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!

Continue reading “Holiday Green Jello Salad”

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.

sun-sweet-tea-body4-800

Continue reading “Southern Sweet Sun Tea”

Pecan Tassies

The recipe I use for Pecan Tassies is old.  It was given to me by my mom who got it from my grandmother or an aunt.  It is one of the very first “complicated” recipes I attempted to make after I had a few years of cooking experience.  I was still pretty inexperienced at this point.  I remember being so careful and cautious, and they turned out.  But it took me all day the first time.  Times have changed, I am more about speed and taste these days!

I used to make these for my grandpa.  He never asked for much, so anytime he had a request for Pecan Tassies, I made them.  I was one of the few in the family that would make them for him.  They are time consuming to make.  I always felt like they were a labor of love.

Continue reading “Pecan Tassies”

Favorite Chili

Andy loves chili.  I love chicken noodle soup.  So, I make them at the same time because they both freeze and reheat well.  Keeps up both happy, he doesn’t have to eat “too chickeny” soup and I can avoid the heartburn from eating chili.andys-favorite-chili-body-800

I have used many different recipes in my life, but this is the one that gets requested the most and the one you are likely to find in my freezer all winter long.  This one is similar to the many Wendy’s copycat recipes readily available online.  I usually at least double this recipe.  Admittedly, I have even tripled it so I had enough for guests and freezing.

I make this in large batches since it provides me with a few quick painless dinners over the winter, and it is a favorite of impromptu visitors to our house.  We have a few neighbors that also love this chili.   This recipe can also be easily reduced, math isn’t my strong suit, so I leave those division problems for you to work out.

Continue reading “Favorite Chili”

Simple Turkey Dressing

For me, homemade stuffing/dressing is required at Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.  The stuff from the box just doesn’t get it for me.  Although, that is what I was raised on, my mother used it. Yuck.  I had an aunt once declare that this dressing tastes just like her mom’s, but I don’t recall anything besides the boxed stuff at her house either.  In her defense, holiday meals normally meant cooking for 25 to 35 people.  We never had real mashed potatoes either.

I have been known to use a bag pre-seasoned hard cubes, and those can be prepared in a way that it is almost as good as homemade.  And 2 bags of those cubes can be used as a substitute for the loaf of rustic crusty bread used in this recipe.  It will require much more liquid than the crusty bread allowed to dry out will.

People put all kinds of stuff in their stuffing, maybe that’s why it’s called stuffing, it’s stuffed with stuff.  I have never stuffed a bird with dressing, I think it might end up being too greasy and not hot enough to kill whatever bacteria might be hiding inside that turkey.

Continue reading “Simple Turkey Dressing”

New Orleans Style Bread Pudding

New Orleans Style Bread Pudding is my kind of bread pudding.  This bread pudding does not have large pieces of bread hanging out.  This is creamier than other bread puddings, but not too egg-y.

It can be made with any kind of leftover bread that you have laying around.  One day I would like to try this with stale cinnamon rolls. But, that would mean there were leftovers………..

I prefer making this with some dried out quick yeast rolls.  I’m able to crumble them pretty quickly and these rolls absorb the liquid pretty easily.  As you are mixing up this bread pudding, the consistency will look like really wet oatmeal.  No worries, this will bake up and set just fine.  If it needs a little extra baking time, that’s OK too.  It just means crispier edges, which in my opinion is the best part.

Continue reading “New Orleans Style Bread Pudding”

Moist Carrot Cake

Moist Carrot Cake, my daughter hates the word moist, as do many people, but there is no other way to describe this carrot cake.  OK. Maybe delicious also describes it, or decadent, or even irresistible.

Carrot cake seems to be popular around Easter and spring, but we love it in our house any time of the year.  Besides, carrots are available year-round right?  People serve glazed carrots year-round, I have even seen them on Thanksgiving and Christmas meal tables.

I do not recall the first place I found this recipe.  It has been in my recipe folder for quite some time though, as it is well stained with I assume oil, applesauce, vanilla, and anything else that might have been near the paper when I make this.  It is also filled with written notes.  Many crossed off and updated with the changes I have made over the years.

Continue reading “Moist Carrot Cake”

Spicy Chicken Corn Chowder

This is a recipe that Sam and I have been doctoring and tweaking for years. It’s a cheese spicy soup that’s prefect for those nights you want something warm and spicy.

Believe it or not, it actually gets cold in Mississippi. Once temperatures dip below 60°, people start pulling out their super thick winter coats and women pull out their ugly ugg boots. You would swear everyone around here is preparing to climb Mt. Everest. Even though I don’t share the low tolerance of Mississippian’s cold weather, I do love a nice bowl of hot soup on a cool or chilly day. Especially while watching college football.

chicken-corn-chowder-body-2

This recipe is super easy and super tasty. It features chicken, corn, and cheese. How can it get any better than that. We have experimented with a variety of cheeses, but our favorite cheeses are what we have listed in the recipe. Also, feel free to omit the cayenne if you don’t want it spicy. Add more if you want it hotter. I typically make the recipe as is and then sprinkle in my cayenne in my own bowl. My wife doesn’t like a super spicy recipe. Anyways, I hope you enjoy the recipe and be sure to give it a go this fall.

Continue reading “Spicy Chicken Corn Chowder”

Quick Yeast Rolls

Quick Yeast Rolls have a husband approved stamp in the recipe folder.  It does not happen often, but when he likes a recipe he will mark a rating on it with a date.  This one carries large letters that read VERY GOOD!  This particular one is from quite a few years ago.  Since then I have seen it pop up on Pinterest and several other recipe sites.

Since I am kind of lax at following rules and dislike kneading yeast dough, I usually turn to my quick rustic bread recipe or use the bread machine.  Using the bread machine requires me to disassemble the bowl to clean before and after use.  More kitchen cleanup is not on my list of favorite things.

But quick yeast rolls require no hand kneading, no bread machine, and does not require a whole lot of pre-thought.  Another one of my many faults, failure to plan early enough in a day to do things.  These can be on the table in less than an hour.  Perfect for me today, since I got preoccupied getting my chicken into a pot for chicken and dumplings.

Continue reading “Quick Yeast Rolls”

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread is another fall favorite at my house.  I make this from the first leaf falling off the trees and all the way through the holidays. You might find it hanging out up until Easter.  This gets made a lot.  This another recipe of mine that is well used, and stained.

I make it in large loaves, small loaves, and mini loaves.  I give it away and I also freeze it for later.  Small loaves make great food gifts to appointments during the holidays.  Wrap completely cooled loaves in holiday colored plastic wrap, and add a bow.  When doing this I like to add a small container of whipped butter and perhaps a plastic knife since most places don’t stock serveware like we do at home.

Continue reading “Pumpkin Bread”