to do is whisk together 5 eggs and one cup of milk. Then fill an (uncooked) refrigerated pie crust with your ingredients of choice (usually a meat, a veggie and cheese- layered in that order) and pour the egg/milk mixture over the top. Then pop it in the oven for 35-45 minutes (until the eggs are set) at 375 degrees.

Last night, I used chicken as my meat; sliced black olives, chopped green onions, and a few chopped tomatoes as my veggies; and shredded habanero cheddar cheese.

Here's what it looked like:
A few other great combinations are:

1. sausage, mushrooms and cheddar
2. bacon, spinach and swiss

***If you have a good quiche combination to share, please put it in the comments***

Monday, April 19, 2010

Company Cheese Dip

This past weekend, Evan and I went on a little retreat with our small group from church. We went to a lake house in Hot Springs Village and ate A LOT of food! I was supposed to take cheese dip so I decided to make something a little different than the usual velveeta and rotel. I made a cream cheese sausage dip. I call it "Company Cheese Dip" because all these calories should definitely be saved for a special occasion! ha!

Ingredients:
1 lb. breakfast sausage
1 can rotel
2 bricks of cream cheese

Directions:
Brown and drain the sausage in a skillet. Combine the sausage, rotel and cream cheese in a slow cooker on the lowest setting until cream cheese melts. Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos.
*****
It was TOTALLY worth the calories.
*******

Jack stayed with his girlfriend, Millie, for the weekend... and I don't even think he missed us!


Happy Monday!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti is absolutely my go to dinner. I always keep the ingredients for it in the house and when I don't really feel like cooking, this is what I make. It is so simple, so fast and so delicious. The recipe that I use originally came from a Betty Crocker cookbook (circa 1980) but my mom and I have both made several changes over the years.

Although it is traditionally made with ground beef, I have also used sauteed chicken, ground turkey and ground sausage. Sometimes I make spaghetti with the basics and sometimes I add extra veggies (black olives, spinach, mushrooms, or fresh tomatoes, etc.). I also use this sauce for Lasagna, baked ziti, a spicy tomato cream sauce and even tomato soup.

I hope you love this sauce as much as I do!!


Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 or 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1 t. salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 t. dried oregano leaves
3/4 t. dried basil leaves
1/2 t. dried marjoram leaves
1/4 t. dried rosemary leaves
1 bay leaf

Directions:
Brown meat, onions and garlic in skillet. Drain fat. Add all other ingredients and simmer for one hour. (But honestly, if you don't have an hour, you don't have to simmer for an hour. That just gives the sauce a chance to thicken up but if you're in a hurry, you can serve it as soon as it's heated through.) Remove bay leaf and pour over cooked pasta. I like to top mine with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.


Mmm... fresh Basil :)

*****
And just in case my "Biscuits and Gravy" post had any of you on pins and needles... I am the hot sauce (Louisiana hot sauce, specifically) and Evan is the Ketchup. And not only do I use hot sauce on my eggs, I also use it on my spaghetti!!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pray For Us Friday

So, back in 1996, my family went on a mission trip with several other families from our church. In order to raise money for the trip, all the families that went on the trip created a "church cookbook" to sell and my mom was in charge of the whole process. It turned out to be an awesome cookbook and I still use many of the recipes out of it. Anyway, at the beginning of the book, there is a page that talks about prayer. It suggests that when you cook someone's recipe, you pray for them by name. If you know that person, you can pray for them specifically and if they are a stranger to you, you can pray that God will bring blessing upon their family. I think this is just such an awesome concept and I wanted to bring a version of that concept to my blog.

Here's the plan: You email me a recipe, I will post your recipe on my blog (on a Friday) with your name and a prayer request. If you don't have a specific prayer request or you don't feel comfortable sharing one, that's fine too! We can pray God's blessing on your family!

I decided to start with my sister-in-law, Julee Turner. Julee and her husband, Matt, have been trying for a baby for 16 months now. They have tried several different medications and nothing has worked so far. Julee will continue taking the fertility meds for one more month and if they still aren't working, she will return to the fertility specialist for a new plan. Please enjoy Julee's recipe for "Spicy Pot Roast" as you join us in praying that God will grant her the desires of her heart and give her a precious baby.

Here's a picture of Matt and Julee:

And here's Julee's recipe for "Spicy Pot Roast". She says it's Matt's favorite!

