Pecan Coconut Cream Candies

Pecan Coconut Cream Candies, aka Martha Washington’s, are one of the very first candy recipes I ever made way back when I was a teenagers.  Perfect for beginners and those who are searching for some nostalgia from their early years.

There are many variations of pecan coconut cream candies around the world.  Some are soft and gooey, some are more solid, like mine.

You can change up the amount of powdered sugar to suit your preference.  If you like yours softer, start with half of the powdered sugar called for.  Add more sugar a few tablespoons at a time and taste the filling.

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Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup is one of the few soups that both of us will eat.  It even gets eaten as leftovers, which if you know either one of us, you know that leftovers are rarely served around here.  But hey, that keeps the neighbors happy!

It starts with a chicken broth, so I am good.  It has meatballs which keeps the husband happy.  I also like that it has spinach in it, and this is about the only way I can get him to eat dark greens.  He loves salad, but only if it has no spinach or kale in it. In case you were wondering, I do have to pick those things out of any salad mixes they may be in.

I have read somewhere along the line that the carrots in this soup are for luck.  There are not really enough of them to affect the flavor, so leave them out if you prefer.  I keep them in because it is another way to get vegetable into our diets.

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Butterscotch Meringue Pie

Butterscotch Pie perfection has been an elusive mystery to me.  My grandmother could make them.  If you read the Almost Butterscotch Pie, or Sugar Cream Pie recipes, then you already know Aunt Alice could make them.

Any time I have tried to make one, it has either been runny or grainy, and sometimes both.  For me, I think the problem has something to do with the way I was mixing ingredients.  Generally, it looks curdled to me before I even add eggs.  Almost like the brown sugar curdles the milk, turning it into what looks like tiny pieces of cottage cheese floating in the pan.

The flavor has never been an issue, just the finished texture.  During a recent trip to visit family, my husband returned with an entire folder of recipes from Uncle Bill.  They were not the recipes that he was looking for, but in this folder are some amazing recipes that will be shared as time allows.

The first find that needed to be cooked and adjusted was Butterscotch Pie.  The reason for adjustments is that these recipes are designed for 50 and 100 people.  There are only 2 of us in this household, and unless you are feeding ranch hands or cooking for a family reunion, chances are you also need a smaller serving size to make in your kitchen.

I tested this recipe with my modifications using flour and using cornstarch.  We prefer the texture of the flour version, but the cornstarch version seemed to set up better.  Andy wanted a piece of pie before it was fully cooled, I would have preferred to wait a day, but he smelled it as soon as he opened the refrigerator.

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Baked Potato Soup

Baked potato soup is another restaurant inspired soup that I keep in my wintertime menu rotation.

The recipe that was given to me by one of the restaurant owners is long gone.  After making it so many times, I just throw things together in a pan and serve it up.

He swore that his secret ingredient was ham soup base.  This can usually be found in the Latin section of local grocery stores.  Apparently, Wally World no longer carries this product.  I prefer to use Goya brand, since it comes in perfect sized little packets, but I have been known to grab a jar of it in the regular soup aisle if the packets aren’t available.

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Meal-Prep Granola Breakfast Bars

 

These granola breakfast bars are the answer to my breakfast riddle. I am the kind of guy who would rather sleep an extra 15-30 minutes than eat breakfast, so I rarely eat breakfast on a week day. These meal-prep granola breakfast bars are my answer to the question, “what should I eat for breakfast?”

My wife and I have been on a meal prep-Sunday kick here lately. This recipe is great for folks who are looking for meal-prep recipes. This recipe can be easily and quickly made Sunday evening in preparation for the work week.

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Buckeyes

Buckeyes are another recipe I had never heard of until I was asked if I knew how to make them.

Now I make them so much I make them from memory because they are so simple to make.

You can really make as few or as many as you want if you can keep the proportions locked into your head or written down somewhere.

You just need 1 part butter to 3 parts peanut butter.  Then add 1 1/2 parts the total of butter and peanut of powdered sugar.

