Basic Jalapeno Poppers

Welcome back!

This past weekend, the ChemE wanted jalapeno poppers. Someone had brought some to his office, and he couldn’t get them off his mind. Silly man. So, I agreed to make them for him. Gotta keep him happy. We ran to the grocery store and picked up a few things I needed; jalapenos and sausage.

I had no recipe to follow. I looked up several different recipes online and just went from there. Here’s what I did:

6 large jalapenos, halved and seeded

1-1lb package of bacon*

1-1lb package of ground sausage

1-8oz package of cream cheese

Extras: You are going to need toothpicks!! You are also going to want to bake these on a rack with a pan underneath to catch all the grease from the bacon!

Preheat the oven to 375*F. Brown the sausage in a skillet over high heat. Once the sausage is no longer pink, drain the fat, then add the cream cheese. Stir until the cream cheese has melted. In the meantime, wash the jalapenos, then halve and, using a spoon, seed them. (If you want a good kick to your jalapeno popper, then leave some of the membrane and seeds. If not, scrape it all out!! And, you might want to wear gloves while doing this!! I didn’t, and didn’t have any burning, but I was also very, very careful!) Take a spoonful of the mixture and place it inside the hollowed out jalapeno. *NOW the bacon. I didn’t realize how huge the jalapenos were I used. I cut the bacon into 1/3s and the slices were too small. I had to use 3 to cover the jalapeno and mixture. My suggestion is to use a whole slice at first. If you see that you need less, then cut the rest of the bacon accordingly.* Use a toothpick to hold the bacon to the jalapeno. Repeat with the rest of the jalapenos. Bake at 375*F for 20-25 minutes. Check on the jalapeno poppers…if the bacon is starting to shrink, then turn the broiler on high and finish cooking the jalapenos.

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While I was typing this recipe, I thought of somethings I could do a little different! So, I may make these again this weekend, if the ChemE is not opposed, and try out my little “twists.” IF it works out, I’ll post the recipe next week!! Meanwhile, enjoy!!

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Mushroom Cap Pizzas

The ChemE and I have been working on eating healthier. I discovered, as I was going through our bank statements, that we were eating out entirely too much! I won’t divulge numbers, but we spent enough money on eating out one month, I could have bought double the groceries I usually do.

 

So, I started scouring websites for interesting recipes to take the place of the ho-hum, humdrum stuff we usually have. That is when I came across this recipe on Pinterest. It looked wonderful. I like mushrooms, especially portobella mushrooms, and who doesn’t like pizza?! Plus, I knew the kiddos wouldn’t eat it, but they could make their own pizzas, which gets them in the kitchen and cooking, while having fun. Win, win, win!

 

Here’s the recipe:

 

  • 6 Portobella mushroom caps (this will depend on how many you want to eat. Mine were a medium size, so I made 3 for each of us, 6 in total. If you get the large mushrooms, you may only want 1 per person)
  • pizza sauce
  • pepperoni
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded

 

Preheat the oven to 400*F. Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a damp cloth or paper towel. (Do not rinse the mushrooms under running water. Mushrooms have a lot of water in them naturally. By washing them under running water, you will only add more water to them. I promise, wiping them with a damp cloth will clean them!) Remove the stem and clean out the inside “gills” with a spoon. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes. A lot of water will draw out of them. You can take a paper towel and soak up any excess water. When you have gotten the water absorbed, put a tablespoon of pizza sauce inside the cap. Top with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. Turn on the oven broiler (HIGH) and broil for 3 minutes or until the cheese has melted and started to brown.

 

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Obviously, you can add anything you like. The original recipe called for black olives. But the ChemE has a deep seated aversion to any kind of olive, so none for us.

 

 

Happy Holidays!!

Sorry! Life has gotten in the way! And well, eating out got much easier! But, after a long discussion, the ChemE and I decided that we would challenge each other. We won’t eat out for a month. Yes, a whole month. So far, so good. We did go out for Christmas Eve, and that is only because it is a long standing tradition. But, that means I’m back to cooking. However, this last couple of weeks, we’ve had ham, or turkey.

 

Gulp.

 

I’m a little tired of ham, and turkey.

 

Okay, I’m really tired of ham and turkey.

 

With that being said, I’ve got a ton of cookbooks to go through and many great recipes to find!! So, between my photography business, the blog to go with that, and this food blog, I’m going to be pretty busy in 2o13!!

 

Until then, enjoy the rest of the holiday season! I’ll be back here in 2013 to entertain you with lots of great recipes!!

 

 

Mert’s Green Bean Casserole

Mert was my maternal grandmother. (My Mama’s mom.) I love this casserole. I remember having it as a child and just wanting to eat the entire pan. As an adult, I wanted this when pregnant with my oldest son. And, my Mama complied. Mmmmm….

 

This is an easy, cheap meal to make. Plus, it makes more than enough for growing children.

 

I promise, when you read the ingredients you are going to say, “You have GOT to be kidding!!!” But I swear to you, it is really good!