Spicy Pot Roast

Ingredients:
3-4 lb. beef pot roast
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 oz. package brown gravy mix
1/4 cup ketchup
2 t. dijon mustard
2 t. Dales seasoning
1/8 t. garlic powder
1 cup of water

Directions:
Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. Place in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over meat. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

*****
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone."
1 Timothy 2:1

*****
Please email me if you would like to submit a recipe and prayer request for next Friday's post!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jack Has Something to Say...

My fabulous friend, Lindsey Dawson, has a great blog and is currently having a great giveaway... for dog lovers! Jack took a look at her site and this is what he has to say...



video

Please go check out Jack's Aunt Lindsey's blog and enter to win some super cute storage cans for your furry child's dog food!!




Fun Lunch

Here's a recipe (if you can even call it that) for something fun that Evan and I love to have for lunch. We call it a tomato bagel... but that's not very creative so I'm open to a new name suggestion! :)

Tomato Bagels

Directions:
Slice an "Everything" bagel in half. Drizzle each half with olive oil and top with tomato slices and cheese. Sometimes I add a pinch of salt and pepper to the tomatoes and sometimes I don't... it depends on the flavor of cheese that I'm using! Some cheeses that I like to use are: pepper jack, provolone and mozzarella. Then I put the bagels on a baking sheet or stone and pop them in the oven and broil them on high until the cheese is hot and bubbly. Then I sprinkle some fresh Basil on top. Delicious! :)

That's all for tonight...
but I'm starting something new and fun tomorrow so come back and check it out!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Biscuits and Gravy

Bad news... my plan for tonight was to make gravy on film so that you could see first hand how easy it is to do. However, blogger WILL NOT let me upload the video. So, this post is a little more boring than I planned for it to be.
The reason I was going to show you how to make gravy instead of just telling you is because I feel like a lot of people are afraid of gravy and it's really nothing to be afraid of! The way I made gravy tonight is a really simple recipe that my mom taught me and she learned it from my great aunt. So, needless to say, it has been enjoyed by a lot of people over the years!

But first... the biscuits! This is a GREAT recipe from Southern Living for Whipping Cream Biscuits.

Whipping Cream Biscuits

Ingredients:
1 cup cold butter or margarine, cut into pieces
4 cups self-rising flour
2 cups whipping cream

Directions:
Cut 1 cup butter into flour with a pastry blender or a fork until crumbly. Add whipping cream, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 3 or 4 times. Roll or pat dough to 3/4 inch thickness; cut with a 2 inch round biscuit cutter, and place on a lightly greased backing sheet or stone. Bake at 400 for 13-15 minutes or until golden.

Easy Breakfast Gravy

Ingredients:
2 T. butter (could also use bacon grease or sausage drippings)
2 T. flour
1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup
milk
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In order to keep the gravy from getting lumpy, you'll want to keep your whisk going the whole time. So, I suggest that you keep the ingredients that you'll need next to you so you don't have to leave your skillet! First, melt the two tablespoons of butter in a skillet, then whisk in the 2 tablespoons of flour (I also said on the video that it doesn't really matter how much butter/flour you use but you have to use equal parts, e.g. if you use 4 T. of butter, you must use 4 T. of flour.) After you've whisked the butter and flour together, whisk in the cream of chicken soup. Finally, thin the mixture with milk- keep adding milk until you are happy with the consistency of the gravy. When you like the way it looks, add salt and pepper until you like the way it tastes!

*****
Even though the post was a bummer, our dinner was great! We had scrambled eggs and sausage links with our biscuits and gravy. Here's a pic:


One last thing: We have a difference of opinion in our home as to what condiment goes best with scrambled eggs. These are the two condiments that we disagree over:

and

Which spouse do you think belongs to which condiment and which condiment would YOU choose??

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches... With a Twist!

Because of this...


I needed to cook a REALLY easy meal tonight.

But I didn't want it to be boring.

This is what I came up with:

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches on Jalapeno Corn Cakes

Here's my inspiration:

A few weekends ago, Evan and I went to Nashville, TN for a Family Life Marriage Conference. It was a really fun weekend! Since we are food lovers, we spent a lot of our free time looking for great restaurants! In our search, we found a book called, "Where The Locals Eat: Nashville." It was a FABULOUS find!! It gave us several great recommendations. One of those was a restaurant called Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant. They have excellent BBQ and they give you the option of having your sandwich on Cajun corn cakes instead of regular bread! Such a cool concept! So I decided to give it a shot at home. Here's a pic of the restaurant... you should try it if you're ever in Historic Downtown Franklin, TN.