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Turkey Rice Soup

I know, most everyone has a turkey soup recipe that uses their leftover holiday turkey.  This recipe is for those folks who do not have one and for those who would like to try a new version.  This one also works with ground turkey if you happen to be one of the folks that was not luck enough to have a spare turkey carcass hanging out.

For me, the key to a good turkey rice soup is the choice is herbs used in the broth.  My preferred herbs are rosemary, thyme, and marjoram.  I use them in equal parts, but have learned over the years that a base started with a turkey carcass needs more herbs than a base started with ground turkey.

Your base will be different too based on which way your start your soup.  If you decide to go with a turkey carcass, you will need less soup base or bouillon, the roasted turkey skin and bones will provide quite a bit of flavor.  In addition, I add my leftover turkey gravy.

First off, we all know that gravy is kind of weird heated back up.  Secondly, I hate to lose my pan drippings or the broth that I cooked my goblets in.  I always cook my giblets in some chicken broth and use this to moisten my dressing while I am waiting on the turkey to give up some drippings.

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Sweet and Spicy Fried Pickles

If you’ve visited a restaurant while visiting the deep south, I’m sure you’ve seen fried pickles on the menu. Fried pickles are a southern favorite and a pretty easy to make. Most folks who’ve never had a fried pickles tend to think the combination of frying a pickles as a little weird. However, I can promise you that once you try a fried pickle, you’ll order them every time you see them on the menu.

I’m kind of a fried pickle snob. Fried pickles, while delicious, can be easily ruined by one ingredient. Salt… a fried pickle that is too salty is sometimes just too difficult to eat, no matter how much ranch you cover it in. Finding the right pickle is pretty critical to the final product, so you’ll have to do a little bit of experimentation with the pickles available at your grocery store.

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Even though you might experiment with pickle varieties, we have settled on our absolute favorite pickle. Pickles from Wickles are sweet, spicy, and just a little bit salty. Wickles are thicker than your average sliced pickle, so the pickle-to-crust ratio is great. However, some folks in the south prefer their pickles razor thin to maximize the amount of crust. I think this is just an excuse to eat more fried crust with ranch dressing. With Wickles, you can actually enjoy the great flavor of the pick itself. I find myself eating the pickles for a snack sometimes.

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Holiday Green Jello Salad

Green salad was at every holiday meal my mom was involved in. I can’t remember a holiday at her house, or anyone else’s for that matter where this dish wasn’t present. She loved green salad and if no one else was making it, you were guaranteed she would. It had never been any other color until her later years when she started substituting cranberry or cherry jello for the lime. When I was younger I preferred mine with pecans in it, and surprise cream cheese chunks that didn’t completely dissolve into the mix. Now I am a puritan in the nut arena. I also prefer to eat this made with cranberry jello, and cherry is a close second.

I don’t make this in my kitchen anymore. It was more of a tradition at my house rather than a “craving” for me, you know, one of those things that you were expected to put on your plate but kind of pushed around. However, this is now a part of Ron’s holiday traditions so it should be his cookbook version that appears in this post.  Thus is not a dish he pushes around his plate.  He loves it!

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Southern Sweet Sun Tea

Sweet Tea is about as southern as you can get. Tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world, up there with water, coffee, and beer (which are all things I love). You can go to every single restaurant south of St. Louis and find yourself a pitcher of sweet tea. As someone who isn’t from the south, I thought sweet tea was strange since every table also has a fair number of Sweet’n Low, Equal, and raw sugar packets. I always assumed everyone added sweetener to their liking. Southerners typically don’t like a touch of sweetness in their tea, we like it pretty darn sweet.

My mom often made sun tea growing up. Nothing is more memorable than mom making a big container of tea, sitting it on the porch, and letting it bask in the sun all afternoon. Mom would take the warm container after sitting in the sun for a few hours and toss it in the fridge. I can still have childhood memories of the summer sun shine on my face while drinking a refreshing glass of sweet sun tea. Nothing says summer like sweltering heat and an ice cold glass of sweet tea in a mason jar.

You need three things to make sweet sun tea: black tea, water, sugar, and a glass container.

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