 

Mert’s Green Bean Casserole

 

1 15oz can of diced tomatoes

2 15oz cans of string beans

1/2 cup quick cook oatmeal

2 tsp French’s yellow mustard (or spicy brown mustard)

salt and pepper to taste

2 sticks of Bryan’s original smoked sausage

 

Preheat oven to 425*F. Drain string beans, reserving liquid. Mix string beans with tomatoes in a casserole dish. Mix dry oatmeal and mustard with liquid from string beans until mustard is thoroughly blended with the liquid and oatmeal is moistened. Add salt and pepper to mixture, then pour into the casserole dish with the tomatoes and string beans. Mix ingredients well. Slice each stick of sausage down the middle leaving the casing intact on one side. Spread the sausage and cut into short pieces, approximately 2 inches long. Arrange the sausage on top of the tomato/stringbean mixture. Bake, turning the sausage over 1/2 way through cooking. Cook approximately 30  minutes until the center is hot and bubbly and the oatmeal is cooked.

 

Thank you Mama for sharing this recipe with me!!!

Sour Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

Another blast from the past!! Again, this is one I make quite often. I have varied it from time to time, but the basic recipe stays the same. Easy to make, and yummy to eat!!

 

Sour Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas

 

10 four tortillas

4 chicken breasts

Lowery’s season salt

1/2 stick butter

1 med. onion, chopped

1/2 can Ro-tel tomatoes

1 8oz package cream cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 1/2 cup whipping cream

salt and pepper to taste

In a greased, cast iron skillet (and let me just say, if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, just use what you have! I love my cast iron skillet and use it any time I need a skillet), on medium high, cook the chicken, seasoning with Lowery’s season salt. Place a lid on the skillet and allow the chicken to cook, turning to brown evenly. When done, remove from the skillet  and begin to shred or coarsely chop. Add the 1/2 stick of butter, onions, and Ro-tel tomatoes to the skillet. Cook until the onion is done. Add the cream cheese and begin to melt it. When the cream cheese is almost melted, add the sour cream, stirring constantly. Add the chicken to the skillet. Stir to combine.

Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Remove the skillet from heat and begin to spoon the chicken mixture onto a tortilla shell and roll. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until all the mixture has been used. Sprinkle the cheese over the top, then pour the whipping cream on top. Bake uncovered at 350*F for 30 minutes.

I used jalapeno and cheddar tortilla wraps for an extra kick. There were only 6 in the package, so I used a lot of filling in each shell.

Enjoy!

 

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A variation I have made is to put a can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken/Mushroom soup, undiluted, in with the Ro-tel tomatoes. Makes this mixture very creamy! Also, I add shredded cheese to the chicken mixture inside the tortilla wrap. Then, I top with the remaining chicken mixture, and leave off the whipping cream.

 

Also, you can use the chicken mixture, if you have any left, as a dip with tortilla chips! Mmmmmmm!!

Breakfast Casserole

I know, I know…everyone has a breakfast casserole in their back pocket. Yes, yes, yes. I want to share mine with you, though. Just in case there is something a little different in this one that maybe you haven’t tried before in yours.

This is a casserole I make quite often. I’m not a fan, but the kiddos are, so I  make it for them. It is great to throw together the night before, refrigerate, then bake in the morning.

 

Breakfast Casserole

1 lb mild sausage ( I use Jimmy Dean Sage sausage)

6 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk**

1 cup grated cheese*** ****

2 slices of bread, cut into cubes. Add those crusts in there, too.

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dry mustard*****

 

Fry and drain sausage. Place the bread cubes and sausage in the bottom of a greased 10×13 baking dish. Blend all other ingredients and pour over sausage and bread cubes. At this point, if it is the night before you plan to serve it, cover and refrigerate it overnight. Otherwise, if you decided to wait and make it the morning (or that night for supper), Bake at 350*F for 45 minutes.

 

**I have often used 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of whipping cream. It gives the eggs a creamy texture.

***I am a huge proponent of buying blocks of cheese and grating them yourself instead of buying the shredded cheese.  Shredded cheese has a white film (it is a preservative) on it that makes it a little more difficult to melt well. Plus, if you go through as much cheese as I do, buying a large block of cheese is more economical.

****I use a combination of grated mild and sharp cheddar cheese and it is closer to 2 cups of cheese.

*****Dry mustard…love it! I use more than a tsp. Probably closer to a tablespoon. I put about 1/2 tablespoon in the egg mixture, and I sprinkle about 1/2 tablespoon onto the sausage/bread cube mixture.

 

I will often serve this with a side of homemade canned figs. Speaking of…Mama, Nannie, if you are reading this…I need some more figs!!!

 

 

Rerun Friday: Caramel Apple Salad

Hi all! No, I haven’t forgotten about you all! I’ve been super busy keeping up with the kids, the house, the kids, the house…you get the idea!