For the BBQ Chicken, all I did was throw a pound of raw boneless skinless chicken breasts into my slow cooker with an entire bottle of BBQ sauce this morning when I woke up. I put it on the lowest setting and when I came home from work, dinner was basically ready!

For the coleslaw, I stopped by my favorite BBQ restaurant in town and bought a quart of it (I told you I was going simple tonight).

Now for the Jalapeno Corn Cakes... all I did was take my favorite cornbread recipe, mix all the ingredients together and fry little cakes up in the skillet (the exact same way that you would make pancakes). Word of advice: This was an experimental idea so I had to try a few times before I got a cake that I liked. In the process, I learned that there is plenty of batter to make a few mistakes and that the smaller you make the cakes, the more likely they are to be pretty.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of yellow cornmeal
1 cup sour cream
1 can creamed corn
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 or more chopped, seeded jalapenos
1 cup grated, mild cheddar cheese

*****
I served these with fruit and the restaurant served them with sweet potato fries but the sandwich is so filling that you don't really even need a side item!

Here's the finished product...



Now on to tackle the monster in my laundry room :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tribute to the Tea Room

In the town where I went to college, there was a fun little lunch spot called Shaw's Garden and Tea Room. My friends and I were their #1 customers!!! We had to stop ourselves from going there every single day for lunch. The best part about the restaurant (other than being surrounded by friends) was the basket of happiness that they placed on our table as soon as we arrived... it was full of mini broccoli muffins. I would be willing to bet that those little goodies were solely responsible for my "freshman 15"!

Anyway, I stumbled across the recipe for those muffins in one of my Southern Living cookbooks and they were the inspiration for tonight's meal. I made chicken salad and fruit salad to go with them because that's what I ALWAYS ordered at the tea room.

For my chicken salad I used chicken, light mayo, celery, fresh parsley and salt & pepper and I topped it with salted cashews. I can't really tell you the measurements that I used because I just added things in slowly until I liked the way that it tasted.

Here's the recipe for the muffins... apparently I'm in a muffin mood this week? No more muffins for a while, I promise! :)


Broccoli Muffins

Ingredients:
1 (8 1/2 oz.) package corn muffin mix
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small onion, chopped
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

Directions:
Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in the center of mixture. Stir together eggs and melted butter, blending well; add to broccoli mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into lightly greased miniature muffin pans, filling almost full. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes before removing from pans. Yield: 3 dozen mini muffins.


And here's how the whole meal looked


Isn't it funny how food takes you back?

What food has a special memory for you?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sausage Muffins

You're going to LOVE this recipe!! It is SO easy to make and it is SO easy to make a meal around these muffins! The other great thing about this recipe is that most of the ingredients are probably already sitting in your pantry or fridge.

When I made these, we had them for dinner and I served them with a plate of fresh veggies (fried squash, sliced tomatoes and black eyed peas). However, they also make a fabulous breakfast food, alone or with scrambled eggs or fruit! They are very versatile! I think they would also be great with soup... but I've never served them that way.


Sausage Muffins

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. ground pork sausage
2 cups all purpose flour
2 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Brown sausage, stirring until it crumbles; drain. Combine flour and next 2 ingredients; make a well in the center. Combine milk, egg and butter; pour into well in dry mixture, stirring just until moistened. Stir in sausage and cheese. Place paper baking cups in muffin pan and coat with cooking spray. Spoon batter into cups. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan immediately. Yields 1 dozen.


And here are some pics of the veggies that I served the muffins:

I just sliced some fresh tomatoes, sprinkled them with a little salt and pepper and put a little fresh Basil on top... delicious and couldn't have been any easier!

Then I sliced up some fresh squash, sprinkled each slice with salt and pepper and then a little bit of flour (on both sides), sprayed a skillet with butter flavored cooking spray and then pan fried them! Also delicious!


And finally, I opened a bag of frozen black eyed peas and cooked them according to package instructions! haha What? There's no shame in frozen vegetables! :)


There you have it! A quick and easy meal! Enjoy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lingerie Shower

One of my best friends from high school got married a few weeks ago and I gave her a lingerie shower. I used zebra and hot pink decor and (even though I'm a TERRIBLE photographer) it turned out pretty well!



The sad part is, this is literally the only picture I took of the table. I guess I was just too busy hosting? This is such a terrible shot because you can't even see the whole table! There were three pink glass vases (all different sizes and shapes) in the middle of the table and those were surrounded by pink glass votives. I got the feathers, vases, and the fabric for the table square all at Hobby Lobby. I got the pink glass votives from my mom's gift shop, The Freiderica Collection. There were three other hostesses and we each made two dishes. I made a dip called Tennessee Sin and fruit kabobs with a honey lime dressing (that I served in shot glasses). I also had the most precious petit fours made at The Blue Cake Company!

Here are a few pics from the party, along with the recipe for "Tennessee Sin."


This is the punch, which I called "Pink Panty Dropper Punch" although it was only Raspberry Lemonade. :) The berries were also for the punch and the roses... well Evan brought those home for me earlier in the week and they matched the party so I just left them on the table! :)


And these are the precious petit fours! I served them on a mirror- that I also bought at Hobby Lobby! Which reminds me, Hobby Lobby tip: If you buy something from Hobby Lobby that is NOT on sale and it goes on sale any time between the time of your purchase and a week later, you can take it back to the store (with your receipt) and they will pay you the difference in the sale price and your purchase price (which usually means you will get HALF of your money back!!!). I know it seems unbelievable but it really is true! I've done it!


This picture may seem random... and it is... but it's the only picture that I took of the "Tennessee Sin"- that's it in the bottom right corner of the picture! haha And you get to see the beautiful bride in this picture anyway! :)

Tennessee Sin

Ingredients:
2 (16 oz) loaves french bread
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz) carton of sour cream
2 cups grated cheddar
1/2 cup chopped cooked ham
1/3 cup chopped green onions

Directions:

Slice the top 1/4 of bread loaf. Hollow out bottom section leaving a 1 inch shell. Cut bread top, inside pieces and remaining bread loaf into 1 inch cubes; place bread shell and cubes on baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth; add sour cream and beat until creamy. Stir in cheddar cheese, ham and green onions. Spread into bread shell, wrap in heavy-duty foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Unwrap and place on serving platter. Serve with toasted bread cubes.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pound Cake for Allison

These are my best friends from college:


Aren't they beautiful? Allison is the one in the front center and she is the reason for this post! She is in her first year of pharmacy school at UAMS and she has a friend from school that is having a birthday this weekend. Allison called me because she wants to make a birthday cake for her friend and she needs a good recipe! She told me that it can't be chocolate, coconut or carrot! So, I suggested this easy (because she's busy becoming a pharmacist) and delicious recipe for Sour Cream Pound Cake.



Sour Cream Pound Cake

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick margarine
8 oz sour cream
1/2 cup Wesson oil
1 box Duncan Hines Butter Cake
5 eggs
1 t. vanilla

Directions:
Mix sugar and margarine well, then beat with a mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add sour cream; beat well. Add oil; beat well. Add cake mix; beat well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Add vanilla; beat well. Bake in a greased and floured bundt pan for 1 hour at 350.

Funny Story:
The first time that I cooked dinner for Evan, when we first started dating, a really complicated (from scratch) pound cake was on my menu! Obviously I was trying to impress him but it also wasn't really that different from what I would have done for any dinner guest because I had been cooking my ENTIRE life! So anyway, I slaved away on the pound cake and after I finally put it in the oven, I started working on the rest of the meal. An hour or so later, when I took the cake out of the oven and turned it out on the cake stand, it just deflated... literally like a popped balloon!!! WHAT??? I had made that cake 1,000 times, as well as tons of other cakes and this had NEVER happened!! I FREAKED out! My new boyfriend was on his way to my house (luckily it was a long drive since he lived an hour away!) and I had been telling him how much I liked to cook and he was going to think that I'd been lying the whole time! (Side note: My mom thought this was SO funny that she couldn't even help me figure out what to do because she was laughing so hard!) Just in time, I found this recipe for a Sour Cream Pound Cake that was quick and easy (thank goodness for cake mixes!!). I quickly drove to the store for the ingredients and threw this version of pound cake together! The cake was still in the oven when Evan arrived but he never figured out my secret! Haha This story seems so silly now because Evan WOULD NOT have cared and he was eventually going to figure out that I wasn't (at all) perfect but it seemed like the end of the world at the time!!

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This is now my "go to" pound cake and I like to serve it with sliced strawberries and fresh whipped cream!! It seems very springy to me... I might make one this weekend! Happy cooking and let me know if you need a recipe suggestion too!! :)