 

So I think for the next few posts, I’m going to repost recipes I’ve done in the past. We’ll begin with one of my fall favorites:

 

Caramel Apple Salad

1 large box  instant vanilla pudding mix

3 cups milk

1 8oz container Cool-Whip

6 -8 medium Granny Smith apples

5 – 6 Snicker bars

1/4 cup Caramel syrup

 

In a large bowl, whisk the milk and pudding until smooth. Fold in the Cool Whip. Set to the side. Core and chop the apples. Chop the Snickers. Fold apples and Snickers into pudding. Drizzle caramel syrup into mixture, stir until combined. Refrigerate until set.

Mexican Cornbread

Now, everyone has their own version of Mexican Cornbread. Mine’s not anything special. It is good, though. At least, The ChemE and Prissy think it is. The boys could care less. Go figure.

This recipe feeds a crowd!

 

Ingredients:

2 packages Marie Callender’s Corn Bread mix

3 cups of water

2 lbs ground beef

Seasoning to taste

1 can Great Value Fire Roasted tomatoes

1 small package of frozen sweet corn

1 small package of frozen chopped onion

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375*F

Begin browning the ground beef, adding seasoning to taste. Add the onions and corn, cooking all 3 together until the ground beef is no longer pink. Add the Fire Roasted tomatoes.

In a separate bowl, mix the corn bread mix and water until smooth.

Pour 1/2 of the cornbread mix in the bottom of a greased 9×13 baking dish. Add the ground beef mixture, then add the cheese. Pour the remaining cornbread mix on top, and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the top layer of cornbread comes out clean.

Enjoy!

 

**About the Marie Callender’s corn bread mix, this is an excellent corn bread mix!! There are 3 flavors, regular corn bread, sweet honey corn bread, and Mexican cornbread. All 3 are low fat, and high in flavor, moisture, texture…excellent!! Now, you may be asking yourself, why did she not use the Mexican cornbread mix. Well, I’m really not sure. Perhaps the next time I make this, I’ll use the Mexican cornbread and let you know how it goes!**

 

 

Caramel Apple Muffins

I found this recipe in this month’s Southern Living and decided to give it a try. It was well worth the effort! This is not something you will whip up on a Saturday morning before everyone gets up. Instead, make them for coffee with friends, a special after-school treat, or a special dessert!

First things first, and something I discovered while making this recipe, you are going to need 3 or 4 Granny Smith apples (depending on size. I used smallish ones and it took 4). Peel and dice the apples first. Don’t worry about them turning, you will use them fairly quickly.

 

Ingredients:

Cinnamon Topping (see following)

Stir together 1/3 cup firmly packaged light brown sugar, 1 1/2 TBsp all-purpose flour, and 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 1 1/2 TBsp butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside, you will need it later.

 

1 (8 oz) container sour cream

1 cup of sugar

2 large eggs

1 TBsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples (those I told you to peel and dice earlier.)

Later you will need:

1 (14oz) bag of caramels (unwrapped, of course)

3 TBsp whipping cream

1 cup chopped lightly salted, roasted pecans

Wax paper

Completely optional:

Food-Safe twigs or craft sticks

 

So, first thing you are going to do is preheat your oven to 375*F. Prepare Cinnamon Topping.

Beat sour cream and the next 3 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 30 seconds or until blended.

Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients. Add to sour cream mixture, beating at a low speed (VERY IMPORTANT! YOU DON”T WANT FLOUR FLYING ALL OVER YOUR KITCHEN! Trust me on that!) just until blended. (Don’t overmix!!!) Stir in the diced apples. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 12 cup muffin pan. Sprinkle with the Cinnamon Topping.

Bake at 375*F for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely (about 30 minutes)

Now, after about 25 minutes, put all those yummy caramels into a microwave safe bowl (Make sure you take the wrappers off the caramels!) and add the cream. Microwave at High 1 -2 minutes, stirring at 30 second intervals. Let the mixture stand, about 5 minutes or until thick enough to coat the muffins.

Quickly dip the bottom of the muffin (about 3/4 of the way up) into the caramel mixture, and roll the bottom half of the caramel coated portion in the pecans and place muffins, caramel sides up, on lightly greased wax paper. (You can totally not do the pecans! My boys won’t eat pecans, so I did several without.)

If the caramel mixture starts to harden before you finish dipping the muffins, just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and stir.

That completely optional part:

Insert food-safe twigs or craft sticks into caramel covered portions of muffins.

 

Enjoy!!!

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New Place, New Outlook, New Food Blog!

Well, well, well…

That’s a pretty deep subject, ya know.

I have moved. Again. We’re now down in Texas and I’ve been bitten by the cooking bug again. So, here we are. A blog dedicated to my cooking adventures. That is all that this blog will be about, cooking. Sorry, no fancy pictures of each and every step. If you don’t know yet how to boil water, and need a picture to show you how… this is not the blog for you.

 

I take recipes, tweak them, repurpose them, or heck, I even make them like they are! But I want to share my love of food, cooking, and baking with you…my faithful 3 followers.

 

Tomorrow starts my adventure! We’re going to explore Caramel Apple Muffins!